IndefinitelyWild Turns Two

Here's a look back at our favorite stories from Outside's new outdoor lifestyle column

May 2, 2016
Outside
Outside Magazine
IndefinitelyWild Turns Two

Daniel Bruce Lee hangs out on Norway's Trolltunga, perched 2,300 feet above the lake below. Click here to enlarge.    Photo: Chis Brinlee Jr.

IndefinitelyWild

IndefinitelyWild is a lifestyle column telling the story of adventure travel in the outdoors, the vehicles and gear that get us there, and the people we meet along the way. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

A little over two years ago, I stumbled across a Native American worship group out in the desert, they took a liking to my dog, and invited me to join their ayahuasca ceremony. Eight hours later, I walked out of it, quit my soul-sucking, abusive job making a motorcycle website, and set about trying to figure out what would be next. A few days later, Brian Lam came by for a wild pig dinner, and told me to do adventure/outdoors stuff. He said to call Joel Johnson, who was running Gawker Media editorial at the time, and that he’d set me up with a new website. I fished around on my bookshelf for good quotes, settled on one by Henry David Thoreau, and IndefinitelyWild was born. Two years later, we’re now a part of the most respected outdoor publication on the planet. Here’s a look back at some of our favorite stories, in no particular order. 

How to Stay Warm When It’s Cold Outside

One of the basic premises we’re working off over here is that going outdoors is good for people, and that by breaking down the barriers to entry and making outdoor recreation more accessible to normal people, we can help more people have more fun and thereby do some good for the world. I think this article is one of the better examples of that. Yeah, the concept might seem remedial to experienced types, but for the vast legions of people who aren’t, knowledge like this presented in a non-condescending, easily followed way, is incredibly powerful. Read our explainers on base layers and rain jackets for more. 

Can Flip Flops Save the World?

I won’t bore you with the whole story here, but I made some new friends, those new friends are weird, and after learning firsthand that killing people doesn’t solve terrorism, they decided to take on that cause with the much more effective solution of providing economic opportunity and education for women in war zones. Our original story on them helped them get on Shark Tank, the investment from that show helped make their company viable, and we’ve had a bunch of other good times together since, and plan even more. Plus, we put 61 women in Afghanistan in school for a year, which feels pretty damn good. 

Lion Murderer Walter Palmer Has Done More for Lion Conservation Than You Have

I know it flies in the face of the Internet outrage machine, and lions aren’t something I’d personally go pay $50,000 to shoot while they sleep under a tree, but it turns out that, in reality, threatening people over social media actually does less for animal conservation than trophy hunting does. I know, I know, you’re already red in the face with anger after reading that sentence and are flying down to the comments section to tell me what a horrible excuse for a human being I am for telling the truth about a cause I care deeply about—animal conservation. But if you take the time to educate yourself, you’ll actually find that the significant economic incentive provided by trophy hunting turns private lands that would otherwise be cattle farms into prime, protected habitat for vulnerable species like lions. No, that’s not done out of the goodness of anyone’s heart, and no, poor people don’t benefit an awful lot from the practice (many hunters donate meat to poor villages). But it is the reason lions still call Africa home in the 21st century. 

sous-vide-elk_h
  Photo: Wes Siler

How Natural Hot Springs Can Help Cook Your Best Camping Meal Ever

I like cooking good food. I like simple good times with good friends. I like showing off. Making this article involved all three of those things. 

What America Feels Like After Seven Months of Foreign Adventure

Continuing the theme of that first paragraph, about two years ago I was approached by this super enthusiastic kid with the world’s most impressive beard. He had a plan to find a way to quit his day job in advertising and find a way to go explore the world. All he needed was a little help. I’m incredibly proud not only that I was able to do that, but by how much the experience helped Chris Brinlee Jr. grow not only as a journalist and photographer, but as a person too. He’s an incredibly important part of IndefinitelyWild; I’m not sure I could have made it without him. This article sort of sums all that up. 

We’re in a Technological Arms Race With Bears for Our Food

A lot of interesting stuff takes place in the outdoors, but it’s not often communicated to the rest of the world in ways that people can understand and appreciate. I think that’s what makes this article successful. Plus, the illustration is fantastic, and hopefully the message helps more bears avoid human conflict. 

iw-2-wes
I started carrying Wiley around like this when I first brought him home, at eight weeks old. Now, three years later, he still does it. This photo was taken when he was about six months old, on his first backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevada. He's way bigger now. Click to enlarge.   Photo: Lara Pasternak

How Adopting a Dog Saved My Life

Regular readers will no doubt be familiar with how important my dog, Wiley, is to me. This is where I explain why. 

How to Make the Ultimate Outdoor Tinder Profile

Hopefully, making outdoor content doesn’t mean we have to be incredibly serious all the time. This is a fun piece that empowers people like us to have more successful dating lives. We’ll be following up with guidance on online dating for women soon. 

iw-2-down
Chris Mills takes product testing very seriously. Click to enlarge.   Photo: Chris Mills

We Tested Waterproof Down by Jumping in a Frozen Lake

Chris Mills came to me with this idea, and I obviously loved it immediately, but made him submit a full risk analysis and abatement plan before giving him the green light. It's a fun, compelling test of a new technology, but the story is remembered even more fondly because Chris’ beguiling, feminine eyes generated a commenting frenzy. 

