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...

The Great Alone: Walking the Pacific Crest Trail

By Tim Voors, Gestalten,

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.

The books I picked & why

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

By Nando Parrado, Vince Rause,

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

Why 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.


A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

By Bill Bryson,

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

Why 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.


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

By Maria Coffey,

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

Why 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.


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

By Michael Finkel,

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

Why 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.


One Year on a Bike: From Amsterdam to Singapore

By Gestalten, Martijn Doolaard,

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

Why 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in survival, mountaineering, and the Appalachian Trail?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about survival, mountaineering, and the Appalachian Trail.

Survival Explore 98 books about survival
Mountaineering Explore 20 books about mountaineering
The Appalachian Trail Explore 10 books about the Appalachian Trail

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Peak, The Canyon's Edge, and On the Island if you like this list.