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Steripen Solar Charger Case : Packable Power

I've been toting a SteriPEN water purifier around with me for the last few months, using it every chance I get. The ultraviolet purifier -- one of the coolest outdoor gadgets I've ever come across -- simply needs to be put into a bottle of water and turned on. A minute later, my water's safe to drink. 

To keep the SteriPEN's bulb safe, I've been storing it in Hydro-Photon's Solar Charging Case, which has been lashed to the top of my pack everywhere I go. Not only does the case keep the SteriPEN from being jostled around by whatever's in my pack -- which is usually metal climbing gear -- but it also has an integrated solar panel that recharges a set of batteries every few days. The purifier and its case would be at the top of my list of things to have when stranded on a desert island.

The seven-inch long case is quite strong despite weighing just seven ounces, and has so far survived some pretty rough rides when I've set my pack down on rocks. The solar panel itself hasn't been damaged either since it's integrated into the case and covered with a clear, protective layer. Best of all, I know my purifier won't be damaged no matter how much havoc I cause; the case has a custom-cut foam liner that surrounds the SteriPEN charger. It's also got a space for two CR123 rechargeable batteries, which, once in place, start charging when the case is in the sun. 

In the last few months, I've used the SteriPEN on just about every liter of water I've consumed outdoors. I lost count of how much water I've also purified for my traveling companions, but it's probably been around a dozen gallons. The SteriPEN's power has run out twice during that timeframe, but thanks to the solar case, I had a spare set of charged batteries waiting for me. I simply swapped batteries and kept on going; the old batteries charged in a few days. It was a ridiculously easy process, far easier than scrubbing, back washing, and unclogging pump filters and elements. 

I also found the SteriPEN's product literature to be accurate; a pair of rechargeable batteries usually lasts five to six gallons. Non-rechargeable batteries last about twice as long, but I'd rather create zero waste and harness the power of the sun to power my body.

Bottom Line: Protective hard case with an integrated solar battery charger for the SteriPEN water purifiers. A necessity for those traveling abroad, embarking on through-hikes, or desiring complete, lightweight self-sufficiency - N.W. (Mar. '08) 

Price: $49

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Worldwide there are more than 12,000 species of ferns. In New Zealand, the silver fern is the national symbol. According to Maori culture,the unfurling tip of the fern, called a "koru," represents the cycle of life and death. This image is often used in art and jewelry.

Source: 100% New Zealand, The Official Site for New Zealand Travel

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