Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/08/2011 14:22:15 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker's comparison

Edited by addiebedford on 03/09/2011 07:22:58 MST.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/08/2011 16:13:49 MST Print View

I've had an Amigo for a few years now, and I believe it's one of the only pieces of my kit that has stuck around so long. Most of my trips are with at least one more person and it makes perfect sense for group use.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/08/2011 17:19:06 MST Print View

A fair comparison. Interesting. The Hiker filter is very reliable but quite heavy. It would be interesting to compare it with a Sawyer filter cartridge.

My only real comment concerns the solar recharger. It was not made specifically for the Opti: it was available with the first generation Adventurer. I believe it was originally made for use by missionaries, probably in Africa.

Anyhow, I have taken the solar cell out of the case and given it the UL treatment. There is a photo of it at SteripenAdventurer. It got a bit lighter.

There is also a review of the Opti here.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 03/08/2011 17:19:29 MST.

a b
(Ice-axe)
Steripen vs H2O Amigo on 03/08/2011 17:23:56 MST Print View

Very nice article, Thanks.
My very first filter was a MYOG Ray Jardine "Hikers Friend" gravity system.
It used a collapsible plastic jug and a generic filter element with a piece of aquarium tubing. The H2O Amigo seems much more compact and certainly lighter weight.
Over the past two years I have used Chlorine Bleach drops and an MSR Sweetwater filter.
The problem is: I am lazy.
I really don't like to wait or spend time pumping so i drink untreated water a lot.
So now I have a Steripen Classic to try out.
Your statement:
"Finally, designing the solar charging case to charge the batteries while still inside the SteriPEN would reduce weight by eliminating the need to carry a second set of batteries. It would also add a considerable amount of convenience to the entire system."
This is huge. I keep wondering when a lot of small electronics will be offered with integrated solar charging. Steripen should make a deal with Brunton or Solio and add a flexible solar panel that wraps arrond the handle of the Steripen for storage. A little bit of cord could allow the panel to be spread out on top of the pack, perhaps attached with velcro tabs while the steripen satys stowed in a pack pocket.
Whatever they do they need to maintain the water resistance of the steripen. If i have to start babying it around water or in rain it's definitely out.
I really appreciate the cost comparison chart. It really brings home the issue of disposeable batteries and the waste factor.
Thanks for the great article!

Jim York
(jimbawb) - F

Locale: PNW
H2O Amigo? on 03/08/2011 20:08:45 MST Print View

Is the Amigo actually for sale anywhere any more?

edit...n/m missed that paragraph...

Edited by jimbawb on 03/08/2011 20:15:37 MST.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Cool on 03/08/2011 21:10:34 MST Print View

Neat comparison. I'll still go with the SteriPen, but was cool to see the two side-by-side and showing how they fair on a long hike. For me, just go with an extra set of batteries and leave the heavy solar charger at home, where it won't mistakenly get damaged. I'm never on the trail for long and I bet there's many who are on similarly shorter walks of one to five days. Ninety seconds isn't really very long to stir for a bit of water. Again, great review.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: "SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison" on 03/08/2011 21:43:52 MST Print View

I have and still use the original Amigo H2O from ULA.
I switched to the steripen when the Adventurer model first came out.
It promptly failed after a few trips.

Needless to say, I learned the hard way not to rely on high-tech equipment in the backcountry. My Amigo is my trusted friend.

John Nielsen
(johndn) - MLife

Locale: Matanuska Valley, Alaska
Aquamira frontier pro on 03/09/2011 01:34:11 MST Print View

I've been really happy with the Aquamira frontier pro stripped down and used as a gravity filter. I attach it and the prefilter to a 1L platypus, clearly marked as dirty, for the reservoir. I pull off the nipple. This feeds another 1L plat. I attached a string to the reservoir for hanging. I use a sandwich bag for filling the reservoir. The whole kit weighs 4.8 ounces.

You can of course use the filter as a straw or use it for sipping on the end of the reservoir. The only problem I've encountered is that the nipple is poorly constructed and easily broke while taking it off and on. I wrote the company about this, but heard nothing. The nipple problem however is easily worked around.

