SUR­VIVAL OF THE SMARTEST

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - WELCOME - JANA FRAWLEY, NA­TIONAL TRAVEL EDI­TOR

Bear Grylls grabs the head­lines for his ex­treme so­lu­tions to life or death sit­u­a­tions. Fish eyes as na­ture’s pop­corn, any­one? A seal skin wet­suit, per­haps? Crazy aside, he’s the guy I’d most want with me on a desert is­land for his liv­ing-in-the-wilds wis­dom, like “take care of the fire early on and it will take care of you later”, and “when you’re go­ing through hell, keep go­ing.”

He’s got an en­vi­able list of ways to use gaf­fer tape as a sur­vival tool, tips on col­lect­ing dew if you’ve run out of water, and why tea lights are not just for ro­mance. Yes, Bear is up there with shark puncher Mick Fan­ning as an old-fash­ioned blokey hero.

I’m now adding my brother, Tom, to the list. He’s full of prac­ti­cal, re­al­is­tic info on the out­door life, whether it’s choos­ing a sleep­ing bag, Gor-Tex pros and cons, why merino wool is an ac­tive trav­eller’s best friend, and the gains of a head torch over hand­held.

He’s such a su­per­star when it comes to camp­ing that he builds two fires: one for look­ing, an­other for cook­ing. The first is a mesmerising, crack­ling flame to sit around for warmth and con­ver­sa­tion. The other holds a cast iron pot of slow-cooked lamb or his sig­na­ture dessert – a mix of ba­nana, straw­berry, marsh­mal­low and Mars Bars into a de­li­cious molten mass to smear on a wheaten bis­cuit, like a deconstructed Wagon Wheel.

He’s big on get­ting into the lo­cal habi­tat, urg­ing a visit to the Na­tional Parks web­site to get a list of flora and fauna in the near­est park to your stay and see how many species you can find. He also sug­gests down­load­ing a star and planet track­ing app to make the night sky your en­ter­tain­ment. Best camp­ing buddy, ever.

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