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Outside Podcast

Author: Outside

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, and have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including reports from our correspondents in the field and interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and the outdoors.

325 Episodes
Nothing says “for better or for worse” like forcing your wedding guests to trek 60 miles to a ceremony deep in the jungle. While many people dream of nuptials involving elegant dresses, long-winded toasts, and tasteful floral arrangements, others hear the call of the adventure wedding. The more hardcore the experience, the more meaningful it is for all involved—or something like that. In this episode, we bring you the story of a union forged in the Guatemalan rainforest, where a creature came in the night to drink the blood of one of the guests.
What really happens to you when you spend months trekking the Pacific Crest Trail? Getting tired and filthy is just the start of it. We talked to dozens of PCT thru-hikers during their resupply in Ashland, Oregon—a popular stopover point some 1,500 miles into the 2,665-mile route—about how their really long walk through the mountains had changed them. For some, the journey had been exactly what they imagined. For others, it was full of surprises. Want to learn more about life on the PCT? Follow reports from the field at
Artificial light makes it impossible for most people in North America to see the Milky Way. But we don’t have to live like this. As we learn more about the impacts of light pollution on wildlife and ourselves, we are finding ways to bring some healthy darkness back to our communities. This week, we bring you an episode from the talented team at the Sidedoor podcast from the Smithsonian that investigates the history of our addiction to artificial light and explores a growing movement to be smarter about how and when we illuminate the world around us. This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Vans, makers of the ultimate summer shoe, the Vans UltraRange. With max cushioning for all-day wear, precision support for easy movement, and breathable mesh to keep you cool, the new UltraRange Neo VR3 is ultrafitted for ultra comfort. Learn more here.
When Pam Houston traveled to the Nordic island nation to ride its unique breed of spirited horses, she wasn’t just after an adventure—she was urgently seeking a way to be well again. Two years earlier, she had become seriously ill with long COVID, so lacking in energy that she couldn’t take a walk. What she needed most of all was a reason to go on. In the final episode of our Summer Read series, we hear her powerful story of physical and spiritual rebirth.
You say yes, of course. But what about those other wild opportunities that you’re not so sure about? In this episode, we talk to athletes and adventurers about how accepting an invitation led them to life-changing experiences. Jimmy Chin was an unknown dirtbag climber when Chouinard welcomed him into his California home and then took him surfing at a legendary break. Conrad Anker was an up-and-coming alpinist when he got a chance to represent the U.S. in a competition in Kyrgyzstan. Timmy O’Neill was an emerging mountain athlete when he was asked to join an expedition that would conduct cataract surgeries in a remote area of Ethiopia. What they and our other guests all agree on: they wouldn’t be who they are today if they hadn’t dared to go for it. This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Vans, makers of the ultimate summer shoe, the Vans UltraRange. With max cushioning for all-day wear, precision support for easy movement, and breathable mesh to keep you cool, the new UltraRange Neo VR3 is ultrafitted for ultra comfort. Learn more here.
America’s most classic hiking route is generally a safe place for an adventure. But not always. Since 1974, there have been 13 murders on the trail. That’s not a big number when you consider the millions of people who spend time on it every year, but it’s enough to make some thru-hikers wary of strangers. For this episode of our Summer Read series, we bring you the account of the first murder on the Appalachian Trail, the kidnapping that followed, and how one woman learned to survive.
