One of the defining aspects of modern life is our inability to hear the sounds of nature due to noise pollution. But since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the world have remarked that they’re hearing birds and other creatures more clearly than ever before. This includes professional listeners like Chris Watson, the legendary field recordist who for decades has captured the sounds of wildlife heard in David Attenborough’s films, including The Green Planet, which will premier in 2022. As Watson points out, the moment noise pollution stops, the problem goes away. But this period of relative global silence we’re experiencing right now is temporary, and something we should all take advantage of. “Most of our time, in much of our lives, we spend time blocking out sound simply to get through the day,” he says. But if we open our ears, “We can easily train ourselves to be good listeners.” This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Feetures, socks that help you perform at your best. See for yourself why Feetures has become the number one running sock in America. Outside Podcast listeners receive $10 off your first pair. Go to feetures.com and enter the code “outside” at checkout.
Of all the people who might end up on a deer hunt in Arizona, Rachel Levin has to be among the least likely candidates. Growing up, her closest connection to hunting was Elmer Fudd cartoons. Today she’s a food writer in San Francisco, where she knows just one person who hunts. But like a lot of food obsessives, Rachel was often curious about how the meat on her plate got there. Earlier this year, she got a chance to find out when she joined a bow hunt for mule deer with two rising stars of huntstagram, the social media sphere dedicated to all things hunting. Rihana Cary and Amanda Caldwell are part of a growing group of women hunters with large followings on Instagram, which they use to broadcast live from the field to their audiences. In this episode, Rachel recounts her surprising trip, discusses evolving attitudes on who can be a hunter, and explains why she can’t wait to go again. This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by L.L. Bean, your source for ready-for-anything outerwear this winter. Visit llbean.com to shop winter gear now, find a store near you, or check out their online guides to a number of outdoor activities. L.L. Bean, be an Outsider.
You’ve been breathing wrong your whole life. That’s the message journalist and outdoor athlete James Nestor delivers in his new bestseller Breath, which explains how the human species has lost the ability to breathe properly and why this is so bad for our health in all kinds of ways. But his reporting also shows that with minor adjustments in how we inhale and exhale, we can dramatically improve on everything from the quality of our sleep to our athletic performance to our posture. Nestor, whose interest in breathing began when he wrote a feature for Outside on the sport of freediving, talks with editor Christopher Keyes about his years-long investigation into the history and science of human breathing, and his own journey to becoming a better breather. This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Feetures, socks that help you perform at your best. See for yourself why Feetures has become the number one running sock in America. Outside Podcast listeners receive $10 off your first pair. Go to feetures.com and enter the code "outside" at checkout.
It sounds like a fantasy: join forces with a good friend to build a sweet little cabin in the woods. And for Bryan Schatz and Patrick Hutchison, that’s exactly how it felt. They took time away from promising careers to pursue a dream of crafting a base camp for adventures in an idyllic spot in Washington’s Cascade Range. There was just one problem: they had no idea what they were doing. Their planned summer project turned into a yearlong saga that drained their bank accounts and stressed their relationships with family, friends, and each other. But they stuck it out and ended up not only with a gorgeous cabin but a new perspective on what matters most in life. This episode of the Outside podcast is brought to you by Whoop, the fitness tracker that gets you training smarter by giving you feedback on every moment of your day. For a limited time, Outside Podcast listeners get 15 percent off a membership; just enter the code “outside” at checkout.
In recent years, the search for extraterrestrials has been accelerated by a wave of new technologies that allow us to better probe distant reaches of the galaxy. Meanwhile, a pair of events have generated enormous excitement among those who believe that aliens might already be among us. In 2017, when the first interstellar object was detected in our solar system, a highly respected Harvard astrophysicist suggested it might be a probe that was sent by aliens. That same year, the public learned about a secret program by the U.S. military that was investigating potential threatening UFOs. All of this was enough to spur journalist Laura Krantz to launch an investigation of her own into what we really know about extraterrestrials. The result is a new season of Wild Thing, a podcast that explores the strange and unusual things that capture our imaginations. This week, we talk to Laura about the challenges of doing rigorous reporting on a topic that a lot of people don’t take seriously and share the kickoff episode of her otherworldly new series. This episode of the Outside podcast is brought to you by Whoop, the fitness tracker that gets you training smarter by giving you feedback on every moment of your day. For a limited time, Outside Podcast listeners get 15 percent off a membership; just enter the code "outside" at checkout.
