Fine guide to backpacking with kids |

Fine guide to backpacking with kids

“Monsters in the Woods, Backpacking with Children,” by Tim Hauserman (University of Nevada Reno & Las Vegas Press, 238 pages, $15.95)

This is by far one of the best “how-to” books I’ve read in a long time. While ostensibly it is aimed at helping adults take children backpacking, it applies to all of us. As for the children aspects, it is marvelous. Hauserman, a professional guide, does not let his enthusiasm for backpacking get in the way of children having a mighty fine time on the trails. His one continuing emphasis is on making sure children on the trail have fun – not just plod along. He writes with humor, leavening sound advice with admitting to errors of his own.

And for once the photos, some in color, do more than simply illustrate the subject; these pictures show kids (and adults) clearly enjoying themselves. His daughters, Sarah and Hannah, have been willing subjects to learning backpacking.There are some lists included, “Ten Ways to be Good in the Woods,” and “Twenty Quick Tips for Backpacking with Kids.” Both are excellent (and largely apply to adults as well) and they are bolstered by packing lists, food lists, games lists. There may be a lot thicker and more costly guides like this, but they can’t do a better job than Hauserman does in his short, breezy pages.

He ends with this: “Whatever you do, try backpacking with your children. If you are looking for a special experience with your child, and a way to reacquaint yourself with nature, this is the way to do it.”

Now he tells me.

– Sam Bauman