Every start-up, multi-national brand, charity, or social media influencer seems to have a podcast nowadays. And why not? They’re easy to create and are a free way of sharing wisdom, spreading a message, or establishing a human voice behind a brand.
But not all podcasts are created equal. Attention is a valuable commodity which demands more than drab industry insights and sponsored plugs. The best outdoors podcasts spin tales of endurance, natural wonders, or inspiring adventures we can emulate on our next trip.
“Attention is a valuable commodity which demands more than drab industry insights”
And the beauty of podcasts? Well, no matter what you’re doing, you can just plug in and go. All of these podcasts can be enjoyed either from the comfort of your bed, deep within a long-distance hike, or on your daily commute (when you’re longing to escape into nature). We’ve found 10 of the best ones for you, so grab those headphones and get set to be taken on some epic adventures…
The Dirtbag Diaries
This will be on any top 10 outdoor podcast list for anyone who’s a fan of climbing, even if you’re scared of heights, it’s an awesome resource for adventure travel inspiration. The Dirtbag Diaries format keeps it fresh even after 12 years (that’s before podcasts were even cool).
Outdoor writer Fitz Cahall and his team presents stories about the dreamers, athletes and wanderers submitted to them by fans so each episode feels uniquely personal. It’s so good that it’s had backing from the likes of Patagonia and Duct Tape Then Beer. An easy recommendation on our list of best adventure podcasts.
Where to listen: dirtbagdiaries.com
Favourite episode: Adventurer Katie Crafts’ life restart that takes her on an Antarctic cruise ship adventure after she decides to “Start Saying Yes” more.
The Mpora Podcast
We couldn’t create list of top adventure podcasts without a spot of self-promotion. After all, isn’t that what podcasts are for? Our sister site – Mpora – started off their podcast with Paul Evans and Ben Mondy, who stuffed it full of loosely surf-related competition coverage, empowering women in action sports and easy eco-travel.
On the team sheet for season two, Mpora editor Jack Clayton is joined by long distance backpacker and editor of this website, Will Renwick, ski mountaineering staff writer Jordan Tiernan and the does-it-all outdoorsman Giles Dean, with chats varying between out-and-out gear geekery and current affairs commentary, to recollections of big (and small) adventures they’ve recently undertaken.
Where to listen: soundcloud.com
Favourite episode: The best and worst from ISPO 2020. Don’t worry, it’s not just four guys geeking out about gear (although there’s a bit of that), as Will brings us onto the subject of the meaning of life.
An action sports journalist for over 20 years, the man behind this podcast series, Matt Barr, knows how to collar the right people and ask them the questions we all wanted to hear the answers to.
Scroll through his list of interviewees and it’s one eclectic bunch; from record-breaking alpinists and skaters on the Southbank, to CEOs of multinationals and founders of new start-ups. There’s a common theme right across each one however, and that’s a love of action sports in all forms.
Where to listen: podcasts.apple.com
Favourite episode: Matt’s chat with Ross Edgeley, who in 2018/19 swam right around the coast of Britain.
Laura Hughes’ show is a podcast for women solo travellers with a clear mission statement: just go for it. Host Laura is a full-time “Vanlifer” swapping stories and travel tips with other women doing the same, and addressing the misconception that women explorers are less inclined to ‘rough it’.
Each episode is highly personal and entertaining. It goes further to uncover the reasons why these women strike it out – from becoming closer to a partner to an antidote for serious illness. A thoroughly recommended adventure podcast for both women and men.
Where to Listen: podcasts.apple.com
Favourite episode: ‘Because Trails Inspire’ – Hughes chats with expert Sirena Rana Dufault about the revelatory power of trail-walking.
The Adventure Podcast
In this new-to-the-block podcast, Matt Pycroft, of Coldhouse Collective, a UK adventure film production company, explores the more philosophical side of adventure and the outdoors, not just asking people what they have done, but why they have done it. Guests so far have included climber Conrad Anker, and survivalist Megan Hine.
Where to listen: theadventurepodcast.co.uk
Favourite episode: Dr Beth Healey, having spent 3 months in Antarctica, tells some tales from her time in the South, including her work studying the challenges astronauts may face on long-range missions.
In association with Montane, Further, Faster asks extreme athletes, and experts from across the world, how and why they do what they do. The podcasts so far have included talks from ultra runners, mountaineers, bikepackers, extreme nature photographers, and even a plasma physicist. Presented by Dan Neilson, you’ll get to hear some unbelievable stories, as well as an insight into the psychology of the extreme.
Where to listen: podcasts.apple.com
Favourite episode: #14 Montane speak to Scottish long-distance runner and record-breaking cyclist Jenny Graham about how she got into riding, and what it takes to be an endurance athlete.
The Trail Show
This podcast, which bears the motto “less gear, more beer”, records the monthly get togethers of three hosts, who like to discuss hiking, brewskis and generally each others’ nonsense.
Expect topics such as bear attacks, roasting marshmallows over lava, and vacuums at the bottom of lakes. It’s high-quality outdoorsy banter beamed into your headphones from the U.S home of historic beers, Boulder Colorado.
Where to listen: thetrailshow.com
Favourite episode: #59 where the team hike the Inca Trail.
From the BBC, Scotland Outdoors is a topical guide to life in these Celtic landscapes. The topics are pretty eclectic and vary week to week, including birdwatching, Scottish fungi, mountaineering, nature preservation, and the West Highland Way, to name a few. What’s special about this podcast is that it includes discussions on the wider natural environment, as well as outdoor activities, so is definitely for those who enjoy a David Attenborough documentary every now and then.
Where to listen: bbc.co.uk
Favourite episode: ‘A secret bothy, creatures that glow in the dark and the wayfaring tree’ – the title alone is enough to draw you in.
The Sharp End
The Sharp End is a podcast from the American Alpine Club, hosted by Ashley Saupe, a long time outdoor educator who’s been actively involved in accident prevention in adventure sports. This is essentially the overriding theme of The Sharp End podcast, with Ashley diving into the fascinating stories behind some of the most serious epics, accidents, or near misses experienced by adventure sports enthusiasts.
Where to listen: soundcloud.com
Favourite episode: #44 Things went from bad to worse for Dr. Leslie Drapiza who had to spend two nights out in the cold and snow before being rescued.
The Alpinist Podcast
The Alpinist Podcast is ideal for those who prefer their time in the mountains to be spent fighting the pull of gravity on steep faces. Climbers, mountaineers and, well.. alpinists (funnily enough) will love The Alpinist Podcast. It covers a range of conversations based around the world of climbing, including interviews and untold stories mixed in with humorous adventure tales. Alongside all that there some pretty in-depth discussions of significant issues in the climbing world today.
Where to listen: alpinist.com
Favourite episode: Alpinist Podcast – Mountain Lit: Tommy Caldwell & Bree Loewen discuss why their mountain travels ignite their desire to write.
Main Photo: iStock/ littlehenrabi
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