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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > SIGG Bottles > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

SIGG BOTTLES
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
August 20, 2007

Personal Details and Backpacking Background

Male, 61 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email address: rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
Home: Dallas, Texas USA

I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the Rockies since 1986. I do a week long trip every summer, and often take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my share of forced marches too. Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose a bit more weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.

PRODUCT DETAILS SIGG, a Swiss company that has now been in business for 99 years, makes lightweight aluminum water bottles which it claims are used around the world for all sorts of sports. "Sport" models, which have an indentation on the upper half of the bottle, are available only in 0.75 Liter [25 fl oz] size; MSRP $19.99 US. "Classic" water bottles, perfectly cylindrical below the throat, are available in 0.3, 0.6, 1.0, and 1.5 Liter [10, 20, 34, 51 fl oz] sizes; MSRP $15.99, $18.99, $19.99, and $24.99 (all US dollars) respectively. With a pattern instead of solid color a Classic becomes a "Lifestyle" bottle, available in the first three Classic sizes with the same suggested retail prices. Patterns change regularly more than 100 are currently available - as SIGG introduces new "artwork" for its bottles. Pictured below are a 1.0 liter red Classic bottle, 0.75 liter patterned Sport bottle, a 0.6 liter Lifestyle bottle with an "Edelweis" pattern, shown next to a one-liter hard plastic bottle for comparison.

A Nalgene with three SIGGsManufacturer: SIGG Switzerland AG
Website: www.sigg.ch. A consumer may purchase products on line only through the website maintained by the company's United States affiliate at www.mysigg.com.
Weight, measured: 0.6 Liter Lifestyle, with ABT Base top and Mud Flap, 4.6 oz / 131 g; 0.75 Liter Sport with Sport Top, 4.9 oz / 138 g; 1.0 Liter Classic with Screw Top, 5.1 oz / 145 g.

I own one Sport bottle and several Classics and Lifestyles. The one distinction I make among the models is discussed below. I do not distinguish among colors and patterns, having bought almost all of my collection simply because they happened to be available at various online warehouses.

Each SIGG bottle is extrusion pressed from a single piece of lightweight but very durable aluminum, resulting in a seamless bottle. The company offers four caps, each of which is made of molded plastic. The three I own are pictured above, a Screw Top for full closure on the red Classic, a nipple-style Sport Top Base for the Sport bottle, and an ABT base on the Lifestyle. The fourth is a Bottle Top base that looks much like the Sport Top. All but a Screw Top can be covered by a removable plastic "Mud Flap," one of which is pictured with the ABT base. Tops are interchangeable among all 0.6 Liter, 0.75 Liter, and 1.0 Liter bottles (probably 0.3 Liter ones too, but I don't own one to verify). Screw Tops and Mud Flaps are available in several colors.

FIELD CONDITIONS

I've used SIGG bottles for many years for a variety of outdoor and other sporting (participant and spectator) activities, in all seasons and all weathers. Since I began using Platy Bottles (see my separate review) as my primary backcountry water containers SIGGs have been relegated to adjunct duty when backpacking, but it's a rare day hike or backpack on which I'm not carrying a SIGG in a holster or pack pocket. Because they're easier to refill than a water bladder I tend to drink first from the SIGG at all rest stops, including meals, saving the larger capacity of the water bladder for sips while hiking.

OBSERVATIONS

I still have a gaggle of hard plastic water bottles that get ample use in the backcountry and while exercising. I haven't switched to SIGGs because of the adverse publicity these materials have recently been receiving. I've used SIGGs for years, and I prefer them for performance reasons. SIGGs weigh the same as similarly-sized hard plastic bottles, but are slightly taller and narrower than their hard plastic counterparts, and I find them easier to store in a holster or pack pocket. My main reason for using them, though, is that I've found them far more suitable than plastic for storing liquids other than plain water. Fruit juice, tea, water treated with an energy booster (sugar in some form), carbonated water or other beverages, or alcohol has never picked up a funny taste when stored in a SIGG, and none has given a SIGG a patina of flavor that is resistant to one-time washing and rinsing. SIGG says that the "special, proprietary internal coating" that is "taste and scent neutral" and "virtually baked into the inner walls of the bottle" is the reason for this. Whatever the reason, it's something unique to SIGG bottles in my experience. This is a great feature for this particular backpacker and day hiker, who likes juice for breakfast, lemonade or wine at picnics, and a shot of bourbon in camp at sunset. SIGG's performance in this regard so far surpasses any alternative I've tried that I now try to limit others' use to plain water or water with a nuun tablet.

These bottles are, as SIGG claims, virtually indestructible. Several of my bottles are ten years old or more yet as functional as when I bought them. I've not even had any serious dents to bottles or threads despite the everyday perils of hiking and camp life. With no seams and tight-fitting tops leaks are few and far between. The only time I've had a problem is with the relatively new ABT base. The plastic piece is raised and turned clockwise to open; when open I then can suck water out. To close I turn the plastic counter-clockwise and depress it, seating it in the closed position. If I forget to close it pressure from other items in a pack can cause water to drip out, and once or twice water has leaked after closing, probably because I didn't twist it shut completely. The plastic top can retain some of the prior contents' taste despite cleaning in boiling water. So I prefer the Screw Tops and use them most of the time. They are thoroughly reliable, and the doughnut hole facilitates pick-up. When skiing I run a cord tied to my pack through the hole when I have a SIGG in an exposed location, so I can retrieve it quickly after the yard sale that can follow a fall.

The indentation on the Sport bottles is intended to keep the bottle firmly in a bottle holder on a bicycle or exercise machine, and it performs its intended function very well. For this reason I store my one Sport bottle in my gym locker for use there, and I use it when I hike with my ULA-Equipment Catalyst backpack (see my separate review). This pack has a bungee-cord bottle holder on the left shoulder strap that works much better when gripping the SIGG's indentation than a cylindrical metal or plastic bottle.

I normally clean my SIGGs after each trip with soapy water, though I've been known to keep one bottle half-full of whiskey in the car or gear closet.

What I Like

Sturdy and reliable.
Relatively light weight.
Use for all beverages.
Sleek and attractive, at least those without "artwork."

What I Don't

Expensive. Even SIGG refers to them as "premium" bottles. But they do last forever.

Aluminum isn't much of an insulator. In cold weather these bottles get cold quickly, requiring careful handling. Water will freeze more quickly in a SIGG than in a plastic bottle. A chilled beverage or one with ice will warm up more quickly on a hot day. SIGG sells neoprene sleeves to take account of these issues.

I wish SIGG would offer a version with a wider mouth, for easier filling.



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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > SIGG Bottles > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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