Listen on: iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher


42. Sat Comm with ZOLEO founder Morris Shawn

It's your worst nightmare. You're all alone, miles from the trailhead, when you trip over a rock and break your leg. What do you do? If you have a satellite communication device, you press a button and send a message for help. Yes, rescue in the backcountry has become that easy. These palm-sized units allow you to send messages from anywhere in the world, let others track your progress in the backcountry, and provide a direct line to help when you need it.

How exactly do satellite communication devices work, and can you trust them? We sat down with Morris Shawn, president of ZOLEO Inc, to give you the inside scoop on how the ZOLEO satellite communicator works. From seamless messaging to remote weather reports and location tracking in the field, Morris explains all the benefits of carrying a satellite communicator in areas beyond cell service. Plus, get the skinny on what actually happens when you press that dreaded SOS button, and hear about some of the most ridiculous calls for help Morris has seen in recent years.

And it's good timing, because if you're in the market for a satellite communication device, ZOLEO is having a killer sale from November 12, 2021 to November 30, 2021. You can pick up a ZOLEO two-way satellite messenger for $149, that's 25 percent off the retail price. And if you activate your device by January 30, 2022, you'll get a 6-month Gaia GPS Premium Membership for free if you're not already a member. Nothing pairs better with satellite communication than Gaia GPS's robust collection of maps and offline planning and navigation tools. Get them both today in this special deal. Visit the Gaia GPS blog to save.

41. Thru-Hiking Secrets with Halfway Anywhere

Before Mac of Halfway Anywhere thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013, he struggled to find useful information about the trail. Sure, he read anecdotal thru-hiking accounts. But what worked for one person might not work for him. Mac wanted data. So after completing the trail that year, Mac started a PCT survey to gather that data for himself.

The results both somewhat dismayed him while at the same time, proved quite useful. For example, one of Mac’s many findings suggested that hikers wildly underestimate how much a thru-hike costs. In fact, underestimating thru-hike finances proves to be one of the primary reasons people abandon their hike.

After Mac thru-hiked the Continental Divide Trail in 2017, he started a survey for that trail as well. Surprising to many, the CDT mostly sticks to well-defined trail. But unlike other long trails, the CDT provides numerous “alternates” that hikers can take to supplement or supplant the official route. Mac was able to get surprising figures about these "alternates" as well as tons of other useful data for future CDT thru-hikers.

On today's episode of Out and Back, Mac weaves his eight years of survey data together with his first hand observations to illuminate how the PCT and CDT have evolved over the past decade. Hint: he doesn’t think it’s all been for the better. He also dishes out his controversial view of trail angels and trail magic. Plus, Mac explains why he hates the word “tramly” (aka “trail family). Finally, you may have noticed the elephant in the room: Mac has not thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and does not conduct an AT survey. In fact, Mac swears he will never hike the east’s longest trail. He explains why he feels this way...and of course...Shanty will try and change Mac's mind about it...

A self-proclaimed random guy on the internet, Mac has no proven validity to his findings. But he’s here to help prospective thru-hikers actually glean information that will be useful in their monumental undertaking. Mac may not be a scientist, but he thinks with the precision of one, constantly trying to refine and improve the surveys with each iteration.

If you’re planning on thru-hiking the PCT or the CDT next year, sign up to take the survey when it becomes available.

Comb through the vast PCT and CDT survey data on Mac’s website, Halfway Anywhere. You’ll also find all types of useful insight and analysis, including gear guides for both the PCT and CDT. Sign up for Mac’s newsletter, and follow Mac’s adventures on Instagram.

Make sure to check out the Out and Back podcast page on Instagram, too!

And remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

40. Backcountry Coffee with the Pros

Coffee is life for many of us. It’s our morning ritual, a jolt that shakes us out of the afternoon doldrums, and a pick-me-up when we need to burn the midnight oil. But in the backcountry, brewing the perfect cup can be complicated. A pour-over leaves you with messy grounds to haul out and instant coffee often falls short on taste. We turned to some of our favorite professional hikers — Heather “Anish” Anderson, the Hiking Viking, Adventure Alan Dixon, and Liz “Snorkel” Thomas — to unmask the secrets to brewing the best cup of coffee in camp.

We spent time with each of these world-famous hikers, learning how they use coffee in their adventures and what they do to make their morning cup of joe in the wild. Turns out their methods for making coffee on trail are as wild and varied as their personalities. They join us on the Out and Back podcast this week to share their field-tested brewing techniques, so you can get the most out of your coffee on your next adventure.

Tune in to Episode 40 of the Out and Back podcast to get the details on Liz Thomas’s scientific, blind study on the best instant coffee brands. Find out what type of coffee Heather Anderson uses on longer trips. Learn about Viking’s coffee alternative and get a ridiculous story about how he hated his junior high school science teacher’s coffee breath, but somehow wound up drinking coffee anyway. Get the specs on Adventure Alan’s 1.8-ounce coffee methods that jive with even the most stringent ultralight backpacking principles. 

Follow these hikers on Instagram: @lizthomashiking, @1adventurealan, @anishhikes, @therealhikingviking

Make sure to check out the Out and Back podcast page on Instagram!

And remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

39. Mike Clelland - Owls and UFOs

Ultralight backpacking expert Mike Clelland has slept outside as often as possible for decades. Cowboy camping one night 15 years ago, something happened that changed Mike’s life forever. He tried to dismiss it, but it happened again. And again. That series of events sent Mike down the unlikely path of studying how powerful coincidences connect us to the supernatural.

“I saw the owls. And I heard a voice in my head that said, ‘This has something to do with the UFO's. You are an abductee',” Mike recounts on Out and Back. “To feel that, and to hear it in my head, it changed the direction of my life. I started exploring the symbolic meaning of owls and their connection to the UFO contact experience. And it took over my life.”

Mike is a masterful storyteller and will leave you clutching your seat (or trekking poles) as he shares his first-hand encounters with owls and extraterrestrial life. He weaves his own narrative into the rich history of owl lore, dreams, shamanistic stories, and other first-hand accounts to reveal this mystical world lurking in plain sight.

Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, you’ll want to tune in to hear Mike’s perspective. At the very least, you will never see the world the same way again!

Check out Mike’s book The Messengers, which dives into the overlapping worlds of owls, synchronicities, and UFO abduction. His companion book Stories from The Messengers goes further into the symbolic and literal links between owls and UFOs. Mike is also the illustrator and author behind a series of books on mastering outdoor techniques. And finally, check out Mike’s longstanding blog, Hidden Experience, and his podcast, The Unseen with Mike Clelland.

Make sure to check out the Out and Back podcast page on Instagram!

And remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

38. She Dreams of Alpine, Allison Boyle

Newbie and seasoned backpackers alike all hold fears around backcountry travel. Outdoor Backpacking Educator and Empowerment Coach Allison Boyle shares how to overcome them this week on the Out and Back podcast. Allison is the face behind the ultra-popular blog and coaching service She Dreams of Alpine, which teaches women how to become safe, confident, and self-sufficient in the backcountry.
In this fun and informative conversation, Allison tells hosts Mary and Abby how a city girl from Houston, Texas ended up becoming a backpacking expert. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, and even involved a divorce. Allison shares her stumbling blocks when she started adventuring outside, and how her fears initially continued to grow as she gained more experience. She talks about the top three fears beginner backpackers face, and how to overcome them.

“We're scared of what we don't know,” Allison says on Out and Back. “Things we do in our everyday life, like drive or walk down a busy city street, are more dangerous than anything we would do in the outdoors. It's just, they're more familiar to us and we're able to step into those scenarios more. And if you're a new backpacker, you can't imagine yourself in the outdoors at all. Once you start building those experiences for yourself, those fears start to go away.”

Alison explains “trip resistance,” that dark cloud of anxiety that seems to float over your head the week before any trip — no matter your experience level. Learn how to quiet that inner voice telling you to abandon your plans, so you can get out and have a blast on the trail. Tune in to learn Allison’s favorite breakfast foods in the backcountry, the one item she can’t leave behind, and how she turned her outdoor passion into a career.
Follow She Dreams of Alpine on Instagram, check out the blog for tried and true advice (including the free Ultimate Outdoor Adventure Starter Kit), and consider signing up for She Dreams of Alpine’s Backpacking Badass program to learn how to become a confident and self-sufficient backpacker.  And get a discount on a Gaia GPS Premium Membership at

37. Life With Fire (Amanda Monthei)

If you live out west, you’ve already woken up to bright red suns and thick, smokey skies this summer. Fire season has arrived. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing fire-ravaged towns on TV. Yet wildfires are actually not all bad. We’ve just exacerbated their scope, and in fact we are the ones who get in the way.

On episode 37 of Out and Back, Wildfire Public Information Officer and former wildland firefighter Amanda Monthei breaks down why wildfires remain vital for ecosystem health, and how humans misunderstand this life force. She gets into the history of wildfire management in the US and how we’ve primed conditions for fires of unprecedented scope. Amanda dives into what we can learn from indigenous fire management practices and how we can learn to better coexist with fire in the future.

Amanda also shares how she grew so infatuated with fire, leading her to work grueling summers as a wildland firefighter and then in the coveted role of a hotshot crew member. She unearths why she left that vocation, and how she’s turned her attention to educating the public about how to coexist with fire, rather than fight it.

Follow Amanda on Instagram, and check out her brilliant podcast on all things fire, Life with Fire.

While on Instagram, also make sure to check out the Out and Back podcast page.

And remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

36. Jeep on Fire: Casey Kaiser (Gaia GPS Offroad Podcast collaboration)

Episode 36 of Out and Back is a cross-collaboration with our brand new overlanding podcast: The Gaia GPS Offroad Podcast!

