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10 best outdoor magazines

Outdoor magazines are a well-deserved indulgence for those who love hiking, camping, climbing, wildlife and the great outdoors. We list our favourite below.

One thing I dearly miss from my less-nomadic life is magazines. In the age of internet clickbait, printed publications still have an allure that a computer or smartphone screen just can’t replicate. Whether through fascinating features on the latest first ascent, a thru-hiker’s account of a long-distance hiking trail or stunning photography from the world’s protected lands, outdoor magazines have always piqued my imagination.

With that in mind, we take a look at the best outdoor magazines available across a range of formats – ranked in no particular order.

10 best outdoor magazines

1. Outside Magazine
Available formats: Print, online, digital subscription
Subscription: $24 (1 year, 12 issues + 2 buyer’s guides)
In January 2017, Outside Magazine turned 40, marking four decades of encouraging readers to “Live Bravely”. The magazine’s focus is adventure storytelling covering travel, sports, adventure and fitness, as well as various outdoor sub-genres. Today, the magazine and digital platforms reach an audience of 7.5 million.
2. Backpacker
Available formats: Print, online, digital subscription
Subscription: $12 (1 year, 9 issues)
Backpacker’s main focus is hiking in the US. The magazine and website include detailed information about hiking trails, trail recipes, survival skills, and all other kinds of backpacking knowledge. They have regular and detailed reviews of hiking and camping gear as well as regular features from the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails.
3. National Parks
Available formats: Print, online, digital subscription
Subscription: $22 (1 year, 4 issues)
The magazine of the National Parks Conservation Association is dedicated to “protecting and enhancing America’s National Park System for present and future generations”. Since the NPCA’s founding in 1919, it has been an independent, nonpartisan voice working to strengthen and protect America’s national parks and sites. Today, it has over 1.2 million members and supporters.
4. Climbing
Available formats: Print, online, digital subscription
Subscription: $15 (1 year, 9 issues + tech tips)
Climbing Magazine, as the name suggests, focuses on advice about technical climbing including bouldering, sport climbing, trad climbing and alpine climbing. It is a US-based magazine first published in 1970. Rookie or amateur climbers may find the content too technical, but there is enough news and features to keep everyone entertained.
5. Trek & Mountain
Available formats: Print, online, digital subscription
Subscription: $45 (1 year, 12 issues)
The UK’s only dedicated trekking and mountaineering magazine available in shops, Trek & Mountain is for anyone who has a passion for the mountains, from hillwalking to cross-country skiing. The monthly magazine includes expedition reports and destination guides from around the world, in-depth reviews of the latest outdoor gear, and expert advice on all aspects of trekking and mountaineering.
6. best outdoor magazines sidetracked 1 Sidetracked
Available formats: Print, online
Subscription: $35 (1 year, 3 issues)
Sidetracked is a glossy outdoor adventure ‘journal’ that features a limited collection of personal stories of adventure travel, journeys and expeditions. The magazine always looks visually stunning and is filled with striking images. However, this does drive up the print costs and price.
7. Outdoor Photographer
Available formats: Print, online
Subscription: $15 (1 year, 11 issues)
A beautiful magazine dedicated to exploring nature’s most fascinating landscapes and wildlife. Outdoor Photographer features photo essays alongside columnists and contributors who are among the most celebrated names in the field of photography. Additionally, it features equipment reviews and recommendations as well as techniques for outdoor photography enthusiasts.
8. The Great Outdoors
Available formats: Print, online, digital subscription
Subscription: $37 (1 year, 13 issues)
UK-based magazine The Great Outdoors is published every four weeks. Britain’s first outdoor magazine is packed full of photography, excellent features and brilliant walking and backpacking routes. The magazine also features authoritative gear reviews and essential skills advice from leading UK outdoor instructors.
9. Alpinist
Available formats: Print, online, digital subscription
Subscription: $50 (1 year, 4 issues)
Another attractive magazine, Alpinist is a quarterly US-based publication focused on mountaineering ascents worldwide. First published in 2002, it somehow manages to look like it’s been around for longer. It ceased publishing briefly in 2008 but relaunched in 2009. It won several awards in its earlier days for its focus on ‘fast and light’ ascents and advocation of clean-climbing (not leaving gear behind).
10. best outdoor magazines Rock & Ice Rock & Ice
Available formats: Print, online, digital subscription
Subscription: $30 (1 year, 8 issues)
Rock & Ice has focused (unsurprisingly) on rock and ice climbing since its first publication in 1985. Features range from adventure stories to destination pieces, human-interest profiles as well as topical and historical pieces. Their website is one of the most popular climbing-focused sites online. The magazine is available worldwide in print and digital editions.

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