Gap Year Travel Packing List

What to take when Travelling on your Gap Year

Are you planning on travelling during your gap year? As with any travel experience, it’s important to be well prepared and make sure you have all the necessary gear to make to most of your experience. For this reason, we have created a packing list made from the best pieces of travel kit to help you make the most of your gap year travels.

At Water-to-Go we have provided bottles to many gap year travellers over the years to keep them safe and hydrated wherever their journey takes them. We are also working with travel stores specialising in gap year travel such as the Gap Year Travel Store. We’ve used this experience and created a list of the best items for you to take whilst travelling on your gap year.

Travel Backpack

Having a durable and convenient backpack is something that will make your journey much easier and more comfortable. It’s important to make sure you get a backpack that suits your plans and is sufficient for what you need to carry, where you need to carry it and how long you’ll be carrying it for.

Osprey is a company that specialises in making innovative and high-quality backpacks. Their backpacks come in a range of sizes and are extremely durable. This means they should be able to last you whether your journey is 2 weeks or a year-long journey.

Wash Bag

Having a separate bag for your toiletries is something that will be extremely useful, especially for those going on adventurous travel experiences. A separate wash bag means you won’t be rummaging around in other bags, compartments, etc. when all you need to do is brush your teeth or wash your hands and face. It’s therefore not exactly an ‘essential’ item for your travels but it will make your travels much more convenient, especially if you’ve just come off a long day of hiking or travelling.

Osprey again makes a padded high-quality wash bag however, if you need something lighter or slightly cheaper you can easily get your hands on indivdual netted wash bags as well.

Filter Water Bottle

The last thing you want on your travels is to drink from a questionable water source and catch some form of illness, potentially ruining your experience. The Water-to-Go filter bottle will filter out well over 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 lots of single-use plastic water bottles, the reusable Water-to-Go bottle can be used to replace them. In fact, one 200L filter can replace up to 400 single-use plastic water bottles.

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.

Medication for your Destination

It’s important to be prepared medically for whichever country you are visiting, especially if you are travelling to countries like Africa where there is the risk of diseases such as Malaria.

The medication you’ll need will vary depending on the country you’re travelling to. Make sure to consult your GP or visit a travel clinic to recommend the medicines/ vaccinations you will need for your travels. Their’s nothing worse than your experience being ruined because of an illness.

Insect Repellent Spray

On a similar topic to medication, making sure you protect yourself from insect bits will be very important in certain countries. In hotter countries, especially African countries, where insects tend to get a bit bitey making sure you fend them off will make your trip much more enjoyable.

We also briefly talk about insect repellent clothing later in this blog, which is just another way you can protect yourself against bites.

Essential Items for Travel

Make sure you double and triple check the essential items that you will need for your travels. Some essential items you will likely need are:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Money in the correct currency (make sure to check first)
  • Any relevant insurance or other important documents
  • Flight tickets or other tickets you may need
  • Personal medication (i.e. inhaler, epi-pen, etc.)
  • Mobile phone

Be aware your particular journey may require other essential items so it’s important to prepare specifically for your travel needs.

 

Mini Padlock

Security will be vital on your travels, especially when carrying important documents like your passport, wallet, visas, etc.

Make sure to get yourself at least one mini-padlock for each bag you’re carrying with you. The locks are generally at a good price and well worth securing your important documents and expensive items. You can either go for a combination lock or a mini-padlock with a key, but make sure you keep the keys in a safe place on your person. The last thing you want is to be locked out of your own backpack!

You can also get a cable lock which is a fantastic way to keep your luggage safe on public transport. If you’re taking a long train or bus journey a cable lock can be attached to a pole or seat near you, stopping anyone from swiping your bags.

 

Lightweight Sleeping Bag

This will be a great item if you are staying in places that may not offer the best sleeping conditions, particularly if you’re camping or staying in a hostel.

Obviously, a sleeping bag is something that can be a pain to lug around all day, but you can get some great lightweight sleeping bags. This means you won’t be adding any excessive extra weight into your backpack. Some sleeping bags are able to fold up to become no bigger than a football, meaning you can save on space as well.

Appropriate Clothing for your Travels

It will be important to bring appropriate clothes for not just your destination but also the type of travel that you will be embarking on. This will be especially relevant if you are undertaking a more adventurous experience.

Rohan is a clothing company that stock clothes for the traveller and have gear appropriate for a range of different locations. They stock a range of cold weather clothing, from waterproofs to winter trekking gear as well as providing a warm weather range which includes specially designed sun-protective and insect repellent clothes.

Hopefully, this has given you some good ideas about what you need and want to take on your gap year travels. If you’re planning an adventure travel experience click here to see our 10 essential adventure travel items for more useful pieces of kit.

