Unleash your inner Ray Mears on a USA camping trip
With our busy lifestyles impacting on the way we eat, sleep and socialise, it’s all too easy to resort to sticking a ready meal in the microwave when we get home late from work, stay up late catching up on emails when we should be resting or send a text to a friend instead of arranging to meet them face-to-face.
But if the relentless pace of modern life is getting you down, why not take a camping trip to the USA?
USA tours for singles where you travel as part of a group of like-minded people, provide the perfect opportunity for you to unleash your inner Ray Mears – taking stock of the world around you, living off the land and learning some new survival skills to boot.
Forget about your straighteners or your electric shaver, you’ll only have room in your rucksack for the essentials when you’re camping. When and where you are going will dictate the clothing you’ll need, but even when it’s warm during the day, temperatures can plummet at night, so don’t only pack shorts and t-shirts!
And don’t forget your sleeping bag, as when you travel with companies such as TrekAmerica, this is the one piece of camping equipment not included.
Also bear in mind you’ll be exposed to the elements, so think sun cream, sunglasses and fold up waterproofs – although you probably won’t need your raingear if you’re camping in Death Valley. Average winter highs there are 18 degrees and annual rainfall is a mere 5cm. In comparison, London’s average winter high is eight degrees and it gets 59cm of rain a year.
Last but by no means least, pack a Swiss army knife (in your hold baggage of course). The more expensive ones feature everything from blades to corkscrews.
So you’ve come prepared in terms of kit, but what skills are you going to need to bring to the American wilderness?
Well, as the temperature drops and light fades, how about impressing your fellow travellers by starting a fire? This is an essential survival skill, as flames provide a source of light and heat for cooking and keeping warm.
First things first, make sure you’re in an area where open fires are allowed and if there’s a designated area, use it.
Find a place clear of overhanging foliage and remove any debris from the vicinity. Also place a ring of rocks on the ground to act as a fire break.
Then collect three kinds of wood: dry tinder such as grass to get things going; kindling (small sticks) to stoke the flames; and fuel (larger pieces of wood) to keep the fire burning. However, don’t go crazy with huge logs and end up building a bonfire that could cause an accident. You will also want some water to hand in case things get out of control.
Now you just need to start the thing! You could, of course, use a lighter, but that would seem like cheating. Instead, grab your penknife, a rock and a piece of fungus or birch. Strike the rock against the knife blade (careful now) to create sparks that will ignite the fungus. Place the smouldering fungus in the tinder and blow gently to fan the flames.
Your fellow campers will be well and truly impressed.