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Savvy Mom Dishes Advice in 'The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids'

Taking the kids camping? Need some tips for optimizing the fun factor? A new addition to the REI bookshelf might help: The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids by Helen Olsson.

bookOlsson, a mother of 3 based in Boulder, Colo., and former executive editor at Skiing magazine, is a widely published freelance writer whose 2009's New York Times article on llama-trekking with her kids served as the inspiration for this book.

Olsson serves up 10 chapters divided into 4 sections:

• Getting Started
• In the Field
• Activities and Adventures
• Hygiene, First Aid and Safety

Dotted throughout the book are what Olsson calls Smart Tips, small pearls of camping wisdom she has collected over the years. A couple of samples:

• Put a pair of slip-on sandals or flip-flops at the door of the tent for midnight pee breaks. Nobody, especially a 6-year-old, wants to be tying laces in the dead of night.

• Use fluorescent or brightly colored ribbon to tie bows on the tent's guylines. Place them at your child's eye level. This will help prevent kids from tripping on the guylines.

The book, which earned a detailed write-up in Outside magazine's blog today, is available now in most REI stores and here at

For additional tips on getting kids enthused about the outdoors, see the Family section of the REI Expert Advice library. Items of potential interest include:

Hiking with Kids
Backpacking with Kids
Camping with Kids
Camping checklist

Camping with Kids art

Posted on at 4:31 PM

Tagged: Helen Olsson, book, camping, camping with kids and kids

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Great simple advice, I love the graphics of the book in the pictures depicted above - I am going to have to go an purchase a copy for my family as soon as possible. The tip about the sandals for midnight potty breaks is perfect, if not, the kids traipse in dirt and other things back into the tent. Thanks for the useful information and review. Regards, Zuft (

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