Water-to-Go are working with the African Wildlife Foundation

Water-to-Go are delighted to announce that we are working with the African Wildlife Foundation in order to raise money and awareness of the work that they do to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa. This is an exciting new partnership for the business as we continue to grow and spread the message about Water-to-Go.

African Wildlife Foundation is improving the lives of local people alongside protecting wildlife and their habitat so both can have a sustainable fugure. AWF works directly with communities and local partners to understand the obstacles faced and find solutions specific to their needs so that livelihoods do not destroy the natural environment or threaten the survival of wildlife. By providing incentives such as economic enterprises, access to better education or sharing income from tourism, AWF’s programmes support communities to develop whilst embracing conservation. We are pleased to be supporting these initiatives through this campaign.

Kirstin Johnson, UK Director of the African Wildlife Foundation; Chaz Powell, UK adventurer and Water-to-Go ambassador; Dave Shanks, CEO and Founder of Water-to-Go

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has nearly 60 years of experience working to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in a modern Africa. As one of the oldest and largest conservation organizations focused solely on the continent of Africa, AWF is the primary advocate for the protection of African wildlife and wild lands.

For this campaign, Water-to-Go has produced a special edition bottle that is available via our website. We will donate £10 from every special bottle sold towards AWF’s work to protect the wildlife and wild lands in Africa. 

African Wildlife Foundation Limited Edition 75cl filter bottle

Water-to-Go bottles protect our planet by providing an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use plastic. On his travels around the world, Water-to-Go founder Dave Shanks was shocked at the piles of plastic waste he saw that were damaging local communities and the planet. He sought to create a sustainable solution to this problem and developed a reusable, recyclable water bottle that contains a unique 3-in-1 filter that provides safe drinking water anywhere. Now, Water-to-Go are working with AWF to ensure the sustainable future of Africa’s people, wildlife and land.

Africa loses 8 percent of its elephants to poaching every year. AWF’s programmes include training and equipping rangers, deploying sniffer and detection dogs, setting aside protected areas for critically endangered wildlife and educating the public and those responsible for law enforcement on how the destruction of habitat and illegal wildlife trade is robbing Africa of its future. You can all get involved in our project to support wildlife conservation and ensure Africa’s elephants do not become endangered.

We are delighted to be working with a charity of the calibre and influence of the African Wildlife Foundation. They align with the visions and goals of our business, and together we are committed to making a difference. Through this campaign, we are doing our bit to help protect Africa’s wildlife and wild lands.

The African Wildlife Foundation joins Water-to-Go in its vision to protect the planet by reducing single-use plastic water bottles on their member safaris, and by distributing Water-to-Go bottles to a selection of rangers protecting wildlife on the front line. Water-to-Go will be donating some of these limited edition AWF bottles to the charity so that these rangers can stay healthy and hydrated wherever they are.

Water-to-Go was delighted to be invited to the Royal Over-seas League in London to hear about AWF’s partnership with the Rwandan Development Board that focuses on Mountain Gorilla Conservation in Rwanda alongside community empowerment and development.

This is just one of many initiatives in Africa that are improving people’s lives as well as protecting the wildlife that is so important to the future of the country. It was fantastic to hear about this and to know that our campaign will be actively contributing to these projects.

We were also delighted to meet Yamina Karitanyi, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to the UK, at the event who has fully endorsed our project with AWF. CEO and Founder of Water-to-Go, Dave Shanks, got the chance to speak with her about the business and our project with AWF so we are very pleased to have their backing and support going forward.

Yamina Karitanyi, High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to the UK; and Dave Shanks, Founder and CEO of Water-to-Go
We need your help if we want this campaign to be a success. If you want to be a part of this campaign, just click the link below and keep up to date on our social media channels. Thank you in advance for your support.

To learn more, visit www.watertogo.eu/awf

Unravelling Travelling: Water-to-Go is the number 1 item in our backpack

Well hello there! We are a couple who travel and work our way around the world full time whilst running our travel website Unravelling Travelling. Our aim is to make travel more accessible by sharing tips, tricks and advice to those who may feel that travelling is out of their reach. The most common question we get asked is how expensive it is to travel, even on a budget. Whilst we focus mainly on transport and accommodation, we want to bring attention to the smaller amounts that add up, like bottled water in countries where tap water isn’t drinkable, which is why we’ve turned to Water-to-Go.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Water-to-Go make filtration bottles which allow you to drink from any non-salt water source using filters that remove over 99.9% of bacteria. Their mission is to offer safe and healthy drinking water worldwide whilst saving you money (every backpacker’s dream) and providing an alternative to single-use plastic bottles.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Whilst we’re travelling, it’s extremely important for us to stay hydrated, especially when we visit countries with a high humidity and temperatures way beyond those we’re used to. The lack of drinking water in many parts of the world resulted in the buying of bottled water, which had a disastrous effect on both our pockets and the environment. In the USA and Europe alone, we consume over 70 billion single-use plastic water bottles, of which only 20% are recycled. Not only does this have a detrimental effect on the environment, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 mammals die from ingesting or becoming trapped in plastic waste per year.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

