We caught up with Phillip for a quick interview, about gear, tips and some of his experiences on his many adventures.
1. Who are you?
My name is Philip Gunkel and I am a professional photographer specialised in architecture, commercial and travel/landscape photography based in Berlin. I am 30 years old now and I started with photography back in 2008 as I was hiking the alps for the first time with a good friend of mine trying to capture the beautiful landscapes these majestic mountains had to offer.
2. Why do you love the outdoors?
Nature is where we all came from and where we belong in the long term. Going outdoors on a regular basis gives me the much needed exchange I need to withstand the daily hectic life in Berlin as a freelancer. It loads my batteries and basically resets my mind, after a longer hike I am able to fully concentrate on a new project again. Mother earth is ours to explore and she desperately awaits the love and attention that she deserves.
3. What do you want to achieve from your adventures?
I want to simply live the very moment and enjoy life to the fullest. The amazing experiences and memories I made through my adventures are all that really matters in the end and they are in my opinion more valuable then the most expensive things on earth. These experiences are heavily enrichening to me in the long term and help me to discover me as a person. Even if it may sounds strange but they strenghten my soul and even enlighten my mind from time to time. I try to encourage people to experience the same with my landscape photography or to at least get to know and develop an understanding for the beauty of our planet through my pictures aswell as the importance to care and protect the ecosystem we live in.
4. What is your current adventure?
I am planning an arctic trip to Svalbard located north of Norway in the moment that I hope to realise in march 2017. This kind of trip during winter in very cold conditions and with difficult weather conditions is different then any of my other destinations so far with challenging temperatures up to minus 35 degrees. For this kind of weather I have to prepare myself very carefully and do a lot of research and preparation, also investing in the right kind of new gear is key here not only to survive, but also to be able to enjoy the one of a kind experience.
5. What are the highs of your trip?
It really could be anything, I learned to enjoy the very little moments outdoors aswell as the great and one of a kind experiences like standing on top of a high mountain enjoying the spectacular view down in the valley plunged in fog during sunset.
6. What are the lows of your trip?
Bad experiences will happen from time to time, sometimes it is bad weather, smaller accidents, heavy physical exhaustion or maybe just some nasty mosquitoes. All that matters is a positive attitude because it is always a fight against yourself in the end and you grow as a person when you learn to control your mind and stay strong mentally no matter what will come.
7. Have you had any funny experiences?
All kind of but if I had to name one it would probably be one evening after me and some friends finished a hikingtrip through Czech Republic. We arrived in a small town and met some local truck drivers in a sketchy bar, because of heavy language difficulties they mistakenly believed we came from Berlin by foot and they were so impressed from our achievement that they intoxicated us with one absinth after another.
8. What is important when you choose a tent and other gear?
I would say reliability comes first, you simply have to trust in it. Then it must be tough enough to handle some extreme conditions over several years, aswell it should be functional, straightforward to use and light enough to be carried around for longer hikes.
9. What do you like about your Robens gear?
The gear from Robens is well thought and easy to use. It is lightweight, pretty affordable and most important it is long lasting and rugged enough for my kind of adventures. I also really love that the tents are tested windproof, they are very stable under windy conditions and if you pitch them carefully you don't have to worry about quick weather changes in the mountains.
10. Your top tip for newbie adventurers?
Planning is most important, but if you get to know the specific locations as well as some cultural conventions, prepare your gear carefully, double check the weather conditions and always have a backup plan for quick weather changes aswell as for emergencies and most important don't overestimate your skills I would say you are good to go to explore some areas that are not totally remote at the beginning. When you know how far you can go, good equipment, especially boots, jacket, tent and sleeping bag/mattress that you can trust in under critical conditions is key here, it could possibly save your life.
With best regards,