10 Best Backpacking Movies

best backpacking movies

These are some of my favorite backpacking movies I have watched over the years that inspired me for adventure.

I understand that ‘backpacking’ can be a reference to either traveling with a backpack and backpacking in the form of hiking. These movies about backpacking show both sides.

Some are real-life stories and others fictional.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon where you can rent (or buy) these backpacking movies. I get a small commission at no extra cost you if you purchase through them and the money helps me with my work on Backpackingman. I also own none of the rights to the pictures here, they are used under fair use terms to discuss the movies.


Into The Wild

backpacking movies - into the wild man sitting on top of a bus
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Into The Wild is about Christopher McCandless leaves his privileged life behind and gives away all his possessions in order to hitchhike across the US to Alaska.

The journey is life changing and full of adventure.

(Spoiler alert) Although I respect a lot of what Christopher McCandless did in life, I absolutely hate how he didn’t prepare himself enough for going into the wilderness of Alaska, or the wilderness of anywhere for that matter.

Wild

Cheryl Strayed backpacking
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Wild is the epic story Cheryl Strayed, a divorced woman, who looks for an adventure.

She sets out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself, so to speak, and meets many other hikers, learning about life on the journey.

Spiritual and adventurous it’s a must-watch for any avid hiker.

The Way

backpacking on the Camino de Santiago
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The Way is a beautiful movie, both emotionally and for the scenery. It’s about a father who decides to walk the Camino de Santiago from France into Spain after his son dies on it.

The beautiful scenery and the stories amongst the other hikers and the emotional reflections make this a great hiking movie.

What is hiking if not a walking meditation?

Wildlike

girl and men hiking in wilderness
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Wildlike is the story about an abused 14 year old teenager girl who runs away in Alaska.

She is found and helped by a backpacker who tries to get her back.

This movie won loads of awards and you can see why. It’s not just a backpacking movie with epic scenes of the Alaskan wilderness, it’s also a coming of age story.

Walking The Camino

backpacking the Camino de Santiago
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Walking The Camino is about just that, walking the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain.

It follows six pilgrims on their journey hiking the Camino. Definitely watch this one if you have any interest in long distance hiking or the Camino de Santiago.

The Camino has long been a dream of mine to hike so this was especially interesting to watch.

The Beach

man in the sea fishing
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Ah, The Beach.

This is a love/hate with this movie about backpacking. I read the book in 1998 before my first backpacking trip to Thailand and loved it.

Sadly the movie, like so many cases, doesn’t match up to the book and even excludes my favourite charcter from the book.

Still it’s fun to watch with a decent enough overview of some of the more partying backpacker style of travellers you will see in Thailand, along with the more quieter types.

A Walk In The Woods

old men backpacking in woods
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A Walk In The Woods is based on the book by Bill Bryson, who is one of my favorite travel writers. It’s a true story.

It follows Bill Bryson and his friend as they go backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in the US with hilarious consequences.

I loved the book much more than the film but its still an entertaining watch.

The Ritual

men backpacking in forest
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Scary stuff. The Ritual starts as a typical backpacking adventure into the woods, in this case, a forest in Sweden, until they stumble upon some scary and ancient secret.

I won’t spoiler it for you but definitely have a watch of this one, especially if you like a little ‘horror’ thrown in.

You can watch it on Netflix.

Backcountry

2 people backpacking in nature
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Wow! Backcountry is a true look at survival in the wilderness when things start to go wrong. It’s based on a true story.

When two backpackers start getting stalked b a dangerous bear their trip turns into a fight for survival.

180° South

2 men on paddleboards in the sea
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180° South is a documentary movie where Jeff Johnson, an adventurer, follows in the footsteps of his heroes who traveled in 1968 to Patagonia.

I found the movie to be a little slow in parts but the overall backpacking feel of the travel is great.

Best Backpacking Movies

So hopefully you have found one of these backpacking movies to your liking or discovered a few new ones you didn’t know about.

Happy backpacking wherever you may go!

For more tales in the wild take a look at the best survival movies.

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