In this section I report about myself and explain in detail my motto and what Backcountry Expeditions stands for.
1. About me
Even if the nocturnal noises of hedgehogs & Co. were sometimes a bit frightening, even as a child I preferred to sleep outside in the garden on the swing than in the bed at home; instead of high-end down sleeping bags, there was only a stack of cotton blankets back then. The afternoons after kindergarten (and also later after school) instead of sitting on the sofa with TV series, I usually spent on extensive forays through the surrounding nature and actively dealt with plants and animals. Practical utensils such as binoculars, knife and compass were part of my everyday life, and I fearlessly paddled down the Elbe with self-made means of transport; not always to the delight of my concerned family. My academic interest was primarily in the natural sciences, e.g. in biology and geography, I voluntarily created cross-curricular documentation work, which was not only published in the daily newspaper, but even found its way into the Natural History Museum. During my two years in the military, I learned to improve the basics of survival, as well as to appreciate the supportive use of technology; I was particularly impressed by special vehicles. I then deepened the knowledge I had already acquired with the courses in nature conservation and vehicle technology, and I consolidated my practical skills with the master’s degree in motor vehicle trade. It was always important to me to be the bridge between the two worlds, the committed conservationist and the innovative technician.
Personality cult is repugnant to me, because this egoism has rarely had a positive effect in human history. And even when I was working for a large automotive group for several years, I was always willing to give up my career. Awards for diligence and environmental protection at the time (e.g. “Best Waste Collector 1987”) meant just as little to me as later letters of praise and thanks from my employer. Such “medals” remind me more of lavishly decorated grave wreaths, but give life no real meaning. The consistent results of my activities are much more important to me, and if I have to, I will move mountains to do so. Organizations in which I worked, as well as a self-founded association, were ultimately not effective enough for me, and over time turned out to be more of a compulsive shackle in a community than that one could effectively achieve a desired goal in this association. As the pioneer that I have always been, I had to find my own, and often completely new, path. In addition to reporting, I also discovered my passion for photography to document it; my constantly growing photo equipment was part of my daily touring luggage from then on. I was always drawn out into the world, traveling to new countries and discovering remote areas. I don’t characterize travel by jumping from one airport to another or even staying in a hotel, but by exploring the variety of landscapes and the different ways of life, which I as a guest like to adapt to accordingly. The path has always been the goal of every conscious journey. As much as this wisdom is often used, not all people are fully aware of its importance. In addition to the wide world, I still enjoy touring regularly through my second (chosen) home, which is relatively close by, the Scandinavian north.
In the beginning I still used slightly modified cars for my tours, later on based on my own design plans and experience I designed and built extremely durable, reliable touring and expedition vehicles that can be used worldwide. In addition to valuable experience and a reliable touring vehicle, extensive outdoor equipment is necessary for such tours to be a success. The inevitable need to always find the best possible equipment and then to test it in a practical manner increasingly developed a new passion. With the ulterior motive in buying sensible, well thought-out, durable and ecologically and ethically justifiable equipment and clothing to contribute to a more responsible use of the earth’s raw materials, I began to publish my experiences in the form of product reviews. Unique, because authentic-honest, factual-informative, contrast-rich-detailed, and above all 100% independent reviews, which still mostly arise on and of course through my tours.
Both on my trips around the world and on tours at home, I have repeatedly recognized the need to limit the human impact on our environment to the lowest possible level so that later generations can still enjoy our earth. This responsible sustainability, i.e. my personal motto, required a stamp – the idea of Backcountry Expeditions was born. With this project, and after all the urban education measures before, I moved back to the countryside in 2014, to the forest, surrounded by fields, lakes and of course a river. Here, a little far from the permanently distracting stress of civilization, I had a clear head and started working intensively on my own website together with a friend. It should be completely different, not a trendy mass product, but an outstanding work of photojournalistic work. Since then, new photos, meaningful product reviews, technically sound knowledge and valuable insights have been added almost every week. My website took up so much time that in principle there was no time left for my actual job. That being said, after all these years of operation, the site had to come up with costs at some point. So, without further ado, I made backcountry expeditions my profession – a vocation that I’ve been striving for all my life and to which I can devote myself 100% ever since. With the four cornerstones in the logo, Backcountry Expeditions is registered as a protected trademark with the German Patent and Trademark Office, because as an idealist I didn’t want to make myself known, but above all my idea.
Despite all my personal effort, my website has been free of advertising, annoying pop-ups, affiliate marketing or the like since its inception. Sure I could have some income from the content on my site, especially your product reviews; on the other hand, there are good reasons why I still do without this marketing:
- My readers should have maximum reading pleasure, without diMy readers should have maximum reading pleasure, without distraction from the essentials. My lyrics shouldn’t be any different from my tours: focus on what it’s about, nothing else.
