Kyle Dempster The Road from Karakol

5 Truly Inspiring Outdoor Adventure Documentaries on YouTube

The truth is, I spend a lot of time looking for inspiration and outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube are a great place to start. At the same time, they are also disappearing fast as Netflix and the platforms purchase the rights to the best videos in order to sell them back to viewers.

Anyway, here are five of my favourites videos and the most inspiring outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube.

Inspiring Outdoor Adventure Documentaries on YouTube

Deep Water

A vastly inexperienced Donald Crowhurst enters a Round the World Yacht Race.


When Sir Francis Chichester became the first person to sail solo around the world in 1967, the United Kingdom was gripped by sailing fever. In the wake of his record breaking journey, the Sunday Times advertised the first Round the World Yacht Race.

Eight seasoned sailors signed up for the competition and Donald Crowhurst, a struggling electrician with dreams of defying both the odds and competition.

Some think of Donald Crowhurst as an unlikely hero, others as an irresponsible prat. I prefer to appreciate the sense of adventure in this journey and a time when the world was gripped by the simplicity of outdoor adventures.

The Road from Karakol

An enthusiastic Kyle Dempster cycles across Krygistan while climbing first ascents.


The Road from Karakol is arguably the most interesting start I have ever seen in terms of outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube. In many ways, this is also what I found so appealing in the Road to Karakol, for Kyle’s enthusiasm has a tendency to grow on you.

While the camera work is often shaky and lacking in quality, this is one of the few times when the story and search for adventure overshadow everything else. I found it especially interesting when he happened across an unexpected police checkpoint where he was forced to join them for vodka and ended up sleeping off his hangover in a nearby cave.

Kyle went on to become quite a well-known climber in the years following this outdoor adventure documentary on YouTube but sadly, he died tragically in a climbing accident last year.

Into the Empty Quarter

Two intrepid adventurers attempt to drag a cart across the Empty Quarter desert


Alastair Humphreys is responsible for pioneering and promoting the concept of “Microadventures”. However, he has also taken some absolutely insane long distance journey’s around the world. Indeed, so too has Leon McCarron – an adventurer and filmmaker from Northern Ireland.

Anyway, this is possibly my favourite of all the outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube. I might be wrong but I believe this is also a trimmed down version of the original which was initially a pay-per-view movie.

There were as many times I laughed out loud in this one as when I felt inspired,  and while their experience for facing adversity shows, their inexperience in other regards is often the highlight.

Touching the Void

A remarkable true story about two climbers and a desperate situation in the Peruvian Andes.


If you have yet to watch this one, put the kettle on and get ready for an incredible story.

Having run out of fuel for cooking on the ascent, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates decide to descend the mountain. However, as bad weather approaches, Yates is required to lower his climbing partner down over the North Ridge. They had tied to 150ft ropes together but the join could not squeeze through the metal belay leaving Simpson hanging in mid-air.

In short, Yates is faced with an awful decision and decided to cut the rope. The rest is now part of climbing folklore and it makes for one of the most gripping outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube.

I Want to See the World

Iohan Gueorguiev cycles to the Arctic Ocean


Amateur camera work and a fine piece of storytelling in this outdoor adventure documentary on Youtube. I remember watching this and thinking “I want to do this” but in reality, this must have been a rather miserable place for long periods on Iohan’s trip. Either way, I love this story and especially for the fact that he did not realize it was possible to cycle to the ocean. That is, the freeze during winter means that the rivers turn to roads which allowed him to travel so far.

What am I missing? Do you have any favourite outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube?

Please let me know in the Facebook comments below!

Published by

Derek Cullen

Derek Cullen is an Irish Adventurer and the author of Microadventureworld. He is best known for taking long distance adventures around the world such as cycling across Africa and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in America. In recent years, Derek was nominated for People of the Year by Outsider Magazine and has featured on popular media channels including the Irish Times, Today FM, RTE and Africa Geographic.

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