SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo: A Long Distance Hiker’s Comparison

Cutting-edge solar-powered UV water purification or simple gravity filter? I took both on the CDT to compare/contrast their performance, durability, and usage.

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by Dan Feldman | 2011-03-08 00:05:00-07

Introduction

The SteriPEN Adventurer Opti and the H2O Amigo Pro are both innovative and effective means for treating water in the backcountry, but the two products otherwise share little in common.

SteriPEN’s story has been one of overwhelming success and rapid adoption amongst backpackers. After selling its first unit in 1999, Hydro-Photon Inc, the makers of SteriPEN, now offer no fewer than ten versions of the SteriPEN and market not only to the backpacking community, but also to the military, emergency rescue agencies, and the general traveling public.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 1
SteriPEN in solar case.

The success and attention surrounding SteriPEN lies in a breakthrough, and admittedly glitzy concept in water purification: the use of ultraviolet light from a handheld pen-shaped device to scramble the genetic material of water-borne pathogens, making them incapable of reproducing. This technology is a clean alternative to more traditional water treatment methods involving chemicals or filtration. The Adventurer Opti is the ultralight version of the SteriPEN and can be used with disposable or rechargeable CR123 Li-ion batteries. For those not keen on buying disposable batteries or relying on the power grid, SteriPEN makes a solar charging case exclusively for the Adventurer Opti.

The H2O Amigo occupies the more subdued realm of the gravity filter. Far from being on technology’s cutting edge, the gravity filter’s basic but effective design uses a water-holding bag that contains a filter with a small tube at the bottom for water output. The bag is filled, hung, and water moves passively from the bag, through the filter, and out to another bag or a drinking bottle for consumption. It’s essentially pump filtration without all the work of actually pumping.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 2
Amigo full setup.

A quick-drying, lightweight SilNylon bag with durable drawstrings and a single open-ended output hose make the Amigo perhaps the most no-frills, elegantly designed gravity filter to date. Sadly, the Amigo is no longer in production by its manufacturer, Ultralight Adventure Equipment. MSR, Katadyn, Cascade Designs, and Sawyer Products sell their own gravity filters, but none match the lightweight simplicity of the Amigo. Used Amigos can still occasionally be found online, but these tend to be few and far between. More importantly though, the Amigo’s simple design and obtainable raw materials permit at-home construction. This subject has been discussed in great detail on BPL’s own forums.

The aim of this study was to compare the solar-powered SteriPEN Adventurer Opti with the H2O Amigo Pro for use in long distance hiking. Both devices were used alternately along 800 miles of the Montana section of the Continental Divide Trail from July 19 to September 28, 2010 to provide drinking water for a companion and myself. While one device was in use, we shipped the other ahead to a mail drop location. Once at the mail drop, we switched devices, shipping the other ahead to the next mail drop. Practical considerations for long distance hiking for each device were noted. These included observations and recorded data on each device’s weight, cost, performance, maintenance requirements, durability, and ease of lightweight modification. Temperatures ranged from the mid 80s to the mid 20s F. The Amigo was outfitted with a new Katadyn Hiker filter.

Results

Performance

A total of 71.5 liters of water were treated with the Amigo and 107.0 liters with the SteriPEN. We primarily sourced from clear bodies of water with good flow. We occasionally got water out of lakes or from cattle contaminated sources, but never needed to pre-filter. Except for the initial charge, which was done using the supplied power adapter, the SteriPEN was charged in the field using the solar charger. Batteries were not removed from the SteriPEN when placed into the bounce box for shipping.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 3
SteriPEN solar case.

Speed and Water Quality

Both devices produced clean tasting water and neither of us became ill. They provided water in a timely fashion with neither exceeding two minutes per liter, unless the SteriPEN’s battery ran out mid-treatment. At the end of the trip, both devices were tested with clean tap water. The Amigo made one liter in 73 seconds and the SteriPEN in 93 seconds. Priming the Amigo’s filter by sucking water through the output hose was necessary in order to start the flow of water.

