Search Cool of the Wild Start typing...

14 Must-Read Outdoor Adventure Books

Best outdoor adventure books

There’s nothing better than getting lost in a great book; putting it down at night and it being the first thing that enters your head when you wake up. Aside from the deep escapism, there’s something really indulgent about stealing time away from everything and everyone else. A satisfying sense of independence and solitude that no-one else can invade, however hard they might try. The dark evenings of winter are the absolute perfect time to get engrossed in a great read and if the subject happens to be one of action-packed adventure, exploration of far-flung places, overcoming challenges against the odds, then all the better. And finishing a book brimming with inspiration and motivation is all the more satisfying.

So, if you’re looking for something to really get your teeth stuck into this winter (or on your next vacation), then this selection of gripping outdoor adventure books will have something for you. And who knows, your choice might just be the spark that sets the wheels in motion for your own adventure!

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

Climbing the 7 volcanoes book

Climbing The Seven Volcanoes, A Search For Strength

By Sophie Cairns

Following the death of her father and stricken by grief, Sophie Cairns needed to do something big. So she started climbing mountains. Driven by the desperate need to keep the memory of her father alive, Sophie took on the Seven Volcanoes Project to raise money for Cancer Research. Along the way she battles with chronic asthma, a very tight schedule, and physical and emotional exhaustion to be the first person to climb the highest volcano on each continent, in four months. Inspiring and fast-moving, this honest and heartfelt account of her adventure is a superb reminder of the important things in life and what really matters. Sophie takes you along for the ride through skilful storytelling that is easy, conversational and personal. It should be read by every amateur climber before embarking upon their next big adventure.

Find the latest price at:
Amberley Books | Amazon

The Adventurer's Guide to Britain

The Adventurer’s Guide to Britain: 150 incredible experiences on land and water

By Jen and Sim Benson

If your idea of a good adventure book is something that actually makes you get off the sofa and out into the wild, then The Adventurer’s Guide to Britain is most certainly for you. It is filled with a whole array of adventure ideas for everyone. From simple family walks in stunning locations to multi-day/multi-activity challenges that need planning, experience and some gear. There really is something for everyone. Each adventure has a difficulty rating and includes all the information and inspiration you need to get out there and just do it! A superb book that should be in the hands of everyday adventurers everywhere.

Find the latest price at:
Amazon | Bloomsbury Publishing

Found- A Life in Mountain Rescue

Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue

By Bree Loewen

As a volunteer with Seattle Mountain Rescue, Bree Loewen drops everything at a moment’s notice to assist those in need in the mountains that she loves. Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue is an informative and inspirational memoir that whisks you along from one story of rescue and adventure to another. Loewen expertly intertwines these spellbinding stories with her own search for purpose and meaning. You’ll come away with a newfound appreciation for search and rescue volunteers, heart warmed by their commitment and dedication. A must read for hikers and climbers.

Find the latest price on:

Karakoram- Climbing Through the Kashmir Conflict

Karakoram – Climbing Through the Kashmir Conflict

By Steve Swenson

As one of the most experienced Karakoram expedition climbers on the planet, author Steve Swenson couldn’t be more qualified to deliver his account of life climbing the peaks of Karakoram. His adventures not only take us through the ups and downs of alpine climbing, and all its associated triumphs and failures, but Karakoram – Climbing Through the Kashmir Conflict also delves into the history and politics of the area, helping us to form a deeper understanding of Himalayan culture and people. Karakoram is a must read for anyone planning on climbing in this region, and Swensons honest and nuanced story telling will leave you yearning to get there and experience it all for yourself!

Find the latest price on:

Grand Adventures book cover

Grand Adventures

By Alastair Humphreys

If you only add one book to your Christmas list, then make it this one. And then make sure you read it before you settle on your New Year’s resolutions, as adventure is going to feature in them! Grand Adventures highlights all the things that get in the way of adventure and exploration, and tears them right down. It then gives you a whole bunch of snippets from real people, doing real adventures often against the odds. Leaving you with little excuse but to get planning and just go do it! Following on from Humphrey’s Microadventures, this is an easy and inspirational read that can’t help but lure you in with upbeat enthusiasm for living life more adventurously. Once you’ve read it, leave it on your coffee table and pick it up as often as you can.

Find the latest price on:

Sixty Meters To Anywhere book cover

Sixty Meters to Anywhere

By Brendan Leonard

Highly acclaimed writer for some of the worlds biggest outdoor publications, and creator of, Brendan Leonard takes us beyond his usual humorous story telling to something much deeper. Sixty Meters to Anywhere is an honest and, at times, tragic memoir of Leonard’s journey to sobriety through an obsession with climbing. His raw and open account of redemption in the mountains, like many adventure books, is certainly not exclusive to climbers. Anyone who has fought to find purpose and joy in their lives will find something meaningful and inspirational from this page turning read.

