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Steripen Adventurer or Sawyer Squeeze
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Corey Farrell
Steripen Adventurer or Sawyer Squeeze on 11/17/2012 17:50:55 MST Print View

In the market for a new water filter. I was originally going to get the Steripen Adventurer, but after hearing so many problems people have with them, it has me thinking. I really like the simplicity of the Sawyer Squeeze filter, and I really like how it has an adapter available to make in an inline filter. What are the thoughts on this? Thanks

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Mix on 11/17/2012 18:09:58 MST Print View

When I hike by myself or only one other, I use a Steripen. No failures or problems. But for more than two people, I use a hanging setup with a Sawyer filter and a Platypus bag and tubes, just for the fact that it will work without my immediate attention.

Which means that on the vast majority of my hikes, I use the Steripen.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Steripen vs Sawyer Squeeze on 11/17/2012 18:19:00 MST Print View

I've used (and still own both). I really like the simplicity and comparative reliability of the Sawyer Squeeze; for me that's hard to argue with. I also like being able to use it as a gravity filter in camp or in a group setting. Super easy and no fuss.

The Steripen is a neat piece of technology and is nice and small, but I can't help but worry that it's going to fail me at some crucial moment. It also doesn't seem practical if I want to filter more than a liter at a time.

I still take the Steripen on some trips (mainly solo trips with abundant, regular water sources) but more often than not I find myself reaching for the Sawyer Squeeze.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Steripen Adventurer or Sawyer Squeeze on 11/17/2012 18:31:03 MST Print View

Where do you hike and what is the water like? If the water where you hike is fresh and clear, then the steripen should work well. If the water is murky and dirty, then you are going to want a filter.

Chris Peichel

Locale: Eureka
Steripen on 11/17/2012 19:00:03 MST Print View

Steripen opti all the way. We do have plentiful good water sources here. I like that I can blast the water and drink. Quick. I am not worried about a failure because i carry aquamira tabs as a backup. Worst case I could always boil water.

Only way I will replace the steripen is if they make one smaller, lighter, and more efficient (regarding battery time, although I have had no problems with battery time)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Steripen Adventurer or Sawyer Squeeze on 11/17/2012 19:00:31 MST Print View

I've used both

Steripen - died after a few pints on new batteries - different sets of batteries and different brands. But I also used it successfully for a number of trips. If it worked it would be nice. In cold weather it's hard to press the button and get it to work. Don't get the old Freedom with electrical water sensor - another source of unreliability.

Squeeze - there's the problem of bags breaking, but I've used Sawyer bags successfully on a number of trips - just be careful. Or get Evernew bags. You can't let it freeze so you have to put it in your sleeping bag or something in cold weather.

Yang Lu
Re: Steripen Adventurer or Sawyer Squeeze on 11/17/2012 19:33:07 MST Print View

I returned my Steripen. I feel Sawyer is much better and eaiser to use.

Edited by yanglu on 11/17/2012 19:33:59 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Steripen Adventurer or Sawyer Squeeze on 11/17/2012 19:40:58 MST Print View

In the ADK's, mostly I use AM drops.
The next most often used is the Steripen.
Rarely any type of filter, including the Sawyer.

They are different animals with different purposes.
The steripen tends to higher weights, even if it is only for the extra batteries. Basically, I reserve it for short trips (up to about 5 nights.) It is basically neary instant water. I dip a .5L bottle in a cool stream, spend about 45sec's zapping it and drink. While I am drinking one down, I zap the second, if needed. Then I refill the first bottle and zap that one. In the back pack everything goes and I continue on.

The Sawyer squeeze is about the same time. Fill the dirty bladder, add the filter, drink and/or fill your bottles.

AM takes several hours to work. It's only real advantage to UL packers is size and weight. Both are critical items to going light.

When temps dip, AM drops require more time. I keep them in my pocket, anyway, so freezing isn't important. You should NEVER let the Sawyer freeze. The UV is good but batteries need to be kept in your pocket, too.

So, for cold weather, I do not bring a Sawyer. I don't head out except on day hikes in the winter, anyway. So, I don't bring AM drops, either. The Steripen is much easier to use.

In low water, a lot of the springs silt up and/or get fairly dirty. Especially in summers, lately. The Sawyer can start running poorly, even with backflushing. Using a prefilter for the Steripen sometimes doesn't work very well. The silt can be very fine and actually washes through. AM drops work better because the slight sediment is still treated. Be aware that AM drops can react with organics in mud and silt. High levels of tannins can diminish effectiveness, too. UV can fail in silty or organic particulate laden water, too.

There is no real basis to say one is better than the other. It is based more on where and when you do the most hiking. From an UL standpoint, AM drops are best. From a warm weather stand point, I think the Sawyer is the best. From a cold wether stand point, the UV is the best. From a silty water stand point . . . each has strengths and weaknesses. I *usually* use AM drops, but I don't let that blind me to using the Sawyer or Steripen as needed.

You really need both, with some AM drops picked up as needed. You should carry a backup...sheist happens. Example: I usually put a couple small bottles of AM (about 1oz) in my pocket, even if I plan on using the Steripen for drinking water.

Maintenence with the Sawyer or Steripen are about even, in my book. A split bladder can render the system nearly inoperable. If the dirty water runs down the tube to the clean....not good at all. If the light burns out on the steripen, it is inoperable. Both can ruin a trip, or, cause you to bail early.

Corey Farrell
great info on 11/17/2012 19:49:06 MST Print View

Thanks for the replies everyone, I think I've made up my mind. I'll be doing the PCT and want something thats simple and reliable. I'm going to carry the Steripen Adventurer Opti, and I'll be carrying Aquamira drops as backup. I'm sure I'll be good to go incase something goes wrong.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

+1 Steripen Opti on 11/17/2012 20:13:53 MST Print View

I used my Opti on my A.T thru last year and loved it. Bought the batteries BULK on Amazon under the StreamLight brand (they make flashlights). WAY cheaper than buying 2 for $15 at REI (you can buy around 6-8 for $20 on

Corey Farrell
perfect on 11/17/2012 20:22:29 MST Print View

Thanks for the heads up Seth.

Christopher Kuzak
Sawyer on 11/17/2012 20:30:20 MST Print View

Late in the game here, but I like the Sawyer for ease, particularly if you're filtering more than a liter. Have both and just don't like the Steripen as much.

Corey Farrell
beginning on 11/17/2012 20:41:09 MST Print View

yea, I figured I would carry the Steripen from the start. If I'm not into it, I can switch it out pretty easily.