The best books about adventure, hiking, and survival

Who am I?

Tim Voors has walked across countries and continents on adventures taking him into the unknown: across America on the Pacific Crest Trail (2678 miles), across New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail (1881 miles), around Shikoku Japan on the ancient ’88 Temples Trail’ (815 miles) and through Spain to Santiago de Compostela on the famous Camino the Santiago. He lives near Amsterdam and works as a speaker and creative director, giving keynote speeches for global companies and conferences, and inspiring audiences with tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. In 2021 Tim’s second book Not Alone will be published about his hike through New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail.

I wrote...

Book cover of The Great Alone: Walking the Pacific Crest Trail

What is my book about?

The Great Alone is as much about physical and mental endurance as it is about overcoming loneliness and fear. Ultimately, it’s about the power of the wilderness to restore the human spirit. Get ready for the sublime beauty of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave desert, through the soaring peaks of the Sierra Nevada to Canada, traversing the American West. Lushly illustrated and featuring spectacular photography, the 2,650-mile (4,286-km) journey comes to life in The Great Alone.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home

Why did I love this book?

What would you do if your plane crashed in the mountains and you were forced to eat your friends and family to survive. This is an inspiring story of survival and positive mindset. The story, made famous by the film Alive, is told by the man who survived 72 days in the Mountains and managed to rescue his friends. But above all, it is a story of the power of a positive and forgiving mindset. It is a book I will never forget and that has made a lasting impact on me.

By Vince Rause, Nando Parrado,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miracle in the Andes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In October 1972, Nando Parrado and his rugby club teammates were on a flight from Uruguay to Chile when their plane crashed into a mountain. Miraculously, many of the passengers survived but Nando's mother and sister died and he was unconscious for three days.

Stranded more than 11,000 feet up in the wilderness of the Andes, the survivors soon heard that the search for them had been called off - and realise the only food for miles around was the bodies of their dead friends ...

In a last desperate bid for safety, Nando and a teammate set off in…

Book cover of A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Why did I love this book?

Bryson is a master at creating humour within his adventurous books. A Walk in the Woods, is both relatable as well as inspiring as it tells the story of two middle-aged friends who walk the Appalachian Trail through America. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, but they didn’t have to eat each other and lived to tell the tale.

Spoiler alert: as a writer, I was most inspired by how Bryson created a fictitious friend to hike with. His very own alter ego embodying all the bad, lazy, and unfortunate qualities of his own character. What a brilliant creative twist.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked A Walk in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of "Notes from a Small Island" and "The Lost Continent" comes this humorous report on his walk along the Appalachian Trail. The Trail covers 14 states and over 2000 miles, and stretches along the east coast of America from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. It is famous for being the longest continuous footpath in the world. It snakes through some of the wildest and most specactular landscapes in America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

Book cover of Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure

Why did I love this book?

All those who love adventure and mountains, as I do, are very aware of the risks. If you slip, you could fall and die. But who pays the price of these risks. It is often those who stay home with the children who pay the price of grief and suffer long-term traumas. Maria Coffey is the widow of an Everest climber and in her book, she interviews many other widows and children of deceased mountaineers and adventurers. It is written with honesty and brings home what the real risks of adventures are. This book is a must-read for everyone who loves the outdoors and adventure. Inspiring and thought-provoking.

By Maria Coffey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on interviews with many leading mountaineers or their survivors, Coffey goes beyond the typical climbing book to question the reasons why climbers risk their lives. The result is a powerful, affecting book that strips the romance from adventure and returns it to the human realm: the parents, spouses, children, and partners of climbers who until now have maintained their code of silence. Interviewees include Jim Wickwire, Conrad Anker, Joe Simpson, Chris Bonington, Ed Viesturs and others.

Book cover of The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Why did I love this book?

How can a man live in isolation for 27 years without anyone knowing his whereabouts? Stranger in the Woods is a fascinating book about raw, creative survival by a man who escapes society. It gives a stunning insight into how you can truly leave no trace while living in the Woods.

By Michael Finkel,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Stranger in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Could you leave behind all that you know and live in solitude for three decades? This is the extraordinary story of the last true hermit - Christopher Knight.

'This was a breath-taking book to read and many weeks later I am still thinking about the implications for our society and - by extension - for my own life' Sebastian Junger, bestselling author of The Perfect Storm

'A wry meditation on one man's attempt to escape life's distractions and look inwards, to find meaning not by doing, but by being'
Martin Sixsmith, bestselling author of Philomena…

Book cover of One Year on a Bike: From Amsterdam to Singapore

Why did I love this book?

I love it when words and photos enhance each other in a book. Martijn Doolaard wrote and photographed his epic solo journey on his bike from Amsterdam, through Europe, through the middle east, and into the far east. It is one of the rare coffee table books that I actually read and love revisiting frequently to look at the beautiful photos.

By Gestalten, Martijn Doolaard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Year on a Bike as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The title says it all: one man, one bike, one long ride, the adventure, the pleasure, and the pain. It is simultaneouslya travelogue and visual journey. Martijn Doolaard traded the convenience of a car and the distractions of daily life for a cross-continental cycling journey: a biped adventure that would take him from Amsterdam to Singapore. Leaving behind repetitive routines, One Year on a Bike indulges in slow travel, the subtlety of a gradually changing landscape, and the lessons learned through traveling. Venturing through Eastern European fields of yellow rapeseed to the intimate hosting culture and community in Iran, One…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in survival, mountaineering, and hiking?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about survival, mountaineering, and hiking.

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