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Favorite adventure books and stories?

Being out participating in the outdoors is why most of us are here but sometimes we need a break, an activity in the tent before bed, or to wait out a storm. What are your favorite adventure books? Personally, non-fiction accounts of survival such as Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Journey by Alfred Lansing is a well known favorite. What about lesser known amazing reads such as Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz. Anyone have a favorite or list of suggestions? Outside magazine has a few lists of books, I'd love to hear others recommendations. (Also, the two books are about sailing but I like all kinds)


paul trusty
14 Replies

“I Married Adventure” by Osa Johnson. It’s out of print and for awhile it was popular coffee table decor for housewives thanks to HGTV. But if you can find a copy it is a touching true adventure love story. 

"I Married Adventure" is still in print as a paperback. A new edition was actually released earlier this year by Kodansha. The Spanish and French language editions are also currently in print. Conrad Froehlich, Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum

The River by Michael Neale or Hatchet by Garry Paulesen.  I HIGHLY recommend The River though 

Silence in the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge

It's a really quick read. Written by a famed explorer who was the first to travel to the south pole solo. 

I HIGHLY recommend "The Kindness of Strangers".  It was edited by Fearghal O'Nuallain but the book is actually dozens of short stories.  The stories are written by adventurers about challenging situations that they faced and the kind people that they met along the way.  Very inspiring and heartwarming.  

From the summary:  The Kindness of Strangers explores what it means to be vulnerable and to be helped by someone we've never met before. Someone who could have walked past, but chose not to.


Full Tilt, by Dervla Murphy is one of my favs.  This one is her first book.  It's about a self supported bike trip that she took from her home in Ireland to India.  She has gone on other adventures and written books about them too.  I like her minimalist, seat-of-the-pants approach.  She does not take a lot of stuff, but relies on her wits and the kindness of strangers.

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@paultrusty Great topic!

"Deep Survival" By Laurence Gonzales

"Escape From Lucania" By David Roberts (or anything by David Roberts, really)

"The Blue Bear" by Lynn Schooler 

"The White Spider" by Heinrich Harrer

Thanks for getting this conversation started!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Books by Sigurd F. Olson and P. G. Downes about canoeing in the wilderness.

The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher, a Trailblazer of Modern Backpacking as well as Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods.


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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Here are four of my favorites, but I probably would not carry them in my pack. The first is not a book but a story.  I recommend that all dog and adventure lovers read John Muir's story Striken. It might be found in various places but I first read it in The Wilderness World of John Muir by Edwin Way Teale. Since you mentioned sailing, you have probably already read my second favorite, Joshu Slocum's Sailing Alone Around the World. Also water, but sea kayaking related, is Chris Duff's On Celtic Tides (One Man's Journey Around Ireland By Sea Kayak). Finally, I like Galen Rowell's In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods, a picture book about K2 and the 1975 American K2 Expedition, led by REI's Jim Whitiaker.

aka "Boonerelli"

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.