Favorite Outdoor Adventure Books

If you can’t be out there having a good time, the next best thing is to enjoy a good adventure book. Here is a list of some of our favorites.

The Man Who Walked Through Time
By Colin Fletcher
Colin Fletcher is a man who loves to walk. On a brief visit to the Grand Canyon he decides to be the first man to walk it end to end. The book describes his two month journey through the canyon and his attempt to understand how the geology, wildlife and traces of man all fit together. This is one of those great books that takes you inside the head of the author to the point where you feel you are there with him. If you like to hike, you’ll love this book!

One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
This book covers how a man named Dick Proenneke build a cabin from scratch by himself with nothing but hand tools. The odyssey begins on May 17, 1968 as Dick arrives in Alaska to start building his cabin. Read Dick’s thoughts as he builds the cabin and lives through the winter with only the local wildlife for companionship. The next spring and summer he continues improving his cabin and investigating the local area.

A Walk in the Woods
By Bill Bryson
This book is a very humorous account of an attempt to through hike the Appalachian Trail. Bill and his friend Katz are hopelessly out of their element and yet manage to make their way along the trail in spite of an endless string of comical hardships. Not an outdoor adventure book in the strictest sense, but a great read for people who enjoy hiking and can find humor in the odd things that happen on the trail.

127 Hours – Between a Rock and a Hard Place
By Aron Ralston
This is one of my all time favorite adventure books – I read it cover to cover in one sitting. The book outlines the experience of Aron Ralston who was trapped in a remote slot canyon when his hand was pinned by a boulder. The story of his eventual escape is intertwined with interesting stories that help you get to know who Aron is and how he ended up in this predicament. Not for the squeamish! I have met him personally and he is a genuine person with a great story to tell.

Touching the Void
By Joe Simpson
One of the most amazing stories of determination in the face of unbelievable hardship that you will ever read. After a difficult but successful climb in the Peruvian Andes, Joe Simpson suffers a serious injury that puts his survival and that of his partner Simon Yates in doubt. Through heroic efforts, the pair make it further than they thought possible before a no-win life and death situation arises. What happens from that point on will blow your mind.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run
By Peter Allison
Not an outdoor adventure book in the strictest sense, but a great book about someone who loves being outdoors. Peter is a guide in tourist camps in Africa and he shares humorous and amazing stories about his adventures.  A light and enjoyable read.

By Steven Callahan
While sailing his small boat across the Atlantic, Steven finds himself on a quickly sinking boat in the middle of nowhere. His story of survival and hardship for two months in a small life raft is both inspirational and at times heartbreaking. Steven does a good job bringing you into the raft with him and explains every detail of how he thinks through and solves problems.

Everest – Alone at the Summit
By Stephen Venables
This is the story of one of the rare attempts to climb Mt Everest’s huge East, or Kangshung, Face. The team decides to tackle it without oxygen – a truly monumental effort. The challenges are epic – a huge vertical face, avalanches and challenging obstacles all handled with amazing skill. When things begin to unwind, the author makes a dash for the summit against all odds. The writing is exceptional and you feel like you are right there with them.

Allen & Mikes Really Cool Telemark Tips
By Allen O’Bannon & Mike Clelland
While this book is funny and illustrated with great cartoons, you can actually pull some useful information about telemark skiing too. Some of the tips may be a little dated, but you won’t care. Thoroughly enjoyable if you are a member of the “half a binding, half a brain” crowd. I am proud to say I am!

Allen & Mikes Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book
By Allen O’Bannon & Mike Clelland
Another fun offering from Allen & Mike. This book isn’t really a backcountry skiing book as much as a book on how skiers can approach the backcountry. Just as fun as the Telemark book but with different focus. There are definitely plenty of legit tips here, but for me the focus is on fun and they nail it!

Walking Home: A Traveler in the Alaskan Wilderness, a Journey into the Human Heart
By Lynn Schooler
Feeling like his life and marriage are slipping away, the author decides to boat and hike a wild section of Alaska’s coast solo to rediscover himself. The book not only chronicles the details of the adventure, but also weaves historical and cultural observations that bring the isolated landscape to life. Does he find what he is looking for out there? Only time will tell! This book is very well written and enjoyable on many levels.


This site is dedicated to reviewing great family-friendly adventures. We focus on activities that exercise the body, challenge the mind, or both. We hope you find something to enjoy with your family!

Family Favorites