Back to Basics With Combo Life


“For us as a family it’s really important to get outside for some quality time together, whether it’s jumping in the car for a Sunday adventure in the country or a weekend away at our house in north Devon.  It’s been great to explore more of the outdoors with my girls, showing them a few skills has shown them how much fun you can have when you go back to basics.”  - James Cracknell

With young people increasingly glued to their screens, over 50 per cent of parents believe their children have no outdoor skills, according to new research from Vauxhall Motors.


Lighting a fire and map-reading are high on the list of skills that parents fear the next generation have lost.


And while 83 per cent of parents think it important to pass on skills like reading a map or identifying a flower, almost half admit they wouldn’t feel confident doing so.


Nearly 60 per cent admit they’d turn to the web for the basics – and half of those would even rely on their grandparents to show them what to do.

Top 10 outdoor skills that are ‘dying out’

Parents feared the following outdoor skills were most likely to be lost to their children. In order of ranking:


  1. Map-reading
  2. Reading a compass
  3. Identifying flowers
  4. Lighting a campfire
  5. Bird-watching
  6. Foraging
  7. Putting up a tent
  8. Tying a knot
  9. Fishing
  10. Toasting marshmallows

To inspire families to rediscover these skills, Vauxhall teamed up with adventurer and Olympian, James Cracknell. James agreed to encourage parents to get their kids roaming for real and to reignite their passion for the outdoors – just in time for the half-term.

Cracknell, kids and Combo Life

With family togetherness on the agenda, this is a timely moment for the launch of Combo Life – Vauxhall’s all-new versatile and practical vehicle that’s perfect for getting out with the kids.


So James and his two children, Kiki (9) and Trixie (7) put down their tablets and took to the great British outdoors in the Combo Life. Their aim: to try their hand at some of the nation’s ‘top lost skills’.

James also worked with Vauxhall to share his how-to tips for easy outdoor activities with the family. For example, here’s how to light your own campfire:

  1. Collect your firewood. You’ll need a mix of small sticks or leaves for the base (tinder), and bigger, dry sticks (kindling) for the top.
  2. Make a base of the dry leaves/sticks and arrange your kindling on top.
  3. Light your fire. This is one for the parents (with children’s supervision…). Grab your matches or a spark to light the tinder. Be careful – the flames get very hot.
  4. Now your fire’s burning, it’s time to toast your marshmallows.


Enjoy with a nice hot chocolate for the perfect campfire experience.

Combo Life and the great outdoors

British families remain eager to head outdoors and set up camp. In fact, 60 per cent of parents from the East Midlands and Wales say putting up a tent is one the highest-rated skills they’d want to pass on to their children.


And with most families (64 per cent) choosing the car for a family day out, the Combo Life is the perfect partner for your weekend away.


It comes with lots of storage, high levels of safety equipment and enough room for the whole family – not to mention a state-of-the-art 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, including Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™.


You also get a huge 1,355 litres of boot space (for your camping gear), keyless entry (for when your hands are full) and a Head-up display that makes driving safer and easier.