Backpacker Magazine is one of several publications owned by Outside, Inc. that will reportedly end monthly print publications this year. The move accompanies dramatic layoffs at Outside that will reduce the media group’s 580-member staff by 15%.
Outside used to be called Pocket Outdoor Media. CEO Robin Thurston bought the company in 2019 and has since added dozens of outdoor brands to its lineup. These include Backpacker, Rock and Ice, and Fastest Known Time. In February 2021, Pocket purchased Outside Magazine from longtime owner Larry Burke and rebranded to Outside, Inc.
Now, the company plans to scale back print by roughly 80% as it focuses more heavily on digital media and high-quality video content. “With this shift, Outside made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce headcount. We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has played an active role in helping the brand progress towards our vision of being the leading platform for outdoor content, services, and activity,” the media group said in a written statement.
Backpacker isn’t the only magazine on the chopping block. Outside will eliminate fitness magazine Oxygen and cycling periodicals Peloton and Beta altogether in the coming months. Meanwhile, most of Outside’s other publications (besides the brand’s flagship, Outside Magazine) will scale back to one or two print issues per year at most.
Backpacker has not released an official statement about the changes. As such, it’s not yet clear whether the magazine is eliminating print altogether or just scaling back.
Until now, Backpacker‘s print edition has come out nine times per year. Founded in 1973, it has long been the premier magazine for long-distance hiking enthusiasts alongside Outside Magazine. It appears that Backpacker will continue to produce digital content as usual, regardless of the print edition’s fate.
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