As a gravity filter it is a little slow, but plenty fast enough. Great tasting, good system for my purposes.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Steripen on 03/09/2011 02:56:46 MST Print View

I agree 100% with Roger about the Steripen. They work well. I have the older Adventurer model and am waiting for it to break or for a lamp replacement. It still keeps lighting. I recommend his articles for a somewhat more technical look.

Since they are nearly instantanious, they save weight. You no longer have to carry extra water while chemicals "cook". 'Corse, in a desert, or a dry stretch, you need some extra, based on water availibility. Generally, most places I hike are 3-4 hours max between water sources. Soo, I drop a 1/2L bottle. "A pint is a pound..."

It is recommended carrying a spare set of batteries. Expensive and a bit heavy, but worth the safety. Flip one battery over to prevent current losses. The rechargables don't give the required current and are heavier. So, spend the $12 on a set of lithium's. Well worth it.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Steripen on 03/09/2011 06:29:21 MST Print View

Buy the batteries online. Cheap.

Look here

http://www.batteryjunction.com/pri-cr123a.html

I've had an Adventurer since they came out and love it. NO issues.

I do pack a spare set of batteries too.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Bill's "Home Made Gravity Feed Water Filter" on 03/09/2011 07:46:53 MST Print View

Bill's "Home Made Gravity Feed Water Filter"
Note the date: Sept. 23, 2005 

Cuben Water Bag

- 0.54oz
Fittings - 0.176oz
Hose (25")

- 0.95oz
Modified Hiker Pro Filter - 1.9oz



Total Weight - 3.6oz




Stock Hiker Pro - 102.5gr/3.62oz

Modified (not cut-down) Hiker Pro - 52.9gr/1.9oz

Finial weight saving modification of the filter not shown.






Bill's Modified Amigo

When ULA added the new H2O Amigo to their product they copied everything about my filter except the Cuben Bag and my last weight saving filter modification.

What would your finial comment have been if you had used my filter in your review?

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Re: Steripen on 03/09/2011 08:35:44 MST Print View

I have used Steripens for 4-5 years and was a beta tester for their Opti model. I find their Opti model the most reliable of all Steripens they've made, not once failing on me. I have worked closely with their support department and they are very insistent on top quality batteries being used. It's okay to get good ones discounted, but I would not get cheap ones myself. I'll try and find some literature on the issue.

Have used them on the JMT 3 years now. The opti for 2 of the 3 years (I had a pre-production opti version which is why I was able to do so).

I know for sure they approve of the Duracell and Panasonic brand batteries. Last I heard they were doing tests on the EverReady. I'll try find out the results.

Edited by marti124 on 03/09/2011 08:42:27 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Steripen on 03/09/2011 09:09:50 MST Print View

Thanks, Roliegh...about my take on it, disregarding the manufacturer's spec.
I am still using the old Adventurer...someday...

The batteries are all over in price. I was quoting about the worst case I have seen at one of the supply shops just off the NFCT.

Robin Evans
(robinmevans@gmail.com) - MLife
Super Delios is the best system I've found on 03/09/2011 10:03:15 MST Print View

I can't understand why more people don't use the Super Delios system. Weighs 58g inc bottle and will purify 1,000 litres of water. http://www.delios.co.uk/what%20is%20delios.html You can take the filter (weighs 40g) and put it on Platypus bottle if you want.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/09/2011 10:55:39 MST Print View

Roger,

One aspect of the Sawyer filter is that it effectively has a life time guarantee and the filter does not ever need to be replace unless you manage to crack the exterior casing or allow the filter to freeze and damage the plastic hollow tubes inside.

I have been using the same Sawyer filter since 2007 and it has no signs for slowing down or wearing out.

It is field cleanable by back flushing and there is nothing that needs to be replaced internally or externally.

I use mine as part of a gravity filter.

Cost wise, it should be the cheapest filter out there because once you buy it you are done.

