Water-to-Go supports the Darien Gap Project

My name is Daniel Eggington and I’m a solo traveller

So a bit about me:

After leaving the UK in 2010 and embarking on a backpacking trip to Indonesia, I found my love of exploring. I spent 12 days in the forest with three local guides, travelling through and camping at a new spot each night. This added some life-changing experiences for me as a naive 18-year-old alone in a foreign country, not knowing any part of the local language. When I got back to the UK, I decided that this is the career path I wanted to work towards.

I decided I wanted to work in the travel industry, where my passion in life truly lies. After that trip and immediately planned for other journeys. I decided to explore Latin America where I got I real feel of the indigenous culture. I planned and prepared for a journey to the Darien Gap Panama-Colombia border region which was a fantastic experience. I then began planning my return to head to Guyana where I canoed a river with 2 local guides, travelling for 12 days and covering 288km to be exact.

I knew that my dream job would now be to work as an expedition leader where I could live out my passion for leading in remote and exciting places. I now had an abundance of remote travel experience, the required knowledge and soon the qualifications that it takes to do this. I have now done my ML training so I am working hard to make this a career choice a reality.

So my next trip will begin from Jurado in Colombia, travelling north through the Choco Department of Colombia and into the Darien Gap which leads into Panama. The endpoint will be in Jaque and I will be following the Pacific coast of Colombia. I aim to make it a wholly solo project and document it on a daily basis on my return. I will be providing an educational perspective of a region in a part of the world that is relatively unknown. The trip will be around 50 miles in total which should take around 15 days. I want to push myself to my very limit, of my capabilities as an explorer.

The Darien Gap Project will involve visiting the Colombian Choco Department which is the least explored region of Colombia due to its notorious past. Quibdo is the capital of the chocò region where half of the population are said to live and work. The rest are in small communities scattered throughout the region where a majority are on the coast such as Nuqui and surrounding towns of Quibdo.

I also want to use this expedition as a platform to raise awareness for conservation and indigenous communities rights. I will be travelling, wholly unsupported, over a number of different landscapes from primary rainforest to high valleys and wetlands.

I use Water-to-Go for the simplicity and how effective it is.  It helps in a few ways from less weight and not having to carry a few litres of water in 2 or 3 bottles. I have used it from Guyana to Costa Rica.

Daniel Eggington

There are not many detailed maps of the region so it isn’t a journey for the faint-hearted. The journey will be documented via videography and photography and tracked at timed intervals through the Delorme device. As I will be entirely alone in the region, a tracking device will be essential.

The region has many issues from severe poverty to armed conflict between paramilitary and people.  The Colombian Chocò department is the least explored region of Colombia due to its notorious past.

I am planning to do this trip as it is something that I have always wanted to do and if successful, would be first of its kind. Where I will be raising awareness for a cause I am passionate about which is conservation and indigenous peoples rights.

The project will be in partnership with Alpaca Raft, Hennessy hammock, Water-to-Go as well as Backcountry Scot.

Keep up to date with everything Daniel is up to on social media.

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 moth, 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.

Chaz Powell – What next for The Wildest Journey?

After many years of travelling and after pursuing many different life changing adventures, I soon realised I needed more and soon realised I needed ‘The Wildest Journey’ and something that would stretch me far out of my normal comfort zone.

I knew I wanted to discover wild lands that were little known to others, lands where people daren’t venture due to tales of danger, mystery and the unknown. Something that would take me to a whole new level of exploration and be my ultimate adventure.

So, in 2016 and 2017 I spent a combined duration of 137 days walking for over 3000km from source to sea along the mighty Zambezi river. An expedition that for me was the ultimate test – To walk the length of Africa’s wildest river….

Photo credit: Frazer Waller

Walking the Zambezi

The expedition had taken two years of strict planning and during those 2 years, I’d managed to find myself a local guide, who had also seemed passionate about walking the length of the Zambezi river and tackling this wildest journey by foot.

But after reaching the river’s source and coming face to face with the reality of walking through remote lands for the next 5 months. He quickly changed his mind and succumbed to his fears, saying that this was a crazy idea and it can’t be done! He then turned back in the direction we had come and left me alone to walk the length of the Zambezi river, I never saw him again.

Photo credit: Alex Frood

After the shock of being left alone in these strange lands, I soon got my head together and started walking. Remembering why it was I had taken on this challenge and knowing I needed to try and embrace every second of this great journey.

From then on, I spent time in the remotest of settlements with the humblest of people. People who had absolutely nothing in their lives but seemed to give absolutely everything. I came to rely on these people not only to help guide the way, but also for the incredible hospitality I received on a near daily basis. But this wasn’t without hesitation, as I was often mistaken for being a demon, a witch, a diamond smuggler and even a reincarnation of the great David Livingstone. I was the first white person many had ever met, so it came as quite a shock to see me walking through their remote lands.

Photo credit: Alex Frood

During my great journey, I faced many a challenging obstacle along the mighty river. From crossing the 400-mile long swampy Barotse floodplains, near-death experiences in the Zambezi gorges, and being held hostage in a small remote village in Mozambique. All of these challenges moulded me and saw me overcome all the fears that I’d built up before tackling this mighty quest. I’d reached the Indian ocean and my end goal knowing that I wanted to continue to take on more wildest journeys and to raise awareness for the devastating loss of wildlife and wild lands across the continent of Africa and throughout the world. I knew it was my passion to explore and discover and I’d now continue to do so to fight for the voiceless.

