Reviews and Praise

“A treasure trove of information and ideas that would be a fine addition to any camper’s bookshelf…The author’s conversational, first-person approach feels like a chat with a friendly neighbor. Her well-crafted prose is sprinkled with a humor that parents will particularly appreciate.”–The Deseret News

Link to the full review at The Deseret News

“Now there’s a book that can help you tame the chaos of mushing your whole family and a ridiculous mountain of gear into a single tent. You won’t find a more comprehensive how-to on the subject than The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping With Kids.

Olsson leads you through practically every decision you need to make—from where and when to go, to what to bring (less than you think), to what to cook (single best compendium of s’mores recipes ever), and how to keep the kids out of your hair (berry paints! photo safaris!). Because it’s so sensible, the guide is great for everyone, from seasoned backcountry veterans who want to learn a few new shortcuts to families that have never once set up a tent or banged a stake into the ground. Olsson’s tone is chipper yet informative, and never condescending. The book is crammed with handy packing checklists, simple but clever camp recipes, and lots of genuinely helpful advice, like always bring your bikes and orient your tent door to the best view.”—Katie Arnold, Outside Magazine

Link to the full review at Outside Magazine online

“For the uninitiated—or else panicked—Boulder-based freelance writer and New York Times contributor Olsson offers this thorough and accessible guide that covers all the bases. From slathering cotton balls in petroleum jelly as firestarters (love it!) to freezing stews ahead of time and letting them double as ice packs, Olsson has you covered. This would make a lovely addition to a display on summer adventures and is enthusiastically recommended for all public libraries. Bring on the dirt.”—Library Journal, starred review

Link to the full review at Library Journal

“The book is packed with enough detail to allow someone who has never camped in their life to venture confidently into the woods, but even veteran backcountry campers will find plenty of useful tips on everything from first aid to making camp.”—The Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)

Link to the full review at The Daily Camera

“Authoritative, all-encompassing and truly the only manual a family need consult whilst planning a camping trip. [Olsson’s]own family’s mishaps are humorously told, making the book an utterly enjoyable read.”–Portland Book Review

Link to the full review at Portland Book Review

While the book will be most beneficial to parents, even camping-shy adults without kids stand to learn a lot from Helen’s camping guide… Plus, you don’t have to worry about reading a dry, guide-type book. The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids is an entertaining, at at times humorous, read. –

Link to the full review at Light Green Stairs

“I’ve read a few books on camping with kids over the years, but none emphasizes the importance or explores the full landscape of preparedness more than this new book by Helen Olsson. There’s a lot of sound advice here…with sage guidance that will make your trip as smooth as a well-swept tent floor (she has advice on that too).”–Our Days Are Just Filled

Link to the full review at Our Days Are Just Filled Blog

“With the help of this all-inclusive guide, greenhorn parents will quickly evolve into knowledgeable campers, capable of offering their children rewarding experiences in nature that will last a lifetime. Through her extensive advice, Olsson enables readers to thoroughly organize a trip prior to leaving home, allowing families to enjoy the outdoors with confidence.”--ForeWord Book Reviews

Link to the full review in ForeWord Reviews

“I loved this book. It is fun to read and highly informative. I have recently read several books on camping, cooking while camping and cooking for kids while camping and this is the best out of all of them. The personal anecdotes make this more than just a how-to-guide. In the end the book is inspiring and helpful.” –Regina at Amazon book reviews.

Link to the full review at Amazon book reviews.

“Clever illustrations paired with smart tips and check lists, this book is the ultimate manual for outdoor summer fun—the old school way—sans phone, television and video games. [The D&D Guide] will have you prepped for the next big adventure.”–Mile High Mamas

Link to the full review at Mile High Mamas

“For families tempted to take outdoor play to the next level, The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids is a boon companion. This is an author who sweats the details so we don’t have to.” –-The Book Page

Link to the full review at The Book Page

“Helen Olsson has created a simple guide to… get the family out into the woods. I don’t think I have ever seen a better manual and I have read a ton of camping books.”—Reading All Year

Link to the full review at Reading All Year

“[Camping guides] are not exactly Saturday Night Live ha-ha material. Boring comes to mind, tedious too. Imagine my surprise when I realized that Helen Olsson’s book was fun to read. The author’s got humor… Fantastic retro illustrations will bring you back to the golden days of American camping… The book features a wealth of information, basically all you need to know for a successful family camping trip.”—Frog Mom

Link to the full review at

“I’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 comes pretty close to family camping omniscience. A blend of seasoned tips, family lore, and advice to make camping a truly green endeavor, the guidebook… introduces a new generation of parents to the anti-consumer vacation.” –Mountain Magazine

Link to the full review at Mountain Magazine

“The Down & Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids is currently THE handbook for family camping. Helen’s writing is humorous, informative and will draw you right in.”–Tales of a Mountain Mama.

Link to the full review at Tales of a Mountain Mama

“Olsson breaks down the whole process of camping from start to finish. I appreciate the wit she delivers along with her wisdom of how to successfully and easily travel to the woods with kids.” – Goat Notes

Link to the full review at Goat Notes

“You absolutely must buy this book. Buy it now, put it on your Christmas List…just make sure to grab a copy because this kind of resource guide for families who love camping is unparalleled. Parts of the book read like a novel due to Helen’s gift for storytelling.  I feel like I’m sitting around a camp fire swapping stories about adventures gone badly.” –Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies blog

Read the full review at Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies

I love the author of this book because she is a mother herself…a very organized one!   Olsson makes it easy for busy moms and dads to plan, pack, and execute an amazing camping weekend. My favorite part…this guide integrates art and science into your camping weekend.”  –Natural Family Today

Link to the full review at Natural family Today.

“The author adds her own experiences and humor, which makes the book enjoyable to read as well as practical. The book is a great guide for a family new to camping and a good read for the avid adventurers, who can pick up a few new tips as well.” –Smart Camping Guide

Link to the full review at Smart Camping Guide

“The seasoned camper and writer shares the lessons she’s learned over the years with camping with her family.  She guides parents to the different family camping activities for children, from infants to teenagers.”–Seeking Greener

Link to the full review at Seeking Greener

 “A super-fun read that’s packed with useful info, the book covers everything from family-friendly campsites to how to dispose of a dirty diaper in the woods.” —Mom 365

Link to the full story at Mom 365

“After reading this book, I am truly inspired to take my kids camping again. Olsson’s guide is a must-have for first timers. If you have camped with your children before, you might learn a few tricks.”–The Family Chef blog

Link to the full review at The Family Chef.

“A few of the reasons I think every family needs a copy: It’s a a fun read…Olsson is honest and genuine in her advice…it’s organized in a read-what-you-need has a ton of packing lists…there are oodles of tips sprinkled throughout…the resources section alone is worth it.” –Go Explore Nature

Link to the full review at Go Explore Nature