The Gaia GPS Offroad Podcast, sponsored by Trails Offroad, brings you conversations with experienced offroaders and overlanders from around the world. Listen in as host, fighter jet pilot, and experienced overlander Wade May dives deep under the hood with experts in the field. International travelers and backyard explorers alike transport you to their most harrowing encounters, biggest lessons, and most epic adventures on the trail.

The debut episode launches with a story from Casey Kaiser, an experienced overlander with a penchant for finding abandoned homesteads in the desert. Casey takes us on a complete misadventure. Thirty miles off the grid, Casey’s fully upgraded Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JKU suddenly caught fire. The flames quickly engulfed Casey’s entire Jeep, leaving him stranded in the middle of the night in Oregon’s high desert. Casey made it home safely to tell us what he learned from this unforeseen catastrophe.

Connect with Casey on his Coyote Works YouTube channel. Follow his mostly solo overland adventures on Instagram.

The Gaia GPS Offroad podcast, sponsored by Trails Offroad, drops episodes every other week! Catch it in between episodes of Out and Back! You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts!

Check out the Gaia GPS Offroad podcast on Instagram!

Make sure to also check out Out and Back on Instagram!

Finally, remember to pick up your sweet discount on a Trails Offroad membership and then pair that with a discounted Gaia GPS Premium Membership!

35. Jenny Jurek - Bikepacking in Japan (with toddlers!)

Jenny, who is of Japanese descent, describes the joy the family felt connecting with her ancestors’ homeland as her family bike-packed 600 miles across Hokkaido, Japan (The kids didn’t want to leave!). She gets into the shame she experienced growing up with a different sounding last name from her classmates, and how she’s come to cherish her ancestry as an adult.

Jenny describes how she went from working in finance to landing her dream job as a designer for Patagonia. She keeps it real with her and her husband Scott’s challenges of getting pregnant, including two miscarriages; how Scott's Appalachian Trail record-setting run in 2015 injected new life into their relationship despite her sometimes harrowing task of driving around the east coast backroads by herself to support Scott; and the struggle of balancing two young children with starting her own business.

Keep on eye out for Jenny’s new business, Always Up. (We’ll link to it once the website goes live!) It’s a gear company for active families, and her debut product is a first-of-its-class maternity belt for runners.

Get some visuals from the Jurek’s Japan trip by watching a short film Jenny and Scott made about their family trip.

Follow Jenny on Instagram for an inside view into Jenny and the family’s busy and beautiful life.

While on Instagram, also make sure to check out the Out and Back podcast page.

And remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

34. A Wedding Proposal

The landscape always played a crucial role in forging Phoebe Novitsky's and Ian Silberman's connection. From taking a wrong turn on Colorado’s Grizzly Peak to bonking on an epic gravel ride, Ian and Phoebe quickly got to know each other through their trials and triumphs outside. And they developed an unbreakable bond in the process. Ian knew he wanted to incorporate geography into his proposal to Phoebe, and he ended up taking it to the next level. Tune in to the episode to hear all about his ingenious plan.

You may want to grab a box of tissues, too, as you sink into this heartwarming story of how maps (and in particular, Gaia GPS) helped Phoebe and Ian take a trip through time and space to put a ring on their relationship.

Check out pictures from the proposal on the Gaia GPS blog!

Learn how you can make your own memories on the map by using Gaia GPS's new feature, emoji waypoints.

Make sure to check out the Out and Back Podcast on Instagram.

Remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

33. Emily Ford - The Ice Age Trail

Despite its name, Wisconsin's 1,200 mile Ice Age Trail mostly attracts thru-hikers during summer. But for professional gardener Emily Ford, a winter thru-hike aligned better with her schedule. So Emily and an Alaskan husky named Diggins post-holed through knee-deep snow and watched their breath turn to ice in their tent. Emily drank cream by the carton, and boiled snow for water. After 69 days on the trail, she became just the second person, and the first woman, to thru-hike the Ice Age Trail during the dead of winter. She also formed an unbreakable bond with her four-legged companion. Tune in to find out how (and why) Emily took on this midwestern beast during the dead of winter.

Follow Emily on Instagram for another window into her life.

Also make sure to check out the Out and Back Podcast on Instagram.

Remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

32. Alan Adams - 2.5 Million Vertical Feet

Seven years after a life-threatening cycling crash, Alan Adams reclaimed his fitness, tenacity, and connection to nature through a new year’s resolution. He set out to cover two million vertical feet in a single calendar year — all under his own power. He ended up ski touring and cycling his way to the world record. Alan climbed over 2.5 million vertical feet, averaging over 7,000 vertical a day. Tune in to the Out and Back podcast to learn how Alan juggled this overwhelming feat while maintaining his job and a relationship.

Follow Alan and his adventures on Instagram.

Also make sure to check out the Out and Back Podcast on Instagram.

Remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

31. The Packraft Handbook with Luc Mehl

Learn more about Luc Mehl and his Alaskan adventures on his website. Follow him on Instagram. And pick up a copy of “The Packraft Handbook” to get the best tips for staying safe on moving water. Pre-orders are available now and will be shipped in June.

Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page.

Remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

30. The Pacific Crest Trail with Barney "Scout" Mann

Learn more about Scout and Frodo’s hiker hostel on the Mann’s website and make sure to stay tuned for their announcement about whether they will host hikers in 2022!

Make sure to pick up a copy of his new book, Journeys North, which chronicles the PCT thru-hike he did with Sandy (trail name Frodo).

Give Scout a follow on Instagram — he’s on the Arizona Trail right now and posting pictures of his trip along the way.

Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page.

Remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!

29. Vasu Sojitra

As a community organizer and diversity, equity, and inclusion strategist, Vasu is also not afraid to correct and dismantle our preconceptions and biases. But he’s just as willing to learn along with his audience — follow him on Instagram. Read first-hand accounts of Vasu’s adventures on his website, and watch his film Out on the Limb.

Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page.

Remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership.

Episode Highlights:
3:25: What is ninja sticking?

5:10: Vasu gets diagnosed with a life-threatening blood infection. His parents are faced with the decision to amputate his right leg or let him die.
10:30: Vasu finds belonging on the ski slope.
14:30: Vasu learns how to use outriggers the hard way.
17:30: Vasu tries out for his high school ski team.
18:15: Vasu goes backcountry skiing for the first time, in the Chic-Chocs Mountains of Québec.
20:00: Vasu uses his engineering degree to develop a backcountry outrigger setup.
22:40: Vasu volunteers with Vermont Adaptive, which changes the trajectory of his life.
26:47: Vasu skis “The Ruler” in Montana's Northern Bridger Range.
28:50: How being a person with a disability and being a person of Indian descent interact and compound in unique ways.
30:40: Vasu lands a 720 degree spin on one ski.
32:00: Vasu gets into ultra running. 
34:20: Vasu climbs Montana’s Granite Peak in less than 24 hours.

28. Backcountry Fitness

Check out Backcountry Fitness on the web, where you can find free training plans and can hire Billy as a coach!

Also make sure to follow Backcountry on Instagram for daily training tips.

Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights:
4:25: Meet Billy Gawron, personal trainer and founder of Backcountry Fitness.
5:50: Billy shares the story of the client who inspired him to specialize in getting people ready for backcountry adventures.
8:30: Billy and his fiancée have hiked and backpacked all around the world together.
10:20: Shanty tells the most ridiculous story that has been told on this podcast to date.
12:00: Billy resolves some of the biggest myths in hiking, backpacking, and thru-hiking.
20:00: How you can start preparing for hiking/backpacking season from right at home, right now. (Hint: we’re starting with the core.)
22:20: Do you sit all day? If so, you are a basket of injuries waiting to happen. Billy is here to help.
29:00: Shanty is eager to hit the gym with the heavy weights. Billy weighs in....
31:05: How many days do you have to train? How do you balance strength and cardio?
32:35: What kind of cardio is best to get ready for hiking season, especially if you’re confined to the city or somewhere flat? How hard should you work?
36:19: Billy explains why doing a bunch of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is not necessarily going to help you for your summer adventures.
37:35: What’s the minimum amount of time you need to devote to a workout?
40:50: When it comes to strength training, more reps at lower weight is going to help you out more than single max reps.
42:40: Billy explains why he loves SPT (Sustained Push Training). It combines cardio endurance and strength work all into one.
46:30: Knee pain? The problem most likely is not your knee.
49:20: Billy, who used to work at a running speciality store, advises on the best shoes for training, running, and hiking.
52:00: Learn how to become comfortable being uncomfortable now, so you’re mentally ready for your adventures later.
56:30: Can you prep for your altitude adventures from sea level?
1:01:45: Want more tips from Billy? Check out his app.
1:03:00: Billy is training for his honey moon — hiking Kilimanjaro with his fiancée!

27. Adrian Ballinger

Learn more about how you can explore in the mountains with Ballinger’s company Alpenglow Expeditions.

Follow Ballinger on his Instagram page and watch his and Emily's YouTube channel DangerstikTV for some real-life Adrian/Emily entertainment.

Watch Breathtaking, a documentary about Ballinger’s climb on K2 without supplemental oxygen.

Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights:
4:05: Adrian was born in England and grew up in Massachusetts. 

