In the first of our series of LifeKit: What’s in Your Bag?, we speak to Chaz Powell, the expedition leader behind ‘The Wildest Journey’ conservation project.
Africa is calling Chaz Powell. For now though, the explorer and survival guide reckons Yorkshire will make do. At least until the borders open. “We did 15 miles a day,” he tells us, on a series of walks across the National Parks.
Chaz has been exploring and hiking the globe for 16 years, but his current project, ‘The Wildest Journey’ has a fight against wildlife conservation and anti-poaching at its centre. He has been embarking on a series of journeys by foot along Africa’s wildest rivers – using his platform, and incredible survival feats, to boost awareness. It’s a great cause, and definitely worth checking out!
But what do you bring on 137 days, 3000km from source to sea along the Zambezi? (As Chaz did it 2016/17.) Or on his gruelling trip along the Gambia River in 2019. For our first round of LifeKit: What’s in Your Bag? Chaz gives us the inside scoop on what he cannot do without when out in the wild. Enjoy!
1. Water-to-Go Filtration Bottle
“I have been using it for quite a few years on my journeys, and it allows me to filter and drink from any water source – and even puddles. It’s perfect for an emergency, removing many of the harmful bacterias. The first time I properly used mine was along the Zambezi. Most worrying was from a stagnant river, but it actually worked. An essential for desperate times.”
2. Satellite Messenger – Garmin inReach
“When in Africa, I’ll have a satellite phone by Garmin inReach on hand. It saved my life, especially when I need to communicate with people in an emergency. I never go with a support team on my trips so this is a must.”
3. Insect-Repellent Shirt – Craghoppers
“In Africa, you really don’t want to get bitten by mosquitoes, it can be lethal. These shirts are a lifesaver, built with NosiLife Anti-Insect coating technology that repels mosquitoes — they even do socks and trousers that I take with me too. The shirts are something I rely on in the wild and out by the rivers, and have the added effect of protecting from the sun.”
4. Two-Man Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba tent
“My little bit of luxury, my sanctuary. I chose a two-person tent so I can have space to myself, where I can sit up and write at the end of the day. I can get changed, plan, and relax here, too. I often set up camp near the rivers, and this includes a mosquito net that protects me when I try to get some sleep.”
5. Trangia pots
“I’m a minimalist. Trangia’s pots are easy to pack and clean. Usually I’ll take dry food and rice and mix it with what I can buy from the villagers over a fire — or if I can get fish from the river. The most delicious meal was a stew, made with vegetables we picked along The Gambia River. Whatever you can get. Most of the time you need to improvise.”
Chaz’s LifeJacket essentials
Chaz takes the reliable duo, the Daily Protection Moisturiser and the Daily Repair Moisturiser with him when home or away. “I’ve used them on numerous occasions. Using skin protection is extremely important when out, if you get sunstroke or burnt, you can get headaches and become dehydrated, not to mention the increased risks of skin cancer from sun damage. Not just in Africa, but even in the UK.”