A SteriPEN water purifier that doesn’t require batteries? Cool, huh! SteriPEN developed a new model this year, the human powered SteriPEN Sidewinder.
Just like the handheld battery powered SteriPENs, the SteriPEN Sidewinder creates ultraviolet light that destroys bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. But unlike all of the other SteriPEN models, no batteries are needed!
Since I’m already an avid user of SteriPEN’s UV technology to make contaminated water safe to drink, my main focus when testing the Sidewinder was ease of use.
- Size – a bit bulky! Best for home use and car camping. The Sidewinder is definitely bulkier than my favorite SteriPEN, the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti, weighing 16.6 ounces and measuring 8.6 x 5.5 x 3.8 inches. Therefore, it is a device that wouldn’t be practical for a backpacking trip, but would be fantastic for home use in emergency situations. It also could be used on car camping trips.
- Easy to set up. The Sidewinder is definitely easy to set up – I simply screwed the included BPA free plastic bottle onto the device, placed it in my lap, and started turning the crank. Just like the battery powered SteriPENs, it takes 90 seconds of UV light to disinfect 1 Liter of water.
- Ease of use? You need muscles to operate the Sidewinder! I did find it to be challenging to maintain the required pace of 2 turns per second. My arms were fatigued!! A red light blinks slowly if you’re cranking too slow. Let’s just say I saw lots of slow red blinking! According to a little insert in the package, you can take a break for 5 seconds every 30 seconds, which I found to be helpful. Otherwise for the muscle men and women out there, cranking for 90 seconds straight will do the trick.
Bottom line? On backpacking trips I’ll be taking along my SteriPEN Adventurer Opti and pack some extra batteries. And I’ll be adding the SteriPEN Sidewinder to the home emergency kit. It sure is comforting to know that in a desperate situation when water needs to be disinfected I won’t have to be scrambling around looking for batteries!