-Tony

Beat Jegerlehner
(bjegerlehner) - MLife
Reliability on 03/09/2011 11:07:29 MST Print View

I've been using Steripens a few times to treat water on trail ultra races without aid (100 mile run distance). I had both a SteriPen Adventurer which stopped working altogether, and later a newer model with LCD. Both were notoriously unreliable - even with fresh batteries. I am not sure if this was due to the bouncing during running (both were in their neoprene sheaths on my belt). My observations:

- both devices were tested at home before the races. I always protect the batteries during travel with some cardboard to make sure they don't discharge accidentally.
- some water seems not to have enough electrolyte content to be registered by the Steripen (it only can be turned on when submerged in water, detected by two electrodes) - I had to add electrolytes to it. This was just water from streams in the Cascades.
- It would occasionally just not light up at all, and often light up briefly, to be followed by an error (red light or frowny face).
- The adventurer lasted almost one run but became increasingly difficult to turn on (it would turn on and immediately turn off), and the second one did not work at all once on the trail. I had changes of batteries, they were not the issue.

Overall I found reliability to be very poor, sadly, though I also could not really spend too much time trying to get them to work during the race. I wonder if anyone else had such problems.

Cheers,
Beat

Ralph B Alcorn
(backpack45scb) - M
Re: Re: "SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison" on 03/09/2011 11:14:39 MST Print View

I have the original ULA Amigo and used it for about three years. (two of us). Now I just carry the Steripen Adventurer and the Katadyn Micropur tablets for backup and time saving. The combination pen and pill is faster than the Amigo if we need enough water for a dry camp. We pen enough to drink and pill the rest. We've been getting about 35 liters per set of batteries. That is less than the rated 50, but ok.

James L Moore
(JamesLMoore) - M
mUV vs SteriPen on 03/09/2011 11:32:32 MST Print View

I've been very pleased with the mUV, a field-rechargable UVC water purifier by Meridian Design. Weighing 2.4 ounces, it recharges by a simple attachment to most standard batteries (much simpler than the solar recharger).

http://www.uvaquastar.com/skins/2008Style/standard2.aspx?elid=249&qid=30&SkipFlip=249

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Me too on 03/09/2011 11:49:38 MST Print View

I do the same as Ralph. SteriPen Adventurer for my bike bottle electrolyte water, Micropur tabs for my hydration bladder.

I SERIOUSLY doubt if the Amigo gravity filter will take out viruses. The SteriPen absolutely will.
Thus the SteriPen is a water PURIFER, and the Amigo is not. The FDA/EPA would not classify the Amigo as a purifier.

BTW, I always "filter" my water, whether for Micropur chlorine dioxide treatment or SteriPen UV treatment, with a #1 coffee filter in a small funnel before treating. Keeps out small children and rocks.

Edited by Danepacker on 03/09/2011 16:40:55 MST.

Richard Thalhammer
(Tiktok) - MLife
SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo on 03/09/2011 12:03:05 MST Print View

I bought a Steripen Adventurer some years ago. I found it extremely cranky, failing to function on many occasions and currently, wholly out of service. New batteries haven't made a difference. While a fabulous device when it does work, the lack of reliability in the woods makes it a poor choice to me when contemplating a longer hike or an Alaskan adventure.
I might add that some of the comments to the article were more useful than the H2O Amigo review, if only because the latter is no longer available. It seems like it would be most helpful to explore some of the options outlined by commentators as they described other, available products or modifications that one could employ to achieve what the H2O Amigo once provided.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Me too on 03/09/2011 12:38:09 MST Print View

"I SERIOUSLY doubt if the Amigo gravity filter will take out viruses. The SteriPen absolutely will. Thus the SteriPEn is a water PURIFER, and the Amigo is not. The FDA would not classify the Amigo as a purifier."

That's accurate. Katadyn rates the Hiker/Hiker Pro cartridge at 0.3 µm, much too large for filtering viruses (and which they do not claim).

Cheers,

Rick

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Re: Me too on 03/09/2011 12:40:17 MST Print View

In regards to viruses, IIRC they don't exist in US water. Something to note for use in other countries though.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Me too on 03/09/2011 13:25:31 MST Print View

Hi Chris

You do NOT remember correctly ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Viruses exist everywhere around the world. What do you think causes the common cold? Water in the USA is as suspect as water in most any Western country. Granted, some third-world countries are worse.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Steripen on 03/09/2011 13:31:10 MST Print View

Hi Ken, and everyone

> Buy the batteries online. Cheap.
Caution!

Buying on line is OK provided that you buy 'brand name' batteries. The Duracell and Panasonic batteries on that web site should be OK provided that they are not 5 years old and not fakes. The other cheaper brands ... are probably not able to provide the 1 Amp needed.

