10 Outdoor and Adventure Books for 2022 - Outdoors Magic

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10 Outdoor and Adventure Books for 2022

Tales of daring-do, of adventures and misadventures, and explorations of cultures, landscapes and histories. Here are 10 new outdoor and adventure books in 2020 that are guaranteed to inspire...

Every outdoor adventurer has that one book, maybe two, that kick-started their passion and desire for exploration. Maybe it was something by one of the usual suspects, like Laurie Lee, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Dervla Murphy or Jack Kerouac, or maybe it was something more recent.

We’ve certainly been spoilt in the last five years or so with the amount of good outdoor and adventure books out there. A host of great authors have popped up, from the wild adventurers like Alastair Humphreys and Anna McNuff to the philosophers like Robert Macfarlane and Robert Moor. It seems to be a real burgeoning field, and we’re super glad that it is.

And they keep on coming. We’ve pulled together a list of some of our favourite releases from the last year or so, the outdoor books that we think would make excellent gifts for a family member or friend. Who knows, one of these might inspire them to undertake their own epic adventure – and perhaps to write about it as well. So without further ado, here are our top 10 best outdoor and adventure books of 2020.

Beyond Possible: One Soldier, Fourteen Peaks

By Nirmal Purja

“In the death zone, I came alive” writes Nirmal Purja, Nepal-born British-special-forces-Navy-officer-turned-superhuman-mountaineer. This book recounts Purja’s frankly insane stint of summiting the 14 “death zone” alpine peaks, aptly named for their extremely harsh, inevitably fatal conditions. The last guy to take on every single 8,000+ meter mountain on the planet took almost eight years to complete the challenge. That was the world record until Purja rocked up without much climbing experience and casually smashed the record to smithereens, summiting the deadly peaks in less than seven months. His account of the adventure is epic and full of tense situations from which his narrow escapes leave the reader pumping a fist in the air and waking up their partner in bed. Purja’s story has also been adapted into a Netflix Documentary.



The World Beneath Their Feet

By Scott Ellsworth

While it took until 1953 for Everest to finally be summited, it was in the 1930s that the race was at its most tenacious. New York Times bestselling author Scott Ellsworth delves into the contest that raged between the various expedition teams from around the world, with elite climbers, local sherpas, millionaire businessmen and Nazi’s all racing to bring glory to their nations in a period when global war was on the horizon. If you liked Into Thin Air by John Krakauer then this is one for you.



Spirit Run: A 6000-Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land

By Noé Alvarez

Alvarez, the son of Mexican immigrants living in Washington State, gives an account of his unbelievable run through North and Central America. Determined to escape a life destined for low-wage labour, he decided to chose a different course to that taken by his friends and family, joining a team of First Nation/Native Americans on a five month run from Alaska to Panama. This isn’t just another book about a long run though – there’s more to it than that. It’s a meaningful look at immigration in America and an analysis of our connection with the landscape.



The Land Beyond: On Foot Through the Middle East

By Leon McCarron

Leon McCarron recounts his journey on foot through Israel and Palestine, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula, a tale that vividly portrays the diverse landscapes and proliferation of cultures within a region that’s all too often judged for its politics and not for its people. “To walk is to meet people on their level, face-to-face and shoulder to shoulder,” writes McCarron, “and it serves more powerfully than anything else that I have found to highlight a shared humanity among all.”



Hidden Places: An Inspired Traveller’s Guide

By Sarah Baxter

There’s no better motivation for plunging into the outdoors than the promise of a mystical, mythical, mysterious destination. The thing about googling a list of the best hiking trails is that you’ll find some great spots for adventuring, but so will everyone else. Hiking through the Alps can be amazing, but not when you’re stuck with a crowd. The collection of hidden jewels within these bindings feels so exclusive, so well researched, and so richly painted by Sarah Baxter’s poetic descriptions. Almost as rich as the actually-painted illustrations by Amy Grimes – they’re a joy to look at, and since the book contains 0 photographs, readers will be even more inspired to go and find these spots in person and maybe discover their own hidden wonders along the way.




Edited by Helen Mort, Claire Carter, Heather Dawe and Camilla Barnard

An anthology of poems, prose and artwork that celebrates women in outdoor adventure. This is no ‘fastest to the top’ or ‘first to circumnavigate’ book (though many of the women featured have records to their names), instead its inspiring contributors delve into the ways in which they connect themselves with the landscapes they cross, climb and absorb.



Running Home: A Memoir

By Katie Arnold

You may know Katie Arnold from her work as a travel journalist; she’s spent over a decade living and reporting on the most thrilling adventures and athletic feats across the world. Hers was a life of daring and danger, following in the equally intrepid footsteps of her father, David Arnold, who also adventured around the globe as a photographer for National Geographic. This memoir may not inspire its readers to go mountain climbing, or cliff jumping, but it will certainly ignite (or re-kindle) a burning relationship with the essential exercise, the core of it all: running. Following the death of her father, Arnold felt paralysed and feared that she’d lost a vital connection to life, reality, and memory. She turned to the most reliable method she had for maintaining mental and physical health and began running longer and longer distances. In Running Home, Arnold recounts the next three years as she built up to running 100km ultramarathons and learned about the transcendent, spiritual benefits that arise from fighting to continue placing one foot in front of the other.



The Next Everest

By Jim Davidson

Prepare the hairs on the back of your neck – they’re not sitting down for a while. This book opens on the scenario we’ve all considered and all fear; Jim Davidson spent a lifetime training to climb Mount Everest only to find himself partway up the mountain on April 25, 2015, caught in Everest’s most destructive earthquake on record (7.8 magnitude). The next two days are viscerally described as Jim and his team miraculously survive the icy wasteland they were washed into, eventually rescued by helicopter and returned home. Here’s the kicker: that’s chapter 1! The rest of this inspiring book see’s Davidson recovering from the incident and diving deep into why climbers risk their lives, and ultimately returning to Everest to conquer it. The story is enough to thrill anyone, but Davidson’s meditations on psychology, life, and facing up to huge challenges will leave readers ready and determined to conquer their own Everest – literally or otherwise.



Wild Swim

By Kate Rew

Whether you’re already plunging under waterfalls or just thinking about dipping your toe in, this beautiful, humorous, and practical guide is bound to pull you off the couch and into a pair of swimming trunks. Or not, if you visit one of the more remote spots for wild swimming (of which Kate Rew has a seemingly infinite supply). Rew’s love for the outdoors and adventurous spirit is palpable within the pages, she’ll convince you that there is no feeling more exhilarating than diving into an expansive sea cave or flowing downstream in a white-water river. And, to be honest, she’s probably right about that; the excellent, in-the-action photography from Dominick Tyler is a perfect accompaniment for Rew’s witty and precise descriptions of the best wild swimming spots in Britain. You’ll learn how to find these hidden treasures, and you’ll certainly discover something to love about them – whether it’s the icy rush of a fresh stream or the relaxing embrace of a natural jacuzzi.




By Robert Macfarlane

From an analysis of the ways trees communicate with each other through the ground beneath them, to an unearthing of stories contained in burial grounds and revelations from deep and ancient Arctic ice, critically-acclaimed nature writer Robert Macfarlane takes us below the surface, unveiling stories of netherworlds around the globe. It’s a lyrically written and expertly crafted combination of natural and human history.



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