Tell us about your current role – what do you do?
I haven’t got a job title as such, because I have such a broad brief. My core responsibilities are media relations and advertising, but I also look after UK project work, I get involved in external partnerships and I work internally between departments. I’m never bored!
How long have you been with Outwell? And where were you before that?
I’ve worked in outdoor pursuits for coming up to 33 years and I’ve been with Oase Outdoors, which is Outwell’s parent company, for 10 years.
Previously, I’ve had lots of jobs. I worked in Ireland on multi-activity holidays and became a sales agent for outdoor brands.
I went on to work for a number of magazines, including Outdoor Pursuits, and as news editor for The Camping and Caravanning Club. I also edited Camping magazine.
Tell us a bit about Outwell – what does it do? And what is its position in the UK market?
Outwell celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. It’s part of the Danish company, Oase Outdoors. We started with a focus on tents and camping, and over the years, the emphasis has moved towards outdoor living.
We’ve brought many innovative products to market, which have become industry standard, including rain-safe door and luminous guylines. We have superb product testing facilities and our R&D is excellent.
What’s special about Outwell – what’s its USP?
Quality and innovation. Our ethos is to help you create great happy camping memories – and we give people the foundations to do that.
What is the latest news from the company – what can we expect this year?
We’ve been producing drive-away awnings for the campervan market since 2005 and this year, launched a range of ‘active’ drive-aways, using aluminium alloys to keep down bulk and weight while maintaining top performance. As a result of that, I’ve put down a deposit on a camper myself!
Every year about 40% of our products are new – we have lots of new tents and awnings, and this year, we’ve developed our Quick & Quiet Access magnetic closures, so there are no zips on inner doors to wake you at night.
What memories do you have of camping as a child?
I well remember camping with my parents in Wales as a toddler. The outdoors has always played an important part in my life.
I joined the scouts at 11 and as I got older, became interested in wildlife and conservation, and would camp further afield. In my 20s, I started mountaineering and spent more than 100 nights a year under canvas.
What’s the best trip you’ve ever been on?
I camped at high altitudes in the Alps – on one of those trips, we had to turn back because of avalanches. I also went backpacking on the long-distance paths. Bivouacking on a mountain is always a great adventure. I have enjoyed the canoeing and motorbike camping I’ve done – that gives you a new perspective.
What advice would you give people who are looking to take up motor caravanning or camping?
My advice is, go for it! There’s lots of help out there, but before you buy loads of gear, work out what you want to do, where and when.
I’d also recommend learning some basic camping skills – you’ll enjoy your holiday more.
What’s on your playlist when you’re driving?
Punk, blues, ska, rock – all of those. But I also like Mongolian heavy metal and Ganstagrass!
Favourite meal or recipe while out on tour?
I love a simple meal – bread, butter, cheese and olives, with a bottle of wine.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people!
I pitched a tent inside Buckingham Palace for the Duke of Edinburgh, part of an anniversary celebration for the Duke being patron of The Camping and Caravanning Club.
You’re in Hall 6 Advice Lounge & Event Theatre at Van Live! See what else is happening on stage,or take me to the Show Guide.
I recommend learning some basic camping skills - you'll enjoy your holiday more