SteriPEN Adventurer Opti vs Classic

Size Comparison between Adventurer Opti and Classic SteriPEN
Intro:
One of the very first purchases I have ever made when I started getting into the outdoors was a SteriPEN classic. This was back in 2008 or 2009 when UV sterilization was pretty new and pricey at around $100. I was pretty skeptical on the reliability and the durability of a UV device to sterilize my water.  5-6 years later my SteriPEN classic is still going strong after a lot of use in the outdoors. There are some people who are firm believers on not relying on technology for the outdoors which has some merits. If for whatever reason the SteriPEN is malfunctioning on a day hike, one can almost always hike back out. For multi-day trips one usually has a stove anyways which can boil water as a secondary option. The convenience of being able to have potable water in 90 seconds has always over come the disadvantages of a battery dependent device.

Battery Life:
I have used the Adventurer Opti all summer long and just had the battery run out on my last trip. I typically use the Adventurer Opti 1 to 2 days a week filtering about 2 liters per day. I would say if you're an avid outdoor junkie who gets out every week than you would only need to replace the battery in the Opti every 2 months. I've used the SteriPEN Classic for about 5 years and the battery life is roughly twice as long when using high quality lithium AA's. SteriPEN has a comparison chart with number of treatments per charge (.5L) but I always do 1L increments due to using a 1L Nalgene. Even in .5L increments the chart does show the Classic having twice the treatment cycles per charge, confirming my real world experience. It shouldn't be a surprise that the Classic has twice as many cycles per charge because the Classic uses 4 AA batteries while the Opti uses only 2 small CR123 batteries. AA's are easier to find than CR123's but you can get a big pack of CR123's on Amazon for cheap.  It would be convenient if SteriPEN  would show the number of treatments per charge in 1L increments.

Durability and Use:
I've used the Classic for 5 years and haven't had a single issue and have only used the Opti for 3 months now. The circular shape of the Classic is a little more ergonomic to stir with vs the Opti. The LED is a little more visible in the classic making it easier to distinguish when the sterilization process is completed in bright sun light. The biggest difference comes in at length and weight. Opti is about 6 1/4 inches long with 4.5oz trail weight (batteries and case). Spare batteries only weigh 1.1 oz because the Opti uses CR123's. The classic comes in at 7 3/4 inches long and 6.6 oz trail weight. Spare batteries weigh 2 oz due to the 4AA's. While the Opti is a little less convienient to use in the field, the weight savings and much smaller design has made me keep coming back to the Opti.

Price:
Fine mesh screen
Fine mesh screen nests into the screw
on top for wide Nalgenes
REI has the price for SteriPEN Adventurer Opti for $89.95 while the classic with prefilter is $69.95 Living in the PNW and having an abundance of fairly clean water makes the pre-filter just another item to weigh down the pack and I always leave it at home. Other areas with much more stagnant water may find the prefilter that the classic comes with as an extra value. All the prefilter does is screw onto a wide mouth Nalgene and the fine mesh screen filters out additional particles.



Verdict:
The  extra 20$ for the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti is worth the cost as it retains most of the great features of the classic but in a lighter, more compact design. I see no reason for someone who is in the outdoors and getting a SteriPEN for the first time to not pick up the Opti. Those who already own a Classic should probably just stick with the Classic unless they got some extra cash to burn to lower their pack weight a few ounces and free up a little space.

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