5:15: Adrian credits luck, mentors, and his cool mom for getting him into climbing. 
7:00: His parents taught him and his sister to be willing to try anything, but they weren’t too excited about Ballinger taking up rock climbing at a young age. Even still, Ballinger’s mom bought him his first rack.
9:45: Adrian graduated from Georgetown University and was poised to go to medical school, when he put the breaks on and took a gap year, to get the “mountains out of his system.” 
13:10: He never went back to school, picked up some sponsors, and kept climbing mountains.
15:15: Mount Everest caught Adrian’s attention when he was a teenager, and he read everything about it and was totally obsessed.
17:10: Guiding was the only way Adrian could afford to summit Everest, and he has now summited Mount Everest eight times — once without oxygen supplementation.
21:00: Many challenges can interrupt an Everest expedition, including icefall, earthquakes, politics, and even the Olympics. 
23:45: It costs $85,000 to go to Everest with Adrian Ballinger and his qualified guides with Alpenglow Expeditions.
25:15: Cheaper trips skimp on experienced guides, safety equipment, and extra oxygen.
28:20: The crux of Everest lies in the sustained effort it takes to climb the mountain over 30 days.
31:30: Adrian wasn’t sure if he could summit Everest without supplemental oxygen, and that unknown drew him to try. 
33:45: The first attempt without oxygen didn’t go well and Adrian had to retreat just 600 feet from the summit.
37:40: Adrian went back and summited without oxygen, but doesn’t remember it because he was blacked out from the lack of oxygen.
38:22: Adrian went on to summit K2 without supplemental oxygen, and just being 600 feet lower made all the difference. 
41:30: K2 is a more remote, technical, and dangerous climb than its taller sister, Everest. The team ran into all kinds of troubles, but pushed through and summited in perfect conditions.
51:20: Adrian describes the effects of climate change on the world’s tallest mountains, and here’s what we can do to make a difference. 
57:15: Adrian Ballinger is engaged to professional climber Emily Harrington. 
57:45: Last fall, Emily became the first woman to climb El Capitan’s Golden Gate route in a 24-hour period. She joins the very short list of climbers -- Tommy Caldwell, the late Brad Golight, and Alex Honnold — who have accomplished this feat. 
59:00: Adrian had the honor to belay Emily on a portion of the route, and he describes a big fall she took and how she got through that and pushed on. 
1:04:30: Emily and Adrian manage the risks of being professional climbers by talking through their objectives very carefully. 
1:06:20: When Adrian and Emily are home in Tahoe City, Calif., life is filled with laundry and chores, and they cherish the “normal” times because they rarely get them. 
1:07:15: Adrian tells the story about how he first met Emily at 21,000 feet on Mount Everest. He offered her a coffee. 
1:10:05: What’s next? Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington are planning a wedding in December. 

26. Matt Segal - Alpine Start

Get yourself some instant coffee at Alpine Start!

Keep up with Segal on Instagram. And check out Alpine Start’s Kickstarter campaign while it’s still live throughout February.

Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights:
2:55: Segal has been climbing for over 20 years.
3:20: Segal got his start climbing in the unlikely place of Miami, Florida. 
5:50: Segal moves to Boulder, Colorado, to pursue his competition climbing career and to go to college.
6:30: The allure of the rock proves too great in Boulder. Segal shifts from indoor competition climbing to outdoor sport and trad climbing.
11:00: You might assume that going to college in Boulder means Segal went to CU Boulder...wrong! Segal talks about his unique education.
15:30: Segal discusses his mindfulness practice in climbing.
17:15: Segal discusses his two National Geographic expeditions to the Mustang region of Nepal, where he helped archeologists access otherwise unattainable sites.
29:00: Segal talks about how he went about sending the first ascent on Iron Monkey, one of the hardest trad climbs in Colorado at the time. How do you go about attempting something that’s never been done before? Segal shares.
34:00: Segal shares his epiphany that led him to found Alpine Start, an artisanal instant coffee company.
37:31: Segal starts paragliding...why?! 
38:35: Segal breaks numerous bones in a paragliding accident. His ice axe goes through his calf. He’s on the mountain for eight hours before he can be airlifted to the hospital. 
41:10: The best alpinists have the worst memories.
42:20: Segal’s broken, goes through a really hard breakup, and a friend dies. How do you heal from all of that?
43:45: Throwing himself into Alpine Start helped Segal heal and catapulted the company.
47:20: Segal tried a lot of really bad coffee in his quest to find and make instant coffee that actually tastes good.
49:00: Segal started experimenting with functional ingredients as he was recovering from his accident. Now, Alpine Start is making coffee and matcha with these beneficial ingredients in them.
55:30: Segal discusses how he got into environmental activism with Protect Our Winters and 1% for the Planet.
59:00: Segal runs through a typical week and how he juggles training as a professional athlete with working on Alpine Start.

25. Sonya and Necota Staples - Valentine's Day Special

Check out Sonya and Necota’s blog, StaplesInTents, as well as their YouTube channel and Instagram.

And connect with their other Instagram handle, BlackPeopleOffroad.

Special thanks to Scott Turner for his contributions to this episode. Make sure to also catch Episode 14 when we chatted with Scott!

Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights:
2:30: Meet Sonya and Necota Staples.
3:25: Sonya and Necota met as physics major at North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black college in Greensboro. It wasn’t love at first sight.
5:20: Sonya and Necota started studying together outside. Eventually their friendship leads to more.
8:40: Sonya and Necota strengthened their relationship hiking the gorges in upstate New York.
10:00: Sonya and Necota tell their crazy engagement story. It did not go according to plan.
14:45: Sonya and Necota move to Atlanta, and they settle into city life.
15:30: Sometimes, Sonya went camping with her best friend Teressa. Necota never went.
17:00: Sonya and Necota’s marriage starts to unravel. 
18:30: The Staples start marriage counseling. Things don’t improve, until their marriage counselor gives them one key piece of advice.
19:40: The marriage counselor’s advice came at the perfect time. The Staples go camping for the first time together.
20:30: The camping trip starts off very poorly.
21:50: Sonya says something to Necota that flips a switch in his head. He makes the choice to be happy.
23:00: Necota shares why a campfire is so important to him.
23:45: The Staples go all-in on camping.
25:00: How camping and connecting with nature healed the Staples’ marriage.
30:00: The Staples start their blog, YouTube channel and social media account StaplesInTents. Tune in to find out why.
32:33: How the Staples’ love for shopping intersections with their passions for camping and overlanding.
34:00: Sonya and Necota purchase their first offroad vehicle, Frank the Tank, and go on their first overlanding trip to Tray Mountain. A few things go wrong.
35:50: The Staples become seasoned overlanders, overlanding across the US and in South America.
37:00: The Staples start their second social media account, BlackPeopleOffroad.
40:00: 2020 got off to a rough start for the Staples, even before the pandemic made its way to the US. They turn to camping and overlanding, and realize how far they’ve come.

24. Luke Smithwick - The Himalaya 500

Learn more about Smithwick by visiting his website, his personal Instagram page, or his Himalaya 500 page. Check out all the 2021 skiing and climbing expeditions that Smithwick plans to offer through his company Himalaya Alpine Guides.

Learn more about avalanche safety at Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights: A Ski Tour of the Himalayas with Luke Smithwick
3:00: Smithwick tells us how he uses Gaia GPS to navigate in the Himalayas.

5:50: Learn why you might not have heard about Smithwick before. Hint: he’s been too busy skiing and climbing.
7:50: Smithwick has racked up 70 to 80 expeditions in the Himalaya over the last 
8:30: Luke climbed Everest in 2011, but find out why he’s not focused on the classics.
9:40: The Himalaya 500 highlights beautiful skiing with hopes to bring more people to the range in winter. The 500 lines are everything from steep couloirs to glades, and the snow can be light and deep.
15:00: The Himalaya could become the next backcountry ski destination — it really is that good. 
17:50: There are only a handful of ski areas with lifts in this giant mountain range.
20:00: The experiences with the different cultures along the way really become the best part of the trip to the Himalaya.
22:10: Hear how Smithwick got hooked on the these massive mountains. 
25:00: Smithwick explains local customs and how to be a respectful traveller through these Himalayan mountain communities. 
33:00: COVID brought Smithwick back to the United States, and he’s settled down in Idaho, near Jackson Hole — and he even got a dog!
39:00: The hearty people draw Smithwick back to the Himalaya.
41:00: Smithwick says the effects of climate change have taken hold of these smaller communities.
47:00: Take a ski tour in the Himalaya with Luke Smithwick, all you have to do is sign up.

23. Sophia Schwartz and Sean McCoy (GearJunkie) - Backcountry Skiing Gear

Check out GearJunkie to learn more about McCoy. Also, make sure to check out and also their review of backcountry ski bindings.

Watch Sophia Schwartz’s new movie, Jack of All Trades to see her master a double backflip, take on Jackson Hole’s super steep “Trifecta,” and shred the Grand Teton. You can also follow Schwartz on Instagram to get a sense of what’s going down in the backcountry around her hometown of Jackson, Wyoming.

Learn more about avalanche safety at Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights: Best Backcountry Gear
5:30: Sophia describes what drew her out of the mogul course to backcountry skiing. The two disciplines are so different, yet the same.
7:00: Even though she is an expert skier who can pull off backflips, Sophia’s first big trip to the backcountry was a total disaster, and the gear was a big part of the problem. But it was still worth it though and here’s why.
8:30: Sophia talks about how she executed the transition to backcountry skiing and big mountain skiing, and how it made her “heart flutter.“
13:00: Sophia talks about her movie Jack of All Trades.
14:20: Sophia’s bought her first backcountry setup off the classified ads for just $250, showing us that even the pros start with a basic set up.
18:10: Sophia describes the difference in fitness between resort skiing and backcountry skiing.
20:15: GearJunkie’s Editorial Director, Sean McCoy, joins the conversation. GearJunkie is a web-based publication that is an authority on outdoor and adventure news, gear, and culture.
25:00: McCoy advises to invest in avalanche education and how to build your first backcountry kit, given the fact that the gear goes in many different directions. 
26:45. Sophia rattles off what she carries into the backcountry.
28:45: How to select the proper avalanche beacon.
30:35: Sophia and Sean discuss avalanche air bags, how much they cost, and when they might use one.
36:00: Alpine touring boots versus alpine boots. Find out which boot Sophia and Sean use both in the resort and in the backcountry. 
44:00: Backcountry ski bindings are a good place to shave weight from your set up. 
52:00: Glopping of skins can be frustrating; here are Sophia’s tips to avoid “glop.”
55:30: Find out what’s in Sophia’s repair kit.
59:00: How to manage carrying your cell phone and your avalanche beacon, so the two devices don’t interfere with each other.
1:05: Sean and Sophia impart their final tips on getting out in the backcountry for the first time. 

