SURVIVAL OF THE SMARTEST
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.