You get what you pay for.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Super Delios is the best system I've found on 03/09/2011 13:35:48 MST Print View

Hi Robin

That is a UK web site, not subject to USA EPA regulation. The Super Delios system only filters to 0.2 microns. It is not a 'purifier' in the EPA meaning of the word, as it cannot stop viruses.

On the other hand, if you want to use it as a filter and handle virus problems separately - it could be fine.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/09/2011 13:38:00 MST Print View

Hi Tony

I have some Sawyer filters here about to go into test.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Reliability on 03/09/2011 13:41:11 MST Print View

Hi Beat

> some water seems not to have enough electrolyte content to be registered by the Steripen
Known, albeit rare, problem for the Adventurer. That's why the Adventurer Opti is a better choice.

> It would occasionally just not light up at all, and often light up briefly, to be followed
> by an error (red light
> increasingly difficult to turn on (it would turn on and immediately turn off),
That sounds like an inadequate battery to me. Happens all the time with cheaper batteries. What brand were you using?

Cheers

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: mUV vs SteriPen on 03/09/2011 14:15:54 MST Print View

That looks like a really nice product

Cool packaging - clear case so you can see circuit board inside

Skimpy info on their web site

It says 12 treatments per charge - how many pints is one treatment? How long does it take to treat a pint

Then you can charge the internal battery from any battery with magnetic clips - cool

Is the On/off switch easy to turn on and off? My Adventurer is a real pain, especially when it gets cold.

They said it costs $49 but isn't currently available, check back in June 2010 for availability. Maybe they meant 2011?

They said this is their first product

This sounds like a new company so one might expect some complications ordering and receiving a product

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/09/2011 15:19:31 MST Print View

Roger,

Great news to hear that you will be running test on the Sawyer filters.

Looking forward to seeing some real scientific testing on them.

Any idea of when that article might be out?

-Tony

Mads Nielsen
(mpvet) - F
The science on 03/09/2011 15:24:40 MST Print View

Granted I'm not an expert, but I am a vet and have had some dealings with inland fish farming where water purification is a key part of the business. They use UV for purification but only AFTER serious filtration because UV does not work if the water contains particles that can provide shade for bacteria and virus (remember they are quit small). So from my knowledge there is no way that a device like stirpin can work in a trail situation. Do any of you guys have any explanation that would tell me how the system can work?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: The science on 03/09/2011 15:31:05 MST Print View

You're supposed to stir it and it requires more than a minute to treat

In that time, you'll be exposing all side of any particles

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Re: Re: Re: Me too on 03/09/2011 15:33:49 MST Print View

I'm not sure where you get your info Roger, but everything I've read indicates the chances of getting a virus from US water sources is basically nil. Of course they exist, water borne or otherwise, but that doesn't mean we need to be paranoid about treating for them.

Mads Nielsen
(mpvet) - F
Re: Re: The science on 03/09/2011 15:38:32 MST Print View

Suppose it depends on standards and the goal is perhaps just to get under the infective dose of a pathogen, but in muddy water I doubt that it's possible with UV light. Furthermore particles are 3D and can hide microorganisms quit well.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: The science on 03/09/2011 16:31:08 MST Print View

Hi Mads,

One's supposed to pre-filter or settle turbid water before treatment. The Steripen literature has a maximum NTU value to stay within for it to be effective, as well as physical descriptions of what water looks like at that turbidity (since nobody carries a meter with them). Offhand I don't recall the value.

Also, double-treatment is recommended for poor water conditions. Luckily, a good proportion of high-country water is quite clear. Obviously that's not the case everywhere!

cheers,

Rick

Edited by halfturbo on 03/09/2011 16:31:47 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 03/09/2011 16:58:37 MST Print View

If you use your bulk water container to store untreated water

Let it settle to get clearer water to treat

For water you're going to boil anyway for cooking, no need to treat it, if you just bring it to boil it will kill the bugs according to some link on a recent thread

Then you can save your batteries too

dale stuart
(onetwolaugh) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Amigo on 03/09/2011 18:03:31 MST Print View

I also have the ULA Amigo.

