The Outdoor Woman's Reading List



Start Exploring
The Outdoor Woman's Reading List



Picture this....you've just returned to your camp after a long day of adventuring with some of your closest friends in the most incredible wilderness. You're covered in sweat, dirt, maybe a little bit of blood and tears, and you wolf down a well-deserved dinner before peeling off your filthy clothes and changing into your 'clean' outfit. Fresh blisters are raw on your feet and your hair has transitioned into that one-of-a-kind bird nest/dreadlocks hybrid of a mess, but all you can think about is the day's explorations, the boundaries pushed, the highs and lows, the camaraderie built, the empowering rush from navigating the outdoors and living to tell the tale, and of course those crazy companions who made the days successes that much sweeter. While the sun is hanging low in the horizon as the moon and stars chase daylight out of view, your day isn't quite over; the campfire is crackling and that fireside hammock beckons you closer and closer, offering a well-deserved reprise from those long hours on your feet. Your friends have all posted up around the fire, a few rehashing the day's shenanigans in hushed tones so as not to disturb the others who have opted for a beer and a good book. Hmmmm...a book sounds good right about now, doesn't it? 

If you're like us, there's nothing quite like a book before bed - especially after an adventure-filled day of outdoor fun! Or maybe you enjoy waking up early and getting some pages in before heading out, throwing your favorite book in your pack to enjoy at the summit, waiting out that hail storm while curled up with a warm cup of tea and a copy of Wild, or decompressing after a long day in the office with your favorite adventure story. Regardless of where, when, how or why, there's no doubt about it: A good outdoor adventure book is the best! 

And since this June is all about #WomenInTheWild, we've compiled a long list (120ish total!) of some of our favorite adventure reads - written by those very same women we want to celebrate! A daunting task due to the sheer amount of incredible stories by inspiring outdoor females in circulation today, we have broken the list into the following categories to hopefully make navigation a bit easier: 'The Classics', Women and Water, Women in the Mountains, Women on Rocks, Women on the Run, Women on the Trail, Women on Wheels, Women Traveling the World, Women in the Wild, and Notables.

So grab your favorite headlamp, get outside, and don't forget to pack one (or more) of these adventure reads for your next adventure!

The Classics

  • A Thousand Miles Up the Nile (Amelia Edwards)
  • West with the Night (Beryl Markham)
  • The Wild Truth (Carine McCandless)
  • Wild (Cheryl Strayed)
  • Eat, Pray, Love (Eizabeth Gilbert)
  • Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It (Various)
  • A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (Isabella Bird)
  • Four Corners (Kira Salak)
  • Travels With Myself and Another (Martha Gellhorn)
  • Travels in West Africa (Mary Kingsly)
  • A Girl in the Karpathians (Menia Muriel Dowie)
  • Terra Incognita (Sara Wheeler)
  • The Source of All Things (Tracy Ross)
  • Two in the Far North (Margaret Murie)

Women and Water

  • Paddling My Own Canoe (Audrey Sutherland)
  • Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board (Bethany Hamilton)
  • Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge (Jill Fredston)
  • Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer (Lynne Cox)
  • Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion (Missy Franklin)
  • At One with the Sea: Alone Around the World (Naomi James)
  • Canyon Solitude: A Woman’s Solo River Journey Through the Grand Canyon (Patricia McCairen)
  • The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean (Susan Casey)
  • A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean (Tori Murden McClure)

Women in the Mountains

  • Higher Love: Skiing the Seven Summits (Kit DesLauriers)
  • Annapurna: A Women’s Place (Arlene Blum)
  • Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life (Arlene Blum)
  • Tents in the Clouds: The First Women’s Himalayan Expedition (Arlene Blum)
  • The Accidental Adventurer: Memoir of the First Woman to Climb Mt. McKinley (Barbara Washburn)
  • Keeper of the Mountains: The Elizabeth Hawley Story (Bernadette McDonald)
  • Just for the Love of it (Cathy O’Dowd)
  • Off the Beaten Track: Women Adventurers and Mountaineers in Western Canada (Cyndi Smith)
  • Kilimanjaro Diaries: Or, How I Spent a Week Dreaming of Toilets, Drinking Crappy Water, and Making Bad Jokes While Having the Time of My Life (Eva Melusine Thieme)
  • Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2 (Jennifer Jordan)
  • Strong is the New Beautiful (Lindsey Vonn)
  • Climbing High: A Woman’s Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy (Lene Gammelgaard)
  • Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure (Maria Coffey)
  • Up - A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure (Patricia Ellis Herr)
  • Leading Out: Mountaineering Stories of Adventurous Women (Rachel da Silva)
  • Women on High: Pioneers of Mountaineering (Rebecca Brown)
  • Unbound (Steph Jagger) -- Staff Pick!

