Book Review: The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids

Alright, outdoor enthusiasts, buckle up! If ‘Babes in the Woods‘ is your chatty companion, then ‘The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids’ by Helen Olsson is the seasoned scout leader who’ll make sure your family camping adventures are memorable, for all the right reasons.

The moment you open Olsson’s guide, you’ll feel like you’ve gained an experienced and practical ally. Olsson has lived the camping-with-kids life, and she’s not afraid to share the nitty-gritty of it all – the glorious, the messy, and the downright hilarious.

The book is engagingly written, with Olsson’s wit and humor making every page a joy to read. There’s no holding back here, folks. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud at her tales of marshmallow mishaps, raccoon raids, and all the unpredictable capers that make camping with kids a uniquely rewarding experience.

Packed with practical advice, ‘The Down and Dirty Guide’ covers everything from pre-trip planning to navigating the trail to setting up camp, even the dreaded “What do we do now?” moments. This is not your run-of-the-mill camping guide; Olsson ensures it’s brimming with hands-on activities to connect your kids with nature, instill a sense of adventure, and yes, sneak in a bit of education too.

One standout aspect of this book is the collection of ‘Camping Chef’ recipes. Trust me, your campfire meals are about to get a major upgrade. We’re talking more than just hot dogs and s’mores here (though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the classic campfire fare!). Olsson offers delicious, easy-to-make recipes that your family will love.

Now, as every parent knows, safety is paramount. Olsson addresses this crucial aspect comprehensively, providing safety tips for different terrains and potential wildlife encounters. She also emphasizes teaching kids about the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles, nurturing in them a deep respect for nature.

The book is aimed more towards families with older kids, but the wealth of information is certainly applicable for families that are camping with babies as well. I must admit, the guide may seem a tad daunting to the uninitiated camper, but Olsson’s encouraging tone ensures you’ll close the book feeling inspired and raring to hit the trail.

In essence, ‘The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids’ is your all-in-one manual to create unforgettable family adventures in the great outdoors. It’s authentic, practical, and bursting with enthusiasm that’s downright infectious. Grab your copy, pack up your tents, and let the fun begin! Happy camping, everyone!

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Marianne, a mom of four, shares her journey from cloth diapers to parenting young adults on She offers practical advice, personal stories, and a supportive community. Join in as we navigate the beautiful wave of motherhood together!