A video has recently emerged of a tourist beach in Bali showing the amount of plastic contaminating our oceans. Not only is it extremely sad for the wildlife, but also affects us as travellers; it is our duty to leave our destinations as we found them. Drinking a single bottle of water does as much damage to the environment as driving a car for 1km, and for every 5 bottles made, 1 bottle full of oil is used to distribute them.

So why don’t we just reuse the first water bottle we buy when we arrive at our destination, especially as some places do provide free and safe drinking water from the tap? Because reusing our bottle can lead to physical breakdowns of plastic where bacteria can harbour leading to bacterial contamination and that is the last thing we need when we’re in the middle of a trip of a lifetime!

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Using a Water-to-Go bottle gives us access to water in the most remote regions of the world. Whether we’re near a puddle, a stream or a bucket of rain water, we use our bottles to filter it into perfectly safe drinking water. Secondly, for every 260 plastic bottles we would have to throw away, we only get through 1 filter with our bottles. Thirdly, it’s safer to drink puddle water from Thailand in a Water-to-Go bottle than it is to drink tap water from a reused plastic bottle in UK. Plus, we save a rather large sum of money.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

As backpackers, we spend the months leading up to our trip eating nothing but beans on toast and working 70 hour weeks to pay for it, but we would often forget to add ‘keeping hydrated’ to our budget. An average person is recommended to drink 2 litres of water per day. This equates to 4 bottles of water per day (assuming our bottle size is 500ml). With no access to tap water, we would then spend £4 per day minimum. On a 6 month trip, we would need to budget £744 just for water, whereas with a Water-to-Go bottle it costs £29 for a 500ml bottle and 2 extra filters, plus we save £252 per filter, assuming each filter is equal to exactly 260 plastic bottles costing £1 each. We also remove the filter and use it as our regular day to day bottle, as tap water in the UK only costs 2p per litre.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

We received these bottles as a present for Christmas 2017 and have taken them on every trip we’ve been on so far. One of these places was Malaysia, where we decided to hike Bukit Saga, just outside of Kuala Lumpar. Our 3 hour journey quickly turned into 9 hours when we got lost and we hadn’t taken food with us. Luckily what we did have was our Water-to-Go bottles which we filled every step of the way from any water source we could find. Had we bought a bottle of water from a shop beforehand instead, we would have ended up drinking from muddy, murky waters with no filtration system and potentially been extremely ill afterwards. Not something we would have relished during our first few weeks of our trip! You can read our full horror story here.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

We recently voted our Water-to-Go bottles our number 1 item in our backpack, but don’t just take our word for it; there have been incredible testimonies from people in a variety of situations and places such as a medical trip to Rwanda, a 4,500km walk the length of India, expeditions to Mongolia and Madagascar, walking the length of the Zambezi River and Kayaking the length of Angola’s Kwanza River, all of which you can read about here.

So, what are you waiting for? To all the backpackers out there, your Water-to-Go bottle will be your best friend and maybe even your life saver! Be sure to purchase a bottle and as many filters as you’ll need before you go. It’s an absolute life changer!

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Guest blog post by Li Vinall from Unravelling Travelling

All photos by Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

World Water Day 2018 – Solutions to the global water crisis

In our previous blog post, we mentioned that people all over the world are raising awareness about the importance of water and how we can solve the global water crisis as part of World Water Day 2018 which is happening on 22 March.

The United Nations has long been addressing the global crisis caused by unsafe water and sanitation and growing demands on the world’s water resources to meet human, economic and environmental needs. According to them, the answer is in nature.

A major part of the solution is to produce less pollution and improve the way we manage wastewater. We have heard it before but a circular economy is imperative to the sustainability of the planet. Prince Charles cited this when speaking at the ‘Our Ocean’ conference in Malta in October 2017. Although this talk plastic pollution in our oceans, a circular economy would affect all aspects of sustainable development. He highlighted that “this economic approach has to be a critical part of establishing a more harmonious relationship between humankind and the ocean that sustains us all.”

