You can plan out your meals and make a spreadsheet of your gear, but it’s a lot harder to plan for what you’ll actually be doing most of on the trail: thinking. Being alone with your thoughts can be frightening for even the most hyperactive mind, which is why long trail hikers become such easy converts to the world of podcasts.
After “where are you from?” and “where are you going?” the next question is often “Know any good podcasts?” The following are our five favorite, trail-tested podcasts to distract, educate, and entertain for miles and miles and miles.
The Dirtbag Diaries
Getting psyched about nature by listening to other people’s adventures will only enhance your hiking experience. Brought to you by outdoor storyteller and curator Fitz Cahall, Dirtbag Diaries brings you into the world of other outdoor sports and gives you just enough FOMO to keep you planning your next wild adventure after you reach the trail’s end. Stories include personal accounts of everything from mountaineering in Alaska to paragliding in the Canadian Rockies.
Seeing the world through different eyes can be difficult, but there is perhaps no better time to challenge your preconceived notions of humans than when you’re hiking for months in the company of strangers. Host Lea Thau of Strangers peels back the mask from people of all walks of life. She opens the perspectives of everyone from a transgender individual to a woman who discovered late in life that her father murdered her mother, and she helps listeners feel what they feel.The stories are raw and real, and they add a human element many hikers miss during a long walk’s solitude.
If you’re looking for something to fill your mind for hours on end, Hardcore History has got your back. The podcast, which is hosted by political commentator Dan Carlin, guides you as he jumps from the past to modern times, tying stories to today’s world in innovative ways. Each podcast lasts for hours, so it’s easy to plug it in at the end of the day and plow through your final miles to reach your mileage goal. Plus, you’ll feel like a genius after learning the ins and outs of important historical events.
The Joe Rogan Experience
How do you like eavesdropping on interesting conversations? Well Joe Rogan and his long list of guests will serve you well. Joe Rogan is like that guy who knows everyone and seemingly everything, and can talk with a mathematician for almost three hours and still leave you wanting to know more. The podcasts are long, extremely informative, and just plain funny.
Pick a topic, any topic, and Snap Judgement will give you some stories. Similar to the famous (and also great) NPR podcast This American Life, Snap Judgement groups stories around common themes—artificial intelligence, faith, or the legacy we are leaving behind. Glynn Washington hosts the podcast, a platform for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds to tell their stories while he delves deep into the surrounding issues.