Learn about our new ambassador, Holly Budge

Meet Water-to-Go’s latest Ambassador, Holly Budge

Holly was quite literally on top of the world when she summited Mount Everest.

Her passion for adventure is evident with two world records under her belt so far, including being the first woman to skydive Everest and race semi-wild horses 1000km across Mongolia in just nine days. Holly’s talents are not limited to adventure, she is also an acclaimed artist and passionate conservationist.

She is the founder of ‘How Many Elephants’, an award-winning campaign raising awareness of the plight of elephants in Africa and funds for anti-poaching projects. She has helped raise over £300k for a diverse range of charities through her adventures and campaign work so far.

We caught up with her in the midst of her busy schedule to ask a few questions.

What made you first decide to become an adventurer?

I started life as an adventurer at an early age and spent a lot of my childhood in the outdoors. When I was 21, I did my first skydive whilst backpacking round New Zealand and was blown away by the experience and the fact that people were getting paid to jump out of aeroplanes for a living. My career’s advisor at school definitely hadn’t mentioned that as a possible career path! I decided there and then, that was the job I wanted. Six months later, with lots of training, dedication and hard work, I achieved my rather far-fetched goal and became the third woman to work as a free fall camerawoman in Lake Taupo.

On reflection, I refer to this as the ‘boldness of youth’ as when I set myself this goal, I knew nobody in New Zealand, I knew nothing about skydiving and I knew nothing about filming but none of that mattered. I knew I could learn all the skills I needed to get the job. This gave me immense confidence and self-belief that I can try and achieve whatever I set my mind too. I love the outdoors and the adventures that go with it. Being an adventurer has allowed me to travel to some of the world’s remotest and most inhospitable places. I have met some hugely inspiring individuals on the way and I really love the unknown element of adventure and travel!

You were the first woman ever to skydive Mount Everest, something we didn’t even realise was possible. What made you decide to take on such a challenge?

As a skydiver, I knew skydiving next to the highest mountain in the world was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss out on. I worked hard and got sponsored. On October 6th 2008, I became the first woman to Skydive Everest by successfully jumping out of a plane at 29,500ft, looking onto the summit of Mount Everest and getting a bird’s eye view of some of the most breath-taking mountain scenery before landing on the world’s highest drop zone at 12,350ft! I free-falled past the mountain in excess of 140mph, in temperatures of -40 C. It was an incredible experience!

Jumping next to Everest was a very different experience to any other skydive I had ever done and indeed, different to other high altitude jumps, because of the inhospitable terrain and conditions. The first difference, besides the exit altitude of 29,500ft as opposed to the normal 12-15,000ft, was the temperature. I was jumping in -40 degrees. To help with the biting cold, I wore a full-face neoprene face mask and a special insulated jump suit, so none of my skin was exposed.

The second difference was jumping with oxygen. I had never jumped with oxygen before so this felt strange! I had oxygen in the plane for the 45 mins ascent from 12,350ft and then I switched to an oxygen bottle for the free fall. The third difference was the size of my parachute. It was three times the size of my normal chute but landed at the same speed due to the 12,350ft elevation of the landing area and the thinner air at that altitude. The last difference was the landing area. On two sides were 1000ft drop offs to the valley’s below. There were very few, if any, alternative places to land in this treacherous terrain, so it was imperative I made it back to the designated landing area. I made it back in one piece!

What experience have you found the most challenging so far? Has there been anything you’ve really enjoyed?

I can’t really pick an outright “most challenging” experience so far as there has been a few but this expedition was definitely up there! I made a successful first ascent of an unnamed mountain (4000 m) in the Altai Mountains, in Western Mongolia. Whilst it’s a wonderful liberation to go where no one has gone before, it comes with its own unique set of challenges. We had to carry out a long medical evacuation for a crush wound to one of my teammates legs.

We had to battle precarious boulder fields, extremely steep snowy slopes, huge exposure and avalanche risk. It was a great achievement to reach the top and more importantly, return safely! We have applied to name the peak ‘Mount Zuchi’, which was the name of Genghis Khan’s first-born son and the word means ‘guest’. Two third’s of the world’s mountains remain unclimbed so this is an avenue I am keen to continue exploring.