Women on Rocks

  • Girl on the Rocks: A Women's Guide to Climbing with Strength, Grace, and Courage (Katie Brown)
  • Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World (Lynn Hill)
  • High Infatuation: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Gravity (Steph Davis)
  • Learning to Fly: A Memoir of Hanging On and Letting Go (Steph Davis)

Women on the Run

  • Run the World: My 3,500-mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe (Becky Wade)
  • Runner: A Short Story About a Long Run (Lizzy Hawker)
  • The Summit Seeker (Vanessa Runs)
  • Daughters of Distance (Vanessa Runs)
  • Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running (Meghan Hicks)
  • Running Past Midnight: A Women's Ultra-marathon Adventure (Molly Sheridan)
  • Running: A Love Story (Jen A. Miller)
  • Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated (Dana L. Ayers)

Women on the Trail

  • My Journey to Lhasa: The Classic Story of the Only Western Woman Who Succeeded in Entering the Forbidden City (Alexandra David-Neel)
  • Now Go Home: Wilderness, Belonging, and the Crosscut Saw (Ana Maria Spagna)
  • Thru-hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the PCT (Carrot Quinn)
  • Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods (Christine Byl)
  • Hikertrash: Life on the Pacific Crest Trail (Erin Miller)
  • Backpacking 101 (Heather Balogh Rochfort)
  • The Farther I Walk, The Closer I Get To Me (Hong Mei)
  • Becoming Odyssa (Jennifer Pharr Davis)
  • In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60 (Leslie Mass)
  • Contemplative Hiking Along the Colorado Front Range (Margeret Emerson)
  • Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback (Robyn Davidson)
  • Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail (Suzanne Roberts)

Women on Wheels

  • Kicking Up Dirt: A True Story of Determination, Deafness, and Daring (Ashley Fiolek, Caroline Ryder)
  • Miles from Nowhere: A Round the World Bicycle Adventure (Barbara Savage)
  • Desert Snow - One Girl's Take on Africa by Bike (Helen Lloyd)
  • Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide (Jill Homer)
  • This Road I Ride: Sometimes It Takes Losing Everything to Find Yourself (Juliana Buhring)
  • Rusch to Glory: Adventure, Risk & Triumph on the Path Less Traveled (Rebecca Rusch)

Women Traveling the World

  • Wild Mama: One Woman's Quest to Live Her Best Life, Escape Traditional Parenthood, and Travel the World (Carrie Visintainer)
  • No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering (Clara Benson)
  • Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents (Elisabeth Eaves)
  • The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe (Glynis Ridley)
  • The Lost Girls (Jennifer Baggett)
  • Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds (Kara Richardson Whitely)
  • How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker (Lauren Juliff)
  • Girls Who Travel (Nicole Trilivas)
  • Travelling Light (Robyn Davidson)

Women in the Wild

  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir (Aspen Matis)
  • Cabin at Singing River: One Woman's Story of Building a Home in the Wilderness (Chris Czajkowski)
  • Women who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
  • The Cold Haven: Seven Seasons in Greenland (Gretel Ehrlich)
  • The Solace of Open Spaces (Gretel Ehrlich)
  • The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids (Helen Ollson)
  • How to Be a Wildflower: A Field Guide (Katie Daisy)
  • Women in the Wild (Lucy McCauly)
  • Woodswoman (Anne LaBastille)
  • Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer (Mireya Mayor)
  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Rebecca Solnit)
  • A Woman’s Guide to the Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Handbook (Ruby McConnell)
  • Wild by Nature (Sarah Marquis)
  • Adventures for your Soul (Shannon Kaiser)
  • Going Alone, Women’s Adventures in the Wild (Susan Fox Rogers)
  • Solo: On Her Own Adventure (Susan Fox Rogers)
  • Two in the Wild (Susan Fox Rogers)
  • A Hunger for High Country: One Woman's Journey to the Wild in Yellowstone Country (Susan Marsh)
  • Winter in Arabia: A Journey Through Yemen (Freya Stark)
  • The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative (Florence Williams)
  • Forget Me Not: A Memoir (Jennifer Lowe-Anker)

Women in Nature

  • Refuge (Terry Tempest Williams)
  • Woman in the Mists (Farley Mowat)
  • My Friends the Wild Chimpanzees (Jane Goodall)
  • Land Above the Trees (Ann Zwinger and Beatrice Willard)
  • American Primitive (Mary Oliver)


  • Pressure is a Privilege (Billie Jean King)
  • Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. (Brene Brown)
  • When Nobody Was Watching Carli Lloyd
  • Naked Confidence: Revealing Your Whole Truth and Finally Moving Forward (Christen Shefchunas)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  • Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big and Believe in Yourself (Jennie Finch)
  • I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Malala Yousafzai)
  • Rise Sister Rise (Rebecca Campbell)
  • Everybody's Got Something (Robin Roberts)
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (Robin Wall Kimmerer)
  • Lean In (Sheryl Sandberg)
  • A Year of Yes (Shonda Rhimes)
  • A Life Without Limit: A World Champion’s Journey (Chrissie Wellington)
  • Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina (Michaela DePrince)


This is by no means a complete list, so feel free to comment below with any noteworthy books that you think should be added! Also note that the above categories are not necessarily mutually exclusive; instead, books have been included into the section that fits best.




Published By

Published by

30 Adventures Explored
1 Adventures Published

Published in collaboration with Women In The Wild

Women in the Wild is a movement that recognizes the amazing women athletes and enthusiasts who enrich the outdoor community with their passions, inspirations, and accomplishments every day. With support from OluKai, KEEN, and Mountain Hardwear and many more organizations, Outdoor Project is proud to grow this campaign in 2018 and to be a platform for the incredible stories and photography of women throughout our community. From in-depth interviews to female-focused content from the community to phenomenal gear and travel giveaway packages, each and every article is a celebration of the fortitude, strength, and camaraderie that comes with being part of Women in the Wild.

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info