You know how when you listen to certain songs, you feel you feel like you’re being transported to a totally different place? Most of the time, this is exactly what the musician was trying to do—especially if the musician is Jackson Stell, who creates music under the name Big Wild. Stell is a rapidly rising artist in the electronic and dance scene, though his songs don’t fit neatly in that genre. As a producer, musician, songwriter, and vocalist, he’s crafting works that are inspired by remarkable outdoor landscapes and capture the ecstatic feelings we have when we venture into the natural world. The result is songs that make us feel like we’re on an adventure—and having a fantastic time. In this episode, we take a journey through Big Wild’s catalogue and talk to Stell about how his personal journey led him to seek out a new kind of sound experience. This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Bank of the West, and their new 1% for the Planet checking account, the first bank account designed for climate action. Learn ow you can make your money work for the environment at bankofthewest.com/1percent
Marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson has to be among the busiest scientists in the world. She runs a conservation consulting firm, Ocean Collectiv, as well as a think tank focused on the future of coastal cities called the Urban Ocean Lab. She was an advisor to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. In June, she wrote an influential op-ed for The Washington Post that explained to white environmentalists why it’s critical for them to join the movement for racial justice. She’s currently editing an anthology of essays by women climate leaders, and also writing her own book on solutions to climate change. And starting this week, she’s cohosting a new podcast with industry titan Alex Blumberg ambitiously titled How to Save a Planet. Her journey to becoming a star in the environmental movement has been defined by a collaborative approach to problem solving, and now she’s asking us all to work together on answering a very big question: What does the future look like if we get it right? This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Hydro Flask, maker of the new Trail Series bottle, which lets you go farther with less weight. Learn more about it and purchase yours at hydroflask.com/trailseries
If you were to try to come up with the most outlandish survival story imaginable, you’d be hard pressed to do much better than the tale of Michael Proudfoot, a scuba diver who found himself trapped alone in a shipwreck deep under the sea and running out of air. It’s the ultimate nightmare scenario for a diver, and yet somehow Proudfoot managed to live through it. Or maybe not. Maybe none of it ever happened. This week on the Outside Podcast, we revisit a classic episode from our archives that had us take our own deep dive into a legend that seems too astonishing to be true—but just might be. This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Hydro Flask, maker of the new Trail Series bottle, which lets you go farther with less weight. Learn more about it and purchase yours at hydroflask.com/trailseries
There’s a misguided notion that the ultimate kid’s paradise would look something like a cross between Disneyland and Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. The truth is that for a lot of kids, paradise is nothing like that. Instead it’s sleepaway summer camp—especially a camp that lets you do crazy stupid things and get really, really dirty. In the second installment of our two-part exploration of the specialness and weirdness of camp, we present a collection of stories that capture camps and campers at their edgy extremes. There’s the kid who hitchhiked around a difficult hike, the boy who dove into a campground toilet to save a cookpot, the counselors who harvested wildlife for dinner, and the camp that staged the most epic game of capture the flag in human history. This is camp as it really happens. This episode of the Outside Podcast is sponsored by L.L. Bean, a company that wants to show you how to enjoy summer without straying far from home. See their Staycation Summer Guide at llbean.com/staycationsummer. Outside Podcast listeners get 15 percent off online orders from now through August 15. Go to llbean.com and enter the promo code “OUTSIDE” at checkout.
Amazing things happen when young people spend their days outside and their nights sleeping among new friends—and a week far, far away from their parents. Kids learn to take care of themselves, and each other. But strange things happen, too, like that time a camp’s beloved pet snake chomped down on a counselor’s hand and wouldn’t let go. Or when a moth flew deep inside a camper’s ear and had to be extracted with an ancient and bizarre technique. Then there was the camper who brought her grandma’s ashes to camp... and wasn’t very careful with them. In this first episode of a two-part series, we begin our exploration of the specialness and weirdness of summer camp with a collection of true-life tales submitted by Outside Podcast listeners that will make you wish you could go to camp right now—and also question why anyone would ever send their kids. This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Avocado Green Mattress, makers of 100 percent organic-certified mattresses—and more products, like their new meditation pillow. Visit avocadogreenmattress.com to learn more. And to save $175 dollars on any mattress, use the code OUTSIDE175 at checkout.