A more circular and therefore more sustainable economy requires us to value wastewater for its potential, rather than discard or ignore it. More than just an alternative source of water, safe wastewater management could help protect our ecosystems and give us energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

UN Water

Around 1.9 billion people live in areas where water is already scarce and this is just not acceptable. It is largely as a result of unfortunate natural disasters that cause absolute devastation in certain parts of the world. Even people who live in areas where there is running water, over 2 billion of them live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education and livelihoods. We explored the importance of water as an essential building block of life in our previous blog post. This crisis will have far more consequences than we realise unless we pull together to address the problem. Hopefully, through World Water Day and the upcoming High-Level Political Forum later this year, the United Nations and other authorities will be able to address any issues and accelerate the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals.

We have to make safe, clean water for health and sanitation universally available all over the world and this starts with addressing how wastewater is managed according to the UN. We are getting to a stage where we have to think twice about how we use natural resources and how we can be more efficient as a global economy. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, a circular economy would help accelerate progress and help us all commit to a sustainable future. These resources need to be recovered, recycled and reused instead of just thrown away.

The availability of safe and sufficient water supplies is inextricably linked to how wastewater is managed. Increased amounts of untreated sewage, combined with agricultural runoff and industrial discharge, have degraded water quality and contaminated water resources around the world.

UN Water

Another sustainable solution to our water crisis and plastic pollution is Water-to-Go. Our reusable filter bottle is the perfect alternative to single-use plastic bottles and gives you guaranteed access to safe, clean drinking water from any non-salt water source in the world.

Our unique 3-in-1 filters eliminate well in excess of 99.9% of microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from water leaving you with clean, safe water anytime, anywhere.

Find out in our next blog post what Water-to-Go are doing to help and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals here in this video.

Other blog posts: 

How to become a responsible traveller

Last year, the UN General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development; and since then there has been much more emphasis on Responsible Tourism. We all share this beautiful world that we live in and it is important that we treat it with care especially when travelling. Some are more fortunate than others to live in developed areas where the culture of travel is not as sustainable as it should be. Responsible travel is now high on the agenda and hopefully this will give you a few ideas as to how you can become a responsible traveller.

 

Tourism is today the 3rd largest export industry in the world after chemicals and fuels. It brings hope, prosperity and understanding to so many lives and livelihoods all over the world. In 2016 alone, 1235 million travellers crossed international borders in one single year. By 2030, this 1.2 billion will become 1.8 billion.

A lot of the time, we don’t really think about the places that we are visiting and how it might affect them. It is therefore important that we change attitudes and behaviours to have minimum effect on the environment.

Use a Water-to-Go bottle

With millions of tourists and travellers exploring ever more exotic destinations every year, having access to safe drinking water is an absolute necessity. Unfortunately, when we travel we are forced to buy bottled water when there is not a safe alternative. Single-use water bottles are having a devastating impact on our planet with the latest report indicating that plastic waste could outnumber fish in the ocean by the year 2050. This is possibly the worst problem that has occurred from travel and is something that has to be addressed.

The team at Water-to-Go have been battling this problem right from our inception in 2010 and through painstaking research, we have created a sustainable and responsible alternative to the single-use plastic water bottle. The Water-to-Go bottle filters out over 99.9% of all the bad things in water that can make you ill. These include bacteria, viruses, parasites, lead, chlorine and water borne cysts from any non-saltwater source. That means you can fill up from questionable tap water, mountain streams, canals or puddles and still be able to drink healthy, safe water without ever having to buy bottled water making it the ideal travel companion. The cost of the filtered water works out at just 5 pence a litre, so you will be saving a small fortune in not having to buy expensive bottled water.

We want to raise awareness about the issues of plastic pollution but to also highlight that there is a solution. To illustrate this, 1 Water-to-Go 75cl filter is the equivalent of using 400 plastic bottles. Water-to-Go is a sustainable solution to plastic pollution and is the embodiment of sustainable and responsible tourism. 

Pack light

If you are packing a Water-to-Go bottle, you are already packing light and saving weight. Think twice about how much you are packing and decide whether you actually NEED it. It will be so much easier for you when you are travelling as you won’t have so much to lug about and it means you have space to bring something home. Furthermore, a lot of this stuff may end up becoming waste meaning that will have an effect on the environment.

Lower your carbon footprint

Leaving less of an effect on the environment will mean that you will automatically lower your carbon footprint when you are travelling. The easiest way to do this is reducing your waste. For example, try to take eco-friendly sunscreens and deodorants. When shopping, say no to plastic bags and put your items in your backpack or in a reusable bag. A Water-to-Go bottle will also mean that you are lowering your carbon footprint and reducing your plastic waste.

