In sports and fitness, training plans and pounding the pavement can take you a long way. But sometimes it takes more than a blue collar work ethic: it helps to have bits of wisdom from seasoned vets, deep scientific insight and cleverly-designed products. Since kicking off Limits, we’ve scraped together knowledge about everything from the effect of caffeine on endurance to importance of VO2 max testing. We still fall down at stoplights occasionally, no amount of wisdom can prevent that. Here’s what we’ve learned.
A Beautiful Grind on Ancient Rocks
Going “Rim to Rim to Rim” is a double-crossing of the Grand Canyon, covering 42.4 miles and 22,000 feet of vertical, and it’s a rite of passage for ultra runners. GP contributor Ben Clark reports on his epic there-and-back-again run.
A Big, Bad Watch Gets Bigger and Badder
We get our hands on the Ambit2 from Suunto, the best watch in the business for serious outdoor adventurers looking to track all of their data over an entire weekend trip.
Running without water is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. These five hydration packs are among the best on the market, each with unique features that sets it apart from the field.
The Bear Essentials
You never know when things might take a turn for the worse. Match up to your skill level and ensure you’ve got the right basic survival gear with our survey.
You Can Give a man a fish...
GP contributor Will McGough goes fishing in Borneo and reels in a dose of humility.
Deadly Salmon, Banana Rafts, and other
We love outdoor adventures, but sometimes they don’t love us back. Five GP staffers discuss their scariest run-ins with the elements.
Catch Some Backcountry Zzzs
For the outdoorsman, home is wherever the ground is flat and somewhat free of rocks. These tents make those spots more comfortable than ever.
Long Distance Hiker Extraordinaire
The summer before his senior year at Duke University, Andrew Skurka thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, his first ever backpacking trip, alone and in only 95 days (that’s 23 miles a day). He had caught the bug. He’s since hiked 7,775 miles from Quebec to Washington and the Great Western Loop (6,875 miles) and has been named the 2005 “Person of the Year” by Backpacker Magazine and the 2007 “Adventurer of the Year” by National Geographic Adventure. We caught up with him to talk about success and failure on the trail.
Bring An Enemy
Stick anyone next to a cliff and they’ll inch forward and peek over; put anyone in a supercar and they’ll double the speed limit. We all want to stay safe and comfortable, sure, but in those moments when we lose our footing and time slows to a crawl, we are undeniably living in the moment. Call it suicidal or call it truly living. Here are ten trails that return hikers to their baser need: staying alive.
Fashionable and Functional
Apparel with the technical specs to keep you snug and dry on the trail doesn’t have to look out of place the minute you leave the wild. Exhibit A: these 10 adventure shirts.
Glacial peaks, wild rivers and one totaled car
Over the course of 2,500 miles of driving and exploration, photographer Chris Burkard encountered glacial peaks, wild rivers, rain forests, volcanic lakes, historic rock climbs and even the home of The Goonies. His stage: the great state of Oregon in the devastatingly grand Pacific Northwest.
Chris Burkard's Gear
Photographer Chris Burkard explains his kit for capturing nature in the Oregon wilderness.
A Life Worth Saving
Gear worth owning is pricey, and repairs used to be the path of least resistance. Today, it’s actually kind of a pain. Yet reviving well-worn gear has major payoffs.
Comfort in the High Country
These 10 sleeping bags make your duvet look like a washrag.
Embrace your baggage
While the lifetime warrantee on your North Face pack from grammar school is meant to be honored, there’s something to be said for retiring before things unravel. Today’s daypacks will haul your climbing gear or your laptop over mountains and through airports. These are our favorites.
Proving Big-Brand Isn't Bad
Under Armour takes its first shot at a race-weight running shoe with the Speedform Apollo. We took a pair for a spin to see how they stack up.
Breckenridge's New Expansion Wows
More than 50 years in the making, the 540-acre Peak 6 opened on Christmas Day, 2013, bringing a fantastic mix of terrain that fills a surprising gap in Breckenridge’s arsenal. The new terrain offers some of the only above-treeline skiing for intermediates in the country and even more of Breck’s famous expert terrain. There was no doubt that we had to give it a test — strictly for investigative reasons, of course.
