If you have watched any of our YouTube videos then you would have seen Shaun pop up now and again. As you may be aware have started to produce weekly videos once again and Shaun will be the main presenter for the channel.
We want you to get to know Shaun more so we sat down with him and asked him a couple of questions...
What’s your outdoor background
"So as far back as I can remember I've always loved being outdoors. As a child I climbed trees, when I got older I started riding dirt jump bikes and then friends introduced me to hiking and climbing. I channelled that passion and 12 years ago I started working in the outdoor industry. At the start like many, I was working as a sales assistant for an outdoor retailer and haven’t looked back since."
Why should we trust your reviews?
"Like I just mentioned, I've been working in the industry for 12 years now and my knowledge has been fine-tuned to talk about products giving people the best advice for their adventure. I've helped kit people up for their very first hiking trip, people backpacking all over the world where they will encounter all types of weather and terrain to people climbing Mount Everest.
Now my advice isn’t always 100% because that’s impossible. Somewhere out there someone will disagree with the advice I give… and that’s fine… that’s how it’s supposed to be. With that in mind, I would always say to someone take the advice I give you and then ask someone else for their opinion and with the wonderful world of YouTube there are a lot of people who will have advice about a product, place or adventure, so do your research and don’t just take my word for it… gather the information and make up your own mind about where a product is right for you.
That’s also why you won’t see a rating system in my reviews… I give this product 5 out of 5 or 10 stars… that sort of thing really doesn’t mean anything."
Pick one: Cycling, hiking or climbing?
"Ohh that’s an easy one… cycling all the way! I love hiking and climbing but if I had to pick a cycling, hiking or climbing route cycling would win every time. I guess the reasoning for it is that that’s what I started with first, I love building bikes, testing them out then going back and tweaking them. Mountain biking and single track are my top disciplines, then it would be single track cruising and dirt jumping. Then it’s hiking and then climbing… but yeah cycling all the way."
How did you get into presenting for outdoor brands?
"So eight years ago I started working for a local outdoor company as an assistant manager of the whole retail store and manager of the hiking section… They had other outdoor activities; hiking was just one part of the company. Anyway one day the CEO walked into the shop and saw me helping a customer out with some hiking boots. Ok so this is going to sound braggy but I don’t mean it to be… he was impressed with my knowledge so much so that he wanted me to “present” hiking videos for their website. And the rest is history really."
What’s some of your favourite adventure memories so far?
"The first one that pops into my mind was the first time I led a group up Tryfan. I have followed so many people before that so to lead a group was really special to me. Also whilst working with outdoor brands I got to test prototype gear.. So it wasn’t really about the adventure per say but it was great to think that the gear I was testing one day would be on the shop floor and people would be buying it.. I loved being a part of that process.
Mountain biking in Whistler is pretty close to my heart and snowboarding in Chamonix is awesome! But leading my first hike in Tryfan that was really special to me. Oh yeah also hiking in Scotland in the winter… I would highly recommend everyone do that it’s really something else."
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting to hike?
"Keep things simple at first… yes you’re going to think of these epic trails to smash but look locally first, keep it low key and build yourself up to the epic stuff. If you go guns blazing sure you might be able to do it but in my experience, it always leads to trouble. Buy yourself a decent pair of boots, socks, baselayer, trousers and a waterproof jacket. They don’t need to be big brands… Look at big outdoor retailers own brands. Their gear is great for a beginner and it doesn’t hurt the wallet.
If you do want to buy branded gear… say a waterproof jacket you might be tempted to go for a jacket that features Gore-Tex... But most own brand waterproofing is top-notch nowadays and it’s cheaper too! And lastly just like I said about my reviews if you’re looking to do a trail or buy a piece of equipment do your research first, read some blogs, watch some videos then make up your own mind whether it’s right for you… don’t just jump straight into it because your favourite YouTuber and hiking influencer said so."
And there we go! We hope these questions have helped you understand Shaun a little bit more! If you want to ask Shaun a question just head over to our YouTube channel and pop your questions in the comments of one of our videos.