Respect the culture of a community

If you are already lowering your carbon footprint and reducing your waste, you are already respecting the area that you are visiting. However, it is also important when travelling to learn about the culture, flora, fauna of a community. This will allow you to experience the real essence of the place you visit and you will appreciate the diverse world we live in. A holiday you will remember will take you out of your comfort zone and educate you about different lifestyles. When travelling you should adapt to the local way of life and not the other way round. A good way to do this is with an eco-friendly travel company such as Steppes or Wild Frontiers who have links all over the world. You may be surprised about what you discover if you do this and how much of a better person you become. For a start, a new language will make you a more well-rounded person, more respected in business and very appealing to employers.

Go local

To respect the local community, the least you can do is eat locally produced food. This, in turn, will have an impact on the local economy and the living standard of the local people. The world would be a boring place if we constantly ate McDonalds or KFC. Don’t buy from chains or multinational companies as this will only benefit only a few. Going local also helps reduce the environmental impact of travel while at the same time helping the local community create a better life for themselves.

Give back to the community

Going local with regards to food and resources is great but sometimes that isn’t enough for families in underprivileged areas to get by. A great thing that we can do is take part in charity work and give back to the community. If you are travelling with the eco-friendly travel companies mentioned earlier, they are just a few that work with charitable causes that do life-changing work in neglected communities. As a tourist, it may sound silly but buying souvenirs at full price could help that person no end. It is important that resources go straight back into the communities and an easy way is giving it straight to the people who need it most.

We are naively unaware about the consequences of our actions especially when travelling and in this current climate, it is important that we educate others about responsible travel. As this has highlighted, there are some easy ways to become a more responsible traveller which in turn will make us better people and make a better planet. Becoming a responsible traveller and choosing to bring this attitude as a tourist means travelling in a way that’s ethical and pays a lot of respect to the local people, culture, environment and economy by bringing a positive impact on the community. 

We have to build a better future for people, planet, peace and prosperity.
You can be the change you want to see in the world.
You can be an ambassador for a better future.

Bottled water VS Water-to-Go

Is it Hocus Pocus, let us know what you think?

It’s the world’s bestselling soft drink – more people buy bottled water than fruit juice or fizzy drinks. Bottled water can cost between 500 to 1000 times more than tap water. So why do we think it is so much better than tap water? So, is it healthier? And does it taste better?

Perceived benefits of bottled water

People buy bottled water simply because it is marketed as being “better” than tap water making it better for you. Furthermore, it is the most convenient way (when you are out and about) to get water and stay hydrated. In one study, convenience, taste, and health risks were influential factors for participants when deciding whether to buy a bottle of water or not.

The real story

It certainly has a hefty carbon footprint – with some reports estimating around 82.8g of CO2 for a half-litre bottle – not insignificant when everyone’s drinking it. Furthermore, the manufacture of plastic, as well as its destruction by incineration, pollutes air, land and water and exposes workers to toxic chemicals. The worst problem with bottled water is that the plastic it is made from either does not biodegrade or takes hundreds of years. It just sits and accumulates in landfills or pollutes the environment and the oceans.

So is it really so much better that it’s worth both paying for and harming the planet? 

There is no evidence that bottled water is better for you; in fact it may be less safe than tap water. Two-thirds of water from the tap comes from surface water (reservoirs, lakes, rivers) and the rest from ground water (underground geological formations that store rainwater). For some reason, we don’t trust tap water because it is free and therefore assume there is something wrong with it. However, researchers found bottled water is subject to far less stringent safety tests than tap water and is much more likely to be contaminated or become a source of infection.

People have gained access to water, but huge inequalities remain.

A new report by the World Health Organisation/Unicef points out that since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to an “improved” drinking water source, one that is designed to protect against contamination. But in 2015, 663 million people still drank water from unprotected sources.  In 41 countries, a fifth of people drink water from a source that is not protected from contamination

Inevitably, there are still issues still prevalent with tap water all over the world: chlorine which is added as a disinfectant; insecticides and herbicides which can wash into rivers and lakes and seep into groundwater. Arsenic, which occurs naturally in rocks and soil, linked to increased risk of cancer; and lead, a harmful neurotoxin can be deposited into drinking water as a result of old, corroded metal pipelines.
So whilst tap water may be better than bottled water, it is still not the best option when you are travelling. You may not have access to taps and would rather not use single-use plastic bottles. Surely there is a solution to all these problems and a way to access safe, clean water wherever you are without harming the environment? This is where Water-to-Go comes in.

Use Water-to-Go and together we can change the world, one bottle, one person at a time.

Unlike bottled water, Water-to-Go eradicates all the harmful substances tap water contains whether it be chlorine or any other. Not just that, Water-to-Go eliminates over 99.9% of ALL microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals such as lead from any non-salt water source.

It is perfect for everyday use, travelling, backpacking, outdoors, holidays, and sports. You can fill up and drink from taps, rivers, streams and standpipes to name just a few. The filter will even eliminate the smell and taste of the water.

