Essays

He was born to a herd of wild horses on an island off Virginia and found his way into the heart of a little girl on the dusty trails of the Southwest. Legend was a descendant of fabled swimming ponies: every year, cowboys lead them across a quarter-mile crossing between…

In a post-pandemic world, workers are demanding remote flexibility, more time off, and generous health benefits. These are the companies meeting that bar and more, while encouraging their employees to live an active lifestyle and allowing them to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Some of you are thinking, Ewww, no way. But open your hearts to the truth: spiders are among the most fascinating creatures on earth, and great neighbors to boot (goodbye, mosquitos!). With climate change putting them in danger, they could use a few new friends.

How my mom, infant son, and I accidentally crashed a wedding at the local ski hill

Farmers aren’t supposed to get emotionally attached to their livestock. But when you suddenly find yourself caring for two newborn sheep, these things happen.

A good cry can be therapeutic and can even better connect you with others. Let’s stop shaming it.

Born on an island off the coast of Virginia, home to a wild herd that inspired the classic children’s novel ‘Misty of Chincoteague,’ this gentle, blue-eyed gelding enjoyed an adventurous life with a family in New Mexico. After his death, a mother and daughter went on a mission: to lay him to rest amid the sand and the waves.

“I really did spend 16-plus hours covering fewer than three miles”

A writer in Bozeman, Montana, grapples with the wealthy wave of newcomers gentrifying the town she moved to ten years ago—as a dirtbag pursuing the western dream

Spoiler alert: It’s not because you’re a wuss.

People say farmers aren’t supposed to get emotionally attached to livestock. Uh-huh. When fate sent our writer two newborn sheep with life-threatening birth defects, that kind of thinking was banished from the barn.

Dirtbags were wearing Tevas long before Miuccia Prada, but high fashion's fascination with the outdoors is nothing new

While many sports are tightening restrictions on transgender athletes, these leagues went in the opposite direction

If you want workers to come back to the office, here's a thought: let them wear shorts

Eric and Pam Bealer were living in a cabin in rugged coastal Alaska when they made a dramatic decision: they would exit the world together

The family of Lauren Davis desperately sought answers after she was fatally struck by a driver while biking to work in New York City in 2016. At every step, the criminal-justice system let them down, raising the question of what justice should look like for victims of traffic violence.

In 2015, billionaire entrepreneur Johnny Morris opened a hunting-and-fishing store that doubles as a theme park, with multiple bars and restaurants, a luxury lodge, and an entire swampland forest decorated with taxidermy—all shoved inside a replica Egyptian monument. We sent one writer on a 24-hour mission to explore this exotic modern wilderness.

I’m a Denver Broncos fan. I’m also an environmentalist, outdoorsman, and bike rider who lives in a world that seems increasingly choked with oversized adventure vehicles. Can I really be both?

The Wigudun Galu Association celebrates the ancestral gender diversity of their Indigenous territory

In the summer of 2020, an anonymous artist who goes by the name of Roadside Senryu started installing road signs inscribed with poems, a joy for those driving past them and for communities nearby

After a lifetime of prudishness, our writer tries to become one of those people who bares it all in the great outdoors

We asked a bunch of great writers to bear down, focus, and tell us what makes them giddiest in the outdoors. Join them as they celebrate everything from diving off rocks to adventure flirting to … shivering in a bed between cold sheets? (Hey, don’t judge.) Plus: five scientifically proven ways to up the fun and improve your health.

Last summer, Tiffany Thiele, a young rock climber from Reno, Nevada, took her life after posting a Facebook message claiming she’d been raped by a ski patroller. She left behind an unsolvable mystery about what really happened, along with urgent questions about whether more could have been done to heal her feelings of pain and distrust.

Yolanda Davis-Overstreet is fighting for safer streets and mobility justice in the marginalized communities of Los Angeles

Last year, Annette McGivney lost her beloved yellow Lab, Sunny, and was overwhelmed by sadness. Since then she’s built a new life with a challenging rescue dog, and she’s learned a lot about the healing power of human and animal bonds.

The phone feature can be a convenient safety tool. But for one writer, it served as a crutch for anxiety.

How boredom and booze created an outlaw sport best left alone

Earth-loving New Yorkers are drawing from an unlikely arsenal of activism, hip-hop, marathon city-council Zoom meetings, and one sassy pug to hold the city to its zero-waste commitments. If they succeed, the environmental benefits could be huge.

Some runners swear by their pump playlists, but I’d rather listen to a great book

Fitness comes and goes. Allow Glen Plake to make a case for prioritizing style—that elusive athletic skill that endures.

Earlier this year, journalist Amelia Arvesen participated in a ride for bicycling safety that ended in tragedy. Months later, she’s still figuring out how to process what she saw.

Fifty years after its release, it’s time to unwrap the messages embedded in the game

It’s been another challenging year, but some people thrive on adversity. Here are the athletes, activists, tree planters, chefs, filmmakers, and other disrupters who changed our world for the better in 2021. Plus: Meet Carissa Moore, surfing’s first female olympic gold medalist.

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Hoping to help my brother beat his alcohol addiction, I set up a two-wheel road trip through the scenic terrain of northeast Kansas. As usual, he was funny, endearing, maddening, and burdened by problems I couldn’t solve.