What are your best tips for preparing to climb Everest?

The best thing you could do to prepare for big mountain climbing is to go to altitude, go trekking to start with and see how you fair. The only way you can know how you fair at altitude is to go there. Climbing Everest is a great test of strength and endurance but isn’t by any means the hardest of mountains out there, but it’s definitely the highest and that’s what’s really tough. If Everest is your goal, get at least four or five big mountains (6500m+) under your belt first, to see how you go at altitude and build your skills and knowledge.

Can you describe how you felt when standing on top of Everest

A truly amazing feeling! To quote my summit post on Instagram:

“Sitting on the roof of the world! WOW! Sitting on the highest place on earth is pretty surreal! The fight to get here and realise this dream, emotionally, physically & mentally has been HUGE! That last hour of climbing to the Summit was tough, everything in my body was screaming NO, something in my mind was whispering YES!!!! The adventure is not over yet. Jangbu and I are stranded at Camp 3 at 8300 m. This is not a comfortable altitude to be hanging out at! We spent last night here and if anything, the winds are becoming increasingly more threatening. Will keep you posted…”

I was very fortunate with finding a small but glorious weather window to summit. I experienced beautiful blue skies, with very little wind on the Summit. The view was spectacular! Jangbu & I spent about 30 minutes on the Summit, soaking it all in, as the conditions were near perfect. We were conscious of time though and how quickly things can change up there, as we later experienced!

On our descent, the weather changed very quickly and we got stuck at Camp 3

for a night at 8300 m, with ridiculously strong winds! I thought our tent was going to become airborne and I was very conscious of still being very high up on the mountain! When we looked outside the following morning, most of the other tents had been destroyed. The next day we descended to Advanced Basecamp which was a long day!

 

Along with your adventures, you’ve also done an enormous amount of conservation work. Why do you think conservation is so important?

I am passionate about conservation and design. How Many Elephants is using design to bridge the gap between scientific information and human connection in the field of conservation. My campaign is giving a voice to the critical African Elephant crisis.

Few people know the extent of the problem; 96 African elephants are poached each day for their ivory. At this astonishing rate they will be extinct in the wild in the next ten years. I have turned this disheartening statistic into a powerful art installation that presents a physical commentary on the devastating impact of the elephant ivory trade, to raise awareness and funds to support anti-poaching projects. Over 1000 school children have visited my exhibition for workshops with plenty feeling inspired. Part of the originality of this exhibition is in my approach to avoid gruesome and shocking imagery to portray the facts. To actually see this data visually is very impactful. It is not about scaring people or assigning blame, it’s about raising awareness of the enormity of the poaching crisis.

Recently I immersed myself with the Black Mambas, an all-female front line anti-poaching team in South Africa to intimately learn what drives and motivates these pioneering women to pursue their multifaceted roles as protectors, educators and beacons of hope. The Black Mambas’ work takes them away from their young families for weeks at a time, challenging the traditional status quo. Armed only with pepper spray and handcuffs, these women patrol hunting grounds of armed poachers who pose an imminent threat to the elephant species. They also strive to change attitudes towards the role of women in Africa and beyond.

 

What are the challenges you’ve had to overcome to get you where you are today and how did you address them?

Listening to the naysayers who told me I lacked direction and purpose. Being an entrepreneur is tough, there is often no road map and sometimes this is hard to convey to others. It can be lonely too. I sometimes felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall and not making any progress but a small voice inside kept whispering ‘keep going’. I did keep going and then started picking up momentum. Now I receive public recognition for my work very regularly and I’ve learnt to be proud of the life I lead; being entrepreneurial, being an alpha female and living an ‘unconventional’ life, rich in purpose, experience and passion.

 

What keeps you motivated and positive when things get tough?

I’m going to answer this question looking through the lens of mountaineering. Life in the mountains is not for the faint hearted! Everyday is a personal challenge and a reward. Keeping warm and in good health are up there but it’s the little things like feeling constantly grubby, putting grubby clothes back on after you do finally wash, valuing wet-wipes like gold, ridiculously bad hair days, split and broken nails, trying to accurately pee in a bottle in the tent in darkness, eating hairy spam and the list goes on….