I was less than impressed with it. I had it fail and had to get a new filter on my 3rd outing. I tried to filter the brown (tannin filled) water that is available on coastal hikes in Washington. But everyone else’s pump style filters also got clogged so I was not too dismayed. Then while hiking the Loowit trail (Mt. ST. Helens), it clogged again do to silt in water. The replacement filters were somewhat pricey back then and then the foam pre-filter in the silnylon came loose, so it has been retired.

I have since gone with Aqua Mira liquid. It is not as thorough as the filters (unless you wait 4hrs) but very convenient. I carry two sports bottles and let one "cook" with the chems as I hike using the other.

-Dale

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
No comparison on 03/09/2011 20:29:35 MST Print View

I have a Steripen Adventurer. I took it on one 3 day hike. It worked fine as far as I can tell, but why anyone would want to sit around stirring for 90 seconds if they had a choice is beyond me. I went right back to my Sawyer and Charcoal filter combination. Two drops of chlorine per liter to kill viruses, Sawyer removes cellular organisms, charcoal removes chlorine and many contaminants. I connect the output of the filter directly to my hydration bladder so I don't have to worry about spilling. The best part is hang and forget. I snooze or snack or check my map while my filter does the work.

By the way, all the filters I've owned say freezing compromises them. You should check your instructions to see if the Amigo filter is safe after freezing. I always wrap my filter and water in my pack liner and sleep with them when freezing temperatures are expected. My filter never freezes and I always have water in the morning.

dallas shewmaker
(dallasshewmaker)

Locale: Southwest
Another Sawyer fan on 03/09/2011 22:16:59 MST Print View

I use the Sawyer inline filter tied into my standard bladder drink tube. Just dip the bladder, put it back in my side pack pocket, and go. It's showing on my shoulder strap in the profile pic. No clean/dirty bladder setup; just the dirty one. My water stops are quick; sometimes reloaded and out before the mosquitos find me. I do have to draw maybe 20% harder on the bite valve than when the filter is not present, but that is about the only downside I've found. Weighs about 2 ounces; nothing to replace; micron protection is same or better than most pump filters; one-time purchase at about $56. I convert a lot of backpackers with it at my store based on my experiences and praise of it; hope BPL's future review concurs.

Edited by dallasshewmaker on 03/09/2011 22:19:01 MST.

Bart Godefroid
(bjgodefr)
lab test of water on 03/10/2011 02:17:24 MST Print View

Interesting article!
However I do miss some lab tests of the treated water. Now you can not know if the filters are actually effective because:
a. the collected water could simply be not contaminated
b. the persons drinking the water could have built a resistance against the contaminants in the water

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/10/2011 02:26:58 MST Print View

nm

Edited by jshann on 03/10/2011 02:30:12 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Me too on 03/10/2011 02:27:25 MST Print View

Hi Chris

> everything I've read indicates the chances of getting a virus from US water sources is basically nil.
Ah, now if we transition from whether there are viruses in the water in America to whether you run much of a risk from the viruses which are present - that is a huge world of difference. In practice we can tolerate quite a lot of the more common sorts of virus (and bacteria). We would be dead very quickly if we couldn't.

In fact, we carry a huge load of bugs in our bodies anyhow, and are critically dependent on them for life. This is what most of the population does not seem to know, understand or believe. You are alive because of the microflora of your skin, body, gut etc. Without all those bugs you would die. So why the authorities allow some unscrupulous vendors to sell antibiotic wipes for the kitchen to the uneducated public beats me.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/10/2011 02:29:59 MST Print View

> Any idea of when that article might be out?

At this stage, 2011 is as much as I can say. It's another wide survey, not just the Sawyers.

Cheers

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Me too on 03/10/2011 04:13:56 MST Print View

Thanks Roger. We're on the same page here. I need to work on correctly wording my posts to relay my intentions a bit better.

chris mcMaster
(ulachris) - F
ULA will be producing the H2o Amigo again on 03/10/2011 06:50:06 MST Print View

Some of you may be interested to know that ULA recently made a deal with the inventor of the h2o amigo and we now have the rights to produce it again// No time table as to exactly when it will be available, as you can imagine the next 3 months are extremely busy for us and I can assure you it won't be before early summer that we're ready to go with it again/

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Steripen on 03/10/2011 06:57:22 MST Print View

"Buy the batteries online. Cheap."

