Ditch Single-Use plastic bottles on National Refill Day with Water-to-Go

Stop Plastic pollution caused by single-use plastic bottles on National Refill Day

National Refill Day is a public awareness campaign aiming to stop millions of single-use plastic bottles from polluting our streets and oceans. The day is encouraging people to carry a reusable water bottle and refill on the go. 

Brought to you by City to Sea as part of the award-winning Refill Campaign, National Refill Day is an awareness campaign to get the UK public to stop bottling it when it comes to our drinking water. Refill want to create a new social norm for refilling on the go – saving us money, keeping us hydrated and preventing millions of single-use plastic bottles at source.  

This is something that we are big advocates for and want to encourage everyone to do. We have all the seen the disastrous effect that plastic pollution is having on our planet and it is imperative that we all do our bit to protect our planet.

On June 19th the Refill campaign will be asking the public if they’ve #GotTheBottle to stop buying single-use plastic bottles and replace them with a reusable bottle instead. If just 1 in 10 Brits Refilled once a week, the country would save around 340 million plastic bottles a year.

Water-to-Go reducing plastic pollution

One of our core missions at Water-to-Go is to reduce the environmental devastation caused by single-use plastic bottles. Just one of our 75cl filters will replace 400 single-use plastic bottles. Just think of the difference this could make.

Additionally, the bottle’s unique filtration technology means you can fill up from any non-salt water source, such as rivers, lakes and mountain streams, to access safe drinking water. So no matter the situation you won’t need to revert to single-use plastic bottles for accessing clean drinking water.

Water-to-Go Marking National Refill Day

As part of National Refill Day, we’re showcasing some of our favourite places our customers and ambassadors have refilled their Water-to-Go bottles.

Enjoy!

Water-to-Go ambassador, Ash Dykes, has refilled his Water-to-Go bottle from the Yangtze river in China on his world-first #MissionYangtze expedition to walk the whole length of the Yangtze river.

Water-to-Go ambassador, Chaz Powell, fills his Water-to-Go bottle from the Gambia river on his recent expedition to become one of the first to walk the whole length of it.

Water-to-Go bottles making an appearance at Glastonbury Festival. If you are at a festival this year, make sure you stay well hydrated and plastic free with a Water-to-Go bottle.

Have a look at our Summer packing list with all the essentials you will need to keep you single-use plastic free. (To get festival ready with Water-to-Go, use discount code: FESTIVAL19)

Tim Kroeger filled up his bottle from a tap whilst on a trip in a village in West Africa.

Keenan Williams refilling his Water-to-Go bottle from a lake in the Brecon Beacons.

Holly from The Outdoor Guide fills up from the snow mountains whilst on a trip in Switzerland.

Tarran Kent-Hume refilled his Water-to-Go bottle from the Rio Negro whilst on an expedition kayaking the Amazon River.

Jule from The Happy Choices drinking water straight from a waterfall whilst on a walk in the Canadian wilderness.

Our Blue 75cl bottle getting a top-up from a mucky puddle whislt on a hike in South Korea.

This refill of the green bottle is straight from a standpipe whilst on a charity trek in the Pyrenees.

Becky the Traveller fills her pink 50cl bottle from a mountain stream whilst on a hike in the Lake District.

Send us your pictures filling up your Water-to-Go bottle from questionable sources and we will feature them on our social media channels.

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.

Water-to-Go and Explore raise over £2000 for charitable projects

We are delighted to announce that through our partnership with UK tour company, Explore Worldwide, we have managed to raise over £2000 for charitable projects.

We started working with Explore on World Water Day 2018 and since then, we have managed to raise over £2000 for charitable projects. Over just a year, £2211 has been raised via bottle sales from their customers who are going on their trips and want to stay safe and single-use plastic free. This is a fantastic sum and we are delighted to be supporting Explore and their charitable projects. Explore support several initiatives and projects such as Toilet Twinning that make a difference to the destinations they travel to.