Find the latest price on:

This Road I Ride book cover

This Road I Ride: Sometimes It Takes Losing Everything to Find Yourself

By Juliana Buhring

In 2012, Juliana Buhring became the fastest woman to cycle around the world. An incredible feat in itself, but the story behind her motivation is what makes this incredibly inspirational biography something that will keep you from doing anything else with your life until you’ve finished it! This Road I Ride will drive cyclists to go kick some pedalling butt, and make even the most unambitious of us want to go do something great. Alone on the road with nothing to lose, this uplifting and highly readable tale of self-discovery, mental challenge and physical hardship is as light and easy as it is deep and honest. A must read and full of life lessons.

Find the latest price on:

Book cover of Alone On The Wall

Alone on the Wall

By Alex Honnold with David Waters

To say that climbing phenomenon Alex Honnold pushes the limits of free soloing (climbing without ropes), is something of an understatement. But to Alex, one of the greatest adventure athletes on the planet, his death-defying feats are all just part of what he does. Alex’s quirky humour really shines through in this descriptive and introspective narrative that helps us gain some insight into what makes him tick. And with the help of co-author, David Roberts, we are able to get some perspective on Alex’s self-effacing attitude towards his incredible climbing achievements. For climbers, Alone On The Wall will get you pumped and inspired to get out climbing and give it your all. And for everyone else, there are plenty of lessons to be learned and enjoyed along the way.

Find the latest price on:

Walking The Nile book cover

Walking the Nile

By Levison Wood

Walking the Nile is a true adventure story and an intensely inspiring chronicle of one long and epic journey. Levison Wood travels solely on foot, unaided by the river which guides him from its very source deep in a Rwandan forest to the Mediterranean coast. His journey is one of survival, resilience and endurance that delves into much more than just the adventure of it all. The book shares the heart of humanity through political and social interactions, with the inclusion of important historical references that deliver the full picture of life in northern Africa. Woods’ brave and courageous journey is told in an effortlessly informative way that keeps the pages turning as fast as the story unfolds.

Find the latest price on:

On Trails: An Exploration book cover

On Trails: An Exploration

By Robert Moor

Robert Moor’s debut book is an enchanting and thoroughly researched journey along the winding and varied trails and paths of life. On Trails is a creative non-fiction book like no other that will leave you seeing life and the natural history of the world in a very new light. Complexly informative but without dwelling too long on any particular subject, Moor recounts various adventures out in the wilderness, exploring the trails and their meanings to give us a highly engaging read that is full to the brim with wise words. On Trails is a deeply thoughtful meditation that will inspire you to get out, get walking, and truly consider each step along your chosen path.

Find the latest price on:

ON The Nose book cover

On the Nose

By Hans Florine and Jayme Moye

The Nose is a 3000 foot cliff in Yosemite National Park. Considered the Everest of the rock climbing world. An Everest that Hans Florine has climbed 100 times! Oh and he also holds the speed record for climbing the Nose in 2.5 hours. Gripped yet? Climber or not, On The Nose is an expertly crafted insight into the quest for success, that reads more like a novel than a biography. It tells a story, with characters and themes, and although there are many highly descriptive accounts of his climbs, Florine and Moye do an excellent job at not letting technical climbing terms consume the reader. The result is a captivating and enjoyable read for everyone.

Find the latest price on:

Braving It book cover

Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild

By James Campbell

Braving It is the unique and intensely involving memoir of a Father and Daughter, living, journeying and exploring in the Alaskan wilderness. Campbell’s moving and honest account of his struggles to find his place both out in the bush, and in the life of Aidan, his daughter, is as much about surviving the challenges of life in the arctic as it is about parenting. Poignant, moving and full of hope, Campbell delivers breathtakingly beautiful descriptions of the extreme wilds of stark Alaska. A must read for dads and daughters everywhere, and equally appealing to seekers of true wilderness adventure.

Find the latest price on:

Tracking The Wild Coomba book cover

Tracking the Wild Coomba: The Life of Legendary Skier Doug Coombs

By Robert Cocuzzo

As one of the greatest adventure skiers of all time, Doug Coombs was best known for his daring first descents of some of the biggest and most remote mountain routes in the world. So the story of his life less ordinary was always going to be an entertaining read. But Cocuzzo has turned what could have been another simple biography, into a captivating narrative of ski history and culture. Through his own adventures tracing the footsteps of this skiing legend, Cocuzzo tells the compelling story of the man behind the legend. Moving, funny, thrilling and insightful. A beautifully crafted piece of skiing literature that will have you engrossed from the word go.

Find the latest price on:

My Old Man And The Mountain book cover

My Old Man and The Mountain

By Lief Whittaker

My Old Man And The Mountain will have you gripped from start to finish in this highly enjoyable and sincere memoir of mountaineering, family, challenge, and growing up in the shadow of his father. As the youngest son of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest, Leif Whittaker enchants us with a vivid and descriptive narrative of mountaineering adventures. The account of his own summit of Everest provides a refreshing perspective of what climbing Everest is really all about, and is the backbone to this engaging and humorous read. Thoughtful, entertaining and from the heart. A fun and compelling adventure book for all those in love with the outdoors.

Find the latest price on:

About the author


Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

Open Menu