Great adventure books and films to get stuck into

Updated: Mar 20, 2020

A lot of us dream and aspire to be more adventurous and many of us are armchair adventurers who love to hear about amazing stories of derring-do, heroic endurance epics, survival stories of brave souls pushing their bodies and minds to the limit.

There's something exhilarating, exciting and maybe even inspiring about reading or watching the gargantuan efforts of people climbing the highest mountains, taking on world firsts, crossing the largest deserts, sailing the most dangerous seas and exploring the deepest, darkest jungles.

We've pulled together two lists; one showing our favourite adventure books and one showing our favourite adventure films or documentaries. We've only included 8 in each list (plus a bonus couple of books :)). It wasn't an easy task but these are books and films we've read / watched and love.

There's a great mixture in here. Grab a brew, settle in and enjoy!

8 (+ 2) adventure books to read

  1. Walking the Amazon – Ed Stafford. This is one of my all time favourites. An incredible modern day world first and a phenomenal feat of human and emotional endurance.

  2. Feet in the Clouds – Richard Askwith. This tale of fell running will have you running for your trail shoes and moving to the north of England.

  3. Where There's A Will - Emily Chappell

  4. Touching the Void – Joe Simpson or Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer. Both incredible mountaineering and surival stories.

  5. Alive – Piers Paul Read. The true and powerful survival story.

  6. Rowing the Pacific: 7,000 miles from Japan to San Francisco – Mick Dawson. A gripping and inspiring story of storms, fatigue, equipment failure, intense hunger, and lack of water in this staggering ocean crossing.

  7. Into the Heart of Borneo – Redmond O’Hanlon. An entertaining account of an 1983 expedition into the centre of Borneo by river and overland.

  8. Dare to Do – Sarah Outen. Taking on the planet by boat and bike. An inspiring and emotional adventure, journey and story of human resilience.

Adventure books for kids

  1. This is great. Great Adventurers – Alastair Humphreys. A beautifully illustrated book.

  2. Fantastic Female Adventurers - Lily Dyu. A collection of fourteen exciting and inspirational stories of incredible journeys around the globe.

  3. Wild Girl: How to have Incredible Outdoor Adventures - Helen Skelton

Note: The links above are to Amazon to make it easier for you to read more about the book. Hopefully you can find these books in local charity shops, independent bookstores and the like. As an Amazon Associate WildBase earn from qualifying purchases but please shop local :)

8 adventure films to watch

  1. Into the Wild - a fascinating adventure story based on real events that saw a young man hike across North America into the Alaskan wilderness in the early 1990s. He left behind a 'normal' life in the pursuit of isolation, wilderness and tranquillity. A must watch.

  2. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young and then watch Where Dreams Go To Die - This cult like race tempts people from around the world to test their limits of physical and mental endurance. After watching you're not sure whether to sign up or never run again.

  3. Finding Traction - Nikki Kimball attempts to beat the men’s record for the fastest known time of the 243-mile Long Trail record in the US. In the process, it strips her down to her very core and makes her reflect on why exactly it is that she runs.

  4. Paul Tierney: Running the Wainwrights - A fell running adventure. Paul Tierney's attempt to summit all 214 Alfred Wainwright Lake District peaks in one go. His goal was to try and beat the record time of 6 days 13 hours and 1 minute.

  5. Free Solo - Truly staggering! Watch Alex Honnold attempt to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan without ropes or any kind of support. You'll have goosebumps.

  6. Losing Sight of Shore - The story of four women attempting to row across the Pacific, a journey of 8500 miles and 9 months. Sea sickness, blisters and storms provided.

  7. Dawn Wall - A documentary charting the exploits of climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, who spent weeks living on a sheer vertical cliff in Yosemite National Park before eventually summiting the titular landmark. Emotional, gripping and stunning.

  8. 180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless - A film following the adventures of surfer and climber Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard (rock climbing legend and founder of Ventura-based Patagonia) and Doug Tompkins, on which they drove, mountain climbed and surfed their way to Chilean Patagonia.


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