Footsteps on the Gambia

My next adventure was to be a world’s first source to sea trek along the Gambia river. An epic journey to follow the West African river by foot through Guinea-Conakry, Senegal and The Gambia for 1120km.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

After a long 2-day journey we eventually reached the source of the Gambia river. The river itself starts in the remote highlands of the Fouta Djallon in Guinea-Conakry, and is a wild, rugged landscape consisting of steep hills and remote settlements. Paths along the river’s banks were minimal and we were often forced into climbing the steep tracks away from the river itself! This was the beginning of what would turn out to be an incredible yet wildest journey, where we found ourselves tackling this challenging environment, but were treated like kings in this land of warmth and kindness. Leaving us feeling overwhelmed and fascinated by the amazing cultures and the hospitality we received from the most humble of people.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

Soon the river started to widen and consisted of numerous twists and turns. Its presence left us feeling overwhelmed and in a fascinating state of isolation along its wild banks. We came to rely on it not just for the water it gave us to drink and cook with, but for the sense of freedom it bestowed upon us with its beauty and grace. It was home to not only the good people who accommodated and fed us whilst we hiked its waters edge. But also to the wildest of animals and the most magnificent of ever changing wild landscapes.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

During my journeys I relied on drinking straight from the rivers with my trusty Water-to-Go bottles. There was several sections of river where the water was just too contaminated. So whilst using my bottle it gave me both the confidence and tools I needed to survive in the most remotest of regions.

Chaz Powell

One of the most incredible parts of our journey was walking through the Niokolo Koba National Park. After nearly being denied access into the park, but by some miracle managing to secure a last-minute permit. We hiked and skirted along the river’s edge until reaching the parks gates. On arrival we were accompanied by two game rangers and started by far the wildest section of our trek. Unfortunately, during those 4 days I felt at my lowest. My appetite had disappeared and the heat/lack of food was seriously draining my energy supplies. But these guys got me through and made it by far one of the most memorable moments of our source to sea journey.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

When times became difficult, it was often the good people we met along the way that would lift our spirits and inspire us to keep pushing forward with our journey. People who had very little in the way of possessions but would often open their doors and hearts to us to make us feel welcomed. This kindness of strangers is what motivated us through the difficult times, and the good people of Guinea-Conakry, Senegal and The Gambia made this expedition one of greatest journeys I’ve ever made.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

On reaching the Atlantic Ocean and the end of our 1120km, 47-day source to sea journey by foot. We were left feeling a huge sense of satisfaction, elation and overwhelming joy. We had become the first known people to take on and complete this mammoth task, and we knew that this difficult, yet humbling challenge had all been worthwhile.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

We had hiked through some of the wildest regions in Western Africa and been welcomed by all that we had met on our path. This was an adventure that will stay with me forever and one that will be difficult to compare with any of my future ‘the wildest journey’ expeditions.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

What next for The Wildest Journey?

In September 2019 myself and (potentially) a small team will be setting out in an attempt to walk not only the width of Madagascar, but also source to sea along the country’s longest river – The Mangoky.

Starting on the East Coast of Madagascar we will walk to the source of The Mangoky River and then follow its 564-kilometer (350 mi) length all the way to the Mozambique Chanel on the country’s Western Coast. We will be heading out on this epic adventure to not only take on an incredible journey. But also to raise awareness and funds for the loss of wildlife and wild lands throughout the region…

So there is a lot to look forward to. Keep up to date with all of my adventures and expeditions on Instagram and Facebook.

Photo credit: Alex Frood

Summer Festival Packing List – Stay Single-use Plastic Free

Going to a Festival this summer? Use this Packing List to avoid Single-use Plastic

Every summer millions of people attend British festivals enjoying some of the best live music in the world. However at the same time, a huge amount of plastic waste is being left behind every year. The festivals are starting to take notice themselves with events such as Glastonbury stopping the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. With more and more festivals abandoning single-use plastic products we’ve created a packing list to help you avoid contributing towards the world’s plastic pollution problem. Not wishing to ruin your festival budgeting, if having read this and want to get your own Water-to-Go bottle then please use the discount code FESTIVAL19 for a 19% saving at the checkout.

 

Overnight Festival Tent

Unless you’re a day-ticket holder, this will be one of your most important items during your time at the festival. This is in a way your home during the festival after all.

Your tent needs will largely depend on how many people you are going with. If you’re travelling with just 2 or three in total you may want to go with your own individual tents or a double and single tent. However, if you’re travelling in a larger group it makes more sense to get yourself one larger tent, which can include your own section if you want some privacy. Gooutdoors.co.uk provide a wide range of festival tents so you will almost certainly be able to find the right tent for you on their website.

Don’t Leave your Tent Behind

Believe it or not, single-use tents seem to be a trend that’s been occurring at many festivals in recent years, especially at the larger festivals. Many festival-goers abandon their tents after the event has finished often due to the fact they think the tents will go to charity or homeless people, according to a recent article by the Telegraph. However, most of the time this isn’t the case and your plastic tent will end up in landfill.

Although we accept you may be a bit worse for wear on that morning! it’s better to pack up your tents rather than leaving them for landfill and adding to the world’s plastic pollution problem.

 

Water-to-Go Filter Bottle

Whilst your out in the sun all day it will be essential to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially with the effects of alcohol as well! Carrying a reusable water bottle is a great way to stay hydrated whilst you’re on the go.

The Water-to-Go filter bottles have been tested and proved to filter out over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants as well as chemicals and heavy metals. This means the bottles are great for festivals as you will be able to fill up from any tap around the venue and have complete confidence that you won’t catch any illness.

