Whether you’re a full-blown podcast junkie or “more of a music person,” a good story is a surefire way to sweeten long road trips, solo runs, and down days. There are great ‘casts out there on just about every subject–from parenting to grammar–but finding adventure-focused, outdoors-inspired podcasts can be tough. After all, a mainstream audience probably isn’t all that interested in the economics of a small East Coast ski hill or the life story of a van-dwelling, rock-climbing dirtbag. So we did the hard work for you. Next time you hit the road, trail, or, hey, even the couch, tune in to one of these podcasts. Inspiration’s guaranteed–and you might just learn something, too.
The She Explores podcast is a heartfelt and uplifting look at the strong women shaping the outdoor industry. With an eye towards the creatives (the podcast often features photographers, writers, and artists who happen to be incredible outdoor athletes and influencers), She Explores is a resource for women of all backgrounds to make a go of it in the outdoors in their own way, whether that means taking your first backpacking trip or starting a women’s climbing group.
Probably the best-known outdoor podcast out there, the Dirtbag Diaries crew has been honing their craft since 2007. Narrated by Fitz Cahall of Duct Tape Then Beer, the Diaries are just that–the wild and wonderful stories of outdoor folks from world-class athletes to road-tripping moms. Dirtbag Diaries embraces the entire scope of outdoor adventure, from skiing to BASE Jumping and car camping, and feels a lot like sitting around a late-night campfire with all your most adventurous buddies.
The Powell Movement
Founded by the hilarious, dad-joke cracking Mike Powell, the Powell Movement is a great introduction to the many faces (or voices) that make action sports great. The Movement, encompasses three podcasts: Sponsored, presented by POWDER magazine’s Powder Radio, Inappropriate Questions, and the namesake TPM Show. Sponsored explores the lives and careers of just about every professional skier in the game, including early-aughts heroes like Mike Douglas and young guns like Lexi Dupont. Powell gets personal with Inappropriate Questions, aptly named mini podcasts featuring more PG-13 quotes from his interviewees. Finally, the TPM Show uses the same personal interview format as Sponsored, but across a broader set of action sports legends like Sherry McConkey and Miles Daisher of the RedBull Airforce.
The best climbers in the world aren’t always the most visible, and Enormocast illuminates the fascinating, hidden corners of the climbing world. Similar to Sponsored in format, host Chris Kalous interviews superstar climbers like Conrad Anker and Alex Honnold as well as young up-and-comers and community organizers like Brad Gobright and Stacy Bare. With 120+ episodes, Enormocast lives up to its name in volume and scope. It’s a treasure trove of climbing history and culture.
Produced in partnership with Vermont Public Radio, Wintry Mix is host Alex Kaufman’s take on the winter economy, particularly the economy of winter sports. An industry insider with experience doing everything from ski bumming as a grunt worker to ski bumming as a semi-pro to working in management for various mountains, Kaufman has a serious resume and strong opinions. Unafraid to address topics like economic hardships and public land use, Wintry Mix gets at the issues that matter to skiers, ice climbers, snowshoers, and anyone with a passion for getting active outdoors in the colder months.
Named Outside Magazine’s top podcast of 2016, Outside/In is a refreshing and innovative take on the outdoors podcast. Combining long-form narrative storytelling and investigative journalism, award-winning environmental journalist Sam Evans-Brown explores everything from the psyche of ultramarathoners to the cultural phenomenon of FiveFingers. It’s arguably the smartest podcast in the game, using the platform to tell a carefully crafted story, rather than simply presenting personal opinions or sharing a compelling interview.
The Trail Show
Specifically catering to the thru-hiking community, the Trail Show’s motto is “Less gear, more beer.” Each episode features conversations with influential thru-hikers, trail-maintenance folks, forest service employees and other crucial figures in the thru-hiking community. And, in keeping with the motto, there’s always a beer tasting with spirited commentary. Hosted by four friends out of Boulder, Colorado, each episode feels like a little trail-themed party.
Out There was born after award-winning radio journalist Willow Belden quit her job with Wyoming Public Radio and thru-hiked the Colorado Trail. The experience gave her a fresh perspective on storytelling, and she founded Out There as an outlet for those tales. Belden answers tough questions like “What happens when your life goal isn’t your dream anymore?” and “Is nature really colorblind?” with the eye of a journalist and the empathy, kindness, and open-mindedness of a traditional thru-hiker.
Photo by Abbie Barronian
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