I’d be the first to admit I’m not a wild man. I don’t know how to build a shelter, start a fire, wrestle a bear, catch a freshwater fish, grow a proper adult man-beard, or do any of the other things considered second nature to real adventurers. Picture Bear Grylls. I’m the opposite of Bear Grylls. Needless to say, when I made a snap decision to go wild camping for two nights in the South Downs I had more than a few concerns.
Worried that I’d make a corpse of myself if I went solo on this, I managed to rope my outdoorsy mate Dave into coming along on the adventure. Nothing, I figured, could go wrong if I went wild camping with a man called Dave. There’s a reason that everybody knows a Dave. Daves are solid. Daves are reliable. Daves are survivors. I meet Dave at Victoria Station on a Thursday afternoon and it’s clear, within two minutes, that he’s not impressed by my choice of rucksack, which is resting on the floor between us.
“That’ll mess your back up,” he tells me. “You need a bag like mine.”