Water-to-Go Filter Bottles save you Time and Plastic

Firstly you’ll be saving on your plastic usage as you won’t be forced to buy single-use plastic water bottles. Instead, you can fill from any tap or even puddle and get clean safe drinking water instantly. Secondly, you won’t be waiting in line for ages waiting to buy bottled water or fill up your bottle from the bar.

 

A Reusable glass for your Alcoholic Drinks

Whilst the Water-to-Go Bottles are able to filter any non-salt water source, they haven’t cracked water into wine yet! However, this does give you another chance to avoid more unnecessary single-use plastic. Bringing a reusable metallic glass means you can get your beers in without having to discard a plastic cup every time you want a drink. I’d make sure to give your glass a wash fairly regularly though.

 

Bring Your Own Reusable Cutlery

Plastic Cutlery is something that has become common in many takeaway shops and food stalls, and is just another form of unnecessary single-use plastic. A fairly new concept of portable, reusable cutlery is something that can help in preventing the need for knives and forks made from single-use plastic.

These generally come as a cutlery set of knife, fork and spoon with a case so that they are easy to carry around. You can also add a straw to your non-plastic cutlery set to avoid having to discard plastic ones. This could be a good idea as whilst paper straws are starting to become more popularly used, most places still use the single-use plastic straw.

 

Wellie Boots in case of Bad Weather

Based on the unpredictability of the British weather, bringing a pair of wellie boots can become extremely useful. You should think carefully about your footwear no matter the weather, however being stuck in a field with a brand new pair of trainers will only end badly, especially if it’s chucking it down. Even if they don’t get any use during the festival, it’s worth bringing a pair just in case.

 

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are a great way to combat the potentially cold nights in your tent. This should keep you warm throughout the night, and some sleeping bags come with a zip feature that allows you to use the items as more of a blanket if it does get too hot.

Air bed or Sleeping Matt

To go along with your sleeping bag, you’ll want some form of comfy, tempory bedding. Whilst you’ll already have your sleeping bag it’s going to be pretty uncomfortable to just sleep in that, so we’d recommend bringing either an Air bed or sleeping matt with you as well.

You’ll need all the energy you can get during your festival, so making sure you get as good a night’s sleep as possible will be very important.

 

Portable Battery Charger for your Phone

Keeping your phone charged during a festival can be a real challenge, especially for those staying over at least one night. There may be some festivals which have charging stations however, it’s probably more convenient to bring a portable charger, especially for evenings at your campsite.

Power Traveller make an excellent solar-powered portable charger. This means you won’t have to find a power socket if you are in need of even more charge. The charger itself is also pretty light in weight so will be convenient for you to carry with you during the day. The use of solar energy also means you can help reduce your carbon footprint during the festival as you will be avoiding non-renewable sources of electricity.

 

Plastic Free Toiletries

You’ll need to keep fresh and clean over the course of the festival, especially if you’re staying over at least one night. One of the bigger challenges in going single-use plastic free is when you’re putting together your toiletries for the festival. It can be very difficult to find items like sun cream, wet wipes and shampoo without having to buy some form of plastic.

However, there are still some alternatives available, so you can avoid unnecessary plastic in your toiletries bag.

Reduce your Plastic with a Bamboo Toothbrush

It can be difficult to avoid plastic when you’re compiling your toiletries for the festival although there are some plastic alternatives out there. One great way to avoid buying plastic is to get a bamboo toothbrush. Anything But Plastic makes a brilliant bamboo toothbrush which is far more environmentally friendly than the usual plastic toothbrush.

Bring a Flannel instead of Disposable Wet Wipes

Getting yourself a reusable flannel (face towel) is a great alternative to bringing a pack of wet wipes. You’ll be reducing your waste as you won’t be having to throw anything away after just one use, plus if you find the right company, you won’t have to buy any plastic packaging that will eventually also be thrown away.

Replace Shower Gel with a Bar of Soap

Another replaceable in your toiletry set is your shower gel. Instead of buying shower gel in a plastic container that will eventually be thrown away, you can swap it for a bar of soap which, in many cases, will come without any plastic packaging.

Another interesting development is ‘Naked shower gel’. Lush has developed a solid shower gel that comes without any plastic packaging. Whilst it may look more like a bar of soap, the actual ingredients used to make the product itself is not made from a soap base, and instead uses similar ingredients to their shower gel range.

Plastic Packaging Alternatives

Following on from Lush’s ‘Naked shower gel’, many companies are starting to find creative alternatives to traditional plastic packaging. Similar to this is a shampoo that is packaging free and simply comes in cubes that you can use straight away to wash your hair. So make sure to keep an eye out for new developments that are able to cut out single-use plastic.

 

A Bum Bag for your Valuables

Also known as the ‘Fanny Pack’ this is a great item for carrying your things around during the day, without having to lug a backpack around with you. This item is becoming more and more popular with festival goers due to its convenience, and with a wide range of designs, you should be able to find one that looks good as well.

It’s also a great way to keep valuables you may be carrying, such as your phone or money, safe. It’ll be important to keep these items safe and secure as there is a strong chance they would fall out of your pockets during the day.

 

Festival Essentials

It may seem obvious but make sure to bring the essential bits and bobs you’ll need to actually get into your festival. These include things like your festival ticket, ID, money or cards and any transport/ parking documents.

 

Water-to-Go on Three World First Adventures – Ash Dykes Story

Clean Safe Drinking Water on Ash Dykes’ Three World First Expeditions

British adventurer Ash Dykes has achieved some incredible feats, from hiking solo through the scorching Gobi desert to surviving sub-zero temperatures in China’s mountains. In this time Ash has achieved two awe-inspiring world first records. In 2014, he became the first person ever recorded to walk across Mongolia completely solo and unsupported, covering an astonishing distance of over 1,500 miles in 78 days. He trekked over the Altai Mountains, through the Gobi Desert and the Mongolian Steppe, all whilst pulling a wheeled trailer weighing 120kg, carrying everything needed to survive.

