(Illustration by Justin Wood)

The Outside Guide to the Web

The 100 Best Adventure Web Sites


Get the info you need. Then get out the door.

That was our mantra when putting together Outside‘s guide to the Internet. The cheapest gear, the choicest hotel rooms, the best training tools, maps, and weather sites. It’s all here. Now it’s up to you to customize your browser or handheld device—so you can turn them off and relax.



When’s the best time to buy? predicts whether fares between specific cities will rise or fall in the near future. will track prices on your selected flights and alert you via e-mail when they fall. Whenever you go, helps you pick the best seat on the plane.

Travel Planning covers 250,000 destinations, mostly in Europe, and also features content pulled from Wikipedia and YouTube. For user-generated reviews, we still love, which has more than 20 million food and lodging picks around the world. Where to go next? and churn out great recommendations geared to your interests, while has helpful lists (best snorkeling in the Caribbean) and travel tips (Timeshares 101).

Where to Stay is the of the hotel industry, with daily reviews and gossip, plus lists like “The Five Worst Hotel Rooms for Drunk People.” More practical is, which collects user-generated hotel recommendations and searches more than 30 booking sites for the best deals. rates hotels and recommends the best rooms at each in terms of size, views, etc.

Online Video

The team at creates one-to-two-minute video hotel reviews so you can view location, rooms, and even workout facilities before booking. has some of the most professional-looking amateur videos on the Web. may have the largest travel video-collection, with over 12,000. Plus, upload a photo from the road and they’ll turn it into a postcard and snail-mail it anywhere in the world ($2–$3 per card).

Outside Guide to the Web


Races lists nearly 100,000 events—running, cycling, mountain biking, triathlons, and more.

Hiking & Climbing

Climbers, you can download free sample maps and buy guidebooks at For info about an obscure range in Greece or a hard-to-reach thirteener in Colorado, and are your best bets. And for tips on how to shed pounds from your pack, is the Web’s fast-and-light mecca.

Skiing & Snowboarding is best for resort news and culture. Backcountry skiers, check snow conditions at Knee-droppers, you can chat with members of your tribe at Fixed heel? Geek out for hours over Dynafit reviews at Lou Dawson’s blog,


Started by two ex-Paddler Magazine editors, brings all of the features (news, reviews, links to real-time river flows, etc.) and none of the paper.

Fly-fishing has great videos and info for beginners, but for advice on how to tie an elk hair caddis, is your site. For everything else, we recommend, a refreshingly unpretentious online magazine.


Mountain bikers, roadies, and even cyclocross geeks, has everything from technology reviews to race reports to personality profiles. Commuters and city dwellers, is your source: Cycle Messenger World Championships, wheel building 101—it’s all there. Everyone can learn how to keep bikes running smoothly at, which has hundreds of how-to videos and articles.


Don’t believe the hype: is great for events, but is a better bet for global forecasts, while has the best California surf reports—and surfing blogs. East Coasters, head to


For everything from mileage logs to customizable training plans, check out and The easiest route-measuring site is, which also offers a free training log and the best (and free) iPhone app for tracking your pace and distance.

Adventure and Environment

AdventureWe wish someone covered high-profile expeditions the way once covered climbing projects. (The site shut down in October and was for sale at press time.) For now, your best bets are, which post frequent—but not necessarily verified—updates during theHimalayan climbing season and, which also covers polar and oceanic endeavors. offers briefs on expeditions, research projects, and adventures around the world.

EnvironmentOur Code Green columnist prefers for up-to-the-minute eco-news and commentary (with a sense of humor), although she geeks out daily on, a sustainable business blog edited by clean-tech wiz Joel Makower, and, by New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin, for the smartest analysis of environmental stories. For less wonky enviro (and cultural, political, and lifestyle) news about the Rocky Mountain West, we love Join for roadside bicycle assistance and discounts of hybrid car rentals—it’s a green version of AAA. And,lastly, is packed with tips on eco-smart living, eating, and building.


Fitness & Coaching is packed with experts’ tips and articles on exercise, nutrition, motivation, and recovery, plus a library of 300-plus nutrition and exercise videos, all free. Upload your workout stats at and track your progress over time; the WKO+ program ($100) syncs with more than 70 different GPS, heart-rate-monitor, and power-meter devices.