Convenience

We appreciated the hands-off nature of the Amigo. Being able to fill the bag and hang the Amigo from a tree branch or rock while we went about other chores or relaxed was a big plus. We did need to be careful to make sure our Platypus was placed carefully under the Amigo’s output hose so that it wouldn’t tip over as it filled. The SteriPEN, requiring constant stirring for about 90 seconds per liter, was obviously more hands-on. This was not too bothersome for small quantities, but when we wanted to make multiple liters, sitting and stirring started to become tedious and, in cold, wet weather, fairly unpleasant.

Since we carried small-mouthed collapsible 2L bottles, we were not able to treat our water directly with SteriPEN, which better accommodates a wide-mouthed receptacle. However, we were able to avoid packing an extra bottle by putting water to be treated in our cook pot, and treating the water there. We did find it somewhat inconvenient to have to dig out our cook pot each time we wanted to treat water.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 4
SteriPEN in pot.

We found that the Amigo was easy to pack and I usually kept it near the top of my Granite Gear Vapor Trail pack. The SteriPEN, while in its charger case, was a little more cumbersome. As we were in Montana and thus often walking in partial or full sun, it made sense to carry the solar charging case outside and on top of my pack. The case was, however, sometimes a challenge to secure. The case’s plastic belt-style clip fit quite loosely onto my pack straps and was therefore not very reliable to use. I eventually settled on lashing the charger down using the two cross straps at the top of the pack, although this was still a loose attachment when my pack was not full.

We did not use the flashlight function on the SteriPEN.

Reliability

SteriPEN’s published manual advises users to remove batteries from the device when not in use. We learned this lesson the hard way. When putting the SteriPEN away for a few weeks, we failed to remove the batteries from the device. With the second set of batteries just partially charged, we found ourselves constantly changing the batteries back and forth when the device returned to use. The set of batteries that were inside the SteriPEN had mostly discharged, and the charge left in the second battery set was only enough to treat 3-4 liters. Coupled with a few cloudy days on the trail, we never were able to fully charge one set of batteries,and thus had to keep switching back and forth between partially charged batteries. We were not able to fully charge the batteries until we stopped in town for a few very sunny days.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 5
SteriPEN on/off.

We did not have any reliability issues with the Amigo, except once when we left water in the device overnight and temps dropped below freezing. The next morning, we had to wait until the ice in the filter and hose thawed until we could treat water. From then on, we made sure to completely drain and dry (if possible) the Amigo each night.

Maintenance

The advantage to both devices is that they require very little maintenance. Because we used the Amigo in mostly clear water, we never needed to scrub the filter. With greater use, I expect we would have needed to scrub at some point. The SteriPEN required zero maintenance.

Durability

Despite both devices having sensitive components, neither broke or malfunctioned. For the SteriPEN, the sensitive component is the bulb, which is encased in glass. If this breaks, the only method of repair is to send the device back to the manufacturer. The SteriPEN took a tumble off my pack on several occasions, but was well-protected inside the solar charging case and no damage was done. The case itself began to show small signs of wear by the end of the trip as some of the inner padding near the latching mechanism began to get caught in the latch. With a few weeks remaining, the belt clip on the back of the case snapped off. This didn’t bother us because we found the clip to not be very useful in the first place.

The sensitive component of the Amigo is the SilNylon bag that holds water for filtering. The SilNylon is thin and thus susceptible to tearing on sharp branches. On a prior trip, I actually made a small hole in the bag this way, but was able to easily repair the bag with SilNet sealer.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 6
Amigo Bag - a closer look.

Weight and Volume: (See Figure 1)

At 3.75 oz on a kitchen scale, the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti with a single set of batteries is significantly lighter than the Amigo, which comes in at 7.75 oz of dry weight. However, the solar charging case, with its necessary second set of batteries, brings the SteriPEN system up to 11.0 oz. This combination is .25 oz heavier than a soaking wet Amigo stored in its SilNylon carrying bag.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 7
Figure 1

  Weight (oz)
SteriPen w/ single pair rechargeable batteries 3.75
Steripen w/ solar case and 2 battery sets 11.00
H2O Amigo, dry 7.75
H2O Amigo, wet 10.00
H2O Amigo, dry w/ bag 8.50
H2O Amigo, wet w/ bag 10.75

The H2O Amigo in its SilNylon bag compresses down to 75 in³ and takes up twice as much pack space as the 37 in³ solar charging case. This was a moot point for us as we carried the SteriPEN in its solar charger outside of my pack.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 8
Amigo wrapped.