Of course I mean you can buy the best batteries online cheaper than in the grocery store, etc..
Battery Junction sells Energizer and Duracell for less than $2 each.

Lower quality/output batteries are what I suspect cause a majority of dissatisfaction among unexperienced users.

I have had no issues in years of use.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: ULA will be producing the H2o Amigo again on 03/10/2011 06:58:33 MST Print View

inventor of the h2o amigo

Bill F. Getting credit?

Todd Hein
(todd1960) - MLife

Locale: Coastal Southern California
Amigo Pro on 03/10/2011 07:57:07 MST Print View

I have used an Amigo Pro for several years and it works great. However, maybe I missed something, but why do a comparison using this product since it is unavailable? Maybe ULA will bring it back...

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Amigo on 03/10/2011 08:24:26 MST Print View

Isn't the Platypus Clean Stream system essentially the same as the Amigo and available now?

James Verlander
(jimver) - F
. on 03/10/2011 08:26:24 MST Print View

.

Edited by jimver on 10/19/2011 14:56:55 MDT.

Jim Cowdery
(james.cowdery) - MLife

Locale: Central Florida
Replacement on 03/10/2011 09:03:19 MST Print View

My daughter started with a steripen on her AT thruhike in '09. It broke about 1 month into the hike. She started using AquaMira and a bandana for a pre filter.

Steripen replaced the product and I have used it on several section hikes. It ceased working on my last section hike and I replaced it with a Platty system.

I will stick with the low tech solution.

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Batteries on 03/10/2011 10:34:27 MST Print View

RE: Ken & Roleigh

I agree with Ken in that I just bought some Duracell batteries from Battery Junction. Cost $32 for 12 (that's $20 for the batteries plus $12 for shipping...yeah that shipping is high), so that's $2.67 per battery, which is much cheaper than buying them at a local store like Wal-mart.

Roleigh, I would add Energizer to your list of high quality batteries that the manufacturer prefers as I believe that is what came in my Steripen when I bought it...so I assume they feel those are good ones to use in it.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Amigo vs. Sawyer on 03/10/2011 13:45:32 MST Print View

David,

They are both gravity filters, but the storage bags are quite different as is the filter technology.

I would guess that the Clean Stream is Heavier than the Amigo given that the Amigo is using a silnylon dirty water storage bag where the clean stream is using maybe something heavier.

My understanding is that the Amigo is using a Katadyn water filter that needs to be replaced over time.

The Sawyer filter is using hollow plastic tubes that are poreous enough to allow water to pass through the exterior of the tubes to the hollow center to then flow out of the filter, but those pores are too small for any bacteria to pass.

Since the Sawyer filter is using inorganic material/plastic, it does not wear out, bacteria can not grow on it, and it can be backflushed to clear clogs.

The Sawyer filter's warranty is for 1 Million gallons...effectively a life time guarantee.

The negative on the Sawyer is that it does not have any active charcoal as other filters might....compared to the Steripen, this is a non issue because the Steripen can not do anything to remove chemicals or improve taste either.

Hope this helps explain some differences.

-Tony

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Amigo vs. Sawyer on 03/10/2011 14:12:49 MST Print View

Hi Tony,

Good summery of the differences and similarities. If I can be indulged one teensy-weensy detail, the Sawyer is subject to bacterial (and mildew) growth. It's almost, perhaps literally impossible to dry out and Sawyer literature direct it be sanitized with chlorine solution prior to storage.

Cheers,

Rick

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Amigo vs. Sawyer on 03/10/2011 14:30:06 MST Print View

Staphylococcus epidermidis (all over you right now) loves to grow on plastic, a main reason why things like bladder catheters have to be removed/replaced every few days.

Edited by jshann on 03/10/2011 14:33:02 MST.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Amigo vs. Sawyer on 03/10/2011 15:16:42 MST Print View

Rick,

Thanks for the clarification.

Would explain why the manual does talk about putting about 10 drops of chlorine into a liter of water to flush it though the system.

Anyway, I have been using mine for a number of years now 2007-2008? and it is still going strong and has not given me any problems.

Will be looking forward to seeing Roger's report on various gravity filter.

