Earlier this year we sent everyone's favourite Yorkshireman, Haze Outdoors right up to the wilds of Scotland to take part in the very first Fjallraven Classic UK. Not one to shy away from an adventure Haze grabbed the Classic with both hands and didn't let go until the final ceilidh.
Nordic Outdoor caught up with Haze to find out about his experience, a little bit more about his love for the outdoors and what's coming up in Planet Haze.
You can read the full interview below and watch Haze Outdoor's Fjallraven classic adventure in the video above!
Where did you grow up and how did you get into ‘outdoors’. Has it always been a part of your life growing up?
I grew up in Whitby on the Yorkshire coast, so I suppose being close to the outdoors, whether it be the sea or the Yorskshire Moors, has always been part of my life. I was always in the woods as a youngster making dens and fires. I even used to go on solo camps before it became fashionable.
What’s your association with Fjallraven – have you always been a user of the brand and why do you personally like it?
Anyone that’s really into the outdoors and bushcraft knows Fjallraven, especially the quality of the product and that it lasts a long time. When I was younger I couldn't really afford it, but you soon start to understand that looking after good quality garments properly can extend their lifecycle. I have some old Vidda Pro trousers that are thoroughly worn in, with rips and holes. I think that adds character and a natural patina. Just how it should be.
What made you want to do UK’s first Fjallraven Classic?
Well I was initially asked along to do it, but of course knew about the classic and was excited to be part of the first ever UK version in the beautiful Cairngorms National Park. I am used to to solo hiking and enjoy the solitary elements of that. However, it was amazing to be alongside like-minded people.
Any high points and low points from the trip. How was the experience and would you do it again?
Of course I would do it again. I would love to. The high point has to be meeting such wonderful people. People I’d never met before and being with them the whole way. Perhaps I was a little quick hiking, but that’s how I do it. Another high point was experiencing my first ever traditional Ceilidh celebration at the end. It was fantastic, great atmosphere.
Looking through your videos you do a lot of ‘solo adventures’ how did you enjoy the more communal aspect of the Fjallraven Classic? And what is the general appeal of going it alone the majority of the time?
The communal adventures are great because you can really nerd out on things like equipment without being judged. You become part of a bigger picture. However, I love going solo and at my own pace. When I’m in the wilderness I get a lot of stuff sorted out in my head. It also feels more adventurous on my own, just map reading and being able to breath freely and zone out from normal everyday life.
As a solid Yorkshire lad how does the Cairngorms match up to the beauty of Yorkshire?
Ha ha ha - Yorkshire is the most beautiful place in the world. Of course, the Caingorms is simply majestic and wilder, but I’m biased as a Yorkshireman. I grew up here and had my best experiences here
What are the main benefits you get from spending time outdoors? More people are now exploring and realising the benefits to mental health. What is your experience and feeling?
I only really ever film for short periods of time when I’m on these trips. Probably only 10 %, because a lot of my time is spent reflecting and tuning into things. The hustle and bustle of life will get to you. You know we all have to put up with Capitalism and greed and everything else. It takes me a good couple of days to fully find my rhythm and you never really know the benefits until afterwards. But I always feel re-charged and more connected to what’s real.
How do you feel Social Media and YouTube has benefited the outdoors community?
Social media has benefitted the outdoors and made it more accessible. I see a lot of people getting involved and being spurred on to doing it. I get countless messages telling me how it has changed a person's life both mentally and physically.
I think it is important to also say that education on bush craft and wild camping is important. I try not to reveal where I am in terms of exact locations because we don’t want areas to become overrun. There is of course enough for everyone, but people can be a little ignorant without knowing it - understanding the element of leaving no trace. Education, as I say is key, bushcraft and how we can live in harmony with nature should be taught in schools.
What tips would you give for someone looking to get into the outdoors or camping for the first time?
I would say, go online and book into a camp site. You can put up a tent and use the fire pit or burn mark to make a fire, to see if you really like it. You don’t have to be crammed in next to anyone either at most campsites as they can be quite wild. If you don’t like it, you can check into the nearest Premier Inn. Another benefit is that you can test your kit out without being blown away at the top of a mountain.
What are the first pieces in your pack before heading out on a trip?
I would say that the pack itself is the most important thing to get right. It’s not about the biggest or the lightest, it’s about the comfiest - that over everything. You will not have a good experience if you don’t get it right, there has to be a balance.
What other adventures are in the Haze Diary for the rest of the year and for 2023
Keeping up with my series every Sunday and throughout the year so people can see how the kit changes seasonally. I also have a trip to Nepal planned with the usual cooking, bushcraft, spear fishing. I basically intend to keep going until the wheels come off :)
(p.s. since you're friends with the big man, enter the code CLASSICHAZE at checkout to receive 10% off any full price Fjallraven clothing at Nordic Outdoor)