22. Bluebird Backcountry (w/ Erik Lambert)

Learn more about Bluebird Backcountry and book tickets by visiting Bluebird's website. Remember, you get a free Gaia GPS premium membership when you buy a pass to Bluebird Backcountry!

Also make sure to check out Bluebird on Instagram, and while you're there, make sure to check out the Out and Back page, too!

Learn more about avalanche safety at Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights
3:45: What even is Bluebird Backcountry Ski Area? Erik Lambert says it’s a small ski area with zero chairlifts — a first of its kind.

5:30: The idea to create this educational, risk-controlled backcountry ski environment emerged when one of Bluebird’s partners took a family member on his first ski tour.
6:20: Bluebird Backcountry aims to tear down the barriers that can make learning to backcountry ski and snowboard feel insurmountable.
8:50: You only need to be an intermediate skier/snowboarder to enjoy all that Bluebird has to offer. But all levels of backcountry experience are welcome, from never-evers to experts looking for a chill social backcountry setting.
10:30: Bluebird is located on private property on the Continental Divide and about 30 minutes outside Steamboat Springs, near Kremmling, Colorado.
16:50: Bluebird’s mountain is mostly aspen glades plus a mix of steeper terrain and even some couloirs in mostly north and east facing terrain, which will hold snow.
19:00: You can hire a guide to take you outside of the ski area boundary.
20:00: There will be seven skin tracks leading the way up — you don’t have to break trail! The whole mountain is un-groomed so you can learn how to ski in variable conditions, like what is found in the backcountry.
21:15: Get the breakdown on the percentage of types of terrain: green, blue, black, and, yes, even double black zones.
23:00: Bluebird backcountry offers educational courses in both backcountry skiing instruction and avalanche safety. Check out the introductory three-step courses, plus a women-specific Avalanche I course. 
26:00: Get daily clinics and ski with a mentor to get you started in the backcountry. 
28:20: Learn how Bluebird Backcountry mitigates risks of avalanches inside the resort boundaries by managing terrain. Ski patrol also monitors the area for medical emergencies. 
37:00: Get a free Gaia GPS premium membership when you buy a pass to Bluebird Backcountry, because “maps are an essential part of the kit“ to your backcountry gear. Erik has been using Gaia GPS for his backcountry adventures for 10 years. 
42:00: Bluebird limits visitor counts to 200 guests a day, and is naturally conducive to social distancing. 
43:50: What does a day pass cost? And what do you get for that? Listen to find out! 
45:00: “Part of our goal is to make sure people have a big friendly face on the mountain.“

21. Caught in an Avalanche - Bruce Tremper

To reap more of Tremper’s wisdom, check out his books, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Avalanche Essentials, and Avalanche Pocket Guide (Mountaineers Books). Listen to episode 20 to hear Tremper explain how to use each book in your progression about avalanche safety and snow science.

Learn more about avalanche safety at Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Make sure to go to your local avalanche center for area forecasts. And finally, don't forget to check out Tremper’s Know Before you Govideo on YouTube!

Make sure to check out the Out and Back Podcast page on Instagram!

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights 
4:10: Tremper was almost literally born with skis on his feet. 

5:15: Skiing is a religious experience for Tremper.
7:20: Tremper got a job in 1978 installing and building the Pierre’s Knob lift at Bridger Bowl, Montana.
9:15: Before the lift opened to the public, Bruce had to ski the line by himself and it was a stormy, snowy day.
10:20: This is the story of how “Tremper’s Run” at Bridger Bowl got its name. 
11:00: Tremper made a terrible mistake: “oops, I forgot." 
12:10: Tremper decided to cut across an avalanche chute. He thought he could outsmart the avalanche.
13:00: He put his skis on and went zooming across the top of the starting zone. 
14:00: The snow fractured 40 feet above Tremper. 
15:45: Tremper grabbed onto a tree as he was getting pounded by the avalanche, but lost his grip and went rocketing down the slope.
16:35: He went more than 1,000 feet and snow was everywhere. Tremper couldn’t breathe.
17:35: “I’m going to die.”
18:00: Bruce started swimming for the surface. He started slowing down.
19:20: It felt like concrete. 
20:00: Both skis were completely broken. 
20:30: This was a huge wake up call to Tremper. 
21:44: Tremper was a cocky young kid and green with avalanches — a typical avalanche victim. 
22:50: He wanted to know everything about avalanches and he spent his life studying them. 
23:45: Tremper is blown away by the overwhelming power of avalanches.
25:00: Avalanches have grabbed ahold of Tremper, and have never let him go. 

20. Bruce Tremper - Avalanche Science and Safety

To reap more of Tremper’s wisdom, check out his books, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Avalanche Essentials, and Avalanche Pocket Guide (Mountaineers Books). Listen to the podcast to hear Tremper explain how to use each book in your progression about avalanche safety and snow science.

Learn more about avalanche safety at Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights
5:30: Tremper grew up skiing and got his first lesson in avalanches at the age of 10 from his ski patrol father.

9:50: Tremper got his start in the ski industry as a lifty at Bridger Bowl, Montana, and worked his way up to ski patrol and avalanche forecasting.
19:40: Tremper has been caught in two avalanches.
20:30: Tremper talks about avalanche fatality rates, and the demographics point to the “new kids on the block.”
23:20: Avalanche risk broken down by region...Colorado, Utah, Montana, Washington, California...and why it’s so tricky in the cold regions far away from the ocean.
26:20: The backcountry is shaping up to be busy and Tremper is worried about people in the backcountry who don’t know the basics of avalanches. Here’s what you can do even if you can’t get into an avalanche class. Watch the “Know Before You Go” video. 
30:00: You need a backcountry system to stay safe. Copy Tremper’s system to create your own. 
30:40: Tremper talks about how he uses Gaia GPS as part of his system. 
34:10: Avalanche risk varies greatly with slope angle. North facing slopes can be dangerous in early season conditions.
35:20: Pick your backcountry ski and snowboarding partners wisely and don’t bring too many! 
45:10: Systematic and confirmation biases plays into poor decision making in the backcountry; don’t trust your beliefs because it can lead you astray. Rely on the data and observations. 
50:00: Tremper busts common avalanche myths: skied slopes are not always safe, avalanches can happen in the trees, and lower angle slopes are generally safer but no guarantee.
55:30: Tremper runs through his “low risk travel ritual.” A list of safety protocols he learned from ski patrol over the years. 
1:00:35: Here’s what you should do if you’re caught in an avalanche.
1:04:15: The avalanche risk scales used in the United States are not linear ratings; each level doubles the risk of avalanches.
1:07:20: Here’s what Tremper says first-timers should do to stay safer in the backcountry this year.
1:11:30: Tremper continues his snow safety work with creating more books and videos on the avalanches. 

19. Charles Pitman - Summit County Search & Rescue

Learn more about avalanche safety at Find an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Learn more about Summit Country Search and Rescue and donate to your local search and rescue organization.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights
4:30: The pandemic made the backcountry around Denver busy this year and many skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers were ill-equipped for safety.
8:15: This year has been a record setting rescue season in Summit County, Colorado.
12:00: Search and Rescue is preparing for a busy winter season.
13:15: Here’s how COVID-19 has changed search-and-rescue missions in Summit County.
17:00: Practice your avalanche transceiver skills at a beacon park.
18:15: More people are taking avalanche classes, but these classes are limited and filling up quickly this year.
19:00: Get search-and-rescue’s tips to avoid avalanches: get the avalanche forecast, check the weather, and stick to low-angle slopes if you aren’t sure about the danger.
25:25: Avalanche forecasting is not an exact science and sometimes you can do all the right things and still get into trouble.
26:15: A case study about five people who died in an avalanche: what went wrong?
27:00: Is technology giving people a false sense of security and too much confidence?
32:00: Colorado typically has a weaker snow pack and experiences more avalanches than other areas of the country.
36:00: A GPS mapping app on your phone, like Gaia GPS, would reduce the number of rescue calls because people could see exactly where they are on the map and easily find the trail if they get lost.
39:00: Two-way satellite communication devices helps search-and-rescue crews to understand the help you need, plus Pitman tells us what happens when you press the SOS button.
42:00: Pitman says call for help sooner rather than later; it could save a life.
48:40: Make a plan for your backcountry adventure, but don’t succumb to summit fever; be flexible and willing to adjust plans when you get out on the mountain because conditions may change rapidly.
53:00: Most search-and-rescue crews are volunteer and they do it for the heart warming stories with happy endings.

18. Courtney Dauwalter (w/ co-host Abby Levene)

Follow Courtney on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with her physical, psychological, and gustatory adventures.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights
3:55: How Courtney went from being an elite cross country skier to an ultramarathon runner.