Cost (see figure 2)

While the SteriPEN with a solar charger is initially more expensive, the H2O Amigo Pro surpasses it in cost after approximately 2,500 liters of water has been treated. WAt this point the Amigo’s Katadyn filter will need to be replaced for a third time. Taking this into consideration, the SteriPEN becomes an increasingly better value for the amount of water treated. Interestingly, the H2O Amigo eventually even surpasses the cost of using the SteriPEN with disposable batteries.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 9
Figure 2

  0L 1000L 2000L 3000L 4000L 5000L 6000L 7000L 8000L 9000L 10000L
SteriPEN Opti w/ Rech. Batteries $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $170.00 $181.88 $181.88
SteriPEN Opti w/ Disp. Batteries $100.00 $135.72 $173.32 $210.92 $248.52 $286.12 $323.72 $361.32 $418.92 $456.52 $494.12
H2O Amigo $50.00 $90.00 $130.00 $170.00 $250.00 $290.00 $330.00 $410.00 $450.00 $490.00 $570.00

Certain performance assumptions were made in these calculations. With the exception of liters water treated per charge for the SteriPEN, field-testing did not provide sufficient volumes of water to test capacities experimentally:

  • The SteriPEN rechargeable batteries die after 300 charges. Source: SteriPEN customer service. Field-testing on the CDT revealed that these batteries, new and fully charged, made 28 liters of water.
  • A pair of CR123 Li-ion disposable batteries are capable of treating 50 liters of water before needing replacement. Source: SteriPEN User’s manual.
  • The SteriPEN’s bulb requires replacement after 8,000 liters of water treated. Source: SteriPEN customer service and user’s manual.
  • The Katadyn filter is capable of treating 750 liters of water before requiring replacement. Frequent treatment of murky water and failure to periodically clean the filter will obviously shorten this lifespan. Source: Katadyn product manual.

Cost Assumptions (not including tax or shipping):

  • Disposable CR123 Li-ion batteries are purchased online in quantities of 50 at a cost of $46.99 ($1.88/pair). Each battery is 3V with 1300mAh capacity.
  • Replacement rechargeable batteries are purchased online in quantities of 2 at a cost of $11.88. Each battery is 3V with 650mAh capacity.
  • Replacement Katadyn filters can be purchased online at a cost of $40.00.
  • The SteriPEN bulb can be replaced by the manufacturer at a cost of $20.00.
  • A used H2O Amigo can be obtained online for $50.00.

Ease of Lightweight Modification

Although we chose not to modify either device on this trip, both devices lend themselves to some modification to drop weight. The Amigo’s output hose can be cut to a shorter length and the small plastic hose clamp removed. The cords that allow the Amigo to be hung can be cut and re-tied. On the SteriPEN solar charger, the clip can be removed. Otherwise, the SteriPEN itself is difficult to modify. The plastic cap that protects the bulb can be omitted, but this leaves the bulb vulnerable.

SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo, a long distance hiker’s comparison - 10
Amigo output hose.

Overall Impressions

We found that by the end of our trip we preferred using the H2O Amigo. This was based on the fact that by its hands-off nature, the Amigo, especially for treating multiple liters of water, was more convenient to use and we encountered fewer problems with reliability. Admittedly, the battery issue was our own fault, but we also value not having to worry about battery charges and changes on backpacking trips.

The added convenience of the Amigo, comes with a significant difference in monetary price. However, the long term savings associated with the SteriPEN currently adds a significant cost in weight, as the solar charger with its second battery adds an extra 7.25 oz, negating the SteriPEN’s weight advantage over the Amigo. With some design changes to the SteriPEN’s solar charging feature, this would be a closer call. Reducing the size of the charging case might be a possibility. Using a lighter material to make the case would be another. This would expectedly increase the cost of the case, but since the cost savings with the solar rechargeable feature is so significant, this might not be a tough sell. 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.


Citation

"SteriPEN vs H2O Amigo: A Long Distance Hiker’s Comparison," by Dan Feldman. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/steripen_vs_h2o_amigo.html, 2011-03-08 00:05:00-07.

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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: .
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

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
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.