He then later became the first person in history to walk the entire length of Madagascar’s interior, whilst summiting the island’s eight highest Mountains in the process. Ash is now hoping to become the first person to walk the length of the Yangtze River this year which is set to be an enormous 4,000-mile trek.

However, travelling to remote locations like these means Ash is constantly facing the life-threatening problem of how he can get access to essential clean safe drinking water. In these dangerous conditions drinking dirty water can have disastrous and potentially fatal consequences. Drinking contaminated dirty water can lead to many serious diseases such as Cholera, Typhoid and Dysentery. Additionally, as Ash is in some of the world’s most remote areas, lack of access to medical facilities means these diseases could lead to serious consequences. This is a genuinely life-threatening challenge that Ash is forced to face on every one of his challenges.

Thankfully, Ash has been accompanied by his ‘number one item’, his Water-to-Go filter bottle, on each of his amazing world first missions. Ash has been able to drink from any and every non-salt water source he has come across during his expeditions: ‘Through all of this, I’ve never had to worry about water, as long as there is a water source nearby, this bottle makes it instantly drinkable’. ‘I’ve even scooped up mud puddle water in Madagascar and was able to drink it straight away due to the 3 in 1 built-in water filtration technology’. This means Ash has been able to safely and effectively stay hydrated on his astounding challenges, which in places with high temperatures like the Gobi desert and Madagascar has been critical to his world firsts.

Ash is continuing to make great progress on his current mission to trek the entire length of China’s Yangtze River. He has already passed the half-way mark and is encountering a new side of the Yangtze as he goes from very rural to more urban parts of this amazing river. Whilst the many changes in scenery, people and food; there is one thing that remains the same on his expedition – his Water-to-Go bottle.

Water-to-Go and Ramblers Walking Holidays Raise over £1000 for Heart and Sole

Water-to-Go and Ramblers Walking Holidays are delighted to have raised over £1000 that will go towards charitable projects and initiatives that Ramblers support. Dave Shanks, Director of Water-to-Go, presented the Heart & Sole team with a cheque for £1,150 as a donation based on the number of Water-to-Go bottles purchased by their clients in 2018.

Ramblers and Heart & Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to peoples’ lives. Ramblers Walking Holidays have a scheme called Heart & Sole, managed by their office staff, and their aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries they visit. Their hope is to make a long term, direct impact on these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. Heart & Sole will be able to use these funds to continue supporting ventures at home and in the countries they visit around the world.

Heart & Sole offers much-needed support to projects and charities in the UK and overseas, dealing with both large issues such as animal welfare as well as small, and more personal, ventures such as providing schools equipment to village communities. They are currently working with SPANA in Morocco, Cockermouth Mountain Rescue, SOS Children’s Villages in Costa Rica, Cape Verde, Malawi and Morocco.

In South Africa, Heart and Sole support the Royal Drakensberg primary school, in St Lucia a school breakfast club and Andros Routes in Greece. Most recently, they delivered donated items to an orphanage in Tanzania and foster homes in San Jose, Costa Rica. By travelling with Ramblers Walking Holidays, in addition to experiencing the joy of visiting new places, you can help make a difference in these communities.

Seeing the World on Foot with Ramblers

Ramblers Walking Holidays have been providing great value small-group guided holidays in spectacular locations around the globe for 70 years that allow you to discover the essence of the place you are visiting. They are all about seeing the world on foot, offering everything from lowland ambles to high mountain trekking, from short sightseeing walks to challenging long-distance trails.

Ramblers Walking Holidays also want to encourage sustainable practices in the destinations they send their travellers. They are advocates of responsible tourism in accordance with AITO and are extremely aware of the social and environmental impact of travel. By encouraging clients to buy a Water-to-Go bottle, they hope to reduce plastic waste and do their bit for the environment.

The Water-to-Go and Ramblers Partnership

We have been working with Ramblers Walking Holidays for a number of years to help keep their customers healthy and hydrated on their trips. Through our partnership, we have continued to raise money for Heart and Sole. In 2016, Heart & Sole used money donated by Water-to-Go to sponsor the building of a toilet block in Pakistan through an organisation called Toilet Twinning. In December 2017, Water-to-Go were delighted to present Heart & Sole with another cheque for £750 from bottles bought by their clients which has also gone towards their development projects.

We are delighted to be working with such a fantastic company that has a brilliant ethos and that is supporting some life-changing causes. Learn more about Ramblers Walking Holidays and our partnership here.

Top 10 pieces of Bushcraft equipment

Check out this Guide for 10 Essential Bushcraft items

A strong set of bushcraft equipment can be essential on a trip of any type or length. You’ll need to make sure all the kit you bring will be useful at some point as well, otherwise you’ll be carrying unnecessary equipment, adding extra space and weight that could be avoided. This guide is designed to ensure you will only be carrying useful and necessary items that you will be used regularly on your trip.

As an organisation that has worked with UK preppers guide and Jack Raven Bushcraft, we have gained an understanding as to some of the best pieces of equipment for a bushcraft trip.

 

Head-torch

One piece of equipment that will likely become very useful during your trip is a head torch. Being able to see in the dark is simply a must so you will need some form of light.

The, perhaps slightly obvious, advantage to having a head torch over just a standard torch is that you can use the torch with both of your hands free. This makes things like setting up your camp or starting a fire much easier as you’ll have two hands as well as the light to see what you’re doing.

