By Helen Olsson
Roost Books, $17.95, 254 pages

Helen Olsson is veteran camper. She is also a veteran mother. She is even a veteran writer. With such credentials, her book The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids is authoritative, all-encompassing and truly the only manual a family need consult whilst planning a camping trip. Very well organized, thorough and beginner-friendly, the book covers everything from necessary gear, to appropriate clothes, kitchen setup, activities and dealing with poison ivy. Olsson discusses both the needs of car campers and backcountry campers. The book is tailored to families: Olsson provides child-related advice for packing (favorite blanket), activities (making berry ink), food (kid-friendly recipes only) and safety (never camp with a toddler near a river!). Her advice is often backed up with personal anecdotes. Learning the hard way is what Olsson is trying to prevent. Her own family’s mishaps are humorously told, making the book an utterly enjoyable read. The resources listed at the back are extensive and packing checklists are inserted where applicable as well as compiled in an appendix. This book is a fun read for any family thinking about camping together.

Reviewed by Andrea Klein