British Adventurer Jason Rawles Shares His Adventure Tips And Passion For Positive Social Change

Adventurer Jason Rawles

Hello! I’m Jason Rawles and live in the UK but you may also find me in places like Nepal, Africa or the Alps. There are two parts to my world and what I do. The first part is running a business that helps people achieve their adventure or business aspirations. The second part is using adventure as a platform for positive social change.

I love to just be outdoors. For me, adventuring and exploring isn’t about scary mountains or remote deserts. It’s about doing something outdoors. It’s about that connection to nature and pushing your boundaries. Everyone can be explorers and adventurers while they’re getting outdoors and doing something new and exciting.

That’s what I love about what I do. To help kick start a new way of being or help people stretch themselves a little. To know that my actions are helping to improve people’s lives.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

How and why did you get into adventuring?

Adventuring started at a really young age for me. Most people think of young kids building camps and making rope swings as jolly and care free. But in my world, it was about escapism. To get away from the challenges of every day. While at the time I may not have been self-aware enough to see but looking back that’s where I started to see the outdoors as a space to clear my head out, get away and rebalance.

People ask who my influencers were so I suppose it wasn’t a person as such it was an environment that influenced a course of actions. That surprises people but when I explain it becomes a bit of an AHAAA moment for others. I’ve never really been inspired by people that do big and amazing things. It makes me think WOW but it never shapes a course of action. I’m more inspired by the family who work tirelessly just to survive but still manage to take their kids away camping. That single Mum working multiple jobs and still managing to upskill and get a degree to help better the lives of her family. That’s inspiring – people looking to better themselves and the world around them.

I’ve never been a big dreamer as such. More about set a goal, agree the actions to achieve the goal, and get cracking. Going to Kilimanjaro in my early 20’s was a big step to fuelling my adventure and travel goals and that was only achievable because I had a job at that point and lived at home so didn’t have to worry about a mortgage and looking after kids. I was, and have been, very fortunate in all stages of my life.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

How do you prepare for your adventures?

Adventure is the common thread in pretty much everything that I do. It’s in my life from the moment I wake to the moment I sleep and I’m pretty sure I sleep adventure too!

Unfortunately, I snapped my wrist climbing in December 2014 leading to aggressive reconstruction surgery and I’m only just on the other side now. The fact that walks and hikes are important to me, helped, but it meant I couldn’t do a lot of things that I love.

But the exciting thing is it feels like I’m on a great journey to get fit and strong again. I have a plan with a personal trainer with a set of goals and deliverables and I live surrounded by mountains. I have a house full of books and Netflix has great films and documentaries to keep my mind alive.

What I tend to do though is have a fairly good base of fitness. I can plod around in the mountains all day. Then when I have project specific adventures I create a plan around needing something extra. It may be carrying heavier weights, being lighter or stronger, etc. I’m not very good and just ‘general’ it has to aim at something and then I get cracking.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

How do you finance your adventures?

I’m very fortunate to be supported by some wonderful brands like Ordnance Survey (UK mapping agency), Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports (adventure retailer), Elliot Brown watches (watches!) and KEEN (adventure footwear) and they help supply kit. That means that I can focus on the funds element needed.

I’ll pay for this myself generally as it then means I don’t have too much of a commitment on the flip side to write trip reports, do talks or create a tonne of content. Because my work involves adventure I tend to want some things just for me, to keep me sane, and give myself a reward for the hard work put in to other areas of my life.

I try not to spend too much money but the fact is they cost something. Also, in areas like Nepal, if you stay in teahouses and use porters, it means that you’re putting money in to the local economy. We have to think about our global impact when we march around the world and that’s not just stuff like carbon footprint but how we support people, regions and cultures.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

How do you eat and sleep on the road?

All kinds of ways. In Nepal, it will be teahouses with locally cooked food but then if it’s an expedition like Ama Dablam (in Nepal) it might be in a tent and cooking food using melted snow for water and meals. On Kilimanjaro, it will be a mix of a lodge and tents with porters cooking meals for us. Somewhere like Borneo could be tents and hammocks with local fish markets.

The UK is slightly different because I have so much amazingness on my doorstep. I can literally walk out of the door and be sleeping in the mountains, or on a beach, or in the woods!

I’m very fortunate to have a decent selection of kit and I do appreciate I tell people to look at how many uses from one piece of kit to help keep costs down. I have three sleeping bags. One is for summer, one for winter and the other is my high altitude/expedition bag. The summer and winter are by Rab (Ascent 600/900) and the expedition is The North Face Inferno.