Water-to-Go bottles are environmentally friendly reusable alternatives to single-use plastic bottles meaning you won’t need to keep buying a continuous supply of water bottles when travelling. Use Water-to-Go and you will be protecting your health, your finances and most importantly our planet from plastic pollution.

Use Water-to-Go, and together we can change the world, one bottle, one person at a time.

Around the world in 80 ways

For most adventurers ‘simply’ cycling around the world would present enough of a challenge, but Adam Sultan, named as one of the most inspiring adventurers of 2015, is doing things slightly differently…

On the 28th of June he set off from the London Olympic Velodrome, turning his pedals for the first time on a journey that will cover at least 46,000 unsupported miles and take up to five years. This isn’t going to be your ‘average’ round the world cycle however and Adam has set himself a number of other, in many ways tougher, challenges to complete along the way, which he hopes will continue his mission of inspiring and helping others.

12439202_500411333474637_1597863164331343226_n-1During his trip Adam wants to experience the world, rather than just rush through it and so plans to add in a little bit of extra ‘spice’. Added physical challenges will include cycling the 2014 Tour de France route, a tough feat for even the most seasoned of riders, avoiding the ‘quick’ round the world route and instead heading through the great mountain ranges of the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, and Rockies, and continuing his #LifeYears challenge (last year for 2015 he ran 15 marathons around the globe), this year involving doing at least 16 days where he pushes 100 miles or more on the bike.

Aside from the riding he’s also looking to participate in Citizen Science, hoping to feed information back to researchers that will help in the fields of astronomy, light pollution and conservation. He’s committed to going ‘Around the World in Eighty Ways’ working in eighty different jobs, mainly voluntary, as he travels, to really immerse himself in different cultures and help where he can. Furthermore he hopes to use his social media channels to tell the stories of those who don’t normally have a voice and raise money and awareness for charities working in the different countries he travels through, such as SEED Madagascar a small London based charity who do humanitarian and conservation work in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries on the planet.

In this era of sensationalised adventures and adventurers, some may feel that a London Underground worker cycling round the world without trying to set a record or a ‘first’ isn’t exciting news, but Adam’s trip harks back to an older era where adventure wasn’t just about pushing your body to the limits, but was about exploration, meeting new people and discovering the world around you by immersing yourself in it. Adam hopes this will be the legacy of his trip and that people will feel this is just as worthy as a record breaking ride.

“As much as I admire and respect many of today’s modern adventures I hope my trip shows people that sometimes we need to slow down a bit and not just rush into a place, take some photos and shoot off again having ticked a list. I hope it inspires people to get to really know new environments and the people in them and if needed lend a helping hand.”

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-15-05-09After falling victim to illness from contaminated water in Eastern Europe, Adam decided to use one of our filtered bottles to protect himself for the rest of his travels:

“Water-to-Go have come to my rescue! After picking up a bad stomach bug from bad water which kept me out of action, I now don’t need to worry anymore. Extremely pleased to know I can drink clean, filtered water whenever I see a freshwater source – bring on the adventure!”

To follow Adam or donate to the charities he is raising money and awareness for visit www.adamtsultan.com

The Rohan Way…

We’re delighted to announce that our filtered water bottles are now available in ALL Rohan stores. Rohan have been stocking Water-to-Go for the past 2 years and due to popular demand, now feature us in all of their stores.

Rohan is the perfect match for Water-to-Go. As the only Travel Clothing specialists on the high street, they have 3 fundamental principles that they stick to – Lightweight, Packable and Fast Drying.

Now, the fast drying would just apply to their clothes, but being lightweight and packable are two principles that Water-to-Go live by. Our 75cl bottle weighs just 138grams and is the perfect size to slip into a backpack or daypack.

It’s not just their philosophy on product that we share. Rohan also shares our passion for the environment. Their environmental policy is one that is very close to our hearts:

“At Rohan we think travel bottlecarefully about how we can grow whilst minimizing our direct environmental impacts. By sourcing responsibly, reducing waste and encouraging reuse we believe we can do our bit to build a sustainable business. We recognize it’s a journey and we continue to look at ways we can improve.

We believe in making a quality product that lasts and that Reduce and Reuse are better aims than recycle.”

Taken from Rohan.co.uk

Our water bottles fall into both of these categories. We are trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste caused by single-use water bottles by encouraging people to use a reusable water bottle with a filter.

Check out the Rohan website and find your nearest store: www.rohan.co.uk

Walking The Zambezi

Adventurer and expedition leader Chaz Powell is set to become the first ever person to walk the entire length of the Zambezi River in one outing while raising money and awareness for wildlife conservation. Setting out in August, Chaz will walk for 6 months through the driest and hottest months of the year in order to find safe passage through the floodplains and finishing this gruelling challenge during the November to January wet season.

