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Jelle Versluis

My name is Jelle Versluis and I am a passionate outdoor lover from the Netherlands.

How did your passion for the outdoors begin, and what does it mean to you?
I think it all started when I was very young. My parents used to take me on strolls to the nearby forest and coastline. For me taking a hike was quite a usual weekly occurring outing. Whenever my parents took a break from hiking my little brother and I got to climb trees and enjoy the forest. To me spending times outdoors still feels truly magic. Even as a working father of four I’ve never managed to feel stressed or down when outdoors. That to me…. is incredibly valuable.


Could you share one of your earliest memories or an experience that sparked your passion for being outdoors?
I think at the age of 18 when I was doing an internship in the Belgian Ardennes forest. I worked as an outdoor instructor during the day and spend every free minute and evening I had in the same forest. That’s when things really kicked off! I started exploring every inch of the forest, every creek, feeding ground, climbed every rock climbable and started to read almost every outdoor/survival guide that I could get my hands on. I was studying on becoming a teacher at the time with a specialty in outdoor sports and I knew my way around studying. It was the first time that I had been so intensely obsessed in becoming more experienced.


How do you incorporate the great outdoors into your daily routines?
Well as a father of four, it’s all about time management and concessions. I don’t work full time and even a day off gives me a lot of time to schedule in other activities. Apart from that I’m a big fan of hiking. The easiest thing I do is literally take a hike to work or even park my car further away so I can spend more time outdoors. I try and lunch outside as much as I can, preferably combined with a hike! Weekend and holidays usually have an outdoor activity included.


What has been your most memorable adventure, and why?
My most memorable adventure… that’s a though one. It might not be the most exciting adventure that I had but during my education we had to do a bootcamp abroad. During the day we would hike around 10 to 15 kilometers until we arrived to the activity of the day. That could be kayaking, mountain biking, climbing or something related. Afterwards we’d had to hike to a bivouac ground, put up shelter and prepare our own food. I was 15 years old at the time and carrying a backpack of 21 kilograms when I left home. The hiking in combination with the backpack and the activities really learned me to mentally form my mind. So even though it was far from the prettiest adventure, it thought me most!


How do you prepare for an outdoor excursion, and what are your must-have items (apart from the basic gear)?
My adventures always start out the same, by roughly mapping out what I’ll be doing and most importantly where. The gear list follows and is complementary on where I am. To me planning is part of the joy of going on an adventure and although I don’t like to plan too much ahead, the gear list is something I really enjoy making. I draw out a little mind map of my locations and activities and add gear where needed. I then transfer this into categories: Sleeping, Eating, Personal gear (toiletry), Clothing, and Activity gear. I honestly have no must haves I like to adapt to wherever I go!


Do you have any advice for those looking to get started in outdoor activities?
For those looking to start experiencing the outdoors more I’d recommend looking at activities you’d be comfortable doing outdoors. Literally try to be more outdoors to begin with, eat outdoors, hike often, and if your up for it go camping. To me it was all about trying to make outdoors feel like home. Don’t be ashamed to make yourself extra comfortable as you go! To be honest my meals are far more extravagant outdoors then at home, it’s all about have a good time!

What is your favorite Robens product, and how has it enhanced your outdoor experiences?
I used to have a Robens Traveler, which is a small foldable kind of chair. It’s literally the best small gear investment you’d could make! I provides you with a clean and comfortable sitting pad yet provides a little backrest. Great when out hiking and even better on longer canoe trips! I’m not one to pack a whole furniture store when out (not just yet) and this has been such an improvement in everyday comfort.


What new outdoor activities or trips are you planning to explore in the near future?
Well, I have several in the making! First off I’m going to introduce my kids and some coworkers into enjoying the outdoors Robens style! Think off great woodlands, fly fishing for trout and a lot of outdoor cooking under the stars! Secondly I’d love to visit both Denmark as Scandinavia for a more bushcrafty kind of adventure!


Do you have any final thoughts or advice for those looking to deepen their passion for nature?
I do, go outside! Get comfortable without the comfort of home as nature has provided you with an awesome mindset! With a little experience and the right gear you can experience some truly amazing magic outdoors!