Nutrition & CookingBookmark for nutrition advice and hundreds of healthy recipes you’ll actually like. Our managing editor also likes Punch in your zip code and it will find sustainable ranchers and local-food restaurants. San Francisco foodie Heidi Swason’s blog,, features more than 170 vegetarian recipes made with fresh, minimally processed ingredients (e.g., no white sugar or white flour). Exercises, recipes, diets, even stress management and career advice— has all that and more, including a supercool calorie-tracking iPhone app (free;


ShoppingFor new gear, we troll the usual suspects for the best prices:,,,, etc. A more efficient way is to sign up for deal-of-the-day e-mail alerts from sites like (skiing), (mountain biking), (road biking), and (everything). Prefer to support local shops, even on the road? Find them at Of course, if we’re just in the mood to ogle cool stuff, we head to Our favorite snow-gear site is Bikers can comparison-shop for the cheapest goods at, or‘s two new bike-specific sites, which will launch this March: (road) and (mountain). Runners, buying perfect-fitting shoes online is less harrowing thanks to the expert phone support and no-risk return policies at and

EmploymentAnd for those of you who dream of working in the outdoor industry, bookmark A subscription is required to read all the wonky news, but you can browse the classifieds for free.

Rental & RepairNeed to rent gear for an upcoming trip? rents everything from bear canisters to GPS units to tents. Our favorite piece of gear is past warranty and needs to be repaired? is licensed to repair Gore-Tex fabric—they’re the only guys we’d trust to repair a blown gasket on our drytop.


For detailed five-day forecasts, we like Wunderground.combetter than (more info, fewer ads). But when we want more—or, in some cases, less—info we like these three.

For really specific info, Big Brother is still the best for everything from small-craft advisories to freeze watches to the projected gust speeds tomorrow at 9 a.m. at your favorite backcountry skiing location. Tip: For any highly weather-dependent sport, we like to cross-reference NOAA with a few local sites—like your yacht club’s or region’s specific avalanche-conditions page—that we learn about the old-fashioned way: by asking friends.

If you’re already getting text messages from, bookmark this new site. It went live just before we went to press, so we didn’t have time to play around on it, but the beta version looked promising: It’s aiming to be the first socialnetworking/weather Web site, where you can share photos, videos, and mini-blogs with other climate geeks (or skiers or paddlers or hikers) about what the weather is doing out their window this very moment.

This site is brilliant in its simplicity. You type in your zip code; it tells you “yes” or “no”—the answer to whether you should take an umbrella with you that day. You can also sign up for a daily service that will you text you a reminder on days you might need one.

Maps, Widgets, Friends

Maps1. Yes,, with its ever-expanding array of handy features—everything from real-time traffic conditions to a terrain feature that lets you scout new hiking routes (you can now get on-the-ground views of national parks)—still reigns supreme. Tip: You can upgrade almost any phone at 2. Casual users can browse U.S. and Canada topo maps for free, while serious enthusiasts can drop $30 for a year’s subscription to customize (add icons or text, mark GPS waypoints, etc.), download, and print topo and aerial satellite maps.3. Historical. Bicycling. International. Hiking. Paper. Digital. Even winery-specific. If you can’t find the map you’re looking for here, it might not exist. Prices vary.

WidgetsStop surfing the Web. Instead let today’s forecast and cheap airfares come to you. Go to and grab a few widgets, like Surfline’s surf forecaster or Ski Bonk’s snowfall tool. Embed them on your home page—,,, etc.—along with your favorite up-to-the-minute RSS feeds. Voilà! You just streamlined your daily online routine.

FriendsLooking for folks to play with? Bode Miller’s social-networking site,, hasn’t reached the tipping point yet, but some of the videos are pretty damn funny. Whitewater junkies, you’ll find a bit more wholesome. Although it’s still in beta, is a promising site that combines social networking, GPS-enabled training tools, and a program that partners you with corporate sponsors to raise money for one of 13 charities. Just looking for a date?, with more than amillion members and a list of more than 90 sporting preferences, from caving to tri-athlons, is still your best bet.

January Cover

January Cover Kelly Slater

Got a fancy phone? Great. Now stop wasting it.

1. Android-powered cell phone
BreadCrumbz allows you to create your own picture route. Wikitude overlays Wikipedia content over your pictures. And before you make your next purchase, check out Compare Everywhere. Get it here:

2. iPhone/iPod Touch
Earthcomber can find anything—gas stations, ATMs, movies, etc.YogaStretch (60 moves) and Pocket First Aid and CPR Guide are self-explanatory. Ditto Beer Pong Pro.Get it here:

3. BlackberryDon’t bother with Blackberry’s pre-loaded map function. Instead, use Trimble Outdoors for trip planning and GPS navigation. Viigo is a free do-it-all software that streamlines all your RSS feeds.Get it here:

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: Illustration by Justin Wood