36 year old Powell from Shropshire is aiming to go one better than David Lemon who, at an incredible 69 years of age, was the first person to walk the Zambezi River in two stages, excluding its path through Angola where he failed to obtain a Visa. Chaz will start this mammoth, 1600 mile, expedition from the Zambezi source in North Western Zambia, passing through Angola for 150 miles, back into Zambia, then crossing through Mozambique until finally reaching the river’s mouth at the Indian Ocean.

Lemon has given Chaz his full support and offers these words of encouragement “Known as ‘The Mighty Zambezi’ throughout most of Africa, The Zambezi River has captured the imagination of Mankind through the ages. Having walked it myself, I know what Chaz Powell faces and wish him all the luck in the world. Believe me Chaz, when you reach the sea at Chinde, it will be the high spot of your life and a moment that will live in your memory for ever.”

Money raised from the feat will be donated to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).

“I chose to raise money for the DSWF because they show the same passion and commitment that I’d need for this challenge to fight wildlife crime and protect endangered wildlife. I feel we can work together to make a huge difference.”

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) is a non-profit organisation funding key projects in Africa and Asia working to save critically endangered animals in the wild. Founded in 1981 by wildlife artist and conservationist, David Shepherd CBE, the charity works to fight wildlife crime and protect precious wildlife populations by engaging with local people to nurture long-term, sustainable solutions to human-animal conflicts.

“Every year our Wildlife Warrior fundraising volunteers play a critical role in raising much-needed funds to support our conservation projects in Africa and Asia working to protect some of the world’s most endangered and iconic animals,” said DSWF CEO Sally Case. “We are immensely grateful to Chaz for committing such an amazing amount of energy and time on behalf of the charity. To walk the Zambezi River, solo and unaided, is such a massive challenge both physically and mentally and we will support him with every step.”

He plans to walk solo and unaided, relying on help from people along the river for food and accommodation as well as carrying all equipment needed to survive alone such as camping equipment and dry foods.

“Being a passionate adventurer I want to challenge myself in the wildest of environments and have an itch to walk a relatively unexplored region” says Chaz. “My main aim during the walk is to raise money and awareness for wildlife conservation throughout Africa, and to highlight the growing concerns of wildlife crimes happening all over the world. My dream to have an education scheme running throughout Africa educating people to understand and protect wildlife from an early age is something I share with DSWF.”

When asked about the challenge that may befall him on his epic journey this summer, Chaz seems unfazed by the dangers “The terrain will be testing, the heat will be a big factor, the wildlife and mosquitoes will be trying to eat me, border crossings might be tricky. I will encounter Lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, buffalo, crocs, snakes, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs and a fair few more. To be honest there is quite a lot that could go wrong. Guess that makes it all the more exciting and challenging for me.”

“The Water-to-Go bottle will make the crucial difference in obtaining safe clean drinking water, whilst hiking along the wilds of the Mighty Zambezi River. Recently, whilst traversing La Palma, I used my Water-to-Go bottle to drink from streams, rivers, canals and even water dripping from rocks, it made all the difference.”

Chaz has a wealth of expedition experience “I’m a summer mountain leader and have recently became an expedition leader. I have walked several long distance paths in the UK including the UK’s longest river (The Severn) over 12 days.” The 36 year old from Shropshire is not taking the expedition lightly and has been doing training walks along the Zambezi, walking with a guide and armed guard through the Mosi-o-Tunya national park, learning how to walk amongst wild animals, as well as a walk along the Zambezi Gorges (one of the trickiest sections of the expeditions) and a walk through the African bush.

“During January I was on an expedition hitchhiking to Europe’s most Northern Point on a small budget to film and admire the Northern Lights. I have just finished walking the length of La Palma the world’s steepest island. It is such a mega diverse island with jungles, caves, volcanoes, ice capped mountains, alpine forests and some of the most amazing sites I have ever witnessed.”

You can follow his journey on:

If you would like to support Chaz and help raise funds for wildlife conservation throughout Africa you can donate on his Just Giving page.

Ash Dykes Walks into the History Books… Again!

National Adventurer of the Year nominee, Ash Dykes, has become the first person in history to successfully walk the entire length of Madagascar from south to north, summiting its eight highest mountains on his way.

The expedition, which took 155 days to complete, saw Ash walk more that 3.5 million steps to reach Cap d’Ambre – the most northerly point of the island -­‐ in the early hours of this morning.

This 1600 mile mission was a journey of raw adventure as authentic and challenging as the landscape, but with that came the prospect of serious danger. Ash contracted the most deadly strain of Malaria just 12 weeks ago, leaving him with hours to live before he received emergency medical treatment. Determined to bounce back, Ash spent 5 days in recovery before continuing with the expedition. More recently he suffered an adverse reaction to spider bites that caused his arms to blister and has narrowly avoided scorpions, snakes and even poisonous centipedes found in the depths of the forests.

