Outside Magazine, July 2015

The Obsessions Issue



Step into summer with the season’s best shoes

When you're outdoors, you tend to worry about grizzly bears, sharks, and mountain lions. But the real dangers are the parasites and microbes you can't even see. Steven Rinella has been felled by the worst of them, and he offers an essential guide to prioritizing your panic.

You don't have to live in a mountain town to pursue a life of adventure. Presenting the life-changing strategies urban dwellers can adopt to play harder.

After winning the coveted audience award at Sundance, the documentary 'Meru' is getting a nationwide theatrical release next month. How did a climbing movie break through with mainstream audiences? Credit the incredible story at its center: a tale of tragedy, family, friendship, risk, and the redemptive power of suffering.

Chad Brown put down a gun and picked up a fly-fishing rod. The Navy veteran turned gear designer now wants kids and vets to heal each other on the great American waters that saved his life.

Ditch your five-weight for a more graceful (and portable) setup

Paddleboarding keeps getting bigger—and the SUPs keep getting better. Here are three of the most versatile new models. Plus, smart tools for discerning paddlers.

What happens when we start a fire and we can't contain it?

Over the past decade, ultrarunning has gone from a fringe pursuit for distance freaks to a hypercompetitive sport attracting big-time sponsors. But a mysterious training condition is suddenly plaguing its ranks, robbing a generation of top athletes of their talents and forcing victims to wonder: Is it possible to love this sport too much?

6 packable products for the tiniest of city apartments

In a new memoir, William Finnegan takes a break from hard-hitting reporting to explore his passion for the water

Tour operators are standing by to make your dream vacation of pain and suffering come true

Break out of the office zoo and run wild

From eternal youth (kind of) to GPS genitalia, a whole world of perks awaits

Even the staunchest anti-runner can't say no to a puppy with energy to burn

It may be the best natural medicine there is

Keep grinding out miles and see the world

It doesn't get easier, you just go faster

Shark Tales
The arresting new documentary Meru is more than just the story of Conrad Anker’s fixation on scaling an impossible route up one of the Himalayas’ most treacherous peaks. It’s a candid examination of what drives climbers to the top. By Grayson Schaffer

Running on Empty
As ultrarunning grows in popularity, elite racers are suffering a puzzling condition: their bodies are suddenly breaking down. The mystery of overtraining syndrome has scientists asking just how far we should go. By Meaghen Brown

Shovel Ready
Nicaragua wants to build a massive $40 billion waterway that will rival the Panama Canal. Will that ever happen—and should it? Elliott D. Woods hits the roads, rivers, and jungles to find the source of an improbable idea.

Little Things That Kill You
It’s not just grizzly bears and poisonous snakes that nail you in the wild. As Steven Rinella knows all too well, a host of insidious microbes want to hitchhike home in your body, where they unleash a whole new world of hurt.

Fishing for steelhead in the Pacific Northwest is the best medication PTSD survivor Chad Brown has ever found. Now the Navy veteran and gear designer is using his fly-fishing business to fill that prescription for city kids and vets alike. By Patrick Symmes

First Look
: Travelers are booking guided trips that take them deep into the pain cave, blurring the line between adventure tourism and hardcore expeditions.
Covet: The Motoped Cruzer is built for the beach.
Media: William Finnegan’s fearless surfing memoir, and the Rock’s pre-disaster-movie-premiere routine.  
Drink: The fruity side of craft beer.
Feuds: Tempers get hot when prescribed fires burn out of control.

Active Cities: With cycling meetups, paddling races, and farm-fresh delivery services sprouting up all over the country, it’s easier than ever to make the urban jungle your playground. We’ve got 16 strategies for outdoor workouts, microadventures, bike commuting, and where to stash all that gear.

Why We Run: To tire out the dog. To stave off depression. But mostly to set ourselves free from our self-imposed cages. With 30 million Americans lacing up every week, any reason is a good one if it gets you on your feet. 

Sunglasses: The many shades of cool. 

Wanted: A stripped-down fly rod.
Upgrade: Go-anywhere canvas sneakers
Outfitted: Better basic boardshorts.  
Stress Tested: The new wave of stand-up paddleboards


Parting Shot