Monday, August 10

A crossing of paths

Every so often I discuss some of the simpler aspects of backpacking & wildcamping with a friend.

He still doesn't quite get it.

And why should he?

His concept of A Walk is the distance betwixt pub & the taxi rank. His camping experience, of which he has a long history, still means that over the weekend he used a duvet in the back of a 4x4 for a night's kip. Cooking, well that would be the nearest take-away. And as for re hydration the pub features predominantly on his list of possible solutions.

And it’s a very very short list.

Well one item to be strictly accurate.

Along the way I've tried to persuade him of the beneficial experience and creature comforts that camping, properly approached, will provide.

But he's having none of it. He dislikes camping except as a means to attend outdoor, non-urban, events. And despite my offers to loan kit or demonstrate the sort of budget gear available these days, he remains highly resistant to change. Or to the recognition of how much easier his outdoor time could be.

I was reminded of this when I picked up a magazine over the weekend.

Pieces on Buff ("double use, it cuts down on the amount of clothing required"), comparison tests on two man tents (won by Lightwave's G1 Ion), sleeping bags (Mountain Hardware's Lamina 20), sleeping mats (Neoair) & stoves (MSR Whisperlite) along with recommendations for Freeloader Pro, Snow Peak titanium spork, Petzl Tikka Plus head torch & a couple of articles on Setting Up Camp and Where To Camp.

All this, in a motorcycling magazine -
September's Ride - sister publication of Trail Mag.

It’s the sort of magazine he'd read. And maybe he might start getting the message. Then again perhaps he will always remain a lost cause, unwilling to challenge change.

As I jot this down I've been struck that most of my long term interests over the years (motorcycling, fishing & backpacking) have all included the need for self supported overnight stays, a facility to stay warm/dry on the journey, & access to food & fluid on my own terms.

Its only now, looking back over those years since my early teens, that I see this common thread. That ability to comfortably live outdoors, often in out of the way spots, with a degree of easy enjoyment & personal fulfillment.

The knowledge, aptitude & challenges that each pursuit demand became so much simpler when built on the firm bedrock of personal experience brought over from other areas of my life.

And in turn the lessons learnt in one area are often re-applied elsewhere.

On reflection it really hasn’t seemed to matter how I get There, or what I was There to do, I've subconsciously been moved to sleep outdoors, and make my own, rather individual, way.

Now if I could only make turn it into a living one day!

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