 

Water Filter Bottle

Having access to clean water is another essential when out in the wild and the boiling process can be a very time-consuming exercise. A much more time efficient method is using a filter water bottle for your drinking water.

The Water-to-Go filter bottle has been proven to filter out well over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-salt water source. This means you can safely drink from any river, lake or stream without risking illness. Additionally, this will save you time as you won’t have to take the time to boil water before it’s drinkable.

 

First-aid kit

A first-aid kit of some kind can be crucial in the outdoors. This is because if even the smallest cut were to become infected it can have drastic consequences. A good first aid kit will prevent this eventuality.

A great way to make the most of your first aid kit is to create your own personalised kit. By doing this you’ll be able to prepare for the specific challenges that you’ll be facing on your trip. Whilst creating your own is a great idea, there are some essential items you should include, these being plasters, antiseptic wipes/ cream, paracetamol, scissors as well as any prescription medicine you normally take.

 

Specialised Bushcraft Knife

A knife will most likely be one of your most used items during your trip. It will also be vital for getting the materials from starting a fire. For this reason, it’s important to get a knife that is able to do the jobs you need it to.

Bushcraft specific knives are widely available online, some good examples being ‘the wolverine’ and ‘the nomad’ knives. These should do a good job in terms of creating the shavings and feather sticks you need to start a fire, assuming you have had some experience using a knife for fire starting.

 

Fire-starting equipment: Ferro Rod

Once you’ve got the basic materials to start your fire, you’ll need something to create the initial spark. A great piece of kit for starting a fire is a ferrocerium (or Ferro) rod.

These are essentially rods in which you can swipe your knife across and it will create sparks. The rods are made up of a substance called Ferrocerium which is composed of an alloy of rare-earth metals called mischmetal (containing iron, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, magnesium and lanthanum). It’s, therefore, a great piece of equipment for starting your fires.

 

Rucksack or backpack for Bushcraft

A Rucksack is an essential item for carrying all the other equipment that you’ll be using along your journey. Additionally, having the right backpack is important for any bushcraft trip as you’ll need something that is relatively lightweight, durable and will fit all the kit you will be taking.

5.11 are a company that makes a range of ‘tactical’ backpacks that are designed specifically for the outdoors and are great for a bushcraft trip. They are well thought out rucksacks that effectively balance aspects like durability, storage space and weight to provide a brilliant piece of kit. 5.11 are a US-based company however, you can get your hands on their backpacks from The Bushcraft Store.

 

Navigation Equipment: Compass

Carrying a compass on you is a great form of navigation and a great way to find your bearings. Also due to the size of a compass, it will take up almost no space and very little weight when carrying it with you.

A compass also has advantages over other forms of navigation such as a map. Firstly, it’s much more convenient to use as you won’t be folding up and unfolding every time you need to give yourself an idea of where you are. Additionally, a compass is much more durable as you don’t have to worry about ripping or damaging it as much as you would with a map.

 

Suitable Clothing and Walking Boots

Taking appropriate clothing will be important as it will make your trip much easier and more comfortable. With the amount of walking you’ll be doing, the most important clothing piece will be your shoes.

Getting yourself some specialised walking boots will be greatly beneficial and something your feet will be thanking you for after a long day of trekking. You can pick up a range of walking boots from the Go Outdoors online store. They have a variety of boots, providing you with great value for money and excellent boots equipped for tough terrain.

 

Tarp Sheet

One big problem for bushcraft enthusiasts in this country is the UK’s weather. As I’m sure you’re aware, even during summer months there’s a very real chance you’ll encounter some rainy weather.

For this reason, you’ll need a tarp to keep you, your equipment and your fire nice and dry. Finding yourself a lightweight tarp will be helpful for your journey as you won’t need to add any unnecessary weight to the equipment you’re already carrying.

 

Sleeping Equipment

On your bushcraft journey, your sleep will be extremely important as you’ll need to be conserving all the energy you can during your rest periods. The two most common methods we’ve found for sleep is using either a sleeping bag or a hammock, both of which are effective means of getting your well-needed rest.

If you decide to go with a sleeping bag, make sure to prioritise comfort as you’ll be sleeping on the tough ground. You may also want to combine your sleeping bag with a sleeping mat to make sure you’re able to get a better nights sleep. If you go for the alternative of a hammock, make sure when you’re setting up to choose two sturdy trees or other objects to attach to. You certainly wouldn’t want your bed to collapse in the middle of the night!

Water-to-Go ambassador, Chaz Powell, Becomes One of the First to Walk the Length of the Gambia River

After 47 days, 1120km and 1.5 million steps, adventurer, expedition leader and Water-to-Go ambassador Chaz Powell along with his fellow adventurer and expedition photographer Tim Roberts have become the first people in known history to walk the length of the Gambia river from its source in the Fouta Djallon, Guinea to the Atlantic Ocean on Africa’s Western coast.

This epic journey took them through Guinea, Senegal and the complete length of The Gambia to become the first people in known history to walk the river’s length. The map below shows the route they took.

The 1120km shown on a ZeroSixZero map

“It was an incredible life changing expedition that’s taken us through, wild, rugged and breath-taking landscapes from day one!”

Chaz Powell and Tim Roberts

They said it was “a challenging adventure that’s seen us trek through extreme temperatures and harsh landscapes, whilst enduring constant hunger, dehydration and walking amongst the wildest of animals! But also it’s been the most incredible of journeys where we’ve experienced unending hospitality and kindness from the most humble of people.”

