Our super-fast electronic culture frowns on unplugging, slowing down and curling up with a good book. Camping is an activity that actually encourages it! Here are the best books about camping, and others that are just a good read!
The best books to read while camping are also a great way to celebrate Paperback Book Day on July 30!
Popular Books About Camping
There are so many genres of camping books that cover the spectrum in related topics, like:
- Invented new life by deliberately disappearing in the woods.
- Restoring vintage RVs.
- Solo traveling.
- Camping hacks.
- Travel destinations.
- Survival skills.
- John Muir inspirations and more!
John Muir is an icon when it comes to outdoor enthusiasts. The book A Passion For Nature: The Life Of John Muir, is a biography written by Donald Worster and fully explores Muir’s extraordinary ability to get others to see the sacred beauty of the natural world. The book is considered to be the most complete account of the great conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club.
If you are inspired by John Muir’s approach to enjoy the outdoors and preserve it for future generations, you should check out our How To Go Green On Camp Trips: 8 Easy Tips For Eco-Friendly Camping And Hiking blog post!
What’s not to love about America’s National Parks?!? In the book, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns teams up with Dayton Duncan to dive into the history of the park idea. They recount the adventures, mythmaking, and intense political battles that are part of the history of the U.S. National Park System. The book is spectacular, breathtaking and inspirational … true to the style we have all come to appreciate from Ken Burns.
It is true that our National Parks have become so popular that some of them are downright crowded! Don’t despair! We’ve got help for you in our blog post: 12 Tips To Avoid Crowds In National Parks So You Don’t Go Crazy!
Want to read a #1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER and considered to be one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, St. Louis Dispatch … and … Book 1 of 1 in the Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 Series? Sure you do! Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail is about Cheryl Strayed who thought she lost everything after her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage soon destroyed. She made an impulsive decision to hike 1,000+ miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State … alone … with no experience or training … driven only by blind will! No spoiler alert here … you have to read it for yourself!
Do you know a woman who hates camping but would benefit from a change of heart? Check out our post, Top Reasons Women Hate Camping And How To Overcome Them, for help!
The crazy popular book, A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America On The Appalachian Trail, is an entertaining guide written by Bill Bryson. Some consider this book to be “already a classic” that will make you eager for the great outdoors. Bryson introduces his readers to the history, ecology and people of the trail. He even meets a couple of bears along the way! It is fun reading that will make you want to lace up your hiking boots!
If the thought of a wild bear is keeping you from experiencing the wilderness, check out our Safety Tips While Camping In Bear Country post … then pack your bags for an awesome (and safe) adventure!
Dave Canterbury is a survivalist expert and his book, Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide To The Art Of Wilderness Survival, is based on the 5Cs of Survivability: Cutting Tools, Covering, Combustion Devices, Containers, and Cordages. The book promises to get you ready for your next backcountry trip and making the most of your time while you are on your adventure!
Planning on doing some backcountry adventuring but don’t want to part with your phone? You need to check out our How To Charge Your Phone Without Electricity While Camping post for some super cool tips and gear you probably have never seen before!
Do you know what “place-words” are? If your answer is “no” you are not alone … I didn’t either until I heard about the book by Robert Macfarlane titled, Landmarks. This book is his collection of place-words which are terms for various aspects of landscape, nature, and weather; it also includes biographical essays of his favorite authors who have paid close attention to the natural world and have their own work in the world of place language. If you love nature and the power of language … you’ll love this book.
If you need a little help with some of the words associated with camping, you’ll find it in our Tent Camping Terminology And RV Terms You Really Need To Know blog post that was written by my husband in his debut of “My Husband’s Corner”. In case you have not seen his bio, here’s a copy of it… “My name is Pete. I am Kim’s husband and I have my own space on her Camping For Foodies blog that is called “My husband’s corner”. You’ll probably notice I have a much better sense of humor than she does and she has agreed not to edit my stuff. Ha!” (Do you think I should be nervous?)