When your most cherished childhood experience becomes impossible for your own kids, there’s only one choice: recreate it for them yourself. That’s what Jim Sperber did three years ago when the pandemic shut down summer camps across the country. He’d grown up going to his beloved Keewaydin camp in Vermont, and his three kids followed that tradition until, in 2020, when they couldn’t. But Sperber refused to let the tradition die. He and his wife created their own version of Keewaydin in and around their home in the New York City suburb of Bedford Corners, complete with riflery, campfire songs, and an overnight in the woods. It proved to be a wild adventure in parenting—and a magical summer for their family.
When W. Ralph Eubanks began exploring his family’s homeland, he fell in love with it—and came to understand how this troubled part of the state gave birth to the blues. Eubanks had grown up in another part of Mississippi before journeying to the Northeast U.S. to pursue life as a writer and scholar. But when fate brought him back, he was drawn to the Delta’s topography, realizing that the only way to understand the region’s history—and his own—was to walk the land.
Backpacker editor Zoe Gates sets off to discover if chatbots are the solution to our trip-planning woes. Preparing for wilderness excursions can be frustrating, even for seasoned adventurers. Tsunamis of online information—conflicting top ten lists, distracting ads, and trip reports of varying quality—can stand between you and getting out the door. Artificial intelligence tools claim to deliver detailed travel itineraries in response to just a single question, but can a robot really design a safe, worthwhile adventure? In an effort to simplify her weekend excursions, Zoe experiments with Outside’s in-development chatbot, Scout—and is totally at the whims of her computer.
There are passionate birders and then there’s Peter Kaestner, whose devotion has him traveling the globe in pursuit of the ultimate record. Fewer than 20 people have seen more than 9,000 species, and nobody has reached 10,000, though Kaestner is closing in on it. For this episode of our Summer Read series, Ornithologist and writer Jessie Williamson tags along with him on a rollicking South American adventure.
After years of pushing himself to go as big and far as he could, Alastair Humphreys realized that the most valuable trips we take are usually the ones right out our doors. Back in 2011, he coined the term “micro adventure” and ever since he’s been extolling the many upsides of doing things that we can squeeze in around the margins of real life: biking to a nearby hill and sleeping there for a night, an afternoon creek hike, even just climbing a tree. The point is to embrace simple, pure outdoor fun wherever we can find it, which can do wonders for us.
Your head is pounding, your muscles are cramping, and your heart is racing. And that’s just the start of it. Heatstroke kills thousands of people every year, including extremely fit outdoor athletes, who can be overcome quickly and with little warning. In the first episode of our 2023 Summer Read series, we hear a story about that demonstrates just how easy it is to get overheated—and what science tells us about how we can keep our cool.
If you want to know what it was like to travel this legendary trail, there’s only one way: get on a horse and follow all 2,000 miles of it. That’s what writer Will Grant did, retracing the route from Missouri to California over four and half months. He cooked his own meals and never knew where he’d end up camping on a given night. It was a grueling feat of endurance and logistical fortitude, but it gave him exactly what he was after—the chance to truly understand the people, land, and history of the American West.
Studies show that astonishing experiences in nature can have life-changing benefits, and that even small everyday doses of time outdoors can have immediate impacts. Those are two of many revelations Outside contributing editor Florence Williams uncovered during her investigation into the latest research around awe. Informed by conversations with leading awe experts, Williams guides us through the emerging understanding of what awe does for us—and how being open-minded can better facilitate experiences of this singular emotion. The Outside Podcast is made possible by Outside+ subscribers. Learn about the many benefits of a subscription and sign up now at
The actor’s flight into space in 2021 left him with an urgent desire to make us aware of the fragility of our home—a feeling that has yet to fade away. Media reports at the time, as well as Shatner’s own writing about his voyage with Blue Origin, focused on the grief he experienced looking into the blackness of space. But there was always much more to it. As part of an exploration into the power of awe for Outside, contributing editor Florence Williams spoke to Shatner, now 92, about how confronting forces larger than ourselves—be that beauty and wonder or horror and sadness—can be overwhelming yet ultimately transformative. The Outside Podcast is made possible by Outside+ subscribers. Learn about the many benefits of a subscription and sign up now at
