June 2018 Bundle

It’s Not an Adventure Until Something Goes Wrong

Zan Campbell,  Fell & Fair Productions

01 June 2018

So often these days, people seek “adventure,” only to spend so much time and money beforehand to ensure nothing goes wrong, that by the time the “adventure” happens, it’s no longer an adventure. In light of this, I have long held to the motto, “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong”. 

Well, as we launched our primitive overnight camping trip, it was an “adventure” from the start…

Over the last few years of my work in Fell & Fair Productions, I’ve loved my opportunities to step into Middle-Earth in the boots of a ranger. Between our costume creation and photo shoots, as well as doing a film based on rangers (from another universe), I’ve had more than a few opportunities to create and improve gear for rangers.    

Since I was a child, I’ve loved stories about the famous outlaws and woodland dwellers of history: people like Robin Hood, William Wallace, and Francis Marion—who fought oppression from deep within their forest dwellings. Other characters like Aragorn and Faramir from The Lord of the Rings began to inspire me from the world of fantasy. So, it’s not surprising that this is where I found my inspiration. 

However, because it had been a while since we really had the chance to spend time in a forest (the ranger’s natural habitat), I decided to rally a small team to take an overnight camping trip.

First, was the gear. Since rangers are hunters, woodsmen, and warriors that live deep in the forest, we wanted to build more practical and less elaborate kits for everyone to use. Our color palette was simple: the natural greens, browns, and tans so often found in the forest. We also needed leather backpacks, straps, belts, and packs to carry our gear. 

We took an armament that included our longbows and swords as well as an axe and a spear. We all played the role of “combat cameraman” at different times during the adventure too, but most of the photos were taken by Will and Charles. So, you can thank them for documenting our adventure!

The afternoon finally arrived when we loaded up in the heat and departed civilization in fine style. However, after forecasting clear skies all week, it started to rain as soon as we stepped into the forest. So, to our benefit, we found ourselves in a true “adventure,” and the adventure part started from the beginning. 

As we very quickly got damper than is comfortable, we headed for a denser section of the forest to look for a site to pitch our camp. After an hour of enduring the steady drizzle, we found the perfect spot and hurriedly unloaded our packs to get canvas over our heads.

We made special lightweight tarps that were easy to carry and that blended well in the forest. They came in handy and worked superbly.

With warmth and shelter provided for, we hung up our wet cloaks to dry and I began cooking supper while the other rangers enjoyed a quiet pipe as darkness began to fall.

With warmth and shelter provided for, we hung up our wet cloaks to dry and I began cooking supper while the other rangers enjoyed a quiet pipe as darkness began to fall.

Our meal was delicious. I’m getting hungry again just writing about it!

With our meal eaten, it was time to clean up and then head off to our bedrolls for some much-needed sleep! We did wake in the middle of the night from a donkey’s scream, though. If you’ve not heard that sound before, it is terrifying—so much so that The Lord of the Rings films used it as the Black Rider’s cry! Despite our familiarity with the sound, it did cause us to stay awake a little longer than we wished, adding a bit more “adventure” to our night!

I arose in the early dawn to re-light the fire from the banked coals as the sleepyheads in the other shelter slept on. Their loss! I got first taste of the morning coffee! (Yes, this is a fantasy world in which the rangers drink coffee because they get grumpy if they don’t.)

With the coals renewed on the fire, I set to cooking breakfast with determination as the other rangers tore down camp.

We enjoyed potatoes baked in the ashes, eggs, (carefully carried out in a box), sausage, and flatbread with jam.

With full stomachs, dry clothes, and aided by caffeine, we packed up and walked out into the beautiful sunlight of a new spring day!

That was it for our adventure! Our new, more practical clothing worked like a dream. When you have weather, bugs, animals, and the potential for a roving band of orcs, having gear that does not hinder you can make the difference in survival (well, at least for a more comfortable camping trip).

While we often don’t have time to do the whole ‘ranger experience,” it’s nice to step into those boots and take up the bow from time-to-time to spend some time wandering in the ancient forest even as our legendary heroes might have done. And it definitely helps us portray them better on the big screen!