When pack­ing to go on an adven­ture, there’s always room for a good book, and what bet­ter genre to read by head­lamp around the camp­fire than an adven­ture mem­oir?  Here are 6 great reads you can’t leave at home.

book2Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacif­ic Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed
When Cheryl Strayed’s life spi­rals out of con­trol, the novice hik­er heads out on the walk of her life.

From the first pages of this trail mem­oir, the young woman who lost every­thing yearns to find it again walk­ing the Pacif­ic Crest Trail alone.

Although she is alone—and fac­ing obsta­cles such as weath­er, wild ani­mals, and her own inexperience—she is helped along by the encour­age­ment of oth­er hik­ers as she treks from the Mojave Desert through Cal­i­for­nia and Ore­gon to Wash­ing­ton. Dur­ing this per­son­al jour­ney, she man­ages to accom­plish some­thing many hik­ers nev­er imag­ine, as well as mend her bro­ken heart.

book4Trav­els with Charley by John Steinbeck
In 1960, at the age of 58, this beloved Amer­i­can writer set out on an adven­ture in a truck fit­ted with a camper he calls Roci­nante and a poo­dle named Charley. His goal was to reac­quaint him­self with his coun­try and the peo­ple he had been writ­ing about for 30 years. Along the way from New York to the Pacif­ic Coast, he sees the mis­treat­ment of the land and peo­ple of col­or, but also peo­ple in cer­tain cities who go out of their way to offer a help­ing hand. This adven­ture mem­oir reveals Steinbeck’s love for Amer­i­ca and its people.

book5127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
In Aron Ralston’s adventure/survival mem­oir, the cocky 27-year-old goes it alone on a hike through a remote and nar­row Utah canyon where an 800-pound boul­der falls on him, crush­ing his right hand and pin­ning him against the wall in a canyon. While stuck, he rem­i­nisces about his oth­er climb­ing escapades, but also reflects on his mis­takes and his short­com­ings and real­izes that in order to save him­self, he will have to make a great sacrifice.


book3A Walk in the Woods: Redis­cov­er­ing Amer­i­ca on the Appalachi­an Trail by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson wants to redis­cov­er Amer­i­can after liv­ing in Eng­land for 20 years. This well-estab­lished trav­el writer is yearn­ing for anoth­er adven­ture, even though he is mid­dle-aged and out of shape. Find­ing some­one to accom­pa­ny him on his walk is no easy task, and in the end, an old friend who is even more out-of-shape both phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly, tags along. The pair encounter some odd peo­ple, are amazed at the mis­treat­ment of the land and are angered by the bureau­crats in charge of the trail. This adven­ture mem­oir is fun­ny, touch­ing and infor­ma­tive and well worth bring­ing along in your pack.

book1Sev­en Years in Tibet by Hein­rich Harrer
While Har­rer is trav­el­ing in India, World War II breaks out and this Aus­tri­an moun­tain climber is arrest­ed by the British. After many attempts to escape, he finds him­self cross­ing the frozen Himalayas while out­run­ning the author­i­ties. Along the way, vil­lagers risk their own lives to help him reach Tibet, where he is tak­en in by the young Dalai Lama, who requests that he become his tutor. This thrilling adven­ture is still fresh and shines a light on the peo­ple of Tibet and their quest for freedom.

book6Almost Some­where: 28 Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts
Roberts is a recent col­lege grad­u­ate and is already bored with life when she takes a month-long hike on the John Muir trail with two girl­friends. As she chron­i­cles the bond she has with nature and the oth­er women, she finds her­self and rede­fines her friend­ships and her love of nature. This fun­ny and heart­felt mem­oir is about more than a 200-mile hike; it’s about life and the adven­tures that can be found on any trail.