Credit: Tim Roberts

Chaz is no stranger to adventure and has over 15 years of remote travel and expedition experience. In 2016/17 he spent 137 days walking the 3000km length of the Zambezi River, Africa’s fourth longest and wildest river; becoming only the second person in known history to complete this wild and dangerous journey by foot. Roberts joined Chaz on this latest wildest journey as expedition photographer and to help document this historic feat. He’s also no stranger to adventure and has walked various challenging treks all over the world.

This expedition will go down as one of their biggest challenges but also achievements to date as they have now both written themselves into the history books. Whilst they both wanted to test themselves on another wild journey, an important aspect surrounding the expedition was to experience Africa and learn about the wildlife, the culture and the people that live and depend on the Gambia River.

Credit: Tim Roberts

Chaz and Tim experienced cultures and communities first-hand that many people would not have known even existed so this adventure was able to provide a real insight to Africa that would have been completely different to what many people had experienced before.

It’s important to remember that this was no walk in the park as Chaz and Tim definitely faced a number of challenges along the way including dealing high temperatures and threats from wild animals. One of the major challenges on the expedition was finding safe drinking water. To solve this, Chaz and Tim were pleased to work with the UK company, Water-to-Go. Water-to-Go is a portable water filtration system that eliminates well in excess of 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-salt water source. This, therefore, allowed them to fill their bottles up from any freshwater stream, local tap or from the Gambia river itself to keep themselves healthy and hydrated throughout the expedition without getting ill.

Credit: Tim Roberts

Chaz has used his trusted Water-to-Go bottle on many of his adventures and this on-going partnership highlights his commitment to sustainable travel and protecting the environment. The Water-to-Go ambassador is keen to eliminate all single-use plastic bottles on his expeditions and showcase a simple alternative that everyone can use.

One of the main reason’s behind this expedition was to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and highlight serious wildlife crimes that are happening along the remote regions surrounding Africa’s rivers. Chaz partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation for this expedition, one of the oldest and largest conservation organizations that focuses on the protection of African wildlife and wildlands. Throughout his expedition, Chaz was providing his observations of Africa’s wildlife, wild lands and people to the charity.

Credit: Tim Roberts

Chaz also highlighted our partnership and current charity project with the African Wildlife Foundation whilst on this expedition. Water-to-Go are working with the African Wildlife Foundation in order to raise money and awareness of the work that they do and to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa. We have produced a limited edition bottle, that Chaz used on his expedition, to raise awareness and funds for the organisation.

If you want to get involved in the campaign, Water-to-Go’s special AWF branded bottles are still available via our website with £10 from each bottle purchased being donated to the incredible projects and programs run by African Wildlife Foundation.

“Through my ‘The Wildest Journey’ expeditions, I hope to inspire people to take note on what’s happening to the remaining wildlife and wild lands and support my journeys to help me raise the vital funds needed to ensure these places are protected and managed well for future generations.”

Chaz Powell

Chaz has a lot more expeditions in store so watch this space to see where he will be exploring next on ‘The Wildest Journey.’

Credit: Tim Roberts

You can help support his remote journeys and be part of helping support his cause by visiting and donating at – www.justgiving.com/TheWildestJourney

Keep up with what Chaz is up to and follow his expeditions on Facebook and Instagram (@thewildestjourney)

Credit: Tim Roberts

Ash Dykes: the good, the bad and the ugly of Mission Yangtze

Water-to-Go ambassador, Ash Dykes, is continuing to make great progress on his current mission to trek the entire length of China’s Yangtze River. He has already passed the half-way mark and is encountering a new side of the Yangtze as he goes from very rural to more urban parts of this amazing river.

We wanted to get the thoughts of Ash after getting to the half-way point in his expedition and his observations so far. In particular, we were interested to hear about the food, the people and his observations of the Yangtze in general. It is clear that there has been a good, a bad and an ugly side of Mission Yangtze.

A lot of people in the UK and the western world are into their Chinese takeaways and have asked Ash whether or not the typical Chinese takeaway meals, are the same as the actual dishes in China. The quick answer would be “no, not really”. In China, it’s better, healthier and there is so much more choice, with the dishes being different in each province.

One of the first places Ash visited was Quinhai, a province in West China, which is one of if not the most wildest parts of Asia in general. There are a lot of locals still living the nomadic way of life, herding their yak and moving from place to place. There are a lot of mongols that Ash has come across, living with their families in nomadic tents and yurts. Up here at 4000 to 5000 metres above sea-level, they experience very extreme conditions. It is very wild and isolated. The temperature is below 0 most of the time, and in Winter it hits -30 degrees Celsius or more

So their food is very heavy and stodgy with a lot of calories to keep them energised. Qinghai Province (west China) which has more of a Tibetan food influence, is made up mainly of fats, proteins and dairy products. It’s heavy and stodgy food that is well needed for those kinds of environments, where there are harsh temperatures and it is at altitude. Ash had a lot of Yak meat, yoghurt, bread, milk, butter and tsampa (roasted flour, usually barley flour and sometimes also wheat flour. It is usually mixed with the salty Tibetan butter tea and great to actually carry with you on long hikes).

When Ash’s journey started to drop in altitude and he ventured into the Sichuan province, the food started to dramatically change. The climate was warmer, there were more plantations and vegetation, the food was far more diverse and a lot tastier, with herbs and spices added to the mix. Sichuan is famous for its spicy hotpots (originally from Chongqing) and the food here does have a kick.

Breaking into Yunnan, they have everything here with so many great dishes. They have all the vegetables, all the meats; and produce loads of meals, suited for all types of eaters. This has been Ash’s favourite cuisine of #MissionYangtze so far.

