Friday, January 10, 2014

Shelf Life [adult]

The Camping Bible by Bob Holtzman

Hi, there. It’s minus twenty degrees outside and last week it was colder in Winnipeg than on Mars - I bet all you can think about is getting out of town for a few days to sleep in a tent and take in the glories of nature, am I right?

Okay, maybe this review is a touch oddly timed. The thing is, a lot of you are probably starting to think about booking your 2014 vacations right around now. A few of you might even be wishing you did more camping. You might say to yourself things like “I camped when I was a kid, but I’m not sure I remember everything my parents did,” or “hiking seems like fun until I try to read topographic maps. Then, rage,” or even “I have tiny humans depending on me for meals. How do I make fire happen?” For everyone who’s been wishing they could camp but feels woefully underprepared, The Camping Bible is here for you.

This surprisingly compact reference guide is split into a number of sections, including the intricacies of planning (including meal planning and gauging the trip to your own fitness level); the gear you’ll need; some helpful techniques -- like how to organize your gear, make fire, cook meals and ride out the weather; hazards you may encounter; basic hiking skills and tips; and how to camp with kids. There are even checklists of all the gear you’ll need for different kinds of trips. As a bonus, the author includes a few basic camping recipes -- although I’d recommend checking out a couple dedicated trail cookbooks (we have those, too - try the Lipsmackin’ Backpackin’ series for recipes that suit a variety of trips and dietary needs) if you’re planning a trip longer than an overnighter.

Any camping trip contains a few surprises; the more prepared you are when you set out, the more likely you’ll get a fun story instead of a catastrophe. The Camping Bible is a great resource for anyone who wants to get outside and play without that nagging feeling they’ve forgotten something important. With planning tips for trips ranging from glampy car camping excursions to multi-day backcountry hiking trips, The Camping Bible can help you unplug and unwind as much as you so desire.

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on January 9, 2014. Written by Shauna Costache, Librarian.

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