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Q1 2018

What to stock for when the taps run dry

Water-saving customers may not be aware of the many products the outdoor and sport industries offer them to make their lives easier. CARIN HARDISTY asked some suppliers for tips on products to stock that can help save water

Several parts of South Africa are facing critical water shortages and consumers are looking for ways to save water and for products that can help them should Day Zero strike.

As the dam levels drop, residents are asked to reduce their consumption of municipal drinkable water more and more ... or face Day Zero when the taps are turned off.

Many people have been hoarding bought water in clear plastic bottles that could grow algae when exposed to light for long periods, or use buckets and other potentially contaminated containers for harvesting rain water. Swimming pools have been renamed water storage areas. Some residents might even be lucky enough to live near a natural source that still has water …

While this water is fine to use as grey water, some people may be tempted to use it for cooking or drinking once they have to start queueing for their daily water ration. This can cause serious health problems.

Your customers may therefore consider using water purifiers and filters to be safe.

An ultraviolet or UV water steriliser makes water healthy and prolongs the life of stored water by killing just about all bacteria and dangerous micro-organisms that can cause serious diseases. This could especially benefit people who have been hoarding water for months in untreated containers that could allow the growth of organisisms.

SteriPEN’s Aqua water purifier, for example, is small and convenient enough for your customer to take with him wherever he goes, or use at home. All he has to do to get safe drinking water is to press the Aqua button, place it in the water, and stir. SteriPEN’s Pure+ water purifier can purify up to 20L with one charge. The brand is distributed locally by Ram Mountaineering.

Sterilization is most effective when used together with a filter to remove any small particles in, for example, harvested rain water. SteriPEN’s Pre-Filter fits on 32 ounce wide-mouth water bottles and filters out all particles. This filter also forms a water-tight seal when used with SteriPEN’s Aqua purifier, to make it easier to carry water around.

LifeStraw is a water purifier that removes most waterborne bacteria and viruses. It doesn’t use batteries or electrical power, nor does it use iodine or iodinated resin chemicals so it doesn’t leave an aftertaste. It can filter up to 1 000L of otherwise undrinkable water. LifeStraw is distributed by Adventure Inc.

Transporting water

When Day Zero arrives, residents will have to line up for their water rations at designated spots. Capetonians will be the largest group affected, but certain areas of the Eastern Cape also face a possible Day Zero later in the year. They will need large containers to transport their daily 25L allowance.

This is where a jerrycan will be useful — but there are different types and it’s important to recommend and sell the right one. Some are meant for fuel such as petrol, while others are specifically made for water.

Ace Camp’s jerrycans are made from food-grade PET, and as such are safe to use for liquids that are meant to be ingested. They come in two sizes (5L and 10L) and fold flat for easy storage. Ace Camp is distributed by Outdoor Supply Company.

You might also want to remind your customers of the ecological impact of plastic, disposable, water bottles that cannot be reused and recommend that they rather invest in reusable products, where possible.

Storing water

People who have been harvesting rain water without using the safe Jojo tanks, or have been buying water at a furious pace, will need somewhere to store their water safely.

People might need more than one type of container for water they intend to drink, for example a large communal holder to store the daily allowance for the family, and a smaller flask or bottle for transporting individual daily allowances, for example.

One useful benefit of flasks is that they tend to have temperature control qualities to keep liquids warm or cold for longer.

Hydroflask, available from Adventure Inc, has Tempshield technology that keeps liquids cold up to 24 hours and hot up to 12 hours — and there is even a flask that is specifically designed to carry beer.

Lifeventure’s Glacier vacuum flask retains heat and cold up to 30 hours, while the lightweight Microlite 500 Flip vacuum-insulated bottle keeps liquid warm for 8 hours and cold for 16 hours. Flasks range in capacity from 300ml to 1L. Lifeventure is distributed by Ram Mountaineering.

Another option is a travel mug, which is also made with thermal properties. The TiV thermal vacuum mug keeps drinks warm for 4 hours or cold for 8 hours, while the TiV thermal vacuum mug with a flip top lid keeps liquids warm for 3 hours and cold for 7 hours. These Lifeventure mugs can take 300ml of liquid.

Keeping clean

A harsh reality is that a luxurious long shower or bath is a thing of the past in certain areas of the country — in fact, just a quick, proper scrub makes a good dent into the daily water allowance and residents are asked to keep showers below two minutes. Your customers should therefore be interested to hear about products that can get them smelling socially-acceptable again — and at the same time allow them to do their bit for the water struggle.

Instead of wasting drinkable water to wash hands, tell your customers about Lifeventure’s Dry Wash — a waterless antibacterial gel wash for hands and body, which will protect them against germs and disease and conserve safe water at the same time. It is pH-balanced, so it won’t dry the skin out, and it is also biodegradable. The brand suggests that it’s handy to keep at hand for after a swim in natural water, for example.

Sea to Summit’s Liquid Soap Range includes a waterless hand sanitizer. As a bonus, the range is biodegradable and has a concentrated formula, so a little goes a long way. Sea to Summit is distributed by Adventure Inc.

Dry Shower from Muc-Off, available from the same distributor, is an antibacterial body wash that is formulated to kill odour-causing bacteria and germs with its gentle, yet effective, coconut-derived cleaning ingredients. Simply apply and rub in with the hands, and then leave to dry or wipe it off with a towel.

The All Purpose Soap from Lifeventure is antibacterial, pH-balanced and biodegradable, can be used in both fresh and brackish water and can be used on hair, body, the dishes, fabrics and even fresh food. It’s available in 100ml or 200ml bottles.

Washing clothing

The less clothing need to be washed, the less water need to be used. This is where fabrics that have odour control qualities are very handy, and many sport and outdoor brands have been developing antimicrobial textile technologies to control the growth of germs, and subsequently smells.

Columbia’s clothing technologies like Omni-Shield prevents and removes stains and dirt without affecting breathability of the fabric — especially Omni-Shield’s Blood ‘n Guts that even keeps fishermen clean when gutting fish. Other technologies, like Omni-Wick EVAP, move sweat across a broad surface area to evaporate faster, and therefore smell less. Columbia is available form Brand ID.

Natural fabrics like merino wool — for example, used by IceBreaker — is naturally anti-bacterial and won’t pick up odours like other materials might. “This means you can re-wear the clothing multiple times, without needing to wash it,” says Eric Riemann from local distributor Adventure Inc.

Care products like Nikwax BaseWash and TechWash can treat technical clothing to prolong periods between washes: BaseWash cleans, deodorizes, inhibits the build-up of body odours, accelerates drying and improves cooling efficiency of synthetic base layers, but it shouldn’t be used on waterproof clothing. TechWash is the one to use for breathable, waterproof clothing — it maintains the outer fabric’s DWR (durable water repellency) and can revive the breathability.

Nikwax products are water based, non-flammable, non-hazardous, biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are distributed by Ram Mountaineering.

Dirty laundry water can be reused for grey water, like watering the garden, when eco-friendly washing liquids such as Lifeventure’s travel fabric wash is used. The wash is suitable for most types of fabric and is concentrated to save space, since it is also aimed at the travel market. It is biodegradable and phosphate-free, and lightly fragranced.

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