There’s a reason the acclaimed author wrote his latest book in the voice of a dog: it enabled him to run free all over an imagined seaside park. Eggers has always been a writer compelled to break boundaries, and in The Eyes and the Impossible he’s at it again, crafting an all-ages story about a brave mutt named Johannes and his crew of committed friends: a seagull, a pelican, a racoon, and a one-eyed squirrel. Together they hatch a plan to free the park’s bison from their pens so that they, too, can roam where they will. For Eggers, who writes on a sailboat in San Francisco Bay and has a passion for unique flying experiences (old planes, ultralights, jet packs), the book was a chance to delight in a simple and pure kind of adventure storytelling. The Outside Podcast is made possible by Outside+ subscribers. Learn about the many benefits of a subscription and sign up now at
When veteran climber Mark Jenkins came up with a plan to witness a solar spectacle from the summit of a 20,000-foot peak, he had little idea what he was getting himself into. The fact that the obscure mountain in Argentina he’d targeted was extremely difficult to access was just the start of his challenges. After recruiting an old climbing buddy to join him, and arriving safely in South America, the duo ran into trouble at every stage of their mission. And yet their bold and bumbling quest delivered an unexpected triumph. Just in time for the summer solstice, we’re bringing back this classic adventure from our archives. The Outside Podcast is made possible by Outside+ subscribers. Learn about the many benefits of a subscription and sign up now at
Working the front lines of America’s wildfires is a difficult and dangerous job, but that doesn’t mean everyone who signs up is chasing adventure. While physical and mental challenges are part of the attraction, what draws many to the field is the camaraderie that comes with working in an unpredictable environment alongside a committed crew. And what makes a great firefighter isn’t a high tolerance for risk so much as the ability to be calm and assertive no matter what the day brings. In this episode, we speak to a trio of firefighters about how and why they fell in love with one of the most demanding jobs out there. The Outside Podcast is made possible by Outside+ subscribers. Learn about the many benefits of a subscription and sign up now at
As America continues to grapple with political uncertainty and an uneasy relationship with the planet, the author and environmentalist makes the case for an expansive and inclusive grassroots movement. McKibben, who wrote the first book on climate change for a general audience in 1989 and later founded the international climate campaign with a small group of college students, has lately been focused on growing Third Act, a nonprofit that organizes people over the age of 60 to take action on climate change. In this special episode, we share McKibben’s recent live talk from the 2023 Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Colorado, in which he discusses lessons learned in decades of environmental activism and where the climate movement goes from here. The Outside Podcast is made possible by Outside+ subscribers. Learn about the many benefits of a subscription and sign up now at
Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s new film, ‘Wild Life,’ captures the saga of Doug and Kristine Tompkins, whose devotion to conservation and each other led to the creation of extraordinary national parks in Chile and Argentina. For Chin, the origins of the documentary go back more than 20 years, when he was first welcomed into a group of climbers who were friends of the Tompkinses, including Rick Ridgeway and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. Eventually, Chin met the Tompkinses and learned about their ambitious vision for conserving millions of acres. In this episode, Chin talks about the incredible journey behind the making of ‘Wild Life,’ and Kristine shares her experience of opening up in front of the cameras and where Tompkins Conservation goes from here. The Outside Podcast is made possible by Outside+ subscribers. Learn about the many benefits of a subscription and sign up now at
Comments (25)