A positive mindset and an acceptance that nothing is perfect, normal or even comfortable at times is essential, however, the rewards are huge! The views, the fresh clean air, the intense sunshine are all spectacular BUT for me, the reward is knowing you can do it, knowing you can live for long periods of time very simply, without materialistic needs or familiar comforts and pushing yourself in ways you wouldn’t have thought possible before. Learning, growing and experiencing new things is my biggest reward.

What advice would you give women who want to have more adventure in their lives?

Think big, dream bigger and go climb your Everest, whatever that might be. Put in the time beforehand to get physically and mentally prepared so you know you can give it your best shot. I describe myself as ‘sort of pretty normal’, with a down-to-earth approach to life, and I do not consider myself to have a greater physical or mental advantage than most, so that begs the question – if not you, who? If not now, when? Act now.

 

To discover more about Holly Budge visit www.hollybudge.com or follow her on Instagram, and her journey at #EverestEveryday. Her charity is www.howmanyelephants.com

Get Outdoors with Water-to-Go

Get yourself Outdoors this week with National Map Reading Week and Walking Month

This 27th May – 2nd June 2019 is the UK’s National Map Reading week, helping to inspire people to get active and experience the great outdoors. This week aims to inspire those of all ages and interests to get outside, explore, find adventure and make memories.

In addition to this, May is the UK’s National Walking Month, so with it being the final weekend of the month, there’s no better time to get out and explore the great outdoors.

Ordnance Survey and #GetOutside

Starting as simply the producer of world-famous paper maps, our partners, Ordnance Survey now use data to produce digital maps across the UK. The OS maps aim to provide a comprehensive map of the ever-changing British landscape, doing so in extraordinary detail. OS has also created a great ‘Explore Near Me’ section on their website, where you can find fantastic ways to get outdoors near your location.

As part of the GetOutside campaign, OS are celebrating National Map Reading week, getting people active and exploring the outdoors. The simple art of reading a map can open up the landscape, take us off well-worn paths and keep us safe.

Don’t Forget your Water-to-Go Filter Bottle

We have partnered with Ordnance Survey, providing specially made branded Water-to-Go filter bottles. To mark their latest brand launch, they are now selling special edition Ordnance Survey filter bottles both in the 50cl and 75cl sizes.

Our filter bottles will eliminate 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacterias as well as heavy metals and chemicals from any non-saltwater source. This means you’ll be able to stay hydrated from any river, lake or stream you come across whilst you’re exploring the great outdoors.

The Best Ways to Get Outdoors

In celebration of national walking month, Water-to-Go Retail Partners, Blacks, have created a list of the best walks across the UK. This is a great way to get active and experience the best of the British countryside. The list includes walks from all parts of the UK including:

  • Stackpole Circular, Pembrokeshire, Wales
  • Prawle Point, Devon
  • Tobermory Circuit, Isle of Mull, Scotland
  • London’s South Bank

Get Outdoors at a Festival

If you don’t fancy a walk, another great way to get outdoors is to start enjoying the UK’s festival season, and hopefully some great weather. Don’t forget to stay hydrated with your Water-to-Go bottle, so you can fill up from anywhere around the venue, whilst also avoiding single-use plastic bottles. For this summer only, you can get 19% off any Water-to-Go filter bottle when you use the code FESTIVAL19 at the checkout.

Top 10 Adventure Travel Essentials

10 Terrific Pieces of Adventure Travel Kit used by our Ambassadors

Over the past few years, Water-to-Go has worked closely with a wide range of travellers, explorers, travel bloggers, volunteer workers, etc., travelling with them around the globe.

As a result of their travels, we’ve been able to find some brilliant pieces of travel gear used by ambassadors such as Ash Dykes, Chaz Powell, Emily Luxton and many more. This guide will help you decide on the best items to choose when travelling and which items are right for your destination.

Adventure Travel Tent

Having a reliable, convenient place to sleep is essential for any adventurer, and for those travelling off the beaten track having a high-quality tent is extremely important.

Vango’s tents are a great travel item for anyone that will need to camp during their travels. Vango produces a wide range of tents from family tents, with some designed to fit up to 8 people per tent, to solo one man tents for the lone adventurer.

