During the past twenty years I have witnessed the transition of the aluminum Sigg bottle from hiking gear to urban accessory. I bought my first Sigg bottle in the Nineties, when I was hiking in the Italian Alps with my father. It was a good piece of design and very functional. My bottle is solid green, a nice metallic hue. Very soon decorated Siggs started to flood outdoor shops, then sports shop, ultimately they started to pop up anywhere hip. They were cute and useful, celebrities were using them for jogging, environmentalist gurus were using them around town in place of disposable, BPA-ridden plastic bottles.
My Sigg started to get notches here and there, because I was flying with it a lot and using it in a variety of environments.
One day someone became suspicious and asked Herr Sigg (CEO Steve Wasik) if he was totally completely positive that Sigg bottles were not leaching any BPA into water. Herr Sigg answered promptly and with great confidence: absolutely, we had them tested independently and there is no leaching, zero. Only he committed a very small communication error, probably in good faith I think: he added that he could understand the concerns about the proprietary (i.e. secret) liner and therefore he had commenced the process of exploring new suppliers.
So there’s BPA in the liner after all.
Well, yes, traces, but it’s not leaching. Scientifically guaranteed. Independently.
Of course it was quite a shock in the Sigg community and eventually bottles were recalled to solve the marketing impasse. That was back in 2008. I stayed with my bottle, the green one I had bought in the Nineties. I’m ok with some non-leaching BPA in my liner, considering the amount of BPA we get from the rest of food packaging anyway, I’m ok with Herr Sigg and I don’t like the new liner anyway, as it tends to peel off, making the bottle less durable (this glitch may have been solved in the meanwhile, I’m not sure though).
In the meanwhile the notches on my bottle were become deeper and larger from the bottle being flown places, spending entire days at 35 thousand feet in unpressurized holds, and in general colliding with rocks or keys (outdoor and indoor use).
What happens with notched painted bottles, is that eventually the paint cracks and peels off and that is what’s happening with my Sigg bottle. Well it’s twenty years old anyway, end of career. So I cautiously considered buying a new bottle (of course while keeping the Sigg, because it’s still a good piece of design and you never know anyway). I investigated the market thoroughly, and the answer came with this Klean Kanteen Reflect bottle.
Stainless steel, lightweight, safe for water purification tables. No liner at all, end of story (no BPA), no painting on the outside (no cracks, ever), brand is laser-etched. Handy screw cap but no plastic (no BPA, no plastic waste, ever). Silicon ring for sealing. Pressure fitted (no glue) bamboo on top of the cap which makes the bottle very gentle when you bump it around. Bamboo claimed to be harvested sustainably, entire product claimed to be made responsibly (albeit in China). Wide mouth, so you can see the water, which is psychologically satisfying, plus it’s easy to clean and it dries out quickly.
It comes with either a brushed or mirror finish (I chose the latter). All and all I find it a refreshing object.
I’m not sure Italy is ready for the Klean Kanteen reflect as a urban accessory though, with all the colourful Siggs for the office and Giostyle for the beach. For example only this morning a colleague looked at my KK Reflect and asked me if I was keeping grappa in it.