Features

Features are the longform articles our readers know and love. These longreads showcase our strongest writers, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors.

I Bought an Elephant to Find Out How to Save Them

At a time of unprecedented mass extinctions, no animal epitomizes the global biodiversity free fall more than the Asian elephant. Paul Kvinta travels to Laos to visit a moon-shot project aimed at saving the country's 400 remaining wild behemoths, investigate the strange underworld of wildlife trafficking—and make a very unexpected purchase.

Paul Kvinta
Nov 12, 2019

Fame, Romance, and a Second Chance on the PCT

Cory McDonald's main goal was to restore his health on the Pacific Crest Trail. Becoming a YouTube star, getting stalked, and meeting the perfect girl were just exhilarating extras.

Taylor Gee
Nov 7, 2019

How Cheap Robots Are Transforming Ocean Exploration

Backed by billionaire philanthropists and Silicon Valley venture capitalists, a wave of entrepreneurs are developing high-tech, low-cost technologies to probe the watery realms we still barely understand. Are the oceans finally getting their moon-shot moment?

Michael Roberts
Nov 5, 2019

Cornhole Is a Pro Sport Now

The American Cornhole League wants to turn a game that's typically played with one hand holding a beer—and possibly named for an indecent part of the human body—into an international spectator sport

Eric Barton
Oct 31, 2019

Is Brain Stimulation the Next Big Thing?

Over the past decade, athletes, coaches, and researchers have been seduced by the performance-boosting promises of brain stimulation. On a ride-and-zap-your-brain-like-the-pros tour through the Alps, Alex Hutchinson wonders whether it really works—and whether we want it to.

Alex Hutchinson
Oct 24, 2019

One Man's Wild Quest to Reach the Bottom of Every Ocean

Multimillionaire Victor Vescovo committed himself to one of the world’s craziest remaining adventure quests: to reach the deepest points in every ocean. What does it take to get there? A radically high-tech, $30 million Triton submersible, a team of crack engineers and scientists, and one very gonzo explorer.

Susan Casey
Oct 22, 2019

After a Hard Diagnosis, One Athlete Learns to Soften Up

Expedition kayaker Scott Lindgren knocked off first descents of the most remote and dangerous rivers on earth, from the Himalayas to the Sierra. He paddled with an aggro attitude and saw weakness as an unforgivable trait in himself and others. But when a brain tumor started to derail his athletic performance and threaten his life, everything changed.

Scott Lindgren and Thayer Walker
Oct 14, 2019

Can Video Games Replace the Outdoors?

Maybe not in our hearts, but certainly in our brains. Plus, they can make you love the indoors far too much—which is why there’s now a full-fledged, woodsy rehab center for joystick addicts who need a soothing pathway back to a normal life.

David Kushner
Oct 8, 2019