Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 13, 2017
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Know the water is safe to drink

A handheld, water-purification system that'll change the way you travel

Travel and safe drinking water go hand in hand. The water that flows from taps in most of North America and Europe is usually potable and that means we’re spoiled. Almost 80 percent of all travel disease comes from contaminated water and over 10 million travellers get sick every year. It’s a lesson hikers have always known: either carry water with you or have a way of purifying any source you come across in nature.

The options to make sure your water is safe are limited and most have downsides. Boiling leaves you with hot water, chemicals add a bad taste and filtration systems demand a lot of pumping for a trickle of return.

Enter my newest favourite purifying companion: the SteriPEN Freedom. It uses UV light to purify a cup of water in 48 seconds while you stir and eliminates over 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause water-borne illness.

It weighs a scant 74 grams and fits in a shirt pocket. The rechargeable battery treats 40 liters before you need to plug it in again. Pack one in a travel bag where you will know where to find it when you need it.

Time magazine lists it as one of the 100 best gadgets and it won Outside magazine’s Editor’s Choice in 2013. $103 at Mountain Equipment Co-op. For more info: steripen.com.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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