Like sleeping bags, I have a few systems. A bivvy bag, again by Rab and a lightweight tent by Vaude, which is easier to put up and great in poor weather. It’s also light which helps! My expedition tent is a Mountain Hardwear Trango and I also have a glamping tent by Vango if I stay in more formal campsites.

For cooking, I have the MSR Whisperlite and also the MSR Windburner. In my view, that’s a pretty complete system that covers all of my needs from expedition to a brew on the move.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

How do you bring your things with you?

For my day to day work/personal adventures, I have a few rucksacks by Lowe Alpine and Osprey depending on the task in hand. They fit all my needs although it’s tough getting one rucksack that has ‘everything’. Because it’s quite windy and wet where I live I think about stuff like flappy straps, accessibility, fit, waterproofing, look, etc.

When travelling on expeditions I use duffle bags by DMM in particular the Void 100 litre and also the 45 litres. They are really light when empty, which means I can take more kit with me. As well as airline allowances, I want to ensure that there’s minimal strain on any porters, yaks, etc. when in country. My bags have seen a lot of action and they’re still in great shape, which means they’ll last a long time.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

How do you organize things in your bags?

I don’t have a system so rigid that I spend all day putting kit back in my bag but I am very careful with organisation. I use Exped stuff sacks to organise my gear and have a colour coding system. I’ll group items together logically and then keep that system through the expedition especially dirty underwear!!!!

I’m also using Aquapac kit for the kit that absolutely cannot get wet. That may be my iPhone, iPad, charging kit, electronics. It’s more a precautionary measure because when Mother Nature wants to unload on you it’s belt and braces time.

I’d like to see the cost of these go down though as they can be expensive when you might be using 10/12 at a time. They are key bits of kit for organising and protecting and could be the difference between a successful expedition and a ‘come back again’ moment.

My favourite and most useful stuff sack is my ‘Ouch Pouch’ that sits in the top of my rucksack. It has personal medication, sun cream, midge repellent, spray plaster, aspirin, pain relief and a few other bits. The idea being I can very quickly get to something that’s needed if there is a bump, scrap or issue.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

This is a really tough question to answer because things evolve so quickly. I suppose my answer to this is that I wish information like you’re supply would have been available. The opportunity to share information and ideas is critical in terms of inspiring people to stretch their boundaries a little.

Also, the process of learning is fun. Looking back, I am a lot leaner in terms of how I pack and take kit. But advancements in things like underwear material means you don’t need to take as many on trips! I’m also more disciplined in terms of how I use what I take. I won’t break open the summit day pants and socks until summit day for example!

The things I miss tend to be more the home comforts. A bacon roll or being able to watch a documentary on Netflix.

What has been your best adventuring purchase below $100?

Crikey there are quite a few…

Nail clippers as long toe nails on your feet can cause mega drama over longer periods of time!

A decent power pack to keep electronics charged as, for many reasons, we need to keep ourselves connected. I use VARTA.

A decent bobble hat as it’s important to keep warm AND look good!

Stuff sacks – critical for organisation and waterproofing as eluded to above.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

What inspired you to write your book?

My book should be released in Spring 2018 so it’s not fully completed just yet. The working title is Time to Adventure and is designed to help people answer the question as to why they should go and adventure. It draws on my experiences (including business) to help people see why. It’s got loads of stories and talks also along with hints and tips. I’m excited to release it to the world!

I’m really enjoying writing it as it’s reliving some great memories. Oh, and some less than favourable ones too but that’s all part of the learning experience of life. It’s a real honour to share my experiences with people to help them shape good adventure decisions and also, in fairness, there’s a little bit of ego in there as I’d like to see my own book on my book shelf!

What is your best advice for other adventurers?

Whether you’re new to the world of adventure or seasoned, you have to turn your dreams in to goals. It’s lovely sitting around dreaming but as some point you have to get up and crack on.

Adventurer Jason Rawles

What will the future bring?

People can find out by signing up to my newsletter via jasonrawles.com! Cheeky I know! That said it’s still broken down in to a few parts. I’ll be at Everest Base Camp in April 2018 and Kilimanjaro in June 2018 both of which are groups I’m taking out there. The rest of the year is splattered with various skills workshops, adventure experiences and business related team development workshops and talking engagements.

A few months ago, I launched The Adventurer Club to help bring people together and deliver funded adventure programmes back to those less fortunate and with special needs. That will consume time and make sure I deliver on the promises and expectations.

Book launch is planned for Spring and ski touring is planned for January. I will likely head back to Nepal in October to close off a personal project that’s eluded me so far! So, things are pretty busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Visit Jason Rawles on his website and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


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