6:52: Courtney’s first 100-mile race did not go according to plan.
9:00: That first 100-mile race flipped a switch in Courtney’s brain. 
10:07: Courtney thinks of her brain as a filing cabinet filled with experiences to draw out and use as needed.
13:35: How Courtney made the leap to quit her job as a high school science teacher to pursue running full time.
18:00: What drove Courtney to jump from racing 100 miles to 240 miles at the Moab 240.
22:35: Things unravel at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in 2019.
26:35: How Courtney bounced back mentally and physically from Western States leading up to UTMB.
35:30: Courtney’s legs were not prepared to win UTMB. How she managed to do so, anyway.
39:10: The role Courtney’s husband Kevin plays in Courtney’s success.
41:05: Why Courtney thought running the 500-mile Colorado Trail sounded like a good idea.
44:00: The sleep game of ultra-long distance events.
50:15: Unbeknownst to Courtney, things go horribly wrong on the Colorado Trail.
54:35: The inside-scoop on Courtney’s most recent win at Big’s Backyard Ultra.
1:13:35: Why Courtney exclusively runs in basketball style shorts.
1:15:35: Courtney’s life-saving food on the trail.
1:16:50: The one endurance event Courtney would love to spectate.

17. Buzz Burrell - "Father of the FKT"

Learn more about Buzz Burrell and FKT records at Listen every Friday to the Fastest Known Time podcast, featuring the rising stars in speed records around the globe. You can also follow the FKT community on Instagram.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights
4:15: Buzz defines “fastest known time“ and how that term became popular over time. 

6:40: Buzz talks about some of his own FKTs on the John Muir Trail and the Colorado Trail. 
13:00: Fastest known time action is off the hook this year, filling a hole for cancelled races due to COVID. 
15:00: FKT doesn’t have a leader board; only the winners of the FKT gets a mention on the website.
16:15: FKTs of the season, including Jeff “Legend” Garmire’s unsupported FKT of the Colorado Trail. 
31:00: The Wind River High Route created by Buzz and Andrew Skurka has been a popular FKT objective in the last couple of years for both men and women. 
34:00: FKTs have gender categories and recently added a non-binary category. But there are no age categories for FKT and a 20-year-old competes against a 60-year-old. 
37:10: You have to submit a GPX file to verify a fastest known time.
39:30: Top athletes pursue an FKT to push themselves beyond organized races and to put their backcountry skills to the test.
45:15: FKTs are not just about mountains; fastest known time routes exist in the deserts, across states, and on paved roads. 
50:10: Nobody has tried to lay down a speed record on the Continental Divide Trial, and Buzz explains why. 
55:05: All the FKTs that got away from Buzz over the years. 
1:01:00: Buzz’s favorite route crosses the three districts of Canyonlands National Park: Maze, Needles, Island in the Sky. 
1:03:00 You can do Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) like most people on the Kaibab Trail, or you can take the more obscure Bass Trail and swim across the river (like Buzz did when he was 65 years old). 
1:06:10: Don’t try using your Therm-a-Rest Neo Air as a packraft — it doesn’t work. 
1:09:25: Buzz has the engine at age 69, but the parts have worn out. 
1:11:05: Buzz is mad about aging and is going down kicking and screaming. 
1:11:15: Learn Buzz’s 4-step program for dealing with the effects of aging. 
1:15:00: Buzz is a multi-sport athlete; he competes in ballroom dancing and likes swing dancing — it’s athletic. “The body is born to move!”
1:25:00: The FKT is a community. What’s on tap for Buzz, the FKT podcast, and the FKT website.

16. Grizzly 399

Learn more about Griz 399 by visiting her Instagram page. Read her Wikipedia page and Mangelsen and Wilkinson’s glossy-paged book: The Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek. See Mangelsen’s photography by visiting his gallery in Jackson, Wyoming or follow him on Instagram. Read Wilkinson’s non-profit Mountain Journal to discover public interest issues facing the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and for a greater understanding of the inter-relationships between people and nature in the American West. You can also see Maureen Matsen's photography by following her on Instagram.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights
4:00: Wildlife watcher and amateur photographer Maureen Matsen grew up looking for wildlife when she would take long roadtrips with her family to Grand Teton National Park. To keep them entertained, Maureen’s dad would pay her and her siblings cash if they spotted an animal. This helped Maureen develop a keen eye for animal spotting.  
5:15: Maureen seeks out wildlife as a way to process the stress of her job as an ICU nurse.
5:45: Maureen seeks out all kinds of wildlife in the park but bears, because they are not an everyday sighting, are the piece de resistance. 
6:10: Grizzly Bear 399 has very distinct markings: a heart-shaped face with blonde coloring down her snout.
7:05: Grizzly Bear 399 lives along the roadside in the Pilgrim Creek area of Grand Teton National Park. 
7:20: Hundreds of people line the roads just to get a glimpse of 399. But on Maureen’s first outing this year — she missed the chance to see her and her cubs.
8:30: The pandemic has been heavy and these animals have brought so much hope and joy in such heavy times. 
9:20: Maureen went back a few weeks later and Grizzly Bear 399 popped out of the sagebrush trailing four little cubs behind her. And the crowd goes wild. 
11:28: This bear is being stalked by hundreds of tourists and professional photographers just trying to get a glimpse of 399’s glory. The joy when she appears is palpable. 
12:50: Professional Wildlife Photographer Tom Mangelsen describes the return of Grizzly Bears to Grand Teton National Park. A grizzly bear showed up on his back porch in 2006. That was his introduction to Grizzly Bear 399.
14:30: Tom recalls that last year, Grizzly Bear 399 was fatter than ever before. He speculated she would have triplets.
14:45: Grizz 399 surprised everyone when she came out of hibernation with four tiny cubs. 
16:50: Todd Wilkinson has written about Grizzly Bear 399 for National Geographic magazine and then collaborated with Tom Mangelsen to publish a book: the Grizzly Bears of Pilgrim Creek. 
17:25: Grizzly Bear 399’s life has been more dramatic to watch as the years go on. 
18:00: Bears are not these fearsome creatures, they only want to protect their young. 
18:50: Lives along the road because it’s safer for her babies, and she does all of her bear business with a grandstand of people around her. 
20:20: The front country has turned out to be the perfect habitat for Grizz 399, who has raised 7 litters along the roadside over the years.
21:43: Grizz 399 has exuded amazing tolerance for human beings; she can navigate cars and hundreds of people without “losing her cool.” Tom says Grizzly Bear 399 has become a master at navigating the crowds.
23:45: But not so fast. Grizzly Bears are dangerous and wildlife officials advise to keep your distance, stay in your car, and never feed a bear.
25:00: Dennis Van Denbos was at the wrong place at the wrong time in 2007. He was mauled by Grizzly Bear 399 and her then-yearling triplets. He lived to tell us about it. 
28:21: Grizz 399 jumped out of the bushes about 20 feet away and charged at Dennis. Three “teddy bear shapes” stood in the background. 
29:25: Dennis saw this striking image with the sun shining on her — a sight Dennis will never forget. Dennis started to back away but stumbled off the road. 
31:10: Dennis is face-to-face, eye level with Grizz 399. And she charges. 
31:50: Dennis hits the deck and Grizz 399 and her three cubs bite him in the back and backside. 
32:50: “They’re just going to eat me.” Dennis contemplates the end of his life. 
33:00: People intervened and Dennis survived. Dennis understood why she attacked, she was feeding on a carcass and was stressed. He would have been very disappointed if the park had decided to kill Grizz 399 because of the attack. 
37:30: The decision to let Grizzly Bear 399 live after the mauling of Dennis turns out to be a pivotal moment in grizzly bear recovery in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Grizz 399 went on to have multiple sets of cubs.
38:40: Grizzly Bear 399 displays emotions humans can relate to. 
40:00: After the death of her cub “Snowy,” Grizzly Bear 399 “bawled” and grieved her baby’s death. Tom describes how distraught the bear was. 
41:00: Grizzly Bear 399 is 24 years old, and that makes her a grandmother bear who isn’t expected to live much longer. 
41:50: Todd explains how Grizzly bears face many dangers in the world: human encounters and traffic.
42:00: We have this homegrown nature safari in the Yellowstone ecosystem.
42:15: Todd describes how the story of Griz 399 brings us all together. 

15. Zach "Badger" Davis and The Trek (w/ co-host Real Hiking Viking)

Go to for all the resources you can imagine for long-distance backpacking as well as learn more about Badger. Follow his adventures on Instagram, and tune into his podcast, Backpacker Radio. You can also hear more hilarity from Viking on his first Out and Back appearance.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights
0:45: Zach “Badger” Davis is one of Shanty’s favorite people in the outdoor community.
1:30: Shanty explains how backpacking with the Real Hiking Viking led to getting Badger (and Viking once again) on the show.
5:20: Zach did not grow up super “outdoorsy.”
6:50: Thru-hiking the AT was Badger’s first backpacking trip.
7:20: Badger did everything wrong on the AT—including setting his socks on fire.
8:30: Badger explains why relying on free gear isn’t always the best move for a thru-hike.
9:30: The trio discusses how social media has impacted thru-hiking.
12:00: How thru-hiking has changed over the past decade.
15:45: Badger accidentally fell into backpacking because he was miserable working 70 to 80 hours a week.
17:30: Norovirus on the AT.
18:50: Badger’s AT thru-hike was deliberately solitary and introspective.
19:30: Badger recounts his most cathartic moment on the AT.
21:00: The person who went into the AT and the person who came out were two entirely different people.
26:30: Badger explains how repeating the mantra “Why are you here?” on the AT helped inspire him to write a book.
27:30: Writing Appalachian Trails was a reprieve from the post-trail blues.
29:30: Badger gives his explanation of the “Virginia Blues” — it’s not what you may think!
33:00: How making sense of the Virginia Blues led to Badger starting a blog, which led to writing a book.
34:00: The origin story of The Trek.
37:40: Badger and Viking tell the hilarious story of how they met.
41:00: Badger and Viking hike the PCT together. 
42:00: Different challenges of the AT and PCT.
45:30: Why Badger changed the name of Appalachian Trials to The Trek.
48:40: Why you should mentally break your thru-hike down into a series of section hikes.
52:30: How Viking decided to attempt a last minute winter thru-hike of the AT.
55:00: How sleeping in an outhouse saved Viking and Badger’s lives.
1:05:15: Badger’s vision for the future of The Trek.
1:13:00: Badger’s next goals.
1:15:00: Badger’s favorite off-the-beaten-path trail.
1:16:40: Badger recounts watching Viking eat an enormous mid-hike meal.
1:19:15: Badger and Viking hitch a ride with a bachelorette party bus.

