Volunteer for the unpopular camp chores, if it’s a shit job then it might as well be you that does it. Take one for the team and do it so that they don’t have to.
Volunteer to go and collect more firewood, Volunteer to pack up the tent in the morning, Volunteer to dig or fill in the latrine, Volunteer to do the washing up after cooking, Volunteer to stay up and keep the fire going when it is cold or to get up early and check the traps.
Let the less experienced people light the fires while you collect the wood.
Never let the same person do all of the Navigating, let the less confident to it sometimes too (whilst keeping an encouraging presence).
Be nice and do things to help others around camp. Being nice is infectious and so is volunteering for unpopular jobs and in time, everybody will be doing their share.
Out in the open during expeditions, there are few of the usual distractions and coping mechanisms available that people would usually resort to if they feel under pressure. Personal difficulties arise from a range of directions not usually encountered in day-to-day life in the city.
I have seen grown men spend 2 hours collecting firewood that is wet, green and unsuitable for firewood. The others in camp took one look at it and derided him for such a basic error. There was a lot of huffing and puffing and passive aggressiveness going on that evening at that moment.
The guy might have wasted a lot of time, energy and left the group still needing more firewood but he had gone out in the rain and the dark to help the group, he did not do it because he wanted to but because he wanted to do his part and his share of the hardship.
The man reacted himself got upset and told them to go and get fresh wood themselves then ¨if your so f´ing good at it, you do it¨.
You could almost see the division in the group dynamic forming before your eyes.
This is a fairly normal reaction, man makes mistake, man is derided for mistake, man lashes out in retaliation. In an urban setting, people would disperse, cool off and try again later.
Out in the wilderness, you can´t do that, there is no way out of the situation other than to confront is head on.
Drawing attention to his failure and then having him feel responsible for the entire groups lack of firewood and all that this entails. Things like that can quickly escalate to a man feeling as though his ¨manhood¨ is in doubt, at risk or non-existent. This is less of a problem with women as they are not burdened with the expectation that they should be good at all of this stuff no matter what.
Women tend to stop and ask when they are not sure about something where men tend to engage maximum power when they are not sure.
Here is a better way to handle this common scenario (which happens to experienced people from time to time too).
<Man dumps pile of wet wood down> – ¨OK great, we can use that for something later, I saw a great area with some top-notch seasoned Oak and dry pine, let me show you and i´ll help you get some more.¨
You have to be more careful and considerate around people´s feelings when out on expeditions but be too considerate or too careful and it can have the opposite effect.
Banter is the key to diffusing most tension.
¨Nice one knob head, come on i´ll help you get some more dry stuff¨ Could be just as useful.
Leave a comment, I am genuinely interested in what your views are on this.
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