How to Purify your Water: Review of Roving Blue Tactical Black O-Pen

By Chris Mackay – Co-Founder of Travelers Against Plastic (TAP)

SEPTEMBER 18, 2018

It is not every day I get excited about a new travel product, even though I am continually on the lookout, especially if it helps me travel plastic free.

For over 20 years I have traveled prepared to clean my own water and am constantly updating what I use as technology changes. I have carried potable aqua tablets, first need filters, sawyer filters, and my personal favorite, the SteriPEN. They all have unique qualities, and all have their drawbacks. Part of that has do to do with the fact that what one needs changes depending on what kind of traveler you are and where you are getting your water. Nothing is perfect. However, I recently discovered Roving Blue’s O-Pen, which utilizes ozone to purify water and used it on a recent trip to Thailand with high school students from California.

If you are traveling where you are pulling water from a clear source of water, such as your hotel room, consider the O-Pen, the latest advancement in pocket water purifiers. Many products claim to be lightweight and compact, but nothing compares to the incredible O-Pen, which is literally the size of a pen. Having used SteriPENs for years, which utilize UV light to do the cleaning, I am well aware of the wonders of simple tech to purify water. I was still a bit nervous the first time I slipped the slim O-Pen in my water bottle peering intently at the device, waiting for something to happen. Then suddenly, small bubbles began to emerge and rise to the surface. I swirled the pen in circles and waited for a minute for the water to be cleaned. Hummm I remember thinking, is that it? Is this really safe? I looked at the water with my usual grin of ‘here goes nothing’ and took a long drink. Two weeks later, I left Thailand with perfect gut health. I was SOLD on the O-Pen.

At $149 per unit, the investment is worth considering if you are a frequent traveler, like to travel light, and are general pulling water from a faucet or other clear water source. A great benefit is that ozone also removes odors and tastes. The O-Pen can clean .5 L in under a minute and the battery charges by USB. One charge will get you about 5 days of clean water based on three bottles a day.

Interesting facts about ozone:

  • Ozone is generated by sunlight, and more famously by lightening.
  • It is known as nature’s disinfectant.
  • It can effectively kill viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites over 3000 times faster than chlorine.
  • The bi-product is oxygen molecules which have no chemical residue, odor or taste.

How does it work?

Quite simply, oxygen is two molecules of oxygen, hence its element insignia (O2). When you add a third molecule, you get ozone, or O3, and as the molecule destroys bacteria, it reverts back to a simple oxygen molecule. This oxidation makes it far superior to other cleaning methods.

Is it safe?

The O-Pen is FDA, USDA and TSA approved as well as being given GRAS approval for use in bottle water. In fact, it is already in use to clean water in London, Moscow, Paris, Seattle and Los Angeles, along with many top water-bottling companies.

For this frequent traveler, I cannot imagine a better device to carry along on your next trip. Whether your focus is safety, ease of use, the “Wow!, what is that?” super cool factor, or your efforts at ridding the world of single use plastic bottles, this little product covers it all. As Meli Lussier of Roving Blue says “Two uses of the O-Pen reduces the world’s plastic consumption by one bottle of water. Imagine the impact over time. We can tackle the plastic problem at the individual level, every day.”

Get your Roving Blue Tactical Black O-Pen here.

If you’d like to see some other cool ways of reducing the plastic you use whilst traveling then check out our gear page here.


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