- I do not want to give the impression that I write my texts exclusively to promote products and the subsequent profitable sale. The internet is already overflowing with this type of reporting, and more and more people are already losing faith in such “reviews”.
- I am happy to take full responsibility for the content I have published, but I do not want to link to any shop or similar that is not at least as serious and customer-friendly as I do (and you never really know that). There are now numerous types of unfair competition, e.g. the promotion of goods, which one does not actually own, and about the availability of which one cannot make any reliable statements. I want to help consumers, not add to their anger.
- I only link directly to manufacturers or producers, because only these are actually responsible for their products, just as I am responsible for my actions and my website. There are no intermediate stops, so we can only talk our way out of it, i.e. we should stand by what we do. And I stand by those linked manufacturers because I am convinced of their products from experience and can pass this conviction on with a clear conscience.
In the context of PR strategies, the term sustainability has increasingly become a sales argument for companies, and more and more often there are actually just empty phrases behind it. Self-definitions that can neither be checked by the consumer in any way, nor have anything to do with the actual company philosophy. Because neither the products nor the production has changed for the better despite the use of this term; Purchased bogus certificates included. Those companies that primarily market comparatively short-lived, i.e. disposable products or products that are particularly harmful to the environment use the term completely absurdum. As part of my product reviews, I have already uncovered numerous such sustainability lies – but lying is unfortunately not punishable. The following is my personal definition of true sustainability:
- Manufactured products must meet a certain minimum durability or be fully recyclable. Probably the strongest contrast to the capitalist market economy, in which ecology is not compatible with economy, and more and more life cycles are deliberately calculated to be short, so that subsequent purchases are made as quickly as possible.
- In general, production and consumption should be reduced, which of course can only be done with more durable products.
- Raw materials and energy must be used more efficiently and waste avoided in a targeted manner. Of course, this is associated with increased costs, which, however, should not be at the expense of consumers, since companies have been operating profitable productions that waste raw materials and at the expense of our planet for decades.
- Environmentally friendly substances should be used more intensively, and environmentally harmful substances should be banned at the same time. On the other hand, there are influential large corporations that continue to poison our planet with the help of corrupt politicians (lobbyism) (see e.g. Teflon).
Above all, sustainability includes the natural ability to regenerate, and it is a very complex and extremely difficult task if you want to optimize existing conditions in this way. For this reason I only use high-quality, i.e. long-lasting equipment, and I only recommend such equipment in my product reviews.
It all starts with a journey. And so the name “Backcountry Expeditions” came about very early on. This motto, “Hinterland Discovery Travel”, characterizes my adventure and adventure tours, which I plan, organize and of course carry out independently. I am convinced that it is much easier for people to understand something in its entirety and learn to protect it once they have experienced it personally. My wilderness tours serve as an interface between experience and learning, without conveying a predominantly educational character.
Out of my responsibility for nature conservation, I don’t necessarily always give directions for my tours, and certainly no GPS coordinates of destinations worthy of protection; I simply don’t want to promote harmful mass tourism. For this reason, the smallest possible footprint in nature, and a maximally conscious wilderness adventure, I only travel with a very small group. This can range from a single person to a handful, and only in this way can we experience nature authentically without being a disturbance to our environment.
3. Product reviews
For my lifestyle, i.e. my activities, high-quality equipment is necessary above all. Over the years I have been able to gain a lot of valuable experience in this area and indirectly trained myself to become a consultant. If I impart this useful knowledge to other people or help them to find the best possible product for them, I am also indirectly helping our planet. This is part of my personal environmental protection or my definition of sustainability. And those who have to waste less money on negative experiences with bad or unsuitable products also have more purchasing power for other good products. Of course, the respective manufacturer also benefits from this, although I have not yet received any thanks from the manufacturers for my free advertising.
Responsibility begins with sustainable purchases, which is why I attach great importance to high-quality products that are as durable and/or environmentally friendly as possible and socially responsible, i.e. I only support companies that, in my opinion, treat the resources of our earth and people responsibly. I have tested all the products on my website extensively and tested them intensively for value both in everyday life and especially on my adventure tours. Accordingly, my test results are meaningful, my way of writing is factual and objective as well as honest and direct; nothing is concealed. A small product life story is created over the longest possible period of use, starting with the introductory product presentation, through ongoing updates, to the phase-out. As a rule, the products have provided me with valuable services, so the respective contribution is also my personal appreciation.