Originating in the Highlands of Scotland, Vango has a history when it comes to producing adventure tents. The tents are designed to be easy to set up and take down so that you can spend more time trekking, mountain biking, cycling or doing whatever it is you have planned.

With such a range of tents, Vango is ideal for anyone who is in need of a tent from large parties of adventurers to solo trekkers.

Lightweight Portable Charger

Being able to have your phone or camera with you is a great way to capture the memories of your adventure. So, it’s important to make sure you’re able to keep these devices charged by using a portable charger.

The power traveller is a lightweight portable charger that’s powered using solar energy. The device is a great way to make sure your phone, camera, tablet, etc. are able to capture the best moments of your travel experience. After all, you’ll only need sunlight to keep your devices fully charged.

The use of solar energy also means you can help reduce your carbon footprint when travelling by avoiding non-renewable sources of electricity.

Whilst perhaps better suited to holidays off the beaten track where access to electricity is limited, the power traveller is also a great little device for those more environmentally conscious travellers.

Water-to-Go Personal Filtration System

Has bad tap water ever made you ill and ruined your experience? Well, the Water-to-Go filter bottle is able to filter out 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, chemicals and pesticides from any non-salt water source. This means it can provide safe, clean drinking water from any river, lake, mountain stream or even bad tap water.

The bottle is also a great way to reduce your plastic footprint. Instead of buying more and more single-use plastic water bottles, the reusable Water-to-Go bottle can be used to replace them without having to worry about getting ill from a bad water source.

Additionally, with each filter being able to process 130 or 200 litres of water (dependent on filter size) the bottle will only cost you around 5p per litre. So you can also save yourself some extra money to spend on your travels.

Coming in both an everyday use 50cl bottle and a larger 75cl bottle, there is a bottle for both the casual day-tripper or the hardcore adventurer.

Food Parcels

Now that your drinking water is sorted, you’ll need to think about the food you’re going to eat along your journey. A great way for adventurers to prepare their meals is through Firepot’s food parcels.

Firepot provide healthy, dehydrated food that comes in lightweight meal pouches. Firepot say their goal is to create a healthy hearty meal that won’t weigh you down on your adventures. Their recipes have been developed to maximise nutrition within each parcel as well as providing great tasting meals. Therefore, Firepot is great for anyone who will be spending extended periods of time off the beaten track away from other food sources.

 

Specialised Travel Backpack

With all your travel equipment you’ll need a means of transporting all these important items. A great specialised product for this purpose is an Osprey Travel Backpack.

Originating in California, Osprey has been designing backpacks for adventurers since beginning in 1974. The innovative and high-quality backpacks offer any adventurer a fantastic way to travel with all of their gear. Osprey also design their backpacks for long life, meaning you will be able to use it again and again as opposed to having to constantly repair or replace the product.

Additionally, Osprey design backpacks specifically for different types of adventure travel. These include backpacks for snowsports, climbing, hiking and biking.

The high-quality and long-lasting nature of these backpacks means it will be for you if you are serious about adventure travel and are ideal if you are in need of carrying big loads of equipment.

Outdoor Durable Phone

Having a phone that can cope with your terrain can be an incredibly useful tool, especially when travelling across more extreme areas.

Land Rover’s ‘Outdoor Phone’ is possibly the toughest phone out there. The phone is extremely durable having been tested in temperatures from -30C to +60C. You also won’t have to worry about dropping your phone in puddles, rivers or even the sea as the phone is waterproof even in salt water.

With an extra-long battery life, the phone will suit anyone who is away from a power source for an extended period of time. A range of specialist apps also makes this a great companion for any explorer.

An ideal product for those that are out and about in rough terrain with a high chance of their phone getting bashed about. Or it could be good if you are just clumsy when it comes to your phone!

Cold Weather Clothing

Your clothing can be a vitally important part of your travels, particularly when travelling to colder regions where it’s important to wrap up warm.

When it comes to sub-zero weather clothing Rab is brilliant at keeping the cold out. Rab produces high-quilty specialist outdoor clothing with a focus on mountaineering. Their clothing is made up from high-quality materials and fabrics specially designed to be the best at insulation and keeping you warm.

Some great kit for those travelling to colder destinations, such as ski holidays, and will particularly suit mountain adventurers.

