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Get the Kids Out

camping-with-kidsI’m usually leery of guidebooks claiming to encompass everything I need to know about any particular subject, but The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping With Kids, by Helen Olsson, comes pretty close to family camping omniscience. The book isn’t for the type A parent force-marching the kids up 14ers. Instead it’s geared toward those who are OK “just hanging around the campsite and letting the kids play with pinecones.”


A blend of seasoned tips, family lore, and advice to make camping a truly green endeavor, the guidebook reminds parents that family camping requires a retooling of expectations and desire for order. From building Inukshuk rock art to creating gnome homes from twigs, Olsson introduces a new generation of parents to the anti-consumer vacation. The book makes you want to opt for a tent over a pricey resort. Which is the entire point: the family camping vacation is less about escaping the kids and more about enjoying their company.  —Sarah Peruzzi


The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures & Connect Kids to Nature, by Helen Olsson. $17.95; roostbooks.com. Visit Helen Olsson’s website at maddogmom.com

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