-Tony

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/10/2011 20:32:07 MST Print View

Yes - Tony, Rick - thanks for the clarification.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Re: Amigo vs. Sawyer on 03/10/2011 20:39:18 MST Print View

We are to assume no one became ill during the trip or two or three weeks afterward.

The units never were used on the same water, but the sample size probably makes up for this. You don't know if any of the water would have made anyone ill if left untreated (no volunteers I suppose)

So the point of the article was comparing the mechanics of using the two systems in the field. The other conclusion is the two units provide the same level of water safety.

A small (maybe micron-sized comment) don't you view charging batteries as maintenance?

Cameron Phillips
(Jean-Guille) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Amigo Pro on 03/10/2011 21:31:51 MST Print View

Todd, ULA is bringing the Amigo back...see the post three above yours for the post by ULA...they also have info on it on their Facebook page...

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: Re: ULA will be producing the H2o Amigo again on 03/11/2011 07:44:47 MST Print View

inventor of the h2o amigo

Bill F. Getting credit?

No,

What I did was change to the Katadyn Filter, reduce its weight and change the location to put it inside the water bag. Moving the Katadyn Filter's location is the only real difference between the original Amigo and the new Amigo. The filter location was my idea.

I did send the new owners of ULA an email with a link to my thread here and told them I don't know who they though invented the idea of where the filter went but they had my permission to use that part in a new product if they wanted to.

Edited by bfornshell on 03/11/2011 07:45:54 MST.

Dan Feldman
(podin04) - F
Re: Re: Re: Amigo vs. Sawyer on 03/12/2011 09:33:16 MST Print View

Timothy,

Nobody became ill after the trip.

You're right, the units weren't used in the same water. My suspicion is that some of the water we used, perhaps the water that was taken from cow-contaminated sources, would have made us sick. My understanding is that the incidence of backcountry water-acquired diarrhea is 3-5%, so it's always hard to say....

The point of the article was comparing the two devices for use in long distance hiking, commenting on the things long distance hikers tend to find important: convenience, cost, maintenance, etc. The two units provided the same level of water safety if your criteria is that none of us got sick. The two devices do differ in what they do and do not filter. more on that in another comment.

I personally view battery changing more as a convenience feature and maintenance as something that's done on a routine basis to prevent damage or operating failure. Yes, the SteriPen won't work if the batteries run out, so maybe this is just semantics.

Dan Feldman
(podin04) - F
General Comments on 03/12/2011 09:59:15 MST Print View

First, thanks to everyone for providing such good discussion around the article. Reading comments is what I enjoy the most about writing. Second, I want to address a few recurring themes in the commentary:

VIRUSES. It is true that the Katadyn filter inside the H2O Amigo does not offer virus protection. It is also true that the incidence of backcountry water-acquired illness due to viruses in the USA is unknown. There is not sufficient scientific data exploring how often viruses make people sick in the backcountry. However, even if there was such data, it would invariably be limited to specific geographic regions. This is because the types and quantities of contaminants in a waterway are dependent on land use patterns. Waterways downstream of population-dense communities are more likely to contain traces of human waste and therefore to contain viruses that make people sick. Waterways near areas with spare human population or are upstream of large communities are less likely to contain viruses.

When discussing backcountry water treatment, various technologies shouldn't be thought of as "better" or "worse" based on the absolute number or type of contaminants filtered, destroyed, or otherwise rendered harmless. Performance metrics aside, a water treatment technology is only as good as where it is planning to be used. For instance, a technology that does not offer coverage for viruses might be a bad choice for thru-hiking the Potomac Heritage Trail, which passes by a large number of densely populated areas and ends in Washington, DC. On the other hand, a technology that covers bacteria and parasites, but not viruses, is perfectly acceptable for hikes in sparsely populated areas.

WHY I CHOSE A DISCONTINUED PRODUCT: An area of interest of mine has always been low tech vs high tech in the backcountry. This article was thus an extension of this curiosity, where the H2O Amigo was the the best representative of the gravity filter concept, even though it has been discontinued (and perhaps making a comeback!?) My assumption was that since we, the readers of BPL, value ingenuity and ease of at-home modification and since the H2O Amigo can be made at home for low cost, this article was relevant.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/12/2011 11:08:42 MST Print View

The review covers some interesting points, but I think the technologies are too diverse. An article with an overview and comparisons of electronic purifiers (UV and MIOX), chemical treatments, and filters is needed, with a separate article on each of the categories in detail.

