Podcasts turn every shuttle into happy hour. In the Spring 2017 issue of Rapid magazine, editors declared CCR’s “Proud Mary” one of the top sing-along songs for shuttle rides following an unscientific, in-office poll. But even we can only listen to it so often.
When our pump-up playlist repeats one too many times—and for road trips and chill rides home—we turn to one of these river-loving podcasts to dull the miles and keep the stoke.
Here is our list of the best podcasts for paddlers and explorers.
1. The Pursuit Zone
In an era of podcasts making the host the star (we’re looking at you, Tim Ferris), The Pursuit Zone’s Paul Schmid’s hands-off Q&A style is a breath of fresh air. Schmid’s less-is-more interview technique lets adventurers and athletes take center stage.
The 150-plus episodes are focused on dreamers pushing outside of comfort zones into the so-called pursuit zone. With a multi-sport focus, there are Atlantic Ocean rowers, round-the-world cyclists and record-breaking hikers featured, plus many episodes specific to paddlers, including rafting the Amazon River and packrafting Alaska’s Brooks Range. www.thepursuitzone.com
2. The Dirtbag Diaries
Eleven years and approaching 10 million downloads, The Dirtbag Diaries probably needs no introduction. Likely the most well-known podcast on adventure, it’s a staple in outdoor circles and on road trips.
No other podcast has captured the adventurous lifestyle so poignantly, spinning campfire tales into often humorous lessons on life and human nature. www.dirtbagdiaries.com
3. Hammer Factor
Each week, Immersion Research’s John Weld, North Fork champ Louis Geltman and Green Race director John Grace discuss the biggest news of the week in the whitewater world. Industry buffs will love the immersion in gear, expeditions, athletes and gossip.
We love the banter and feeling like we’re right there in the room. www.hammerfactor.com
4. Outside Podcast
Top-notch research and compelling storytelling is brought to us by the editors of Outside magazine. Each episode is inspired by the archives or a theme Outside has explored.
Whether mental mastery in sport, the science of survival, or the story of how one celebrated journalist ended up at the bottom of the Grand Canyon captaining a boat full of poop called Jackass, Outside’s podcast has something for everyone. www.podcast.outsideonline.com
5. Zero To Travel
Whether you’re dreaming of quitting your job and chasing flow full-time or saving for the next big river trip, Zero to Travel offers top-notch tips and hacks to make travel dreams a reality.
Host Jason Moore interviews a slew of seasoned adventurers and travelers to talk budget tips, airline hacks, aspirational travel and digital nomadism. By far, Zero To Travel offers the most actionable advice to take listeners from daydreamers to doers. www.zerototravel.com
6. Wild Ideas Worth Living
Wild Ideas Worth Living’s host and journalist Shelby Stanger interviews world-class explorers, scientists, authors, athletes and entrepreneurs about how they’ve taken a wild idea and made it a reality.
Stranger’s goal is to empower others to take a break from the mundane and live their dream. Perfectly suited for the river runners with an entrepreneurial bent and those looking to shake things up, don’t miss the episode with photographer Chris Burkhard’s advice on getting your work noticed. www.wildideasworthliving.com
A Radiolab-esque podcast for the outdoors. Host Sam Evans-Brown weaves stories about nature with solid reporting and long-form narrative storytelling on topics as varied as the complexities of rescues, why humans will never outwit beavers, and the lasting effects of French-Canada’s hydro revolution.
You don’t have to be a science buff or hardcore river ecologist to love Outside/In—its intelligence and humor will win over even your non-outdoorsy family members. www.outsideinradio.org
8. Horizon Line
A podcast about history’s most intrepid explorers pushing the limits of what was believed to be possible at the time. Created by editors of strange-travel-destination-compendium Atlas Obscura, the bold innovators featured in Horizon Line will have you questioning whether anything is truly impossible.
There’s only a handful of episodes in season one, bookended by a story about smokejumpers in peril and an ill-fated hot air balloon expedition across the Arctic. www.atlasobscura.com
9. In Between Swims
Honorable mention to the daddy of whitewater and river conservation podcasts. So what if there hasn’t been a new episode since December 2016? Go way back with some playback from 2007. The lessons imparted by paddling greats such as Doug Ammons, Steve Fisher and Tao Berman are as relevant today as they ever were. The gotta-have gear news is arguably less so. www.inbetweenswims.com