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Bringing the outside into our homes - what are the best outdoor movies, books, and podcasts?

Sweat, sunshine, fresh air—we love our time outside. But despite best-laid plans, sometimes weather, illness or the unexpected forces us indoors. So, it's time to generate a list of the all-time best adventure books, movies and podcasts to help others stay inspired by bringing the outdoors in. Share your opinions below!

And if you're looking for a more suggestions, check out our new blog in the Co-op Journal!

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

So many movies to choose from, but this should be on everyone's list: Free Solo


Mountainering:  Freedom of the Hills  currently available  in its 50th anniversary edition, which should be a clue.  Although focused on surmounting the heights, there is information quite usable for someone who never approaches a summit.

A personal favorite book (purchased at an REI event) is "The Shortest Straw" Search and Rescue in the High Sierra, by Dean Rosnau. Currently I'm reading "Pure Land" by Annette McGivney. 

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.  Both a book and a movie.  Haven't seen the movie, but love the book!

I have been listening to podcasts on my commute for a while now.  Favorites are "Safety Third" (topics are about varied outdoor activities).  "Bikes or Death" is a great podcast about bikepacking.  "Marginal Gains" is a great podcast about cycling in the science behind going fast.


Looking for others to listen to while I spend some time on the trainer over the next couple of weeks.

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

The last time I brought the outside into the wife handed me a broom! (ba-ding!)

But seriously folks.

I second Mountaineering Freedom Of The Hills, not a bad read for a 'text book' like book.  Should be on every outdoor lover's bookshelf.

I don't always recommend audio books for myself, in the woods, because I can tend to 'zone out' while listening to a good story.  But...I find them a great way to pass time on my daily walks.

My favorites were free from librivox: Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (don't judge)

For outdoor lovers, the first two let you day dream about rivers, forests, meadows, caves and adventure, while you're walking.

REI Member Since 1979

@REI-JenK .....So many great options! 

As a big fan of Freedom of the Hills v9, I am glad to see so many folks are using time at home to brush up on climbing skills.  (Get that piece of practice rope out and work on your knot game!)

A few more ideas....

For podcasts, I LOVE The Dirtbag Diaries and also REI's Wild Ideas Worth Living. 

For books, anything written by Brendan Leonard, but in particular "Bears don't care about your problems" and "60 Meters to anywhere" are really great reads. 

Some classic reads from Jon Krakauer: Into the wild and Into thin Air.  Good audio books to listen to and also were made into feature films.  

Lastly, if you don't follow Semi-Rad on Instagram (also done by Brendan Leonard), it is amazing. It provides a never ending flow of outdoor based humor.  

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

I'm not a huge pod-caster so not much to offer there, but I am a HUGE fan of the "REI Presents" videos that are available on YouTube.  Every time I watch one I can hardly wait to head back out into the woods.  Definitely worth a view, especially since most are only 10-20 min.  Check them out here

Bonus - They also remind you how awesome people are as well!

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

For traditional books- Aldo Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac" is my all time favorite. I'll definitely be revisiting some of my favorite chapters at home!

As a local suggestion for any Arizona folks, Arizona Parks just launched its podcast. Check out the first four episodes of "Arizona State Parks and Trails Podcast."

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