10 great adventure themed books for outdoor people

If “books allow you to travel without moving your feet,” then travelling WITH a good book is doubling up on adventure! There’s no road companion for the intrepid explorer quite like a great read, and when you’re stuck at home, yearning for a great outdoor expedition, sometimes the next best thing to packing a rucksack and heading out the door is taking a journey through the pages of a book.

The Camp Master team all have their favourites, so we’ve compiled a list of our most essential must-read stories for anyone whose heart belongs in the bush. Browse through this list to pick the read that’s right for you, and sink yourself into a tale that might just change the way you explore…

1. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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This captivating true story follows the adventures of Christopher McCandless, a young man who decides to abandon his comfortable life and venture into the Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer explores McCandless’s motivations, his encounters with nature and other individuals along the way, and the fate that eventually finds him.

With vivid descriptions and thought-provoking insights, “Into the Wild” raises questions about the pursuit of freedom and the consequences of living off the grid. This book is perfect for those who crave adventure and philosophical reflections on the human spirit. You won’t want to put this gripping page-turner down!

2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Join Bill Bryson as he embarks on a hilarious and enlightening journey along the Appalachian Trail. In his typically witty and self-deprecating style, Bryson recounts his misadventures, encounters with eccentric characters, and humorous observations about the challenges of hiking and the natural wonders he encounters.

Think of the author’s voice as something akin to the most entertaining hiking buddy you’ve ever had. “A Walk in the Woods” is a delightful blend of travelogue, personal memoir, and nature writing. It’s an ideal read for those who enjoy humorous narratives, armchair travel, and a good dose of nature appreciation. If you’ve got an adventure-loving dad, this novel is an absolutely wonderful gift.

3. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

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Edward Abbey’s masterpiece takes readers on a solitary exploration of the rugged American Southwest. Yes, you get to get into the mind of a cowboy for a while, and it’s as awesome as it sounds. Through poetic prose, Abbey reflects on his experiences as a park ranger in Arches National Park, revealing the beauty of the desert landscape and his contemplations on humanity’s relationship with nature.

“Desert Solitaire” is a passionate call to protect the wilderness from encroaching civilization and an ode to the spiritual and transformative power of the natural world. This book is perfect for nature lovers, environmentalists, and those seeking a deeper connection with the wild. If you’re a conservation warrior, this might just become your motivation, game plan and handbook.

4. The Call of the Wild by Jack London


In this timeless classic, Jack London tells the story of Buck, a domesticated dog forced to adapt to the harsh realities of life in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush. Through Buck’s perspective, London explores the primal instincts of survival, the cruelty and kindness of humans, and the innate wildness that resides within us all. Buck is also, and we’re certain about this, a very good boy.

“The Call of the Wild” is a thrilling adventure tale that also delves into themes of identity, loyalty, and the conflict between civilisation and the untamed natural world. This book is a must-read for adventure enthusiasts and animal lovers alike, but don’t blame us if you have a few emotional moments during the read. This book tugs at the heartstrings.

5. Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit by Robert Macfarlane

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Join Robert Macfarlane on a journey into the history and psychology of mountain climbing. “Mountains of the Mind” explores the allure and fascination humans have with mountains, from the early explorers driven by ambition and conquest to the modern-day climbers seeking personal triumph and connection with the sublime.

Unlike many of the great conquests covered in this book, reading this page-turner isn’t an uphill battle. Macfarlane combines his own experiences with meticulous research, resulting in a thought-provoking exploration of our relationship with mountains and their profound impact on the human psyche.

This book will captivate mountain enthusiasts, armchair adventurers, and anyone interested in the intersection of nature and human ambition. Make sure to pick this one up as motivation when preparing for your next big adventure.

6. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

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Follow Cheryl Strayed’s transformative journey as she hikes the arduous Pacific Crest Trail alone in an attempt to heal from personal loss and find herself. This is one strong lady! Strayed’s candid and introspective narrative takes readers through the physical and emotional challenges she faces, as well as the breath-taking landscapes she encounters. “Wild” is a powerful memoir that touches on themes of resilience, self-discovery, and the transformative power of nature.

You’ll find yourself feeling like you’re walking alongside the author every step of her incredible journey, not wanting the book to end. It will resonate with individuals seeking inspiration, personal growth, and stories of triumph over adversity. A truly uplifting holiday read.

7. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

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Step into the shoes of former US President Theodore Roosevelt as he embarks on a treacherous and harrowing expedition down an uncharted river in the Amazon rainforest. Facing overwhelming obstacles, including dangerous rapids, illness, and encounters with hostile indigenous tribes, Roosevelt’s journey becomes a battle for survival. In case you were wondering – this is a true story.

“The River of Doubt” is a gripping account of adventure and exploration, offering insights into the indomitable spirit of one of America’s most remarkable leaders. History buffs, adventure seekers, and those fascinated by true tales of exploration will be captivated by this book. Also, anyone who’s a fan of a majestic moustache. Roosevelt had a really magnificent set of facial hair.

8. Tracks by Robyn Davidson


Robyn Davidson’s memoir chronicles her audacious endeavour to trek across the unforgiving Australian Outback with only her dog and four camels as companions. Crazy idea, right?! With raw honesty, Davidson reflects on her motivations, the challenges she faces, and the insights gained from her solitary journey.

“Tracks” is a compelling exploration of personal discovery, resilience, and the deep connection between humans and animals. This book is recommended for those who appreciate stories of self-discovery, cross-cultural encounters, and the power of the natural world. And camel enthusiasts. We know there must be one or two of you out there.

9. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

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Immerse yourself in one of the greatest survival stories of all time. Think camping in a thunderstorm with the intensity level turned up to 11! “Endurance” recounts Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition to Antarctica, where his ship becomes trapped in ice, forcing the crew to endure unimaginable hardships. Lansing’s gripping narrative brings to life the extraordinary bravery, resourcefulness, and camaraderie of the men as they face extreme cold, hunger, and the relentless fury of the Southern Ocean.

“Endurance” is a riveting account of human perseverance and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. This book is a must-read for history enthusiasts, adventure lovers, and anyone seeking tales of courage.

10. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann


Join journalist David Grann as he unravels the mystery surrounding the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest to find a lost civilization deep in the Amazon rainforest. Yes, this is a “jungle book,” but not quite the one you’re thinking of.

Blending history, adventure, and investigative journalism, Grann takes readers on a captivating journey that explores Fawcett’s obsession, the dangers of the uncharted Amazon, and the lasting impact of exploration on those who dare to venture into the unknown.

“The Lost City of Z” is a gripping and thought-provoking read, appealing to history buffs, armchair adventurers, and those intrigued by mysteries. It might even stir up the itch for adventure in those inclined to see the world…

There’s nothing like a good read. Whether you’re out in nature or at home in the city, dreaming of the outdoors, a real page-turner can transport you to worlds of wonder you’d never even dreamed of. Adventure books especially tend to stoke the fire of exploration and discovery in the intrepid Camp Master.

So, next time you pack your Camp Master essentials into your car to head off over the horizon, make sure to bring along one of these must-reads. Perfect your outdoor reading nook with one of our comfy chairs or hammocks available at a Game, Makro or Builders’ Warehouse near you. Now settle in and get started! Once upon a time…  

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