My name is Neil Smith. I started hillwalking in the Scottish highlands in 1977 and have worked in the outdoor industry in one way or another for most of my life since turning eleven years old. As a professional off piste ski instructor, walking guide, kayak and climbing instructor I worked in and travelled to many of the remote and mountainous parts of the world including Greenland, Iceland, Norway and North America. For some time I worked for the UK importer of an Italian footwear manufacturer and was involved in the testing and design of new product for Hiking, Telemark skiing and Ice climbing.  Thanks to this long and hardly unpleasant, apprenticeship I have managed to learn a fair bit about the qualities and limitations of the equipment we use in the hills.

In this series of articles and reviews we will try to clear a way through marketing jargon, gear freakery and misinformation to allow our customers to make informed decisions about equipment purchases so that you can get the right tools for the job in hand. There will also be articles on general camping themes and some guest writers giving us the benefit of their outdoor and camping experience.

If you have any queries about something or would like to see a product review for an item that we carry then get in touch by email neil@charlescamping.ie with a suggestion. We can’t do everything but will try to cover as much as possible.