A good book should be on every adventurer’s packing list. Whether you’re car camping for the weekend or setting out on a months-long expedition halfway around the world, quality reading material won’t just help you to pass downtime at the campsite and inspire you to explore deeper and adventure further. A good book can go a long way if you’re stuck at home looking for the inspiration you need to plan your next trip, or you need the ultimate expedition companion. At Gearhouse, we’re particularly fond of adventure books that chronicle real-life exploits of heroism, exploration, and one-of-a-kind journeys. Dive in below as we explore our favorite travel reads in Gearhouse Presents Adventure Books to Inspire Exploration.
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer, the Ultimate Adventure Book
Into Thin Air by legendary Outside columnist turned best-selling author John Krakauer details the deadliest day in Everest History in harrowing fashion. Krakauer climbed Everest while reporting for Outside on the Everest guiding industrial machine when disaster struck. The book describes the disastrous day and the events leading up to it. For anyone fascinated by the world of alpine climbing and mountaineering, this book is a must for how it covers the climb and the effects of altitude on the mind and body. Into Thin Air is the first of many adventure books penned by Krakauer and the top of our adventure book list. And if you like Into Thin Air, ask our founder Evan about other Everest titles involving Seattle mountaineers – there are quite few.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
If you’re not already a trail running enthusiast, you will be after you put down this adventure book by Christopher McDougall. Born to Run dives deep into the history of ultra-running while documenting McDougall’s quests to find the Tarahumara and accomplish his personal running goals. This epic read begins with one very relatable question, “Why does my foot hurt?” and uncovers the methodology behind the world’s greatest distance running. Born to Run revolutionized the way athletes approach running form and inspired countless runners to lace up and get out there. Watch out, you might be tempted to run out the door to your nearest trail as soon as you finish (or even before).
Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson
You may not have heard of this compelling memoir, but it’s required reading for most Australian students. In Tracks, Robyn Davidson chronicles her 1700-mile on-foot journey across Australia. Accompanied by three trusty camels and her dog, Davidson set out to cross the desert on foot and ended up immersing herself in the Aboriginal ways of life while advocating for Aboriginal rights in the 1970s. Tracks is a must-read for through hikers, adventure lovers, and anyone who wants to learn about Australia’s diverse landscape and anthropomorphic history.
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
Most people know of President Teddy Roosevelt for his accomplishments in office, including establishing our National Park System. Few know of his daring exploits out of office that include pioneering an expedition down an over 1,000 miles-long unexplored tributary of the Amazon River in Brazil. After failing to secure an unprecedented third term in office, President Roosevelt disappeared into the Brazilian jungle on a mission to make history. The expedition proved fruitful but came at a great cost to his health and the lives of his men. Considering Roosevelt was well into his fifties, the feat is particularly impressive.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
It could be argued that Thoreau created the genre of adventure writing, and that Walden is the ultimate adventure book. At a time of high society and the increasing importance of social standing, Thoreau retreated into the wilds of New England to contemplate life and live off the land. Compared to most modern adventure writing, Walden reads at a snail’s pace. The beauty of Walden is the deep, original thought pioneered by Thoreau, which is now held near and dear by every adventurer who heads out into nature.
If you feel inspired to get out in nature after flipping through the pages of your favorite adventure book, head to Gearhouse for all your outdoor gear rental, education, and trip planning needs. Basecamp Café even has an extensive outdoor library with your favorite outdoor titles and guidebooks. And we host a regular adventure book club.