Glamping With MaryJane: Glamour + Camping book. If you have not met Mary Jane and you love adding a little style to your camping experience, you need to check this one out! Even the NY Times enjoys her! “Glamping, or glamour camping, one of the MaryJane’s pet concepts, is about the juxtaposition of rugged and really pretty, grit and glam, diesel and absolutely darling.” ~ The New York Times.
Blind Descent is book 6 of 19 in the Anna Pigeon mystery series by author Nevada Barr. Anna Pigeon is a park ranger who enjoys wide open spaces in nature. While in Colorado she receives an urgent call to help her friend who has been injured while exploring a cave in New Mexico’s Carlsbad Cavern Park. Before Anna can help others, she needs to overcome her fear of confined spaces.
Vintage RV trailers are all the rage and so is restoring them with fun and funky styles. The Vintage Trailer Style: Buying, Restoring, Decorating & Styling The Small Place Of Your Dreams book has tons of photos and practical tips on restoring, upcycling, and decorating the old classics including teardrops, pop-tops, Airstreams, Beverleys and Shastas!
In Dan White’s book, Under The Stars: How America Fell In Love With Camping, he uncovers a wide variety of nature seekers and a country still in love with its great outdoors. He shares his firsthand experiences as he travels across the U.S. in unconventional settings. You’ll read about his camping nude in cougar country, being attacked by wildlife while “glamping,” and crashing a girls-only adventure for urban teens. In all of that, he demonstrates how people like Emerson, Thoreau, Roosevelt, Muir, and visionaries like Adirondack Murray, Horace Kephart, and Juliette Gordon Low all helped to blaze a trail from Transcendentalism to Leave No Trace.
John Muir : Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth; My First Summer in the Sierra; The Mountains of California; Stickeen; Essays
In a single volume titled, John Muir: Nature Writings: The Story Of My Boyhood And Youth; My First Summer In The Sierra; The Mountains Of California; Stickeen; Essays, the Library of America’s Nature Writings collects John Muir’s most significant works including a variety of essays: “Yosemite Glaciers,” “God’s First Temples,” “Snow-Storm on Mount Shasta,” “The American Forests,” and “Save the Redwoods” among others. It is a powerful collection of America’s most eloquent spokesman of the wilderness who became a critical figure in the creation of our National Parks System as well as the founder of the Sierra Club in 1892.
I believe John Muir would be proud to know the United States is continuing the tradition of providing access to our National Parks for all people regardless of their economic status. Get all of the dates you can leave your wallet in your pocket as you drive through the entrance gates of our National Parks in our FREE Admission To National Parks Occurs Annually On Fee-Free Entrance Days post.
The book authored by Jon Krakauer, Into The Wild, is about a young man named Christopher Johnson McCandless who was from a wealthy family and who invented a new life for himself by walking alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. That life was unrestrained by money and belongings allowing him to experience nature in an authentic way. Eventually he dies at the young age of 24 and his body is found by a hunter. The powerful storytelling of Krakauer makes this book a true page-turner.
A National Geographic Best Book of the Year, The Stranger In The Woods: The Extraordinary Story Of The Last True Hermit, is about Christopher Knight who left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods at the age of 20 years old. He did not speak to another human being for the next 27 years. Journalist and author Michael Finkel tells the story of Knight’s life in the wilderness. Knight returned to society and, as one might expect, has faced unusual challenges as a result. His resolve to live life on his own terms has caused many to evaluate the type of life they are choosing to live.
If you are a bucket-list trip planner with a yearning for a bit of Americana, the Travel Route 66: A Guide To The History, Sights, And Destinations Along The Main Street Of America book by Route 66 expert and enthusiast, Jim Hinckley, is for you! It provides recommendations for places to visit, eat, and spend the night, along the iconic highway’s 2,500 miles that run through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Check out our RV Camping Road Trip Ideas With Unusual Roadside Attractions post for road trip planning tips along Route 66 and beyond!
Some “cookbooks” are just great campfire reading! Like this, So Much S’more To Do: Over 50 Variations Of The Campfire Classic, book! Just make sure you have a few of the ingredients before you start reading out loud to your fellow campers!
