Staff Picks

A-Camping We Will Go!

Six-year-old Ali by the campfire.

Six-year-old me (in the yellow jacket) camping with my grandparents and cousins. I am currently stalking vintage awning lanterns on eBay.

My husband and I both grew up in Michigan -- I hail from the Upper Peninsula (UP), and he grew up in Southeastern Michigan (but with a deep love for the UP and all things outdoors.) Early on in our relationship we discovered we also shared a love of camping; our families had both spent a lot of time camping on family vacations when we were kids. 

We both have cherished memories from those camping trips; one of my favorite memories is the scavenger hunt around the campground that my mom set up for my sister and me, while one of my husband’s favorites is when he and his brother rowed a boat from their waterside campground site to the other side of the small lake, and then had to walk/pull the boat back along the shore after the wind picked up and they couldn’t row back against it. Together, one of our favorite camping trips was to the Kettle Moraine area of Wisconsin, and an amazing evening Dave Matthews Band concert at Alpine Valley (followed by a harrowing thunderstorm later that night). When our son was born, he was a mere 6 weeks old when we took him camping for the first time, and we’ve been creating camping memories with him ever since.

Grandparents and 7 week old by the campfire.

Gramma and Grampa entertaining my son by the campfire.

We’ve always been tent campers – it’s easy to pack and store and it doesn’t cost that much to get the basics and get started. Last year, however, we discovered that our bodies aren’t enjoying sleeping on the ground so much anymore, so this spring we’ve taken our camping up a notch and bought a pop-up camper.  We are SO excited to take it out for its first trip (it may or may not have been set up in our driveway a couple times this spring, so we could eat dinner in it!)  Now we are spending our evenings browsing Pinterest for the huge number of camping “hacks” shared there, as well as the Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan state parks sites for campground reservations (if you have a favorite camping spot in the Midwest, I'd love to hear about it!)

Camping is a great way to get out into that big green world, get fresh air, spend quality time with friends and family, and make memories (and s’mores!)  Whether you’re already a fan of camping or curious about trying it out, we have lots helpful resources in our collection here at DPPL. Here are a few:

Cover of the book, The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids

The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures & Connect Kids to Nature

by Helen Ollson

"Whether you're a first-time camper or a veteran backpacker befuddled by the challenges of carting a brood--and all the requisite gear--into the great outdoors, here you'll find all the tips and tools you need to plan the perfect nature adventure with your family. Humorous and irreverent, yet always authoritative, this guide to camping with kids, from babies through pre-teens, is filled with checklists, smart tips, recipes, games, activities, and art projects."

Cover of book, Simple Tent Camping

Simple Tent Camping: The Basics of Camping from Car or Canoe

by Zora Aiken

"Aimed at occasional campers, especially those with families in tow, this guide is filled with field-tested advice on how to make tent camping more comfortable and enjoyable. The emphasis is on environment-friendly camping practices, and hiking or canoeing to primitive sites is also covered."

Cover of book, Camping's Top Secrets

Camping's Top Secrets

by Cliff Jacobson

This guide is full of advanced camping tips, from dealing with insects and forecasting the weather to building a shelter and treating common ailments. Includes a gear guide as well.

Cover of book, Cooking on a Stick

Cooking on a Stick: Campfire Recipes for Kids

by Linda White

This is a friendly guide to campfire cooking for kids includes recipes and safety tips.

Cover of book, Camper's Guide to Outdoor Cooking

Camper's Guide to Outdoor Cooking: Everything from Fires to Fixin's

by John G. Ragsdale

The basic guide includes over 200 recipes as well as tips on building a campfire for cooking, equipment and methods.

Cover of book, Guy on Fire: 130 Recipes for Adventures in Outdoor Cooking

Guy on Fire: 130 Recipes for Adventures in Outdoor Cooking

by Guy Fieri

This book has a whole section of recipes for camping as well as tips on setting up your fire best for cooking and some great passages on some of Fieri's own experiences camping. 

Cover of book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geocaching

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geocaching

If you're camping out in public lands, there's a good chance there's a geocache nearby! Learn all about participating in this popular outdoor activity with this guide.

Cover of compact disc, Campfire Songs for Modern Kids

Campfire Songs for Modern Kids

by Heather Stenner and Cheryl Miller Thurston

This music CD is full of fun songs to sing around the campfire.

Cover of book, The Campfire Collection: Spine-tingling Tales to Tell in the Dark

The Campfire Collection: Spine-tingling Tales to Tell in the Dark

by Eric B. Martin

All done singing? Time for scary tales to tell around the campfire!

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