The review is for a discontinued item, but there are a number of available gravity filters in the same class and should have been covered:

Katadyn Base Camp
Platypus GravityWorks
MSR AutoFlow Gravity Microfilter
Aquamira Frontier Pro
Sawyer gravity filters

Since there are dependable components available, a MYOG article on gravity filters would be very interesting.

As to the Steripen, the manufacturer does state that it takes 2-5 days to recharge the batteries with the solar charger. I think that takes it off the table as a viable hiking option with the rechargeable batteries. That option is better for remote/3rd-world use where AC power and battery availability are limited. I do use one and I remove the batteries for storage. I think it makes an excellent day hiking option, where you want to be able to use the water quickly. I back up any of my mechanical water purification choices with MicroPur tablets.

The Steripen and chlorine dioxide options make a good pairing. You can stretch battery life by treating water overnight and using the UV option for quick access during the day.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
H2O Amigo on 03/12/2011 13:14:37 MST Print View

The Amigo is slated to be released, again, better'n ever.

Dan Feldman
(podin04) - F
Re: Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/12/2011 13:33:17 MST Print View

Dale,

I must respectfully disagree with your implication that the technologies covered in the review are "too diverse" for comparison. A cross-technology comparison of water treatment methods is important because each technology has its own benefits and drawbacks specific to the technology as a whole. Such a comparison allows a user to decide which of these benefits and drawbacks are more suited to his or her own situation (mine was distance hiking in western Montana). From there, the decision about which specific model of technology to use can be made. I think this might be what you are looking for, which was not the aim of this particular article. I am surprised that there are not MORE cross-tech comparisons on gear test sites.

Had I had the time and financial resources, I might have liked to have covered more gravity filters and UV pens and had a really large cross-tech comparison. A significant problem, however would have arisen: As this was real-life field testing, we only drank so much water each day. Including four or five other devices would have meant less water tested per device so, statistically speaking, the comparisons would have been less powerful and some of the issues described in the article (the fraying SteriPen charger padding and broken clip) might not have come to light. So, at my own discretion, I decided to go with what I felt were the best representations of each technology.

There is already a very good gravity filter MYOG article published on this site by Bill Fornshell: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=1294

The 2-5 day battery charge requirement DOES NOT take the rechargeable option off the table if the device is carried outside the pack where it can charge throughout the day while the other set of batteries is in use. It does, however, make it a less attractive option along trails that receive limited sunlight.

Best,

Dan

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison on 03/12/2011 13:49:32 MST Print View

Did you make a filter bag for it? Any pics or directions , videos? I am interesting in a gravity filter like the amigo. The Kadyden is 70.00 bucks and group size. I just want a smaller lighter weight version does sawyer have that?

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Another Sawyer fan on 03/12/2011 14:00:36 MST Print View

do you have a link to the filter you use? Is there a set with water bag or bladder and filter in one?

Craig Price
(skeets) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
a plus for steripen on 03/17/2011 23:47:12 MDT Print View

well, despite other's concerns, I'll put in a plus for the steripen. I've used a steripen regularly for 3 years and have never had any issue, and I regularly drown it and beat it about, as it's on my waist belt when I fish and I'm nver one to worry about stuff and have been been kinda rough with it in the process.

I find it is perfect to replace my water in a small gatorade bottle (600ml) which I drink as I fish, quite handy and more superior for this purpose than the filters.

My only niggle is that, of course, steripen can't do anything about the flavour of the water - it's safe, but there've been times when I wished for a carbon filter to "cleanse" the taste on the palate a little, e.g. when I've been fishing areas with livestock near the water (bleh).

Craig

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: a plus for steripen on 03/18/2011 05:20:53 MDT Print View

"... it's safe, but there've been times when I wished for a carbon filter to "cleanse" the taste on the palate a little, e.g. when I've been fishing areas with livestock near the water (bleh)."

Ha, ha... Yeah, I know the problem. Have you tried a few grains of crystal lite? Usually,
a little packet(To-Go or something) will bo two or three bottles.