Backpackers Tokyo

Podcast Episode May 3, 2022

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In this episode, Ryan chats with Willow Belden of Out There. Out There is a podcast that tackles big questions through intimate storytelling and is committed to elevating the voices of those traditionally left out of the conversation when it comes to the outdoors.

Also in this episode: a conversation about a new outdoor fabric, updates on some packs we’ve been testing, and the launch of a new Backpacking Light online course – the How to Use Gaia GPS masterclass.


  • 00:00:30 – introduction
  • 00:01:20 – Ultra – a pack material that is showing up in cottage brands
  • 00:04:30 – Ultra’s long-term performance
  • 00:05:23 – updates on the Atom Packs Nanu X25 and Arc’teryx Aerios 45
  • 00:08:42 – Willow Belden introduction
  • 00:09:57 – start of Willow Belden interview
  • 00:10:22 – Willow’s background
  • 00:12:45 – how Wild informed Willow’s early exposure to the world of backpacking
  • 00:15:30 – how Willow went from no backpacking experience to hiking the Colorado Trail
  • 00:17:50 – being female doesn’t factor into Willow’s outdoor experiences
  • 00:20:24 – visceral fears vs. actual risks
  • 00:23:50 – pee clothes
  • 00:25:18 – menstruation cups
  • 00:26:30 – mental health
  • 00:30:07 – hijacking negative mental health cycles
  • 00:33:08 – Out There – geared to a different crowd and designed to explore big questions
  • 00:36:00 – connection to nature can be about more than achieving a gigantic goal
  • 00:41:33 – the types of stories we tell as outdoor professionals
  • 00:42:33 – the challenges of doing a podcast full time
  • 00:44:03 – Willow’s biggest victories (highlighting unique voices)
  • 00:48:28 – the biggest stories in the outdoor world that Willow is interested in
  • 00:50:00 – the single best thing Willow has ever done for herself
  • 00:51:52 – end of Willow Belden interview
  • 00:54:00 – the way that men talk about women in the outdoors
  • 01:00:00 – fixing vs. managing mental health in the outdoors
  • 01:04:30 – The backpack trailhead article (see Resources)
  • 01:06:30 – new member QA
  • 01:08:06 – new Masterclass launch! (see Resources)


  • learn more about Ultra fabric here
  • Out There podcast
  • find Out There on Instagram and Facebook
  • Birding While Black – the Out There episode Ryan mentions during the interview
  • The Atom Packs Nanu X25
  • The Arc’teryx Aerios 45
  • Lightweight and Ultralight Backpacks for Backpacking
  • Backpacking Light Live Member QA – Backpacks vs. Use Case: Load-hauling, Thru-hiking, Fastpacking
  • New Masterclass: How to Use Gaia GPS

About the Backpacking Light Podcast


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  • Backpacking Light - Executive Producer
  • Ryan Jordan - Director and Co-Host
  • Andrew Marshall - Producer and Co-Host
  • Look for Me in the Mountains - Music
    • Written by:  Chris Cunningham and Ryan Jordan
    • Performed by: Chris Cunningham (acoustic guitar, lead and harmony vocals, harmonica),  Chad Langford (upright bass), and  Tom Murphy (mandolin).
    • Produced by: Basecamp Studios in Bozeman, Montana


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Home Forums Episode 60 | Willow Belden of Out There

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  • Companion forum thread to: Episode 60 | Willow Belden of Out There

    Ryan chats with Willow Belden from Out There. Also in this episode: updates on some new packs and the How to Use Gaia GPS masterclass.

    Andrew Marshall



    Locale: Tahoe basin by way of the southern Appalachians


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