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SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison
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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.


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.


Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
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 T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
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 T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
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 -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
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 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


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.


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.



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


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.


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
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?


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


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.