We at Texas Avid Outdoors are constantly traveling around the state to take advantage of the bountiful outdoor resources. As time has passed we have purposefully tried to lighten our load that we carry with us. In this instance, instead of carrying our water along with us on a weekend canoe trip down the Colorado River, we decided to try out our water filters. While we have a selection of water filters available for our use, we are always excited to try new products. For this trip we would be testing the Viqua personal UV water filter provided by Preferred Pump in Round Rock Texas.
Right out of the box you can tell it’s a quality product. While I have played with the SteriPEN models before, I had never had the opportunity to use one myself. The manufacturer claim is that it removes 99% of bacteria, protozoa and virus that cause water-borne illnesses. Very important for six people depending on water from the river we are paddling through for drinking water!
It is recommended that only clear water be used for the UV filter so some pre-filtering is necessary depending on the quality of the water source. Don’t expect to be able to use water out of some scummy backwoods pond without first pre-filtering it. SteriPEN makes a pre-filter that fits over any bottle with a Nalgene sized mouth. You pour water through the pre-filter and then use the UV pen with the filtered water. For our use, we had an older MSR filter that we used as pre-filter.
The process itself was easy. The UV pen came pre-charged out of the box with a neoprene carrying case and USB cord for recharging the pen. The internal lithium-ion battery can be charged via any USB charging device. For us, that’s a big bonus as we typically carry Goal Zero solar products that will allow us to charge it indefinitely in the field.
So now to the test! Using the MSR filter, we pumped water directly out of the river into a container. Second, we inserted the UV pen and turned it on, being careful to set it to the amount of water that we were purifying. It was easy to tell it was finished due to the little LED display that gives you a little smiley face when the process is done.
Once it was finished, we toasted and drank up! It tasted just fine and we are all happy to say that we made it through the weekend with no ill effects. It is always refreshing to test and use a product that does exactly what it’s supposed to do. I give this product my full endorsement and furthermore it will be a permanent addition to our gear.
Keep in mind, though, this is not just for the outdoorsman. The UV pen works great for when you are traveling to a place where the water quality might be questionable such as traveling abroad. Additionally, it works as a great back up for your home in cases of emergency. With a listed 8,000 1-liter treatments, you can expect to have this around for awhile! So if you think you might be in a situation where having access to good clean water may be difficult, by all means go out and get one! You won’t regret it.