We had a chat with British blogger and outdoor adventurer, Phil Raisbeck, ahead of his impressive participation in the Fjallraven Classic trek that’s set to go ahead on Friday 8th August. Phil is a regular customer of The Sporting Lodge, who has a great love for the outdoors.
Taking your Fjallraven collection into account, can you name your favourite item and what makes it so special?
That is a tough question. I have so many items now, it’s hard to choose a favourite as all their clothing and equipment are excellent quality. I’m torn between my most commonly used items of Fjallraven Keb Gaiter trousers, Fjallraven Ruaha zip-off trousers, my first Fjallraven trousers, Sarek, or the Keb hooded fleece jacket. I think for its multiple uses for more technical hikes, challenges and varying conditions I will go with the Fjallraven Keb Gaiter trousers, plus they are in my favourite colour of UN Blue.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Without doubt it has to being lucky enough to win 1st place for the UK in this year’s Fjallraven Polar back in April. It was such an amazing unique experience that I will remember for the rest of my life and made some amazing friends during the event.
Ahead of the Fjallraven Classic on Friday, what are three important steps you take to prepare yourself?
In the last few months I have been doing various hikes locally in places like Weardale, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Lakes. Doing hikes of various distances and challenges with the most recent ones carrying my Fjallraven Abisko 75 litre rucksack fully loaded with around 18kg in weight including everything I will be carrying on the Fjallraven Classic. You can be fit for long walks, but walking with a much heavier rucksack does make a huge difference, and you do need to practice carrying such weight before taking on a multi-day hike like the Fjallraven Classic.
Have you always been interested in expeditions and outdoor activity from a young age? What are your inspirations?
I did a little bit of outdoor activity many years ago in my teenage years, but then nothing for about 20 years. My recent outdoor epiphany only started in the summer of 2012, when my stepbrother Ian asked me to join him on his life-changing 250km trek through the French Pyrenees, where we did the Cathar Way. Since then I have been hooked on everything outdoors and this was followed by completing the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc trek last year. I’m also attempting to do the 282 Scottish Munros (though rather slowly, only done 4 so far!).
I’m always looking for my next adventure. Recently I went to Norway to visit my Norwegian Polar friend Jostein and we did an amazing hike to Trolltunga.
After the Classic next week I will focus on my next big adventure, which is the Toubkal Two Valley trek in Morocco this October. This will be the highest altitude I will have hiked. My ultimate goal is possibly ascending Mont Blanc after seeing it closely as I trekked the Tour du Mont Blanc, though I feel I need a lot more winter skills before I tackle that challenge.
What do you look for in the perfect piece of gear to accompany you in your travels?
That depends on how I intend to use them. If it would be for long multi-day trekking then one of the key thing would be the weight, however I also think ease of use and/or having multiple uses if possible is key and of course the quality. I find if you buy cheap you buy twice, and you really need all your gear to stand up to the challenges you face as you never know what to expect and can’t afford to carry spare items “just in case”, as this would add to the weight you would carry. So quality and practicality is key.
Any last words?
Since taking part in the Fjallraven Polar I have met some amazing people from around the world, some in person and some virtually online through my Outdrr blogging network and past Fjallraven Polar participants and it has been great sharing experiences with all of these people as well as planning many future adventures together.
Thanks a lot Phil! Don’t forget to check out Phil’s blog to follow his quirky and exciting documentation of various expeditions and adventures!