Light shoes, fast hikes
If you’re traveling light and fast in the mountains or just need something to walk the local trail system, you can skip a full-fledged hiking boot in favor of a hiking shoe. These are our five favorites.
Chasing Sun in the Southwest
Mountaineer and ultra runner Ben Clark shares photos from his single-day run across Zion National Park, also known as the Zion Traverse.
Tackling the Great Outdoors without getting bushed
Sure, you enjoy hard-charging adventure as much as the next guy — assuming the next guy is not Conrad Anker — but you don’t mind admitting that your next vacation doesn’t require a global rescue insurance plan. You eat with a knife and fork. You’re interested in a jacuzzi setting. You want a telephoto lens between you and the gorillas. In Armchair Adventures we bring you up close and personal with nature without eschewing the comforts of vacation, offering a few tips on maintaining Weekend Warrior shape in the process.
Workers of the world, unite!
Even the cubicle-bound among us want, and can achieve, a basic level of fitness without waking up for 5:30 a.m. brick workouts or going for a long post-work run. We suggest a combination of simple high-intensity interval workouts, stretches and easy lifestyle changes that can make you a relatively fit person.
Adrenaline in an Armchair Setting
The strenuous five-day hike on the Appalachian Trail that swallowed half of your vacation days didn’t feel like a vacation. Neither did the team building company rafting trip where you almost drowned. We like to carpe the diem as much as the next guy, but it’s okay to actually relax once in a while. This doesn’t have to mean standing in the buffet line on a Disney Cruise Line ship, but it does meaning choosing an adventure that combines immersion in the natural world with a little bit of everyman recreation. These three destinations are a good place to start.
Two paths diverged in a deli
Most of the time we don’t take a full hour out of our workday for a methodical lunch, instead finding ourselves at the corner store, collecting what we can to fill our stomachs. This is where two paths diverge: some go for a fried cutlet sandwich followed by dessert; others cobble together a reasonably healthy meal followed by an average life expectancy. Read on to find out how to get a healthy lunch next time you’re eating on the go.
Davy Jones's (Dive) Locker
For centuries, man has found countless ways to send ships to the bottom of the sea. Since the advent of scuba technology, we’ve found ways to explore them. Whether it’s to search for booty, take eerie photos, or just to pay respects, wreck diving is a not a sport for the timid. Often found in deep, cold water with strong currents and dangerous reefs, wrecks demand expertise, experience, humility and marine-grade bronze balls — not to mention a lot of specialized gear. This isn’t tropical holiday diving, so be prepared to shell out for equipment that can stand up to the conditions the Gunilda, the Thistlegorm or the Doria present.
26.2 Miles Starts With One Step
Marathons are a rite of passage for runners. Some plan their year around it. Some travel to distant lands to compete. Some run them once and then switch to lawn bowling. Whether you want to join the club, learn what makes marathoners tick or just buy some energy gels to snack on, our Marathon Journal takes you inside the cult-like world of long-distance running.
A Conversation with the Jerusalem Police
Jeremy Berger speaks to Brigadier General Avishai Peled, Deputy Commander of the Jerusalem Police District, about the safety of this year’s Jerusalem Marathon.
Walk a Mile in Our Shoes
In New York, over the past six years, the number of charity runners has doubled, meaning that twice as many people are on Facebook, flexing in running gear and asking for money. Is it a distraction or beneficial? Gear Patrol debates.
15 essentials for 26.2
While running is by nature a sport with minimal gear requirements, having a combination of the right soft goods plus some accoutrements for comfort can make the whole experience more enjoyable. Pick from this Kit and you’ll be furnished with everything you need to succeed — minus grit and determination. That’s on you.
Salomon's Running TV on the Western States 100
Salomon’s Running TV reaches back to the history of the 20th Annual Western States 100 in “The Original”. The year was 1974, and the Western States (also known as The Tevis Cup) was a 100-mile endurance horse ride in Placer County, CA. Colfax-native Gordy Ainsleigh had been competing for several years. “When my horse went lame in ’73, [race organizer] Drucilla invited me to do it the next year on foot”, he says. “I said, ‘well maybe’, and I was thinking: I’ll have a better horse by then. I didn’t get around to it, so in ’74, as the spring rolled on, I ran.”