Backpacker Radio #237 | Matt “Schmutz” Lyons on Becoming a Social Media Celebrity and Using Cringe Comedy to Trigger the Internet

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by someone you are likely already following on Instagram, Matt Lyons known on trail as “Schmutz”. Schmutz is a thru-hiker, social media comedian and celebrity. He gives us an overview on his process for making short comedic skits, how life has changed during his rise to fame, and all that’s gone into growing his Instagram and TikTok to nearly a half million followers. We also learn about Matt’s backpacking journey, including the time he had to tearfully chase a fellow thru-hiker who was carrying his tent in the wrong direction. Schmutz also gives us a preview of his forthcoming documentary about southbound thru-hiking the PCT.

We wrap the show opining on why there aren’t wild chickens, the triple crown of things that have made us question our own IQs, and some details about how you can get your hands on Backpacker Radio’s infamous hair wall.

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Interview with Matt “Schmutz” Lyons

Time stamps & Questions

00:03:48 – Reminders: Support us on Patreon for bonus content, subscribe to the Trek’s newsletter to hear when the Tyvek wall is available, and apply to be a 2024 blogger!

00:06:45 – Introducing Matt

00:07:35 – How long do you spend planning out the names in your videos?

00:09:20 – Do you have a background in comedy?

00:11:33 – Have you been told your voice is good for audio?

00:12:38 – Does your girlfriend think you’re funny?

00:14:32 – What’s your background in the outdoors?

00:16:30 – How many of your videos involve making fun of yourself?

00:19:26 – Have you ever made too much fun of a group or activity?

00:23:48 – How would you describe your skits?

00:25:55 – Was there a turning point when your comedy became more professional?

00:27:20 – What’s it like to make social content while teaching middle schoolers?

00:32:54 – Tell us the story of you forgetting your tent in Stehekin

00:37:30 – Tell us about getting a boat hitch

00:39:30 – Tell us about starting the AT in 2019

00:42:36 – Would you describe yourself as an extrovert?

00:44:00 – What were your biggest fuckups and standout stories on the AT?

00:47:17 – How did you get your trail name?

00:50:08 – What’s your most embarrassing moment from trail?

00:51:01 – What years did you hike the PCT?

00:53:25 – What was your social experience like on the PCT?

00:57:30 – What was your motivation for thru-hiking?

00:58:20 – Have you ever shit your pants?

01:00:40 – Discussion about Schmutz’s diet off and on trail

01:02:40 – What are some other firm beliefs you have?

01:03:35 – Have you built up your dream gear?

01:07:18 – Do you have a next trail on the bucket list?

01:08:20 – Tell us about the documentary

01:13:20 – Will the documentary be comedic?

01:15:14 – Is it hard to pass off footage to other people?

01:17:20 – How did you manage your knee?

01:19:10 – Tell us about Frontcountry Apparel

01:21:00 – Which videos did better than you expected?

01:23:05 – Are thru-hiking videos too niche for your audience now?

01:25:00 – Discussion about Matt’s video making process

01:29:01 – How often do people recognize you?

01:30:27 – How do you handle working with brands?


Trek Propaganda: How Fast is too Fast? 6 Lessons from a Sub-80 Day Thru-Hike by Isabel Koran

QOTD: Why aren’t there wild chickens?

Triple Crown of things that have made you question your own IQ

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Comments 1

  • Brian : Feb 23rd

    Really enjoying the podcast. It’s especially wistfully fun for people who can’t thru hike to live vicariously through others adventures. Had a fun weird experience when listening the other day. Had my earbuds in when Chaunce sneezed. I reflexively said “bless you” which got some weird looks but I guess they must have assumed I was on the phone in conversation and not talking — ever.

    There is a false, one-way, familiarity in listening to conversational podcasts.

    Hope there is a season of “Trail Correspondents” this year, too. I’d be fine with a format change. Maybe follow three people more closely with a more free-form format for a more intimate and thorough experience for the listener.

    Brian (Section Hiker)


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