The expedition has taken Ash across some truly unforgiving and dangerous terrain as he’s faced sweltering desert and sand dunes in the south before hacking his way through dense jungle and rainforest in the north with temperatures scaling from 0c right up to 45c.

Ash also met local inhabitants face to face during his trek, giving him the chance to understand the Malagasy way and pace of life at eye level. One tribe gifted Ash with a chicken ahead of his journey to summit Maromokotro, the highest mountain on the island, and was told to set it free at the summit in order to destroy bad spirits to allow a safe descent; an order Ash followed with the chicken he affectionately named Gertrude.

When there weren’t locals around to invite Ash into their homes, Ash took to living a very primitive way of life. Not only was he relying on natural resources to get him out of situations -­‐ he was left stranded at the foot of a mountain following a cyclone and built a raft from wood to float across a flooded river – but also foraging for wild nutrients including mangos, banana, sugar cane and lychee, as well as lesser known raffia fruit and kat leaves.

Ash Dykes commented:12742812_1010873602310097_8883220049122079091_n

“It’s been an incredible journey and I feel very privileged to experience the heart of Madagascar. The people are some of the most hospitable I’ve met and to be welcomed by tribes that, until now, have never even seen a foreigner was very special. Seeing how locals not only survive but thrive in remote and often perilous areas has been eye opening.

However nothing could have prepared me for just how mentally and physically tough the journey would be. This is, without a doubt, the hardest and most demanding challenge I’ve taken on -­‐ there were times it nearly broke me so reaching the finish line was quite overwhelming.”

The expedition was more than a personal challenge for Ash. He chose Madagascar for its status as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Around 75 percent of the species found in Madagascar live nowhere else on the planet, but deforestation is causing habitat and wildlife loss, something Ash wanted to explore and see first hand.

Ash visited several conservationists across the island from the Lemur Conservation Network who protect the island’s most famous inhabitants—with over 100 species of lemur who make up the world’s most endangered group of mammals. In the south, Ash met with Azafady, a humanitarian and environmental charity that aims to alleviate poverty and conserve unique and biologically rich environments; and in the north, Ash trekked into Montagne des Francais with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership to spot one of the 50 remaining Northern Sportive Lemurs.

Throughout the expedition, Ash witnessed both the rampant forest fires destroying the land, and the simultaneous reforestation and habitat protection efforts, revealing the ongoing battle that they face. Ash was lucky enough to see some of the island’s rarest species first hand, including the Madagascan Pochard Duck, native to Madagascar with less than 50 left in the world.

Ash Dykes said:

“Madagascar is a country of stark contrast with some very real environmental issues and a big part of the expedition was to highlight this. There’s a huge threat to a lot of the island’s endemic species but so many conservationists are in place to rescue and protect them with very positive achievements. In the past year alone, over 10,000 trees have been planted to reforest and protect the habitat of the Northern Sportive Lemur, so it’s great to see projects making a difference.”

Ash has been nominated for this year’s ‘National Adventure Awards’ and selected as an ambassador for the ‘Wales Year of Adventure’.

Ash is nAshDykes21o stranger to adventures. Only last year, aged 23, he became the first person in history to complete a solo and unsupported trek across Mongolia. Nicknamed the ‘Lonely Snow Leopard’ by the Mongolian locals during his time. He took on the Altai Mountains, Gobi Desert & Mongolian Steppe, whilst pulling a 120kg trailer carrying all provisions needed to survive (including his trusty Water-to-Go bottle). Ash completed the 1500 mile trek in just 78 days, facing sandstorms, snow blizzards, Grey Wolves and heat exhaustion and was crowned ‘Adventurer of the Year’ by public vote.

Ash has used his Water-to-Go bottles since his first adventure in Mongolia and has continued to use ever since:

“I had been searching for some time, for a really good & effective water filter to take on my expedition across Mongolia, but I kept coming across water filters that needed to be pumped to purify the water (in a desert of 45 degrees C, this was the last thing I wanted to do). My agent came across the Water-to-Go stand at an adventure festival and asked for a demo & how they worked. He was so impressed that he sent me a text straight after, in which I then went on the website, and found the perfect bottle to take out with me. The fact that I could top the bottle up and drink it straight away was what hooked me the most, and it was an absolute must for me in such an environment, but even my latest trek in Scotland saw me topping it up constantly from lochs, rivers etc and the taste was perfect. The bottle really does deliver and I’m super impressed with it. Fantastic product, team & service, I highly recommend.”