Slow Reads: 8 Best Outdoor Adventure Magazines and Journals

A cosy couch, a mug of coffee, a spare hour or two and a great magazine: all you need for an indulgent afternoon of armchair adventures.

11th January 2023 | Words by Matt Jones @ WildBounds HQ

Here at WildBounds, our favourite reading matter generally tends to involve travel, adventure and the great outdoors – or ideally, all of the above. Which is why we wanted to share our top 8 outdoor adventure magazines. Combining first-rate writing with stunning photography, these beautifully produced slabs of print gorgeousness are made with love, care and passion by teams of like-minded writers, editors, designers and photographers. Each and every issue is a real treat. These are publications to peruse at leisure and enjoy at length, ideally with a cosy blanket and a pot of freshly brewed coffee to hand. They’ll provide an essential fix of armchair adventure whenever you find yourself with a couple of hours to spare.

We think of this admittedly indulgent pastime as slow reading, which is essentially a sort of literary mindfulness. It’s the act of taking time out to enjoy a favourite publication, purely for your own unadulterated pleasure. It’s about taking in everything on a printed page, savouring the interplay between written word and visual image: rolling each word or perfectly expressed phrase around in your head, while losing yourself in sumptuous, ink saturated photographs or deftly sketched, intricate illustrations.

As far as we’re concerned, there’s no better way to do this than by slowly leafing through one of the superb magazines below. Bonus? They look great on your coffee table, where they’re sure to attract admiring glances from friends who happen to drop by. And who knows – they might just inspire you to create some incredible adventures of your own.

Ernest, a journal for enquiring minds

1. Ernest Journal

Ernest is the sort of magazine we secretly always wanted to make – but we were delighted to find that it already existed. Lovingly put together by a small but dedicated team (with regular contributions from one of our own writers, Joly Braime), ‘Ernie’ is produced on a roughly bi-annual basis and describes itself as “a journal for enquiring minds… a repository for wild ideas, curious artefacts and genuine oddities”. It’s not your typical high-adrenaline fare of epic landscape shots and extreme adventures. Instead, readers can expect curious and arcane nuggets of natural history, plus fascinating tales of pioneers, invention and human obsession, all characterised by wonderful wordsmithery, stunning nature photography and beautiful illustrations.

Weird Walk, a journal of wondering and wanderings from the British Isles

2. Weird Walk

Subtitled “a journal of wondering and wanderings from the British Isles”, the initial inspiration for this magazine was a walk undertaken by three friends, following an ancient trackway across southern England. This journey on foot sparked a collective and creative enthusiasm for the British landscape and its lore. The content isn’t all that easy to summarise but put it this way: fans of cult British horror flick The Wicker Man will love it. Visually, Weird Walk is just as out there, mining the distinctive design heritage of classic 80s fanzines, combining period typography with sublime illustrations and superb photography. The result is quirky, unusual and endlessly fascinating.

Sidetracked magazine

3. Sidetracked

Founded in 2011, Sidetracked has built a cult following. The reasons for its success are deceptively simple: each issue delivers a unique editorial blend of sensational storytelling, stunning visuals and emotional connections – not just in the tales of adventure or their protagonists, but also through highlighting important issues and precious natural landscapes. It’s a winning formula, but one carefully curated by chief editor John Summerton and his team, which includes some of the best-known writers, adventurers and photographers in the outdoor industry, such as Alex Roddie, Martin Hartley, Jenny Tough and Kieran Creevy (who is also a regular contributor to our Outdoor Larder section of the WildBounds Journal). Invariably, the features in Sidetracked are immersive and inspirational, production is always slick, and every page is beautiful, making each new edition one to savour and keep for the future.

Another Escape outdoor lifestyle and low impact living magazine

4. Another Escape

Devoted to outdoor lifestyles, creative culture and sustainable living, Another Escape’s editorial remit spans the globe. Each volume usually focuses on a core theme – for example, previous back issues have included “wilderness,” “altitudes” and most recently, “belonging.” At the heart of this publication is great storytelling, supported by powerful visuals designed to bring readers closer to the places, people, and cultures that exist in some of the most remote locations on earth. Articles range from the artistry of map-making to the craftsmanship behind eco-friendly wooden surfboards. Aptly named, this magazine is armchair adventure at its finest: far-flung escapism and exoticism, but with a reminder that often, some of our most unique and precious landscapes are also amongst the most delicate and threatened.

BASE magazine, the free adventure quarterly

5. BASE Mag

The team over at BASE are long-term WildBounds friends and collaborators – but that’s not why they’re included in this list. The magazine stands on the quality of its journalism, much of which is gleaned from the exploits and deeds of the BASE Collective, a unique community of adventure creatives, trailblazers and influencers. Among their number are both elite and emerging names, representing a wide range of adventure specialisms from all corners of the globe. Some luminaries you might be familiar with include mountaineer and base jumper Tim Howell, polar explorer Martin Hewitt and climber Steve McClure. But the best thing about BASE? A subscription is entirely free. Just pay the postage (£2.50 per issue) and you get something to savour every three months: a quarterly edition jam-packed full of inspirational adventure tales from near and afar, delivered right to your door.

Adventure Journal, a US magazine about outdoor recreation

6. Adventure Journal

Established in 2008, Adventure Journal is a US-based blog and print magazine devoted to outdoor adventure in all its forms. It was founded by Steve Casimiro, former editor of cult ski mag Powder, founding editor of Bike magazine, and West Coast editor of National Geographic Adventure. AJ is a little different from those titles though, presenting a more light-hearted, approachable and inclusive take on outdoor recreation. Features and articles run the full spectrum of imaginable topics, ranging from pieces on ski bums and North American wolverines to Nordic cabins and outdoorsy recipes (mmm, breakfast scones). The photography in the print mag is gorgeous and glossy, while the online blog is a great place to get the skinny on new outdoor kit drops, along with weird and wild snippets from the US outdoor scene.

Lodestars Anthology – global travel culture and slow adventure

7. Lodestars Anthology

Dedicated to global travel culture and slow adventure, Lodestars Anthology is a magazine created for inquisitive and curious souls who love to explore far-flung places and get off the beaten track. Produced in the creative and cultural hotbed that is Bristol (which also happens to be WildBounds’ native city), it’s published by a small independent press with an eye for detail and a love for print – which makes each issue a thing of beauty in its own right. Each volume focuses on a single country, so you can think of each edition as a sort of ‘scrapbook of place’. But it’s far more than your typical Lonely Planet-style travel guide – instead, stories focus on personal journeys, cultural traditions, local flavours and natural splendour. So far, back issues have covered France, India, England, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Mexico, Wales, Greece, Australia and Spain. We can’t wait to see where they go next.

Wilderness Collective print magazine

8. Wilderness.

Not to be confused with Wildernessmagazine, New Zealand’s long-running newsstand title dedicated to tramping in the great outdoors, Wilderness. (note the full stop) is a different beast altogether. More than just a print publication, it’s actually a collective of talented guides, filmmakers, chefs, photographers and other folks that you’d want to go camping with. And that’s exactly what they offer, in the form of incredible adventures designed to help people disconnect from modern, tech-centric lives. Founded in 2012 by Canadian Steve Dubbeldam, the collective’s motto is: “Wilderness Makes You Better”. The magazine encapsulates this philosophy in print, and though the team has only so far put together three issues (dedicated to ‘oceans’, ‘nomads’ and ‘companionship’, respectively), each one has been an absolute belter. Reading the mag will probably make you want to go ahead and book their moto adventure trip to Baja, Mexico – but for that we make no apology.

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