Alternative Adventure Travel Clothing

If you’re looking for something perhaps slightly cheaper than Rab’s range, then Craghoppers is a great alternative. Whilst slightly cheaper than Rab’s range, Craghoppers still produce high-quality clothing specialising in the outdoors.

Craghoppers say they aim to make their clothing as practical and comfortable as possible, enabling travellers to stay outside for as long as possible. Whilst Craghoppers focus on outdoor clothing designed to keep you warm, they also produce lightweight warm weather clothing with a range of trousers specifically designed to deter insect bites.

Excellent product range for those spending time travelling outdoors, with clothing ranges for both cold and warm weather conditions.

Appropriate Travel Footwear

Just as important as clothing, you will need footwear appropriate to the environment you are travelling in.

Keen are a footwear company that offer a range of footwear types to choose from. They specialise in footwear for different types of travel, from urban casual trainers to specialised hiking boots.

Keen’s variety of footwear means you should be able to find whatever you’re looking for on your next adventure.

Digital Mapping System

Whilst technically not a physical item, there is an excellent range of digital maps provided by Ordnance Survey (OS). These maps are an excellent way to travel in the more remote locations of the UK.

Starting as simply the producer of world-famous paper maps, Ordnance Survey now use data to produce digital maps across the UK. The OS maps aim to provide a comprehensive map of the ever-changing British landscape, doing so in extraordinary detail.

As well as their maps, OS produce online route planning, sharing services and mobile apps to aid in your travel experience.

Sadly for those travelling abroad this service is only available within the UK. However, it is a brilliant tool for those wanting to explore the more remote areas of the UK.

2 Camouflage Bottles Coming Soon

We received such an amazing response to our Camouflage Bottle designs that we have decided to create 2 of them!

Customers were given the choice of 5 different Camouflage designs to choose from with the idea being that the most popular one was going to be made.

However, due to the overwhelming response, we’ve decided to make the 2 most popular! A & D were the clear winners and will be going into production shortly.

We are hoping to have these available on the website before Christmas.

camo-fbIf you voted for your favourite design, you might have entered our competition – We were offering 10 lucky winners the chance to be the first owners of the winning design. The 10 winners are:

  1. Patrick Ramsey
  2. Phillip Davies
  3. Wayne Lawton
  4. Selena Pratt
  5. Ben Richards
  6. Joseph Ritchie
  7. Hannah Corke
  8. Trevor Muhammad
  9. Eric Pritchard
  10. Kurt Holtzen

Congratulations to all our winners!

We’ll keep you posted on when the Camouflage bottles will be available to purchase. We would say ‘keep your eyes peeled’, but they are so good, you wouldn’t be able to see them!

 

£1 from every product ordered donated to Raleigh International…

Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity that exists to create lasting change through youth.

Raleigh, believe that when local communities and young people work side by side it empowers them, and it’s the energy and motivation of empowered people that creates lasting change.

A core strategic priority for Raleigh is WASH: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

Raleigh want to help meet the Global Goal for Sustainable Development 6 – ‘ensure water and sanitation for all’. Raleigh pursues a holistic approach to WASH interventions by inspiring behavioural change – better hygiene practises can save lives. In rural schools, homes and communities, they achieve transformational change by supporting young women and men to have access to safe water, and sanitation.

Because Raleigh projects deliver safe, clean water in Malaysian Borneo, Nicaragua, Nepal and Tanzania, Water-to-Go has pledged to donate £1 per product sold in the online store between 16th May and 29th May.

Buy a Water-to-Go product today and play your part in changing lives!

For more information on Raleigh International and the amazing work they do, check out their website www.raleighinternational.org

Water-to-Go will donate £1 per item sold. This includes all products including bottles, filters and lids. 

 

Meeting Julia Bradbury…

We had the huge privilege of meeting TV star, Julia Bradbury at the Destinations Travel Show at Olympia.

After popping by our stand and seeing our demonstration, Julia crowned Water-to-Go her ‘Gadget of the Day’.

Play the video underneath to see what Julia had to say:

 

It was this demo that impressed Julia so much:

 

 

Julia’s new show, ‘Best Walks with a View’ launches on Friday 19th February at 8pm on ITV.