14. Scott Turner: National Parks and Day Hikes

You can learn more about Turner and find his guidebooks on his website. Follow Turner’s adventures on Instagram, and connect with him on Facebook.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights
3:20: Scott has written hundreds of trail descriptions.
3:45: Scott’s upbringing planted the seeds for his hiking and writing passions.
5:50: How a book sitting on his girlfriend’s shelf inspired him to learn how to hike safely.
8:00: Scott starts exploring the diverse landscapes of San Diego county.
12:00: Scott starts writing for LA-based Modern Hiker in 2014. He’s written 300 articles since.
13:30: Scott revises Afoot and Afield, which entailed hiking all 250 hikes, plus another 250 hikes.
15:30: How to write a trail description.
19:00: Scott works with Mountaineers Books to write pocket-sized guidebooks to national parks.
20:40: Scott’s guidebooks contain itineraries for people visiting national parks for one to several days.
21:25: How to get the most out of your one-day visit to a national park. (Prep and planning are key!)
22:10: Why to get to the park early.
22:50: Pick an area within the park, and hike to the best spots in that area.
23:15: Scott’s one-day itinerary for Sequoia National Park.
24:30: Scott’s one-day itinerary for Kings Canyon National Park.
27:00: The benefits of an interpretive hike, and why stopping in the visitor’s center is worthwhile.
28:00: Scott’s favorite hike in Zion National Park.
30:00: Scott’s tips on how to enjoy Joshua Tree National Park.
33:25: Why Scott starts hiking really early. 
35:00: Scott’s books contain the deep cuts, less busy trails that you may have never heard of.
36:35: Scott shakes down his pack, laying out everything he brings on a day hike.
38:30: Why Scott avoids wearing cotton.
39:25: Scott’s favorite snack to take hiking.
40:15: Why Scott almost always prefers trail running shoes to hiking boots.
41:25: The “10 essentials” you need to survive an unplanned night outside.
42:45: Scott’s books also contain activities for people who don’t hike.
43:53: Scott shares an insider secret about where to hike in the fall.
45:00: Scott is enduring a record fire season in California. 
46:25: Scott divulges his next guidebook.
48:10: How hiking helps Scott at his day job as a marriage and family therapist. 
50:30: Scott’s favorite national park.
51:10: Scott’s favorite place to go hiking that isn’t a national park.
53:00: Scott and Shanty break down the best Pop-Tarts flavor for hiking.

13. Her Odyssey: An Adventure Across the Americas

Learn more about Fidgit, Neon, and Her Odyssey on their website. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

You can support their mission, or just simply buy them a meal, by visiting their Patreon.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights

1:00: Fidgit and Neon started their journey over 5 years ago.
5:25: Fidgit and Neon met on the PCT in 2010.
8:25: The idea for Her Odyssey came to Fidgit on a drive home from work in Kansas City.
10:50: Fidgit’s belief system led to her reach out to Neon to be her travel partner.
14:30: Fidgit and Neon pull each other toward’s the center of emotion and logic. 
19:50: Fidgit spent three years planning this trip. 
22:30: Accepting that they didn’t know what they were doing was essential.
23:30: Neon uses her power of observation to help them navigate.
25:00: Fidgit and Neon tell an illuminating story about getting lost. 
27:00: How sharing knowledge about routes and trails differs in Latin America and the US.
30:00: Learning some of the local language is an important display of good will and respect.
34:00: Fidgit and Neon share pointers for interacting with locals and being respectful of local culture.
41:40: Gaging threats and avoiding dangerous situations internationally. 
45:35: Self-defense strategy for staying safe overseas.
52:00: Women’s bodies were found cut up in bags while they were in South America.
59:50: How Fidgit and Neon dealt with water in South America. (Their strategy didn’t always work!)
1:05:50: Fidgit and Neon go separate ways for part of their journey.
1:12:00: When a region got too “murdery,” they moved on.
1:21:10: How COVID has impacted their travels. 
1:29:30: Fidgit and Neon are focusing on the storytelling and community building components of their journey.
1:30:20: The ultimate goal of their trip is to reach the Arctic Ocean within the next two years.
1:33:00: Balancing structure and letting the journey unfold.
1:33:30: Advice to those looking to go on their own odyssey. 
1:36:30: The grossest things Fidgit and Neon have eaten on their trip.
1:43:00: The one luxury item Fidgit and Neon can’t travel without. (You will never guess!)
1:49:00: How Neon and Fidgit got their trail names.

12. Solo Backpacking with a Stalker

Mary is a former journalist and trial lawyer, both experiences she drew upon in order to give you a narrative account of this unnerving event. Today, she is the executive producer of the Out and Back podcast as well as a writer and editor at Gaia GPS. When she is not in the office, Mary works as a guide for Andrew Skurka Adventures in wild places around the west, like Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite, and Alaska.

Learn more about Mary by following her on Instagram. Read Mary’s bio on the Gaia GPS’s team page and view her hiking credentials on Andrew Skurka’s guide roster. Read her tips on how to plan your first solo backpacking trip.

Episode Highlights
3:00: Mary did not grow up in an outdoor family. She grew up in the Detroit area. 
4:25: Even in the suburbs, Mary was drawn to the outdoors. 
7:30: Mary’s sister dropped her off at Lake Tahoe when she was 17 so she could pursue outdoor jobs. 
9:40: Mary lands her dream job as a wilderness ranger in the Desolation Wilderness on the western crest of the Lake Tahoe Basin. 
11:00: There was one major problem: solo backpacking!
12:20: Mary’s first night out in the wilderness alone. 
15:50: Mary became the resident expert in Desolation Wilderness and finally got comfortable solo backpacking. 
17:15: Mary meets Carl at the 90-foot wall, a popular climbing crag in Emerald Bay.
19:20: Mary runs into Carl in the backcountry. 
21:00: Carl shows up at Mary’s house.
23:45: Underwear goes missing. 
26:10: Mary is camping at her favorite backcountry campsite and Carl shows up right as the sun is going down. 
27:15: Mary freezes. 
32:26: Mary is constantly looking over her shoulder for Carl.
32:50: Mary sees Carl again on the trail. 
34:00: Mary was mad at Carl for interrupting her dream job in the wilderness. She decided to stay in Desolation Wilderness and was ready mentally and physically to confront Carl if she ever saw him again. 
39:00: Mary understood victims of violent crime and how they could freeze in the middle of an assault. 
43:10: Solo backpacking is magic and a cathartic way to sort out issues for Mary. 

11. Backcountry Foodie - Aaron Owens Mayhew

Check out Backcountry Foodie’s website and Instagram for backcountry cooking tips and inspiration.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights:
2:40: Backcountry Foodie is an online meal planning service for backpackers — a go-to science-based resource for ultralight backpacking food. 
3:45: Aaron’s first backpacking meals were MREs! 
4:30: Aaron fell in love with the outdoors and backpacking. 
5:10: Backcountry Foodie started with a PCT thru-hike and a mid-life crisis.
7:10: Meal planning for a 5-month hike was overwhelming and her initial meal planning became the inception of Backcountry Foodie.
8:00: Shanty comes clean with his thru-hiker menu plan: Pop-Tarts, summer sausage, a block of cheese, and ramen. 
8:15: Aaron talks about what she ate on the PCT: quinoa, beans, hummus. 
8:45: She brings her home diet into the backcountry because it makes her body feel better.
9:15: Two pounds of food per day can be a myth; you can go lighter with more calories!
10:08: Aaron often packs a pound and a half food per day. 
12:05: You don’t have to eat processed food while backpacking, here’s how.
12:20: Aaron definitely packs Snickers in her backpack though! 
13:15: You need a balance of protein, carbs, and fat to keep that engine running all day! 
14:30: Aaron is a “nerdy dietitian” who loves to crunch numbers for proper calorie densities and weight. 
15:27: Eating healthy is more expensive, no getting around the fact that processed foods are cheaper, but good health is worth the money. 
16:20: A popular meal that is not too expensive is Aaron's spruced-up ramen recipe.
19:40: You don’t have to buy a dehydrator, you can just use all dry ingredients from the store. 
22:00: Here are some foods that Aaron doesn’t think you should dehydrate.
25:00: Check out the ultimate ratios for carbs, fat, and protein on a backpacking trip. 
33:00: Sugar will make you crash.
36:50: There's something for everyone in Backcountry Foodie meal planning: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free.
40:15: Aaron loves getting emails from clients saying that her meals have made them feel better and hike better.
41:00: Backcountry Foodie Phase 2 includes packaged meals but they are having trouble finding a kitchen to work in during COVID. 
42:00: Van-life is Backcountry Foodie’s lifestyle with no desire to go back to a standard lifestyle.
43:00: Aaron has almost a full kitchen inside her home on wheels. 

10. Rue McKenrick and the American Perimeter Trail

Check out the American Perimeter Trail website and follow McKenrick’s journey with real time updates on his Instagram and Facebook pages.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights

0:50: What is the American Perimeter Trail?

