Must Read Adventure Books

Must Read Adventure Books

We can’t all go on great adventures, but we can read about them. Now more than ever, as people are being asked to stay indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic (hoping I can edit that line out soon), living vicariously through the pages of a book provides a stellar escape. Whether you’re looking for solitude & introspection with Thoreau, want to read a Bill Mason classic about wilderness camping or wander through incredible stories like in Born to Run, we know you wont be dissapointed with any of these picks. 

(We’ve linked all the books to Amazon and if you purchase them through our links you’ll be helping support us in the process. )

A series of 18 essays by Henry David Thoreau, published in 1854. An important contribution to New EnglandTranscendentalism, the book was a record of Thoreau’s experiment in simple living on the northern shore of Walden Pondin eastern Massachusetts (1845–47). Waldenis viewed not only as a philosophical treatise on labour, leisure, self-reliance, and individualism but also as an influential piece of nature writing. It is considered Thoreau’s masterwork.

When Bryson wants to get to know the environment that he lives in better, he chooses to thru hike the Appalachian trail with a friend that he hadn’t talked to in years. In the story of his expedition, readers travel with the two as they plan and begin their backpacking expedition. With Bryson’s comedic and honest writing, you’ll be reminded of the importance of both planning ahead and adapting for the things that you can’t expect.

This book is a great read for anyone who wants to understand the reality of choosing to plan an expedition on a whim and how to keep adventuring when things get tough.

It’s possible you’ve already seen the movie Into the Wild, but I’d still urge you to read the book. If you haven’t read or seen it and you have no idea what it’s about, here is a quick summary. Into the Wild is the story of Chris McCandless. Fed up with the commercialism and lack of authenticity in society, he donates all of his possessions, abandons his family and hitchhikes his way to Alaska. Both the movie and book are emotionally moving, however the book provides more context. Plus, Jon Krakauer draws a parallel between the reckless decisions both he and Chris made in their young lives, and how luck worked out in one person’s favour, but not the other. This novel essentially set the standard for outdoor adventure books.

More than a how-to camping and paddling guide, Song of the Paddle is a philosophical guide to outdoor living. Written by the acclaimed paddler and outdoorsman, Bill Mason, the book leads readers on a journey of exploration and discovery.Mason writes from an intensely subjective viewpoint and the advice is practical and sound. He emphasizes the difference in perception between camping (rough) and outdoor living (comfort). Each page is packed with hard-won tips and tricks for enjoying the great outdoors. No detail is ignored — from keeping campfire smoke out of your eyes to ensuring children are safely occupied around the campsite.

Born to Run is a book about the natural virtues of running, based on Christopher McDougall’s own experiences, research, and training. It is centered on the Tarahumara, an indigenous Mexican tribe known for their feats of long-distance running.

A fascinating compilation of science, real-life experiences, and stories about why we’re built to be outside makes The Nature Fix one of the best books about the outdoors. Don’t get scared off by the science, it’s an enjoyable and quick read that’ll leave you wanting to go find some green space stat.

Alone on the Wall recounts the most astonishing achievements of Honnold’s extraordinary life and career, brimming with lessons on living fearlessly, taking risks, and maintaining focus even in the face of extreme danger. Now Honnold tells, for the first time and in his own words, the story of his 3 hours and 56 minutes on the sheer face of El Cap, which Outside called “the moon landing of free soloing…a generation-defining climb. Bad ass and beyond words…one of the pinnacle sporting moments of all time.”

The ultimate resource for experiencing the backcountry! Written by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury, Bushcraft 101 gets you ready for your next backcountry trip with advice on making the most of your time outdoors. Based on the Five Cs of Survivability – cutting tools, covering, combustion devices, containers, and cordages – this valuable guide offers only the most important survival skills to help you craft resources from your surroundings and truly experience the beauty and thrill of the wilderness. 

Yvon Chouinard—legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.—shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth.
From his youth as the son of a French Canadian handyman to the thrilling, ambitious climbing expeditions that inspired his innovative designs for the sport’s equipment, Let My People Go Surfing is the story of a man who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life-a book that will deeply affect entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

When Adam Shoalts ventured into the largest unexplored wilderness on the planet, he hoped to set foot where no one had ever gone before. What he discovered surprised even him. Shoalts was no stranger to the wilderness. He had hacked his way through jungles and swamp, had stared down polar bears and climbed mountains. But one spot on the map called out to him irresistibly: the Hudson Bay Lowlands, a trackless expanse of muskeg and lonely rivers, caribou and wolf—an Amazon of the north, parts of which to this day remain unexplored. 

The Call of the Wild is one of Jack London’s most popular novels. The story follows a dog named Buck, a 140 pound Saint Bernard and Scotch Shepherd mix. Buck is abducted from a comfortable life as a pet and tossed into the chaos of the Klondike Gold Rush and the brutal realities of frontier life. Buck changes hands a number of times before landing in the kindly hands of John Thornton.

Jack London spent a year living in the Yukon and drew heavily upon his experiences there while writing the book. He later said, “It was in the Klondike that I found myself.”

In this newly revised and updated edition of his highly acclaimed field guide, renowned nature photographer and tracking expert Paul Rezendes brings the fields and forests to life with his unique observations on North American wildlife and their tracks and sign. Illustrated with hundreds of his original photographs,Tracking & the Art of Seeing provides complete information on the behavior and habitat of over 50 animal species and shows you how to identify animals by their tracks, tail patterns, droppings, dens, scratches and other signs.

North American Wildlife is a valuable reference guide to the most common and conspicuous wild plants and animals in North America.Birds and butterflies, ferns and frogs, mushrooms and mantra rays, seashells and salamanders—this 576 page book includes more than 2,000 plants and animals of all types. Spanning the land from Florida to the Northwest Territories, it embraces field forest, pond, and prairie—all the natural communities that make our North American flora and fauna so splendidly diverse. 

The Sea-Wolf is a 1904 psychological adventure novel by Jack London about a literary critic Humphrey van Weyden. The story starts with him aboard a San Francisco ferry, called Martinez, which collides with another ship in the fog and sinks. He is set adrift in the Bay, eventually being picked up by Wolf Larsen.Larsen is the captain of a seal-hunting schooner, the Ghost. Brutal and cynical, yet also highly intelligent and intellectual, he rules over his ship and terrorizes the crew with the aid of his exceptionally great physical strength.

In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply—and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.

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