Always Bring the Books

August 8, 20180

From a better bedtime routine to easy entertainment during a rainstorm to a relaxing read on the hammock – books are one of our go-to entertainment options for the kids while camping. Here are some favorite book recommendations and a simple way of storing at camp.

Books About Camping

Reading stories about camping has been a great motivation for our kids before the trip takes place. It has also helped educate them about the surrounding landscape during a trip.

The Bernstein Bears Go To Camp is a great read for younger kids. Other good options include Curious George Goes CampingLlama Llama Loves CampingCamping Alphabet, and Goodnight Campsite.

Older kids will probably enjoy books like Ranger Rick’s Guide to Camping, The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book, Time for Kids – All About Survival, and Into the Great Outdoors. All introduce kids to the wonderful activities and landscapes found outdoors while camping.

Camping Locations

Include your kids in the planning of your next camping trip with books like National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide, Kid’s Guide to America’s Parks and Landmarks, and National Geographic Kids Ultimate US Road Trip Atlas. Our son has used these to plan what he calls the “Ultimate Year-Long Camping Trip” if we would just pull him out of school and drive around the country for 12 months!


Our kids love journaling about their trip, including our daughter who writes all about the animals and plans she saw. To help kickstart the process, pick up this Camper’s Journal notebook that is formatted with great prompts like the location, weather, activities enjoyed, and people met.


Another great thing about books is how little space they take up. We simply toss them under a mattress or roll them up with a tent, sleeping bag, or air mattress. Books are also easy to toss in a backpack to enjoy during a stop along a hike or bike ride, or when the fish aren’t biting. And unlike tablets or other electronic devices, they’re good to go at any time – no charging required

Extra Credit

Our kids read their books during two critical times each day on a camping trip:

  1. Before Breakfast – they can wake up when the sun rises if they want, but they have to quietly read their books until mom and dad start making breakfast. This provides us parents with a much-appreciated sleep in time.
  2. Bedtime – just like at home, this helps the kids wind down their day. We will frequently read together, either to the kids, or letting them read out loud to us.


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My dad took me camping as a kid at least monthly, from Cub Scouts through Eagle Scout. I realized the importance of camping with kids after taking ours at the age of 3 years and 18 months and hearing them talk for weeks about building campfires, going potty in the woods, and roasting marshmallows. 5 years and 100 camping nights later and our kids have learned to help set up the campsite, navigate a topographical map with a compass, and so much more . For our kids, camping is about more than staying the night in the wilderness but also teaches them valuable life skills, respect for nature, and mechanical know-how.

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