3:50: How Rue got into backpacking. 
4:50: Rue grew up near the AT in PA and enjoyed spending time alone.
5:20: Rue got lost at summer camp.
7:10: Rue talks about his first long-distance hike: the AT.
8:00: Rue’s motivation to get into long-distance hiking.
9:30: What Rue learned about himself while pursuing the Triple Crown.
10:30: Hiking the AT redeemed Rue’s faith in humanity.
11:15: Hiking deepened Rue’s empathy towards others.
12:45: Aligning personal and professional values.
13:20: Rue lives a leave no trace life, even in the front country. He hasn’t driven a car in 10 years!
14:30: Rue hiked the PCT in 2005.
14:50: Rue hiked the CDT in 2007.
15:30: Rue felt like his life was taking a more domestic turn, but it never happened.
16:30: Existential introspection led Rue to create the APT.
17:40: Rue’s desire to explore the US before he goes back abroad. 
18:30: The now-or-never reckoning moment that led Rue to start hiking the APT.
20:00: Goal of the APT is conservation through recreation.
22:30: Backpacking is like sandpaper. It’s smoothed out a lot of Rue’s edges. 
24:00: The APT is not a finished product. 
26:00: No long-distance trail is ever complete.
28:30: How Rue started building the APT.
30:00: A lot of Rue’s route decisions are day-to-day on the trail.
31:00: Rue doesn’t like to plan, but he prepares.
35:40: How Rue got through the waterless stretches of Death Valley.
39:00: How Rue is navigating the route.
40:20: Importance of staying found.
40:50: How Rue sees a 3D world when he looks at a map.
42:30 More of the APT is off-trail than on.
43:30: How Rue got through Texas, a state where only 4.2% of the land is public.
46:30: Challenge of thru-hiking through terrain without long-distance trail communities.
46:50: Someone shot at Rue.
47:00: How Rue navigated having guns pulled on him in a store.
52:20: The most discouraging thing Rue has encountered multiple times on the trail.
56:50: How Rue picks up essential items while on the trail.
57:00: Social isolating: Rue’s COVID-19 coping strategy while out on the trail. 
58:30: The challenges of thru-hiking during a pandemic that you may not have considered. 
59:45: Thru-hiking requires both soft and hard skills. The APT takes both to the max.
1:00:25: Funding the trip while on the trip.
1:00:30: How many times Rue will re-up gear on this project.
1:05:30: The one luxury item Rue can’t hike without: an open heart.
1:06:40: The best trail magic Rue has ever received. 
1:08:10: The people who inspire Rue.
1:11:00 How people can support the APT.

9. Justin "Trauma" Lichter

To learn more about Lichter, check out his website: Tap into his knowledge by reading one of his many books, including: Trail Tested: A Thru-Hiker’s Guide to Ultralight Hiking and Backpacking and Survive: Mountains.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights

3:20: Trauma talks about nearing his goal of traveling to all seven continents. 

4:20: Trauma has hiked over 40,000 miles. 
5:00 Trauma grew up skiing and day-hiking with his parents. He loved running to see what’s around the corner.
6:30: Trauma discusses an eye-opening trip to southern Utah that inspired him to thru-hike the AT. 
8:30: Why the AT?
9:45: Trauma talks about why he decided to pursue an outdoor adventure lifestyle. 
11:15: Trauma reveals how he earned his trail name. (It’s a crazy story!)
12:30: Ravens dive-bombed Trauma on his first wilderness trip.
14:00: Trauma’s first major trip was a 1,500 mile adventure through eastern Africa.
15:30: Wildlife encounters forced Trauma to cut his trip short.
17:30: Trauma spooked a lion and got chased by an elephant. 
19:00: People are not on the top of the food chain in Africa.
21:30: Learning to navigate African cultures.
23:30: Trauma was careful with water sources and vaccinations to avoid sickness.
26:00: Trauma’s second major trip took him to Katmandu, Nepal, for the Great Himalaya Trail.
28:50: Tricky resupply strategy for the Great Himalaya Trail.
31:30: Trauma ate a lot of convenience store food.
32:00: Altitude is draining.
33:30: Trauma and Pepper become the first people to complete the PCT in winter.
34:30: Trauma talks about his motivation to embark on a winter PCT thru-hike.
35:30: Trauma and Pepper indirectly spent a decade preparing for their winter PCT trip, dialing in their gear and skills.
36:30: Gear isn’t made for this type of trip. Trauma had to find the balance between winter gear weight and functionality.
37:45: How Trauma and Pepper met.
39:00: Trauma and Pepper have adventured thousands of miles together.
39:30: Pros and cons of having an adventure partner.
41:00: Trauma and Pepper lucked out with avalanche danger on the PCT.
42:50: Trauma and Pepper got frostbite. 
45:00: Winter navigational challenges you probably haven’t considered.
47:00: What keeps Trauma going.
48:45: Trauma’s work for National Geographic Maps.
49:30: Trauma’s work on ski patrol.
53:50: One of Trauma’s hiking presentations turned into a full barroom brawl. 
55:10: Trauma’s favorite hiking gear.
55:50: Trauma’s favorite hiking food. 
56:05: The psychological differences between a zero and a “nearo.”

8. Will "Akuna" Robinson

Learn more about Akuna on his brand new website and follow Akuna on Instagram to catch a glimpse of his latest adventures.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights

3:50: Akuna describes his upbringing living in Germany as a military kid and coming back to New Orleans. 

6:30: Racism is real; it is not a made up thing. 
7:05: Akuna did not grow up backpacking and camping, but enjoyed being outside as a kid.
8:45: Akuna’s dad told him that joining the military was out of the question.
9:15: An Army recruitment officer diverted Akuna from going down the wrong path in 1999 when he was a young man.
11:10: Akuna served in Iraq and was medically evacuated and sent home to New Orleans.
13:45: Upon returning home, Akuna underwent a number of surgeries and struggled with PTSD.
18:20: The military was not yet prepared to addressed the number of soldiers coming home with PTSD. 
18:30: Akuna fell into a downward spiral, getting worse and worse. His room at home became a prison and he withdrew from social interactions.
20:00: Akuna knew he had to do something drastic to get out of this situation. 
20:20: He looked up at the TV and saw the movie “Wild” and it inspired him to hit the Pacific Crest Trail.
21:20: Akuna thought “this is where I need to be” and two weeks later he was in Campo ready to start the trail. 
24:30: Social interaction is the best part of Akuna’s thru-hiking experience. 
27:15: Learn how Akuna earned his trail name. 
28:20: Akuna loves the desert section of the PCT. 
30:35: How thru-hiking helped alleviate Akuna’s PTSD and Depression symptoms. 
39:00 Akuna is dealing with injuries on the PCT and has to leave the trail. 
45:00: Akuna comes back and completes the PCT and goes on to nab the AT and CDT, becoming the first Black man to complete the Triple Crown. 
48:00: Akuna shares his experience on each of the three trails and the benefits of each. 
51:03: Akuna inadvertently completed the Triple Crown. 
54:10: Akuna is proud to be first Black man to achieving the Triple Crown because it provides an example to other people of color that they can complete the trails too.
55:40: The community response to his Triple Crown achievement was overwhelming. 
56:00: Akuna is sponsored by Merrell. 
57:00: Since George Floyd’s murder, Akuna and other Black and BIPOC athlete’s phones have been ringing off the hook.
59:00: Akuna’s advice on how hikers and outdoor brands can be better allies to people of color in the outdoors.
1:04:10: Akuna took a mental health break from social media recently.
1:05:00: What’s on Akuna’s bucket list of hikes? You will NEVER guess.
1:08:05: Favorite trail town food: milkshakes. 
1:09:00: Shout out to Erick Schat’s Bakery in Bishop, California, Akuna’s favorite trail town stop.

7. Liz "Snorkel" Thomas

Learn more about Liz Thomas and her urban thru-hikes on her blog and follow her on Instagram. Check out Snorkel’s latest adventure: Treeline Review, a comprehensive gear-review website that helps you find and buy the right equipment the first time around.

Read her book Long Trails, Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike and her recent Falcon Guide, Hiking Waterfalls Southern California: A guide to the Region’s Best Waterfall Hikes, released in November 2019.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights

4:40: Snorkel explains how she got her trail name.
6:05: Snorkel talks about her 20,000 miles hiked, including the Triple Crown.
7:00: If she could only hike one trail again, it would be the CDT, and here’s why!
8:00: Snorkel held the women’s speed record on the Appalachian Trail for five years before Heather “Anish” Anderson broke it.
9:30: Snorkel completed the first traverse of the Wasatch Range.
13:40: Find out Snorkel’s motivation to keep hiking all these miles.
14:35: Outside Magazine named Snorkel the Queen of “Urban Hiking.”
15:45: Snorkel has thru-hiked 14 US cities. New York was the most intimidating.
19:10: You can get the same benefits on an urban hike that you get on a wilderness hike. 
27:08: Gear is about 40 percent of your hiking budget.
28:20: All the expenses that people forget about when planning a long hike.
29:40: Snorkel tells us what type of gear to invest in for your first long hike.
30:35: Resupply in town versus mail drops. Liz says first timers should buy in town and for good reason.
33:10: Shanty blew his budget on the Appalachian Trail. 
33:50: The thru-hiking budget rule of thumb.
34:20: Shout out to Paul Magnanti “PMags” for his super cheap thru-hike budget. 
36:40: How to save money when you backpack into a trail town.
43:00: Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses on your first trail hike.
49:00: Liz is an ambassador of the American Hiking Society. 
53:00: Liz talks about the motto of her new gear website, Treeline Review. “Buy right the first time.”
55:16: Snorkel craves the weirdest trail food ever. There is seriously something wrong here. 

6. "Adventure Alan" Dixon

Check out Alan's website at and follow him on his Facebook and Instagram accounts to tap into his gear reviews, backpacking trip reports, and expert backpacking tips.

Also, check out Adventure Alan’s ultralight backpacking tips in the story on the Gaia GPS blog, which sheds light on how to reduce your pack’s weight without having to spend a dime on expensive ultralight gear.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights

2:50: Adventure Alan tells us a story about his disaster in the Tetons.
8:20: “We’re going to die here.” 