We don’t need paracord-wrapped hatchets and trenching tools to survive in the wilderness

For as far back as she can remember, Mardi Fuller grew up in a world of swimming lessons and swim teams, which was unusual for a daughter of Jamaican immigrants. Why the emphasis on water? Because of a mysterious death that haunted her family’s past.

Meet the grassroots movement of women fighting to open up surfing to a more diverse range of body types

All over the West, a housing crisis is causing workforce shortages, crippling local businesses, and threatening the culture and existence of mountain towns as we know them. But amid the doom and gloom, some people are fighting for solutions.

In a year when record numbers of Americans were changing jobs, these companies attracted top talent with benefits like paid sabbaticals, all-inclusive ski trips, and free health care

On the complicated experience of seeing Japanese wellness practices exoticized in the West

For decades, Deep Springs College in California resisted the push to go coed. But even though women are now allowed to attend, it still holds on to the past.

Even after a life-changing diagnosis, I can still experience the thrill of adventure

Reading about romance and relationships in speculative fiction about scary futures reminds us that a better world is always worth fighting for

A 16-year-old in Texas drove into a group of cyclists in Waller County, Texas. Should he have been behind the wheel in the first place?

Before enlightenment, get on and pedal. After enlightenment, get on and pedal—but we do pass through several transitional phases along the way.

These are the full contest rules for Outside’s survival stories essay contest. You can read more about the contest and how to enter on this page. 1. Eligibility You must be 13 or older to participate. Employees and family members of Outside employees cannot participate. We’d especially like to hear…

Introducing a new essay contest for Outside readers

Across the West, resort towns are facing a livability crisis. Luckily, advocates say, this problem can be fixed.

Living in a remote mountain town made him irresistible to curious dudes—and got me wondering why we assign so much importance to where people are from

When my yellow Lab died last spring, I was flattened by an overwhelming sadness that’s with me still. And that’s normal, experts say, because losing a pet is often one of the hardest yet least acknowledged traumas we’ll ever face.

After a terrible diagnosis forced me to slow down, I learned how to relate differently to the wild—and myself. 

If I can help or influence one person, all the negative comments will have been worth it

“I would contend that stupid behavior is sometimes the proper response to stupid laws”

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How a Boston-based program is using running, fitness, and holistic care to help veterans in life after service

Our senior editor’s foray into woodworking got off to a rough start

In 1960, John Steinbeck set out on a cross-country adventure with his standard poodle, Charley. More than half a century later, writer Kristin Wong did the same thing with her dog—and learned an unexpected lesson about the pain of uncertainty.

Growing up as a Mexican American kid in an anti-immigrant environment, Eric Arce began a yearslong struggle with anxiety and depression. In this essay, he explains how biking has helped him.

Daniel Pérez and the Sanba Cycling Team are proving that delivery workers, line cooks, and mechanics race bikes, too

When COVID-19 hit, one Outside editor found solace in an unexpected hobby

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Three well-being experts weigh in on how to do just that

Knowledgeable and friendly rangers aren’t just found in our national parks

As a college student, writer Julia Rosen spent a summer on Alaska’s Taku Glacier, which kept growing for decades in spite of warming temperatures. Now, she reckons with its uncertain fate.

With summer here, we’re getting back into ambitious recreation, and that means a return to grit, sweat, and serious post-fun scrubbing. Cleanliness connoisseur Danielle Sepulveres explains how these wetdowns can create memories all their own.

History tells us why skiing—and the outdoors in general—lacks diversity. Thanks to the work of dedicated groups, this is slowly changing.

They don’t need to be huge—just big enough to store all your gear and all your dreams

It’s not just the gear purchases—it’s how we think about the future. Here’s the Outside guide to getting your financial $hit together, no selling out required.

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After losing her father to Alzheimer’s disease, one writer reflects on her relationship with grief and running—and the connections between the two

When you start a new sport, everything will be hard, perplexing, and intimidating. But your brain will be on fire.

We asked movers and shakers in different corners of the outdoor world about what people can do to make certain spaces and sports more welcoming for all

Cecilia Blomdahl’s viral videos are a window into an unfamiliar world full of polar bears, reindeer, and adventures on snowmobiles. But they also offer suprisingly resonant insights for those of us who’ve just spent a year in quarantine.

A special 30-day series celebrating nonprofits working for LGBTQ+ inclusivity

One editor’s thoughts on the Asian American illusion of belonging

Choosing whether or not to have children can be difficult for many women. For Amelia Boone, an elite athletic career and her ongoing eating disorder recovery have made it even more complicated.

Meet Outside+, a new membership with all of your active and healthy pursuits in one place

Every woman who hikes has been the target of mansplaining—and outdoor writers and editors are no exception

The evidence is everywhere that humanity is actually pretty decent, according to Dutch historian Rutger Bregman. Pay attention to it and you’ll feel much better.

The past year has been relentless in so many ways. But despite the challenges, there’s also a lot of good news out there to get you excited about the months ahead.

The North Face’s new Explore Fund Council, led by Jimmy Chin and Lena Waithe, has big plans—and a big budget—to make the outdoors more inclusive

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