If you have been following Ash on social media, it is clear that there is an awful lot to experience and witness along the Yangtze river, much of which hasn’t been explored before. The Yangtze is officially the third longest river in the world. In fact, it is only a tad shorter than the Amazon or the Nile – only a couple of days extra walking to make up the difference according to Ash.

People assume that, because of the sheer size of it, the Yangtze is very heavily polluted but to say that, you would be very much mistaken. It perhaps is at the end of it and Ash will observe this at the end of his expedition. Ash has walked over 2000 miles so far and the river has been brown at times. But this is mainly because of the heavy storms they experience there; washing down dirt and clay off mountains in the water and turning it that colour. At the moment, Ash is happy to report that it is blue and very fresh, clean, clear.

“This is another shock. I thought I’d find polluted water – but the 2,000 miles of what I’ve done so far, has been quite fresh. It’s blue and there’s lots of wildlife. Now I’ve hit the halfway point and I’m starting to go north-east, towards Shanghai, I will start seeing a different river. I don’t look forward to seeing that. I took a last look at the Yangtze in all its health, nice and blue.”

Ash Dykes

So there is a lot of good work being done that Ash has seen and been told about by the locals. There is a lot of protection for aquatic life and endangered wildlife in particular. Ash only learned a few weeks ago that there is there is still the wild dolphin along with the Yangtze alligator that still habits there; that was originally written off as being extinct.

Ash has walked through the main Yangtze provinces of Yunan, Sichuan and Qinghai so far. Each province has its own different people, dialects, feuds, plantations and vegetation. Ash has experienced a different way of life in each of these provinces which has only furthered his knowledge of the Yangtze and China as a whole. But one thing has remained the same – the people and their manner. Wherever Ash has been, the locals have been so friendly and hospitable. He has been welcomed into the community and has been offered a place to stay and eat wherever he has been. The people always try their best to accommodate.

However, it hasn’t always been easy when the people have tried to show their kindness. This ‘kindness’ has often ended up with Ash being detained and questioned by the police! Ash has gone to such wild places that they don’t know what to do so they just end up calling the police. The police have often rocked up at 2/3 am – not to cause harm but to question him as they are worried for his safety. Ash is aware that they might not have seen a westerner before and this has been part of the confusion. The policed have taken him in but always let him go eventually. Ash has just taken it in his stride and accepted that it has just a part of mission.

One of the main aspects of Ash’s expedition was to experience the people and the different cultures along the Yangtze. Ash has been surprised at the sheer number of communities and people that live along and depend on the Yangtze. There are at least 111 cities along the Yangtze, that Ash is aware of, that have a population higher than New Zealand which is staggering. With it being so long at 4000 miles, the Yangtze caters for everyone so you find a diverse range of people that live along there.

The first half of his journey has taken him through China’s ‘wild west’, exposing him to the elements and vistas of jaw-dropping beauty. Now he’s preparing to tackle the urbanised east, where human development dominates and cities are interspersed with paddy fields.

“The first half [of this trip] was always anticipated to be the most difficult. It’s sensitive being so close to Tibet and it’s so remote and wild. The terrain was tricky, temperatures dropped below minus 20C, there were snow blizzards and there was a threat from bears and wolves.”

Ash Dykes

The mission got off to a fairly rocky start – complications with permits, visas and his support team have pushed the challenge back by a few weeks. “On the way up the mountain I lost my videographers through a combination of altitude sickness and the extreme cold,” says Dykes. “Then, my local guide was doubled over and I checked on him, his nose was bleeding and he was struggling for breath. He’s a local Tibetan, who lives in a village at about 3,500 metres [11,500 feet] [above sea level], but even he had to turn back.” This was a big wake-up call for Ash and everyone following the expedition to realise the sheer danger and harsh conditions that is encompassed with this mission.

Despite this, Ash has carried on like the true Welsh warrior that he is and was delighted to reach the half-way mark after so many setbacks and difficulties. However, Ash will be facing a different set of challenges as he starts to travel through the more urban parts of the Yangtze. Ash still has another 2000 miles of adventuring through Chinese terrain where he will encounter fresh challenges and amazing experiences along the way. Ash is prepared for what is to come over the next several months.

“There will be different challenges – maybe snakes and spiders. I can’t go trampling on someone’s land so I’ll have to go around and that’s going to be more annoying and irritating than anything else. The river is a lot deeper, so the tributaries are wider and there’ll be more detours. The river is just under 4,000 miles but this will end up being more than a 4,000 mile trek.”

Ash Dykes

Whilst the many changes in scenery, people and food; there is one thing that remains the same on his journey that is always there – his Water-to-Go bottle. He has carried his trusted Water-to-Go for the duration of this mission and his 2 previous world firsts across Mongolia and Madagascar to keep him healthy and hydrated with safe clean drinking water.

There have been many points along this mission where he has been desperate for water and has simply filled his Water-to-Go bottle with water straight from the Yangtze itself and the 3-in-1 technology filter has allowed him to drink it straight away.

His Water-to-Go bottle has been an essential item on all of his travels to provide him with safe, drinking water wherever he is. Not only does it help him save money, but it also helps him to save weight and save the planet by not needing to purchase single-use plastic bottles that we find so often polluting our rivers and oceans.

A major part of Ash’s expedition is to travel responsibly and sustainably, and the Water-to-Go bottle allows him to do this. Ash has been explaining this to the people he meets on his journey and is trying to help them become more sustainable as a community. Water-to-Go is the ideal alternative to single-use plastic bottles and we are delighted that Ash is promoting this message on his biggest expedition yet.

Overall, Ash is pleased with how his expedition is going and everything that he is learning about the Yangtze. He is looking forward to the next chapter and will look to keep us all updated with his progress.

