It's a tricky problem. We want to limit/stop the use of single use plastic bottles on our trips...but how do we ensure clients have safe drinking water, without the tang of purification tablets? It's an issue Charlie and I have debated long and hard. On some of our trips, it's not an issue as the jeep back up vehicles carry a safe and plentiful supply in (re-usable) jerry cans and all that is needed is a good, sturdy drinking bottle. However, with trips such as Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon and our Borneo Summit to Sea adventure, due to the remoteness of the trips, this is not the case.
Limiting plastic use is vital and is very important to us. So when Charlie had a chance meeting with Dave Shanks and learned about his company, Water To Go, we were keen to try the product. The filters used in the BPA free water bottles were created based on technology originally developed for the NASA space programme and three different (1 traditional and 2 nano) technologies are forged together in one filter to remove over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants in water.
I (Gaynor) took it on a recent trip with my family to Indonesia. I tested it in a number of locations - mountain biking down the side of a volcano, jungle trekking and a day's surfing in Canggu. On the mountain biking trip, water was supplied, but in a good old plastic bottle. Refusing one, I filled up my Water To Go bottle at a pretty grotty tap in a remote family compound. The charcoal (recyclable) filter worked its magic, and I soon had clean, fresh drinking water. Jungle trekking took me a stage further, and before my other bottle of drinking water that I had filled up before the trek had run out, I filled my bottle from a stream and subsequently, a pond. Surfing in Canggu, again I was able to fill up my bottle from a tap. Not exactly hard core like the jungle, but it avoided buying a plastic bottle of drinking water. I had no ill effects in all three locations and it made me realise that the Water To Go bottle is useful in all settings where the local tap supply cannot be trusted, not just in remote regions where the only water source is a stream, pond or lake.
In short, this is a brilliant, easy to use product, and we have now ordered a batch for our next group to take with them. It's a small step, but given the plastic rafts we witnessed in Indonesia, one that it is vital we take.