I can’t say that I have created 50 s’mores recipes … but, I have created 10 and “Tropical Therapy” is my FAVORITE! Check them all out in our Campfire Smores Recipes: 10 Mouth-Watering Smore Variations blog post!
Yes, I know, “reading a cookbook” is not really reading but I just had to include a few camping recipe books in this list of paperback books specific to camping! The 100 Easy Camping Recipes book is a popular recipe book that includes recipes for grilling, campfire cooking, Dutch ovens and foil packets.
Happy Campers Coloring Book
And you thought I was going out on a limb including a few cookbooks on this reading list … HA! How about a coloring book! Relaxing coloring books for grownups are all the rage and who could possibly pass up this Happy Campers Coloring Book with the whimsical retro trailer designs?!?
Many people are selling homes and hitting the road full time in an RV. Being a single woman traveling in an RV has special challenges. This For Women Only: Traveling Solo In Your RV book covers topics like: Breaking the News to Your Family, Safety On the Road, Dealing with the Repair Shop, Managing Power, AC and DC, Maintaining a Comfortable Lifestyle and more.
I know for most women, tools are not all that exciting but they are a necessary evil when it comes to RVing. So, please have every solo women RVer you know get a copy of our FREE RV Tool Kit Checklist! Safe travels ladies!
The Complete Book Of Boondock RVing: Camping Off The Beaten Path book. As boondocking (also know as dispersed camping, dry camping and off-the-grid camping) becomes more popular, people need to learn tips from the pros. Bill and Jan Moeller have been boondocking for years and in this book they share information to equip your RV, find great campsites, manage and conserve electricity and water and more.
If you are unsure about boondocking in your RV, don’t worry … were were too at the beginning! Now it is almost the only way we go! Check out all of our VIDEOS and helpful articles on Boondocking: How And Where To Go Dispersed Camping.
Camping Books For Kids
Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager created a tribute to America’s national parks through a picture book, Our Great Big Backyard, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers. In the story, a young girl named Jane learns her family is planning a summer road trip to visit national parks around the country which will spoil her vacation plans of playing video games with her friends. Somewhere between the Everglades and Big Bend National Park, Jane begins to appreciate the majesty of the views in nature and spends more time looking at the scenery and less time looking at a screen.
- Grade Level: Preschool-3
- Reading Age: 3-8
Don’t forget the kids on Paperback Book Day! The Kids Campfire Book: Official Book Of Campfire Fun book features stuff like: how to find the best campfire site, identify animal cries at night, locate constellations, how to make pizza over an open fire, how to create musical instruments for a sing-along and more. It’s actually fun for the whole family!
- Grade Level: 1-5
- Reading Age: 5-10
Camping with kids is fun but can also be challenging if they start the “I’m bored” thing! Don’t let that happen to your family! Check out our Fun Camping Activities Kids Love (and adults will too!) blog post!
There are many different approaches when it comes to camping books for kids, this one is really creative … not the typical book of campfire stories found in the campground activity center or outdoor park ranger classroom. Artist Lizi Boyd’s book, Flashlight, tells a story about night, nature, and the nocturnal world through illustrations. It is one of the best picture books with a camping theme for toddlers and children who don’t like to read. The story follows one boy’s campout adventure as he shines his flashlight to illuminate nighttime creatures, insects, plants, trees, and streams.
- Grade Level: Preschool-1
- Reading Age: 2-4
Children will find familiar characters in Fred and Ted Go Camping written by Peter Eastman who also authored Big Dog . . . Little Dog. In this story, Fred and Ted have humorously different ways of packing equipment, setting up camp and fishing. The illustrations and simple words make this book perfect for camp-loving kids.
- Grade Level: Preschool-2
- Reading Age: 2-4
In the book, A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee, a peaceful camping trip turns precarious when Mr. Magee and his dog find themselves plunging down a mountain and wobbling on the edge of a gigantic waterfall! This family-friendly book is packed with colorful illustrations and whimsical rhyming text that is fun for kids to read alone or with the entire family!
