The Outside Blog

Dispatches : May 2010

The Gear Junkie Scoop: SteriPEN AdventurerOpti

Steripen-AdventurerOpti By Stephen Regenold

A pair of international trips this year have netted me multiple bouts of stomach sickness, but I can't say I haven't tried to allude the little bugs that cause ill will to so many travelers.

One weapon I've employed, the AdventurerOpti device from SteriPEN (steripen.com) is marketed to kill viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium, with ultraviolet light. The handheld product is a miniaturized version of UV-light technologies used in municipal water-purification plants around the world. The AdventurerOpti is a new version of the SteriPEN product, which has been on the market for a few years. It is slightly smaller and lighter than other SteriPEN models.

Traveling in Nepal last month, the AdventurerOpti was constantly at my side. The product is small, easy to use and quick: Press the button, dip the lamp into your drink, and wait 90 seconds to purify a liter of
liquid.

My stomach issues while traveling may have been from foodborne, waterborne, or even airborne sources--it's impossible to know. I used the SteriPEN 90 percent of the time when drinking water procured outdoors from lakes and streams. I even used it in restaurants where tap water was served.

The $99 product worked as promised, as far as I know. But it is one of those items that you simply have to trust that it does what it says it will do. Water looks or tastes no different after UV purification.

For really dirty water, the SteriPEN will not work. Water has to be mostly clear for the product's UV light to do its trick. Murky water from lakes or rivers has to be filtered before the SteriPEN can be used.

On my travels, I will continue to tote a SteriPEN along. I will use it in the outdoors for backpacking and climbing trips as well as when traveling internationally. In the end, the AdventurerOpti is an insurance policy, an extra step in the fight against the little bugs that can make the stomach sick.

--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

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USATF Patricia Rico Passes Away

USA Track and Field previous president, New York resident Patricia Rico, has passed away. RunnersWeb.com reports that 76 year Rico died Sunday of respiratory failure, but her legacy continues to live on. Not only did she garner much needed financial support for USATF in recent years, but she also laid the groundwork for the organization that it continues to stand on today. Rico was a strong advocate for women in sports, and after retiring from the sport herself, she co-founded Track Mirror, the first American publication for women's track and field. A tremendous athlete, advocate and figure in the sport, we will be sad to say our goodbyes. Let's all do an extra lap this week in her honor. 

--Aurora Wingard

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BP Will Pay Claims on Oil Spill

If you didn't know there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, you haven't been paying attention. But what you might not know is that someone is ready to take responsibility--at least financially. BP has announced that they are willing to contribute to clean-up efforts and will pay all claims to boot, as reported by news.cnet.com. How much money this will entail is still unknown. The spill, which has reached 130 miles by 70 miles, has the ability to impact animals, fisheries, beaches, boats and our aquatic eco-system, as it continues to gush oil into the ocean. Want to help out with the clean up? MSNBC.com has listed organizations that are looking for volunteers. 

--Aurora Wingard

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Youngest On Everest: Busy Weekend

Team Romero had a busy weekend. They spent their first night at the North Col (phlog above) and climbed as high as Camp 2 (app. 27,450 feet) before returning to advanced base camp for a few days of rest. Jordan, the team reports, is "a tad tired and in need of sleep before we make the biggest climb in the world, but strong as expected."

Check out the team's Flickr page for photos of the weekend climbs. For more on Jordan, the 13-year-old attempting to become the youngest person to summit Everest and the Seven Summits, check out our April profile.

-- Jonah Ogles

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Green Trend Hits Fitness Centers

Can't get outside but want to break a sweat? Fitness centers nationwide are finally jumping on the green bandwagon, as reported by rueters.com. While the health club industry saw an overall increase in business last year, many are aiming to increase that even more--by tailoring to eco-conscious customers. From recycled treadmills, to green building practices, fitness centers are going the extra mile on the green track. Our personal favorite? Go Green Fitness, which connected 25 of their spin bikes to generators, so that members can check their heart rates and their wattage at the end of class. Hows that for recycled energy? 

--Aurora Wingard

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