I decided to wait for three issues to offer a verdict because the first two were really disappointing. Subscriptions run $2 an issue with a list price of $7. I haven’t really talked about subscription prices of other magazines before but this one is quite high. It’s staggeringly high for the amount of ads that are in the magazine, too. They have a half a dozen advertorials which look like articles (which I hate) and all those personals in the back. Plus the mag is littered with ads for gear (which I know gear people love but still it should impact the price of the magazine. Sheesh).
October 21, 2012 by Paul Debraski
So the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past were personal stories (from the likes of Wells Tower, etc). They are extended pieces by reasonably famous authors and they have a great voice. In the issues I’ve received so far, the feature stories have been the 50 Best Jobs and Are You Tough Enough? That Jobs one seems like a fun article and indeed the places they chose were interesting. Although this was more of a fluff piece than a real article–no one is getting a job looking at these companies–certainly not just because they read about it here. Also, note that none of the companies are East of the Mississippi. There’s also later article on adventure seeking entrepreneurs. Yawn. I gather that the Are You Tough enough type of article is the real meat and potatoes of the magazine, with headlines like “Eat Like a Champion” and “Surfing Monster Waves,” the actual target audience for this magazine must be slim indeed. I know it’s not me.
The magazine starts strong though with the “exposure” section. There are some amazing photos here. Each issue has about three stunning photographs like a giant wave or a beautiful mesa. This is worth the $2 alone. The letters section is odd as they don’t actually print the letters, just a pull quote from some which are –integrated into a kind of article–who has time to read a whole letter anyway? The third issue also discusses the Keystone pipeline and Obamacare for uninsured daredevils.
Then there’s the short (fun) pieces–a look at the new bike messenger movie Premium Rush and a snarky comparison to Kevin Bacon’s genre defining Quicksilver. A graphic about the history of Shark Week. There’s also an article about kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. I acknowledge here that I will never do these things.
Then they talk about destinations and they actually cross the Mississippi for one–Assateague Island which indeed looks pretty awesome. In the third issue, they are all tropical.
There’s a strange article on gear now being produced in the U.S and a cover story on Bear Grylls whom I’ve never heard of. There’s a lengthy article on communicating with dolphins. The third issue was all about the rage of obstacle course races. And about a dangerous avalanche. I guess there’s more testosterone in this subscription than I realized. (I’m listening to Tori Amos as I type this).
However, the long-form article that I suspect is the reason I subscribed is a dreadful-sounding piece about a gunman murdering a ranger in Mount Rainier. No thanks. Or the hardcore soldiers of the Free Burma Rangers. Pass.
The essentials section has more gear, although frankly I could have used more–cameras and fishing gear doesn’t seem like much in one issue. The most recent issue included a separate issue all about winter gear. It was a full-sized issue full of snowboards and jackets and skis and boots and all other kind of expensive shit that no one could afford.
There’s an article about testing amateurs for doping–Viagra is safe but not marijuana or Claritin. And the back page–every magazine’s favorite is a parting shot–another cool picture.
I didn’t include a review of the second issue I received because it was some kind of reader’s issue–thirty years of Outside or some such nonsense. I didn’t feel like I was invited to that party, but that’s not the magazine’s fault.
So this magazine definitely wins for pictures. But in terms of actually reading articles, in three issues I have read one multi-page article. That’s just not good enough. Unlike the cover models, this subscription will run out of gas.