Books to Take Backpacking

Hiking is all about your senses. The views for miles. The feel of the mountain breeze. The smell of pine trees. The taste of the cold (filtered!) alpine lake. The sound of birds echoing through the forest. But once you take off your pack and settle into your hammock or cozy up around a campfire, you can use a good book to travel even further into the world.

Other than your trusty guidebook, of course, here are our tops picks of books worthy of their weight in your pack:

Allison’s Pick—Adultery by Paul Cohelo 

It’s about a woman who has the perfect life, but finds herself bored. She doesn’t go hiking (although she does take walks through the park), but she is trying to find herself and what will make her life more meaningful. As the title suggests, she does this by having an affair, which is just about excitement, rather than fondness for her bedmate.

books to take hiking

Claire’s Pick—Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder 

It’s the story of many different journeys within Paul Farmer’s life journey, against a backdrop of rural Haiti, medical schools in the U.S., and a number of other places around the world. I personally found it much more revelatory about our modern missions of self-discovery and changing the world than, say, Walden (but of course that’s just my opinion!).

books to take hiking

Richard’s Pick—My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

It lit up my world when I first read it and still influences my point of view on life in the woods.

books to take hiking

Larry’s Pick—Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

A beautiful piece of nature writing that shows how and why we should care about parks.

books to take hiking

Amber’s Pick–The Road Not Taken and Other Poems by Robert Frost

I don’t typically like poetry, but there’s something about being in nature that makes me appreciate it more.

books to take hiking

Liliane’s Pick—Out of This World: Across the Himalayas to Forbidden Tibet by Lowell Thomas Jr.

I have a fascination with the Himalayas and I love to follow the journey of those who climb those mountains.

books to take hiking

Scott’s Pick—Who Pooped in the Park by Gary D. Robson

I haven’t actually read it, but it has good reviews and it looks really interesting.

books to take hiking

So snag one of these books at your local bookstore, toss it into your pack, and reward yourself for the day’s mileage by curling up in front of the campfire and getting lost in a story.

Tanya Twerdowsky

I am a Jersey girl living in Alabama who loves to run far and eat lots.

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