It makes sense to divide my reviews into three main groups: clothing, equipment, electronics, and health (nutrition and personal hygiene). In the future, I intend to make further subdivisions (filter functions) in each category and for individual product groups, as well as to add a 10-level rating system that has already been worked out.
Each review followed the same structure:
- Product: what is it and what is it intended for
- Company: Address and, if applicable, a brief company history, as well as the country of manufacture
- Purchase: Date (month / year), and what made me buy
- Specifications: Technical data
- Practice: Detailed product and user description
- Positive: what is good, what pleases
- Negatives: What is not so good, what is not liked
- Conclusion: Brief summary
- Similar products: comparison with and, if applicable, reference to other reviews
Law of business balance
Unfortunately, the market is also filled with superfluous, poorly thought-out, short-lived, inferior and sometimes even dangerous products. Consumers, on the other hand, often tend to buy a product primarily on the basis of price. The result is a mixture that does not always make sense for everyone involved, and certainly not for our planet. If I had this, I would probably only offer my test-winning products in my own shop. In this context I would like to point out a very good quote (presumably from John Ruskin, 1819-1900):
“There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
Initially still analogue with Canon, later digitally with Nikon, and of course with corresponding experience in the field of landscape, animal and product photography. When I’m on tour, my main focus is not only on the subject, but also on the associated moment on location, which I also make part of the recording myself. I spare no time or effort for an interesting motif, as long as the ethics follows the motto “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints”.
You have the option of requesting high-quality prints on canvas and other carrier materials from my photo gallery. I also offer you my photos, e.g. for your advertising purposes. With every picture I guarantee you the ethical purity or sustainability of the respective picture, i.e. it was neither modified nor destroyed in a preparatory way. In addition, I am happy to fulfill your very personal photo request.
Photo and video equipment
After numerous (and unfortunately, of course, very expensive) experiences, I arrived today at an equipment stand with which I am both satisfied and able to work professionally. What I ultimately take with me on a tour is usually a compromise between what I can still carry with me and what could probably turn out to be useful on site.
Since the very late, but then active operation of my YouTube channel in 2021, I have been recording videos today in roughly the same ratio as I take photos. This has expanded my digital equipment again, which presents me with the great challenge of the necessary power supply, especially on longer wilderness tours.
Full frame digital SLR cameras Nikon D810
Full-frame digital SLR cameras Nikon D800
APS-C digital SLR camera Nikon D750
APS-C digital SLR camera Nikon D7100
GoPro Hero 7 Black & various GoPro accessories
AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1: 2.8 G ED
AF-S Zoom Nikkor 17-35mm f / 2.8 D IF-ED
AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm 1: 2.8 G ED
AF-S DX zoom Nikkor 17-55mm 1: 2.8 G IF-ED
AF-S Nikkor 24mm 1: 1.4 G ED
AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.4 D
AF-S Nikkor 58mm 1: 1.4 G
AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm 1: 2.8 G IF-ED
AF Nikkor 180mm f / 2.8 IF-ED
AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f / 2.8 G ED VR II
AF-D Nikkor 80-200mm 1: 2.8 ED
AF-S Nikkor VR 300mm 1: 4 IF-ED
AF-D Nikkor 80-400mm f / 4.5-5.6 ED
Hoya Protector, UV, Gray and Polarizing Filters
Memory cards SanDisk 64GB Extreme CF and SD card
Memory cards Panasonic RP-SDU RP64 GAK
Cable remote release
Nikon MH-25a charger
Charger Nitecore UNK2 for Nikon EN-EL15
Flash unit Nikon SB-910 Speedlight
Sennheiser MK400 microphone + MZW400 windscreen
Sennheiser MKE200 microphone
Manfrotto 055X PRO B tripod + Sirui K30X ball head
Rollei Lion Rock Traveler M Carbon tripod + Sirui K10X ball head
Rollei Compact Traveler No.1 tripod
Manfrotto tripod bag
Photo case Pelican 1060 + 1300 + 1450 + 1550
Ortlieb DigiShot M + L photo bag
Tasmanian Tiger Focus ML photo bag
For my tours I use a wide variety of means of transport and dedicate a separate article to them in the corresponding area. Both as thanks for the wonderful experiences, which would not have been possible without them, and because these are often products that I have heavily modified. The respective report on the vehicle corresponds at least to the content of a full product review.
In my large knowledge database, I use my valuable experience to convey thoroughly researched reports on essential, i.e. generally applicable outdoor topics, instructions and specialist knowledge from the field of vehicle technology, as well as basics and recipes for food preparation.