Keep track of Ash on his live tracker

So make sure you keep up with Ash on social media as he continues his expedition and experiences the beauties of the Yangtze and China in general.

James Forrest climbs 273 mountains in Ireland in record-breaking expedition

UK adventurer, James Forrest, has officially climbed every 600m mountain in Ireland in just eight weeks – the fastest ever time. The 35-year-old walked over 1,000km in his mission to stand atop all 273 600m high mountains across Ireland and Northern Ireland. He ascended the height of Everest every week for eight weeks in a row, completing the peak-bagging challenge solo and unsupported in 56 days. The expedition is believed to be the first continuous ‘single round’ of the mountains of Ireland.

James, a freelance adventure and travel writer from Cumbria in England, walked up to 25 miles a day and slept wild in the mountains in a one-man tent. He began his adventure on Thursday, August 9, and reached his final summit – Knocknadobar in County Kerry – on Wednesday, October 3. He said: “I feel on top of the world to have finally completed this epic expedition. It has been the adventure of a lifetime and an incredibly tough challenge, both physically and mentally.”

“Mountains are good for the soul. I love the freedom, the fresh air, the isolation, the unpredictability, the escapism – and this journey has let me experience these joys more than most.”

James Forrest

It wasn’t all plain sailing for him and the weather certainly wasn’t always the kindest to James. He faced his fair share of bad weather during his challenge, battling against torrential rain and gale force winds during Storm Ali. “I faced such brutal weather during this challenge at times I felt like giving up”, he added. But like the true adventurer, James soldiered on to complete one of his biggest challenges to date.

To get more of an insight into his record-breaking adventure, Water-to-Go managed to ask a few questions to the man himself.

Where did you first get the idea of climbing all 273 mountains in Ireland, and what did the planning and training involve? In 2017 I climbed all 446 mountains over 2000ft in England and Wales – the so-called ‘Nuttalls’ – in just six months, the fastest ever time. It was my first ever major peak-bagging expedition and I loved it. It was a life-affirming experience; a challenge that changed my life really. I wanted to go on a similar adventure in 2018 and the idea of Ireland popped into my head. I’d never hiked in Ireland so I was drawn to the idea of new experiences and exciting landscapes, especially in the wild, rugged, remote west and south-west of Ireland.

To be honest, I really didn’t train for the challenge, simply because I walk a lot in my everyday life, so I was already fit for hiking. And, similarly, I didn’t spend loads of time planning. I love the unpredictability of adventures and the joy of ‘going with the flow’, so I’ve never been one to over-plan. All I did really was jam-pack my car full of expedition food and camping gear (especially chocolate and Nutella) and plan routes on my phone using a GPS app. Simple.

What gear did you rely on the most during your journey?
Definitely the GPS navigation app on my phone. Many of the mountains of Ireland are pathless and, in poor weather, navigation is very tricky. My GPS certainly got me out of a few tricky situations – I might still be lost in the remote Dunkerrons in County Kerry if it wasn’t for the wonders of GPS pinpointing. I used my phone as my primary navigation tool for all 273 mountains and it never let me down. I also loved my Water-to-Go bottle, however – it went everywhere with me and enabled me to access clear water whenever I needed it on my wild camping trips. It was invaluable.

What were the biggest challenges you faced? There were, naturally, loads of lows: falling violently ill (stomach problems) after my first week in the wild; losing my wallet in Killarney (only to luckily get it back after it was handed into the police}; being berated by an angry Air BnB owner for ‘making his house smell of old socks’ after stashing my hiking gear in the room (one of the most awkward and cringy moments I’ve ever had!); and forgetting my lighter on a multi-day wild camping trip meaning I couldn’t use my stove (luckily a kind man gave me one on day two!).

But easily the biggest challenge was the weather. I faced so much rain and wind and cloud it was utterly gut-wrenching. At one point I hiked for 10 days in a row, climbing over 50 mountains, and it was torrential rain every day and I didn’t see a view from a single summit. It was horrific. I felt like giving up so many times. It was demoralising and I felt broken mentally. But I persevered, as I didn’t want to be a quitter, and I’m so pleased I kept going.

What was the best moment? There were so many highs and ecstasies: the freedom and escapism of the mountains, the nature, the solitude and tranquility of walking alone, the magic of sleeping wild under the stars, the sense of achievement that comes with a big challenge, the heartwarming generosity and kindness of the strangers who gave me lifts when I was hitchhiking around, the unpredictability of a big adventure (and the joy of overcoming the mishaps and obstacles in my way), and the beauty of the wild landscapes of Ireland. But my most euphoric moment was waking up to a perfect cloud inversion on a mountain called Knockowen in the Beara Peninsula. I unzipped my tent and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was truly beautiful, like waking up heaven. I will remember that moment forever.

Anything you can tell us about your next expedition – or are you taking the chance to rest and recover for a bit first? Well, I’ve now climbed all of the mountains in England and Wales in 2017, and all of the mountains in Ireland in 2018. So, perhaps, the past 719 mountains have just been training for the inevitable – an attempt on the Munros in 2019 maybe. But, for the time being, I’m planning on spending a lot of time with my sofa, watching Netflix and eating Dominos pizzas. I think I deserve the rest!

James, whose expedition was supported by outdoor clothing brand Salomon and expedition food company Summit To Eat, hopes to write a book about his adventures in Ireland. His debut book Mountain Man – about his 446-mountain challenge in England and Wales – will be published by Bloomsbury in Spring 2019. To follow James’ adventures visit www.instagram.com/jamesmichaelforrest or www.facebook.com/jamesmichaelforrest