I have been working as a product reviewer for about 30 years now. It started with testing motorbikes and biking gear, later boats and boating gear and for the last 15 years I have been testing outdoor gear and bikes. Tents, hiking shoes, backpacks, multi-tools, stoves, hard-shells, mountain bikes, trekking bikes, e-bikes and everything else that we need in our outdoor life. I am absolute geek on how things are constructed.
Already from a young age I have always been very inquisitive; taking stuff apart to see how it works. At school my teachers thought I wrote beautiful stories. Put two and two together and my education to become an investigation journalist is pretty logical.
After working for different magazines for 25 years, I started my own channels four years ago: www.outdoorguru.com with accompanying YouTube channel. I test independently and don't get paid for my reviews. For YouTube I do everything myself: testing, script writing, the shoot and editing. My goal is to get the right information to my followers and not necessarily to make the most drop dead gorgeous video’s. Function before design.
The motivation in everything I do is people. Formerly magazine subscribers, now my followers. I love to transfer knowledge and to gain knowledge; I give workshops ranging from making a fire to pitching tents and explaining how waterproof clothing can actually breathe. I have a broad knowledge of materials and brands and I know very well what is going on through close contact with manufacturers and followers. Every now and then I organize small-scale events for my followers, shops and brands. The course on how one can make good functional videos with few resources, is a nice sidestep.
Next to my followers, my knowledge is also appreciated in the outdoor world. I am part of two leading juries, both of which award prizes twice a year for innovative products. One is the jury of ISPO, the leading outdoor sports trade-show in Europe. I am part of it as outdoor gear specialist. I am also the chairman of the jury of the Scandinavian Outdoor Award and we look purely at Scandinavian products. Because of this work, I always know very early about new developments and products.
I think it is very cool that in recent years there has been increasing attention for the sustainability of both the products themselves and their manufacturing process. It super nice that we can enjoy outdoor activities and that there is still enough space to cook somewhere outdoors on a campfire, but let's all keep it that way for future generations!
Motto in life:
‘If you have a one dollar head, buy a one dollar helmet.’
Quote from Hirotake Arai, founder of Arai Helmet.