Ari C

this is great. dogs are the best! also, common error: *champing at the bit, not chomping.

Sep 17th

Ari C

yesss! yep. works for traumatic brain injury too. neural network creator drug! watch "fantastic fungi" a lot of people have been saying all this for years and advocating for this as treatment.

Sep 6th

Ari C

bonkers... 0% chance is pay 200$ for a single day ticket, that's bonkers. plenty of cheaper not crowded absolutely awesome resorts.

Sep 5th

Janet Locane

I think that everyone is faced with mental disorders at different ages. And it is very important to turn for help in time. I recently found a website and found out about a company that helps in difficult life situations. This has become especially relevant during the pandemic. I think that it is important to know such information when you feel bad.

Jan 9th

Jay Sila

That is so nice. waffle unlimited

Aug 9th

Megan Brewster

You have a list of things to do and projects to complete hastily, but you’ll need to wait on some supplies. You feel the disappointment of missing out on a good deal.

Jul 31st

Jeff Morgan

I work as a volunteer taking people down a suburban river. One contribution that I make is to carry a pop-up room and a lugable-loo, a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat top, and a liner bag. But as a nod to the story that I read in Outside many years ago, the extra bags, tp, wipes, and hand sanitizer, are carried in an ammo can. Groover Boy lives on!

Jul 30th

john smith

I'm also facing the issue, please help me to resolve this issue

Jul 27th

Craig George

i Really do love this podcast but some of the recent stories are going away from the telling of great adventures and storytelling and turning into a political left leaning progressive lecture on where my moral compass should be pointing, i don't mind a little bit of that but it's getting out of hand can we get back to the roots of Outside please!

Apr 27th


Why does everything have to be an NPR episode and why does every NPR episode have to be "green, diversity, and progressive" politics?

Oct 26th
Reply (1)

Stormie Valentine

n d.djedd

Sep 17th


sounds like a tent will hold up better than what these genius’s built, i’d be curious how they passed an inspection with something build so shoddy.

Sep 25th

Nicole Zaatar

Iam not sure if I can make that work if you want to come to my house and I can come 😊😊😁😊😀😀😊😁😁😀😉😀 to get a ride to the airport 😁😊😁😊 hiI love you too ❤️ 😘😘 uyyu Ihope you have a wonderful day and I love you too my love I love you too baby I hope you have a great day and I will be in touch with him and he said he would be great if I could get some help with the kids and get it done by the end of the day I was in the shower and then I will be able to make it to the meeting tonight but I will be there in a few days and I have an appointment at 5 30 but I can come in at the end of the day today and tomorrow and tomorrow but I will be there in a few minutes to talk to you about it when I get home I will send you a check 😊😁 I will you be around 😘😊😁😊 hiI and I are going really well and I hope you are you still looking for some fun w w be few minutes to talk to him about it and he w he would have to go back to few questions about your 💯 it in when I get home u7uu want to you the updated resume

May 25th

Jenni Godfrey

This was great. I find "the wedge" riding my mountain bike. I find, as a 41 year old newbie to mountain biking, that those uphill pushes and the ensuing state of exhaustion, that point of "I can't breathe any faster or harder"... is actually something I've come to crave. Not just the fun of the downhill but the sheer uncomfortable exhaustion if the uphill... Good stuff

Apr 22nd


I as the same experience after a brain injury/concussion. Music was my worst nightmare. It took me 8 months to be able to listen to a song and another 6 months to listen to music more regularly. I am just now (18 months after accident) to be able to listen to music in a car and have a conversation at the same time. Its amazing what your brain filters and ignores when it is not injured. I also found that being quiet in nature was a huge part of my recovery and lower my developed anxiety. I had to go through extensive vestibular and vision therapy to further heal. I hope you are getting the help you need to make a full recovery. Best wishes!

Mar 11th

Amanda Joy

this podcast is so quiet. I have my volume maxed and can hardly hear it

Jan 30th

Kevin Graber

what a bunch of shit...taken from scripture of those whom no nothing about how natural ecosystems,have been working for a billion years. go smoke some shit.

Aug 29th


Someone should show this guy the Mosin Nagant. He'll lose his mind.

May 29th

Grahame Neil

Great podcast! I initially put this on for what I thought might be a chuckle, but I found the further it played on I was unable to walk out of the room as I was hanging onto every word in genuine interest. I will say that I lean toward being scientifically minded, but I'm certainly open to believe that we only know as much as we are capable of knowing in this point in time. I think we are a terribly naive people if we are to dismiss any possibility of their being life, or signs of it, other than ourselves. My question is, does anybody know if there is a follow-up episode to this one as of yet?

Mar 15th

Jaguar Domingo

6:00 was this intentional? very disorienting for me haha

Dec 17th
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