From left: Naomi Jackson, Product Manager at Explore Worldwide; Joe Ponte, Managing Director at Explore Worldwide; and Dave Shanks, CEO and Founder of Water-to-Go

This money will go towards Explore Leaders’ local communities around the world and the Explore Start-Up Fund. Explore created the Explore Start-Up Fund in 2016 and each year, they award a donation of £1,000 to three sustainable start-ups. The business proposals come from their overseas teams around the world and the only imperative is that the ideas are sustainable, and can continue to grow and flourish without continued financial support. From looms being purchased for women’s’ cooperatives in Morocco, to a vertical garden project in Cambodia, to a bike repair shop with apprentice scheme in Tanzania the scope is wide and the project is very exciting!

Explore Worldwide specialise in small group adventure holidays and travel tours for every kind of customer; offering over 600 trips worldwide in 130 countries. From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore.  

They believe travel should change us, not the world. That communities and cultures should benefit and flourish and that we should leave nothing but footprints behind. That is why responsible travel is at the core of everything they do from sponsoring projects around the world and offsetting carbon emissions of their flights to supporting local communities and protecting wildlife. Water-to-Go are delighted to be working with them and we look forward to what the future holds as we continue to make a difference in the travel and tourism industry.

At Explore, their priority is their customer’s health, well-being and safety. Ensuring you are drinking enough clean water when trekking in Nepal, taking a long, hot train journey across India or snorkelling in the Med is key to staying well and having an amazing holiday. However, whether it’s on the TV, in the paper or over the radio, the ever-growing plastic problem is unavoidable and they are keen to lead the way in reducing single-use plastic on our trips. Sounds like it should be an easy task but it’s not.

An average group of 16 people, on a two-week tour will use, and throw away, between 800-1000 plastic bottles! We have been trialling a few methods around the world to reduce these numbers but we haven’t found a perfect solution – until now. We’re very happy to partner with Water-to-Go to offer our customers an exclusive discount on their refillable, filtration bottles to ensure you can stay fighting fit and guilt free during your adventure!

Explore Worldwide

In fact, since we started our partnership with Explore this time last year, we are pleased to report that their customers have saved around 105,000 single-use plastic bottles from waste on their trips around the world by using Water-to-Go bottles! 

We hope that this is just the start of what is already a very fruitful partnership and we look forward to working further with Explore to help make a difference.

For more information on our partnership with Explore Worldwide, click here.

Water-to-Go marks World Malaria Day 2019

Water-to-Go is marking World Malaria Day 2019 along with our partners Malaria No More UK. To find out about our partnership click here.

‘Zero malaria starts with me’

The World Health Organisation has joined with the RBM Partnership to End Malaria. This year the focus is on the ‘zero malaria starts with me’ campaign which is a programme aiming to keep malaria high on political agendas, mobilize additional resources, and empower communities to take ownership of malaria prevention and care.

World Malaria Day 2019 will be hosted in the city of Paris, with WHO and RBM partnership working alongside the French Government and the city of Paris. There will be a range of events organised across the city centre, recognising the importance of fighting against malaria, and the need to step up the fight against this preventable and treatable disease.

The 2018 WHO Malaria Report highlights that funding for prevention efforts have stalled and in fact malaria cases are back on the rise. Whilst significant progress has been made in the past 10 years, until malaria is completely irradicated it will remain a threat to hundreds of millions, primarily in Africa’s poorer countries.

Water-to-Go and Malaria No More UK

We’re excited about celebrating World Malaria Day 2019 with our partners Malaria No More UK. As part of our partnership, we are selling a limited edition branded bottle (as pictured below). With each bottle sold you will be donating £8 to Malaria No More UK and will be aiding their mission to end malaria once and for all, plus you can get yourself a fantastic bottle in the process! To get yourself a bottle click here.

Ash Dykes and Malaria No More UK

Water-to-Go and Malaria No More UK ambassador Ash Dykes has been using his branded bottle during his world first expedition along the Yangtze river. Ash is currently just over half way on his attempt to become the first person to walk the entire 4000-mile length of the Yangtze River.