Why Cotton Kills, a Technical Explanation

We’ve all heard the old adage, “cotton kills.” But why does it kill? We asked. 

The Best Sleeping Pad for Every Camper

I don’t think anyone else has ever done a more comprehensive or in-depth test of sleeping pads than this one. And I don’t think enough people realize how good the latest generation of pads is, how important they are for both warmth and a good nights sleep, or what the variables are between brands and models. Hopefully we fixed that. My biggest frustration working for Gawker was the lack of support coupled with high expectations. Given the budget, we weren't able to repeat this test with other product categories. Now that we’re at Outside, we will. 

Baja Is the Beach Camping Destination You’ve Been Looking For

Nothing but an awesome old Land Rover, a cool dog, a pretty girl, and a weekend on the beach having a good time. You can, and should, do the same thing. We show you how. 

iw-2-cat
Finch takes a ride through Big Sur. Click to enlarge.   Photo: Chris Brinlee Jr.

How to Take Your Cat Camping

Pure Chris, pure genius. This one won the Internet.

I Went Camping With Bear Grylls and Survived

Talk about an honor. Only a few months into making a new outdoors site, I was invited to come camping with Bear Grylls. We had a great time, remain friends, and he gave me a totally candid interview. 

The Time Iceland Almost Killed Me

You’re not going to grow if you don’t make mistakes. And Chris made a big one here, venturing out into unknown terrain with our friend Daniel, during bad weather. They paid the price, but are more knowledgeable, careful, and cautious adventurers as a result. 

How to Survive a Mass Shooting

Addressing controversial, heavy, real-world issues like this with effective advice is the kind of thing big organizations should be doing. But it’s also the stuff they’re most nervous to publish. I barely squeezed this one through Gawker’s editors, but it ended up both performing well, and being widely imitated, so they considered it a win. Me? Hearing the experiences of the investigator I interviewed left me depressed for days after, and made me do something I never thought I’d do: go out and buy a handgun. 

So You Want to Go Spearfishing for the Very First Time

This one was just a fantastic trip. A bunch of us paddled kayaks out to a remote beach on Catalina Island and spent the weekend slaying fish in the kelp beds, then turning them into fish tacos. Good times with good friends, I wish every weekend could be like that. 

iw-2-knife
The ESEE Junglas is one hell of a knife. Somehow The Times thought I was fashionable enough to go in their style section. Click to enlarge.   Photo: Chris Brinlee Jr.

Knives Are in Fashion, and 'The New York Times' Is On It

One thing legacy media outlets do well is large trend pieces. The New York Times interviewed me for a story about dudes who carry pocket knives. One thing legacy media outlets don’t do well is provide depth, expertise, and perspective. So we fixed that for them. 

iw-2-matt
Matt Talbot is a special human being. Click to enlarge.   Photo: Ty Brookhart

Adventure: California’s Lost Coast

Another great camping trip. My buddy Ty and I along with our two dogs drove up to Northern California for an awesome winter backpacking trip somewhere neat, and a little dangerous. I made a new friend for life when some weirdo waded across chest deep whitewater to bring me a really good steak. We cooked it over a campfire on the beach, along with mussels we pulled out of the ocean, right there. Then we nearly killed Matt, which was stupid. 

iw-2-sunset
Wes and Wiley watch the sunset from Big Sur's Prewitt Ridge. Click to enlarge.   Photo: Lara Pasternak

A Beginner’s Guide to Doing Drugs in the Outdoors

Who else is going to give you an article like this, with this level of level-headed guidance, and with solid first-hand experience from smart, responsible people? 

Skills I Learned in Boy Scouts 15 Years Ago Just Helped Me Save a Life

Another new writer I’m enormously proud of publishing is Corey Hass. He has a big-boy day job, and just had a daughter, so he’s on a bit of a hiatus, but when he’s back, I’m sure he’ll give you more great pieces like this one. I’m also proud that every single person who contributes to IndefinitelyWild is a real life hero; the kind of person who will always be the first to dive into action, and who will do so with the knowledge and physical ability to render it safe. Our little media outlet could kick yours media outlet's butt. 

vday-top_h
Paired with the Exped Megamat Duo mattress, there is no more comfortable 2P sleeping bag than Sierra Designs' new Frontcountry Bed.   Photo: Bret "Third Wheel" Bassi

The Best Outdoors Sleep Systems for Adventurous Couples

I’m also proud that our little team is open-minded, and that our content is inclusive. Everyone and anyone can and should be having a good time outdoors. And doing so in comfort. Especially during sex. 

Ferries, Bears, and Adventure Bikes in British Colombia

I rode motorcycles largely off-road through the absolutely stunning mountains of coastal British Columbia, with a bunch of cool dudes. It was an amazing experience, and one that helped me rediscover my love of motorcycling. Here's the video

baja-beach-camping_h
Just drive out on any beach you like, and set up camp. That's an unrealistic dream in most of the United States, but the reality in Baja.   Photo: Wes Siler

Filed To: Indefinitely Wild

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Special Holiday Offer: Save 79% and Get a Free Gift!

Subscribe
Holiday Bow