It may seem ironic to suggest a list of books to an outdoorsman, but hey, you can read outside! Pick up these awesome adventure books, often based off of true stories, real experiences and captured by some pretty great writers.
Get Inspired: Best Adventure Books you Should read!
Live the outdoors through these pages, and when you finally manage to put the book down discover the motivation and inspiration to head out and start creating your own stories worth sharing!
MicroAdventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes by Alastair Humphreys
Written by an author, motivational speaker and true adventurer with some pretty crazy journeys under his belt, Humphreys explains that a “Microadventure” might be just what you need.
Microadventures is all about a local, simple, inexpensive and short adventure – but it is just as refreshing, offering a realistic opportunity to escape, even during a 9 to 5 job.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
This adventure book is a national bestseller also available on film, Into The Wild, is the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless, an American hiker, pieced together by author Jon Krakauer through his letters, journals and people who had met him.
Born into a well-off family, McCandless decided to find his own path donating his savings, burning his wallet, abandoning his car and heading into the wilderness, alone – his decomposed body to be found 4 months later by a Moose hunter.
One Mans Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey by Sam Keith
One Mans Wilderness is a memoir to Richard Preonneke who spent close to 30 years living isolated in the wilderness of Alaska and is one of the best adventure books!
He documented his daily life – from how he hunted and grew food to how he built his cabin through video recordings and a personal diary. The recordings were actually made into a documentary in 2004, available online.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
A non-fiction bestseller and one of the most thrilling adventure books, Into the Air, is based on the personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster which took the life of 8 climbers, the third most deaths the mountain has ever taken in a day (the April 2015 earthquake having 19).
Set on the task to trek to the Everest Base Camp and writing about the commercialization of the mountain Krakauer’s love for the mountains flooded back to him and he took it upon himself to reach the top. The book follows chronological events as he makes his way up, finally including his summit and the famous tragedy.
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery
Proving that adventure isn’t just for the young, this novel is based on the true story of Emma Gatewood, the first women to hike the Appalachian Trail not only once but two more times, at the ages 72 and 75.
Put together through gather information from her letters, trail journals, diaries, and interviews with family and friends – Emma was also a pioneer of the ultra-light backpacking movement, walking the distance carrying the bare minimum.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
A wonderful author, Bryson take a humorous and realistic approach to his experience along the Appalachian Trail.
Your average out of shape middle aged man, he isn’t set on breaking any records, making his book all the more relate-able. Getting deeper into it, the book also explores the animals, ecosystems, fellow hikers and history of the trail.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
Another transforming story that made it onto the big screen, Wild, shares the story of a young woman seeking relief. Relief from the effects of a heroin addiction, relief from grieving over the loss of her mother and relief from the dissolution of a failed marriage.
She decides to set off on the Pacific Crest Trail, along, with an overloaded backpack and with zero prior hiking experience. The book jump from her present surroundings to flashbacks, bringing together the story as to why she took on the trail!
The Tower by Kelly Cordes
A must-read for climbers, The Tower delves into the famous controversy of the apparent first ascent of Cerro Torre, back in 1959 by Cesare Maestri and Toni Egger. With the tragic death of Egger due to an avalanche on the descent, Maestri is the only witness claimed to have reached the summit.
Climbers have attempted to retrace their claimed route but found no evidence of ropes, bolts, or even the features Maestri had described – leading to the swirling suspicion that the event might not even be true. Furthermore, The Tower explores why people climb – how do some find meaning in challenging heights?
Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson
Joe Simpson and Simon Yates had successfully reached the summit of the untouched west face of Siula Grande, in the Peruvian Andes – when on descent Simpson fell, brutally breaking his leg.
Touching the Void is the first-hand account of the pair’s fight for survival in the unfriendly terrain. The two friends face extremes, and the fact that against all odds they both survived makes this book a real page turner.
Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold
Alex Honnold specializes in free climbing, and that means no ropes, and completely solo. Admired for his exceptional climbing abilities and the true passion for heights (he lives in a van to be able to dedicate his time to the outdoors), in his book he recounts the stories of seven of his climbs that have made him a living legend in the climbers’ community.
Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum
A memoir to an epic journey on a single mast sail boat, a sloop, Joshua Slocum pens down his single-handed global circumnavigation back in 1900 impressively making him the first person to sail around the world completely and utterly alone.
A remarkable autobiography his journey begins in Boston, April 1895 and takes 3 years, covering around 74,030 kilometers. Not just wind, sails and water, this is one of the adventure books that includes Joshua’s encounters with pirates, savage natives, and also his fishing experiences!
Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean by Roz Savage
Now holding 4 Guinness World Records for ocean rowing, Roz Savage is the first ever woman to have crossed the Atlantic by rowing . But there’s a lot more to it. Her story remains impressive because she left the security of a steady corporate job (which she hated) and her marriage (which she described as bad), to set out into the vast ocean, solo.
As her book progresses, the list of equipment failures continues to pile on from a broken stove to broken oars, to broken backup oars – but somehow she managed to stay on track and made it to the finish.
Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild by Jennifer Kingsley
Joined by five fellow adventurers, Jennifer recounts her journey of paddling in the Back River of the arctic.
From enduring raging winds, freezing temperatures and unpredictable rapids to the growing tension due to the stress of the adventure on the group; another appeal to the book is Jennifer’s re-telling of legends and stories of earlier explorers who due to their lack of equipment often never returned home.
Running the Amazon by Joe Kane
One of the most fascinating adventure books to get hooked on to! In 1985, a group of 11 explorers set off to be the first to successfully run the Amazon river from the head all the way to the sea. After 6 months of paddling, only 4 explorers from the team make it to the Atlantic.
Starting the 6,760-kilometre journey in the Andes where the water source trickles from, the group hike the trail until the waters expand enough for kayaks – then facing deadly rapids, rebel fighters, cocaine plantations and their unforgiving drug lords to reach the sea.
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Feel free to tell us about your favourite adventure books in the comments so that we can add on!