9:12: “I’m not going to die here; I’m going to die 100 feet lower.”

10:35: “You know you’re dying. You known you're on a limited time frame and you can feel the life force leaving you.“

13:45: Alan describes hallucinating as he and his climbing partner descend the mountain.

14:50: Alan has no “off button.” 

17:00: What happened was something bigger than the person; the mountain was guiding Alan down.

18:05: Alan carries what he learned from this near-death experience into every trip he takes to the mountains, even on day hikes. 

20:15: Adventure Alan’s parents were wild risk-takers, taking Alan deep into the Sierra when he was 4 or 5 years old. 

23:50: A non-fear-based, controlled-chaos way of life was a huge gift to Alan from his parents.

25:30: How everyone can get beyond the fear of going outside, whether it is backpacking or day hiking. 

26:30: The outdoors is the perfect place to tap into your inner strength, let go a bit, and embrace the chaos.

27:00: It’s okay to make mistakes if the goal is to learn from them.

27:30: What is your intention when going to the backcountry? Control your thinking away from a fear-based approach.

29:00: High routes defined, or maybe not.

30:10: Roper's Sierra High Route misses the tallest peaks in the Southern Sierra, so Adventure Alan plotted the Southern Sierra High Route.

33:50: The high route gives a rewarding experience that people with off-trail skill can accomplish in a week to ten days. 

36:30: What is your intention and what do you expect to get out of your trip to the outdoors? Leave fear behind.

37:35: Nature is a gift; be open to what happens and experience it rather than trying to do damage control.

40:10: Ultralight backpacking and Alan’s 5 to 7 pound base weight on the Appalachian Trail. What?!

42:10: People pack for their fears. Leave your fear behind and your pack will get lighter.

43:30: Adventure Alan backpacked once with a 50-pound backpack, but only one time because he hated it. 

46:10: There is no substitute for getting out. Our legwork is just to show up.

47:00: Adventure Alan turns 60 this year, and his advice to people getting a late start in the outdoors is to just show up and do it. The first two steps on the trail are the hardest; it gets easier once you’re moving.

5. Lifestyle Overland

Follow the McCuistons on the Lifestyle Overland Instagram page, YouTube channel, website (which includes a great place to get Lifestyle Overland swag!) and listen to their brand new podcast Campfire Confessions.

You can also join Lifestyle Overland on Patreon to get exclusive content.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights

2:50 - Introduction to Kevin and Sarah
4:32 - Regular life before becoming Lifestyle Overland
8:25 - Kevin and Sarah describe the difference between overlanding, wheeling, and crawling.
11:10 - Getting their first rig, and why they’re not traveling in it right now
14:00 - Why they decided to purchase a Toyota 4Runner instead of the vehicle they thought they wanted
16:40 - How their rig “Silver” came to be.
17:40 - Making the transition to FULL-TIME overlanding
19:00 - How their YouTube channel "Lifestyle Overland" unintentionally became a hit
23:10 - Taking it next level to full-time overlanding
29:15 - Advice for basic vehicle maintenance/modification understanding prior to getting into overlanding
31:10 - Who drives the 4Runner most of the time? It’s not Kevin!
33:05 - Vehicle care and maintenance
36:12 - How they use Gaia GPS to plan their adventures 
36:52 - How the McCuistons keep their young daughter Caroline entertained on the road without screens
40:50 - What Lifestyle Overland is doing during COVID-19 restrictions
44:50 - The Enchanted Rockies Trail, Lifestyle Overland’s perfect long-distance route for beginners 
49:08 - The North Country Loop — from the Grand Canyon to as far north as you can drive in Alaska
51:00 - Favorite places to travel
54:00 - Advice for people wanting to get into overlanding
55:40 - The basic gear you need to start overlanding.
58:10 - Favorite travel food
58:55 - Craziest scenario they've ever been in
1:00:10 - If they could anywhere right now, where would it be?
1:00:45 - Where to find the best cinnamon rolls in the world!

4. Daniel "The Blackalachian" White

Follow The Blackalachian on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. You can also get exclusive content by checking out his Patreon.

Episode Highlights

7:08: White talks about what drove him to the Appalachian Trail.

9:06: How White prepared for the trail even though he had no backpacking or camping experience. 
11:46: White describes his first days on the trail.
17:43 Learn why Maine was White’s favorite state on the AT.
19:23: White recounts meeting the only other Black thru-hiker during his trip. 
21:08 White describes a racist encounter when group of White men with dogs surround White’s camp near the Mason-Dixon line, forcing him to pack up and hike through the night to safety, 
23:36: White taps into adversity and uses it as fuel to accomplish his goals.
24:30: How White ended up taking up bicycle touring to pedal the Underground Railroad Trail.
26:03: Daniel describes the powerful experience of visiting places where slaves hid in their journey north to freedom in the early-to-mid 19th century.
29:48: White’s bike gets sideswiped on the highway, and the driver buys him a beer. 
32:06: Communities along the Underground Railroad Trail were the best part of his trip. 
33:43: White goes to Scotland, hikes across the country and meets the towns people. 
36:05: White describes his trek on the Camino Del Norte in Spain and unexpectedly discovering a Black madonna in one of the villages along the route.
47:00: White gives his opinion on the reason why Black people are underrepresented in the outdoor community, 
51:40: White points to a number of resource that BIPOC can reach out to for support and inspiration in getting started in the outdoors. 
53:20: You will never guess what his favorite piece of gear is. 
55:08: Daniel gives a shout out to all the people who are helping to keep the foot on the gas in this movement against racism. 

3. Andrew Skurka

Check out Andrew Skurka's website, where you can buy a copy of his book, follow his blog, sign up for a guided trip, read his trip reports, or register for his backpacking planning course.

You can also follow Skurka on Instagram and Facebook.

Episode Highlights

3:25: Skurka’s first backpacking experience on the Appalachian Trail.

5:10: Why Skurka did not attack the normal Triple Crown progression but instead selected to embark on three never-before-hiked mega-adventures.
8:10: Skurka’s Alaska-Yukon adventure involved skiing, packrafting and hiking.
9:10: The appeal of long-distance backpacking for Skurka is learning and expanding his skill set.
11:55: The Alaska trip made Skurka uncomfortable for 180 days, wondered if he would make it to dinner each day.
12:20: Skurka was living on crumbs, and that lifestyle reached an expiration date for him.
14:20: Skurka describes his guided trips, focusing on education of backcountry skills.
16:00: Skurka says navigation is one of the most important backpacking skills, and definitely the most liberating. 
17:25: The different grades of navigational competency.
18:20: Skurka describes the number one navigational mistake.
18:30: The navigational story is how Skurka teaches his clients to navigate in the backcountry.
21:40: Learn what’s inside Skurka’s backcountry navigation kit.
24:15: Reading the landscape in Alaska.
26:20: Paper maps versus digital maps: find out how Skurka uses both. 
28:00 Skills involved in reading a topographic map.
31:10: Skurka’s favorite compass and watch from Suunto, but not everyone needs an expensive one. 
38:15: Skurka describes the high routes of the American West.
45:00 Skurka shines a light on that one piece of gear that’s been with him throughout almost his whole career.

2. Thomas "The Real Hiking Viking" Gathman

Follow the Real Hiking Viking on Instagram or look him up on his website.

Episode Highlights

2:00: Viking talks about his combat tours to Iraq, one as a Marine Scout Sniper
2:30: Viking explains the meaning of his trail name, The Real Hiking Viking
5:30: Viking talks about his introduction to thru-hiking culture
12:12: Viking talks about why he's chomping at the bit to get back to the Continental Divide Trail
14:45: Viking takes on the Appalachian Trail in winter, and how that trip was the pinnacle of danger for him
27:15: Viking touches on visiting the Jordan Trail in the Middle East in early 2019
29:25: Learn why 2019 was a "train wreck" year for Viking and felt like getting punched by Mike Tyson
41:11: As soon as quarantine ends, Viking is head to a whole bunch of trails; listen to which ones are on the top of his list
46:60: Viking reveals the luxury item that he always takes with him
47:15: Viking tells us what kind of music motivates him on the trail
49:00: Find out the biggest town meal Viking ever ate
52:15: Shanty asks about Viking's cinnamon-colored beard

1. Heather "Anish" Anderson

Check out Anderson’s website for an opportunity to buy an autographed copy of her current book Thirst, 2600 Miles to Home, which chronicles day-by-day her record-setting accomplishment on the PCT. Inspiring and authentic, the book highlights Anderson’s background as an un-coordinated kid with big athletic dreams, and how she immersed herself in nature to fill a void of self doubt within her.

Find and follow Heather “Anish” Anderson on Instagram.
Get her gear lists for all of her famous trips here.

Episode Highlights

2:25: Anderson’s list of accomplishments
7:35: Different categories of fastest known times
9:35: Anderson discusses the writing process for her book Thirst
12:09: Anderson discusses how she dealt with post-hike depression, and what she is doing during the COVID-19 lockdown
18:10: Anderson reveals her offseason training routine and taking up a new sport
24:40: Anderson talks about her route plan on the Calendar year Triple Crown to avoid snow
27:20: How Flyin’ Brian Robinson inspired her when he became the first person to Calendar Year Triple Crown. 
29:00: Anderson’s super sappy yet sweet story on the very first day of the Calendar Year Triple Crown trip. 
32:20: The unique Barkley Marathons, and Anderson’s four attempts. 
42:57: Don’t let fear stand in the way of following your dreams.
51:47: Anderson’s all-time favorite trail food
52:46: Anderson’s luxury item as of late

About the Host

In 2019, host Andrew Baldwin completed a southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. After five months on the trail, Baldwin returned home to pursue a career in voice acting. A friend of the company, Baldwin was a natural choice for hosting the Out and Back podcast.