- Grade Level: Preschool-7
- Reading Age: 3-6
Reading fun stories in books is a great way to begin a conversation with kids about safety on camping trips. We have an awesome blog post, Camping Safety Tips For Families, to help families stay safe while on their outdoor adventures!
There is nothing quite as exciting as a child’s first camping trip. Helen Foster James (writer) and Lita Judge (illustrator) are co-authors of S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet. The book takes readers on an A-Z adventure that explores this family-friendly outdoor activity. A child’s imagination will be captured with the colorful illustrations throughout this alphabet book.
- Grade Level: 1-4
- Reading Age: 2-6
If you have kids who would rather experience camping by watching a TV show while sitting indoors on a couch, they’ll be able to relate to this book written by Melanie Watt. In Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping, the character needs to leave his tree to find an electrical source to power his television. On his quest for an outlet, he experiences the Great Outdoors.
- Grade Level: Preschool-3
- Reading Age: 4-7
Personally Speaking, Some Of My Favorite Non-Camping Paperback Books Include…
Men Are Like Waffles – Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel. They use humor to explain the differences between how men and women think. I never understood why my husband had a hard time following some of my conversations until the Farrels explained men typically separate each element of life in boxes (like a waffle) and women typically have one thought lead to the next (like spaghetti). You know me, once I heard the “food terms” I got it!
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. This is no ordinary leadership book! Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author; after I saw him speak in person, I had to get his book(s)! He highlights leadership stories of famous and not-so-famous people to inspire others. I love that he talks about ‘The Law Of Connection’ … that a true leader touches a heart before asking for a hand.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. It’s a classic fantasy story set in a magical land with nail biting suspense and struggles between good and evil. I’m not going to say more because I don’t want to spoil the ending. I will say this … I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Great Lion, Aslan!
Arizona Benchmark Road & Recreation Atlas. Yes, I know, this is not a book, it’s an atlas, but it is paperback and I just love it so I had to include it here. We do lots of dispersed camping, boondocking, remote camping off-the-grid … whatever you want to call it. My atlas helps me plan camping trips. It has detailed maps with backcountry roads, trailheads, campgrounds, and points of interest. The Public Lands maps section shows hunting areas and the Recreation Guide indicates campgrounds, RV parks, golf, and boating areas.
Celebrate Paperback Book Day
Each year Paperback Book Day is celebrated on July 30, check out why: “Whilst electronic books and e-readers are becoming increasingly popular, there’s still something very special about an old fashioned book. Paperback Book Day…”
E-Readers For Camping
We are all about unplugging as we celebrate Paperback Book Day, but if you just have to go electronic, the Kindle E-Reader is HOT!
- Even in direct sunlight the 167 ppi glare-free display feels like your reading paper rather than from a screen.
- Adjust the brightness to comfortably read indoors or outdoors, day or night which is great for camping!
- The battery lasts for weeks on a single charge.
- The 8 GB storage capacity is able to store thousands of titles.
Some Of The Most Popular Books Of All Time
If you need a little help deciding what to read, check out some of these on Wikipedia’s List of Best-Selling Books.
The BibleThe Lord of the RingsAnd Then There Were NoneThe Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeThink and Grow RichThe Catcher in the RyeCharlotte’s WebGone with the WindThe Purpose Driven LifeWho Moved My CheeseThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleThe Hunger Games
Accessories For Campsite Book Readers
Rechargeable Reading Light
If you plan on reading after dark, remember to pack a clip on reading light because it is horrible trying to read by the glow of a campfire!
This cool little Panoramic Forest Wooden Bookmark is made from sustainably harvested woods; it’s the perfect way for outdoor enthusiast readers to mark their paperback book page!
Paperback Book Day Gift Wrap Ideas
Paperback books make great gifts for people who love camping! Check out our Fun Camping Wrapping Paper And Creative Gift Wrap Ideas post for inspiration!
Need Snacks While Reading?
If you need camping snacks to munch on while reading, we’ve got tons of them. I highly recommend the Rosemary Spiced Nuts!
Get more ideas for every meal of your trip!