Ash became an ambassador for Malaria No More UK following his trek across the length of Madagascar. During another of his world firsts, Ash contracted malaria and thankfully survived, stating that he ‘wouldn’t wish [his] experience on anyone, it was truly horrific’.

Malaria No More UK on World Malaria Day 2019

Malaria No More and Malaria Must Die have now launched their new campaign, the world’s first voice petition to end malaria. ‘The Power of the Voice’ campaign aims to get people to call on their leaders to end malaria. You can join Beckham’s call and help end malaria once and for all. To add your voice to the petition visit Malaria Must Die’s website by clicking here.

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

Water-to-Go’s Crucial role in the Lombok Earthquake – One Family’s Story

The Russell-Smith Family were trapped by the Life-Threatening Lombok Earthquake

In August 2018, the Russell-Smith parents were enjoying their holiday in the beautiful Gili Islands just off the spectacular coast of Lombok, Indonesia with their delightful 6 and 3 year-old children. The family were amongst a number of holiday goers taking a well-earned break and relaxing on the white beaches and turquoise seas of these stunning islands.

However, they were then caught up in the devastating Lombok earthquake, a series of catastrophic natural disasters that took place throughout the month of August. The family holiday had turned into a disaster. Following the quake, the family ‘had no access to bottled water’ so in scorching 30 Degree heat they desperately needed an alternative source of hydration. This meant they had to rely on the local, and potentially unsafe tap water. The family knew this would be risking ‘at best illness and at worst… it does not bear thinking about with a 6 and 3-year-old in tow’.

Thankfully the Russell-Smith Family were carrying their ‘miracle’ Water-to-Go bottles when the earthquake hit, meaning the ‘bottles literally saved [the family] from dehydration’. Their filter bottles meant the whole family were able to drink the potentially dangerous tap water with complete confidence that they would avoid disastrous illness. The bottles had become a life saver rather than a convenient way to reduce their plastic waste. After returning safely to the UK, the family were delighted with their crucially important Water-to-Go bottles and stated that ‘these bottles will never leave our side again’.

A big Thank-you to the Russell- Smith Family for sharing their story.

The whole team at Water-to-Go was relieved to know that our unique filter bottles were able to play a small part in keeping you all safe and hydrated in such difficult circumstances.

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.

Water-to-Go Overfund by 293% on Crowdcube

We are delighted to report that Water-to-Go have managed to raise over £293,000 from our crowdfunding campaign with Crowdcube. Over the past couple of months, we have been raising funds on the UK crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, where investors could purchase equity shares in the business. By the end of the campaign, we had well and truly smashed our initial target and actually overfunded by 293%.

This isn’t the first time we have raised money on Crowdcube. Back in 2015, we worked with Crowdcube to help raise funds in order to put our hugely successful 50cl GO! bottles into production.

Crowdcube is an online platform that raises more for UK businesses than any other crowdfunding site so we were extremely excited to use them again in order to help expand our business.

Our campaign started in late November with the funding target of £100,000. Our target was eventually reached in mid to late December, with the campaign gaining more and more traction as we approached the new year. By the time our campaign came to an end we had raised an incredible £293,000, helped by raising over £100,000 in our last week of funding. We are very grateful to all our investors and those who have helped spread the word for helping us achieve this feat in under 2 months.

We were delighted to see so many people show interest in the business and for 635 investors to join our journey as we continue to grow and continue our mission. Together, they will be helping us to change the world one bottle at a time.

Looking forward, we are excited to implement our investment plans and further expand the business, with the aim of eliminating single-use plastic water bottles once and for all, whilst providing safe, clean drinking water anywhere in the world.

Make sure to keep following us and our journey via social media, our blogs and website to keep track of some of the exciting developments we hope to bring you later this year. To find out more about Water-to-Go and our future plans, take a look at our crowdfunding video.