When I set out to put together this list of books that feature camping, I was confident that it wouldn’t be all that difficult. Though putting together these types of lists is typically time consuming, I normally have a good basis of posts and lists to start from. Both Google and Goodreads have always been good friends in helping me sift through books to come up with a list. It turns out that this was not the case when it came to books that feature camping.
I soon discovered that there are not many existing lists to peruse. Though I am certain that there are many books that include some form of camping, they don’t seem to be grouped together or easily identifiable. Camping doesn’t seem to be a common keyword tag for novels. There are at least 2 books on this list that I only found because I spent time scrolling through my Goodreads “Read” and “Want to Read” lists, and I remembered enough about them to click through to the description.
Many of the lists that do exist are short and contain the same small handful of books, or they list books that contain some wilderness aspects and/or hiking but not camping. There are lists of books set at summer camp, but that was not what I wanted. It turned out to be very difficult to find fictional books that include camping. But I have succeed in putting together a list!
The books listed here feature camping to different extents, but I think they all feature it in some way or another. I have not read them all, but I have read a number of them and hope to add the others to my TBR for the future.
1. Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries by Tonya Kappes
This was the book that inspired me to write this list, and somehow made me believe that it would be easy to put together. If there’s one book, there must be more, right? This is the first in the Camper & Criminals cozy mystery series that is set in a campground in Kentucky. With campground politics to traverse and a murder to solve, this is a fun entry into the series and I look forward to reading the later books.
2. The Wild Inside by Christine Carbo
This is the first in the Glacier Park Mystery series. From the description, this might not be one to take along on your next camping trip unless you are okay with being scared of every thing that goes bump in the night. This mystery deals with grizzly bear attacks that appear to be instigated by a very human killer. As intriguing as this one sounds, I don’t think I’ll be too keen on sleeping in a tent too soon after reading it.
3. Hatchet by Gary Paulson
I read this book years ago while in elementary school. This is again the first in a series, though I think I only ever read the first book. The series follows a boy who is forced to survive in the Canadian wilderness after the plane he was in crash lands in a lake. All he has is the clothing on his back and a small hatchet.
4. Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center
I came across this one multiple times before I added it to the list, because I was convinced that it was a non-fiction/memoir/self-help type book. But I was wrong. This is a contemporary novel about a recently divorced woman who lets her younger brother convince her to sign up for a wilderness survival course where she will spend three weeks in a remote area of Wyoming.
5. The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson
This book has quite possibly one of the cutest covers ever, but it might be stretching the topic a tad, because I’m not sure how much camping it includes. This is a contemporary romance novel that follows a woman who moves back home to help out her grieving and aging grandfather only to find that her mother has already taken over her old room. Things start to turn around when her grandfather gifts her an old run-down vintage camper that she resolves to restore with the help of a certain handsome gentleman from town.
6. Flamingo Fatale by Jimmie Ruth Evans
This is the first in the Trailer Park Mystery series, and from the description, it probably falls right on the edge of the camping category. When Wanda’s husband is found murdered with her favourite pink flamingo yard ornament, she quickly becomes not only the prime suspect but a target for the real killers. Wanda and her best friend need to catch the real killers before they get her.
7. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
This is the first book in the fantasy series The Queen’s Thief. While camping isn’t a main feature point in the book, and certainly not the rest of the series to my knowledge, the characters do spend a fair amount of time camping and hiking through the woods as they set out on a quest in search of a treasure. There are even stories at night by the campfire! This is a series that I quickly fell in love with, and I would highly recommend checking out.
8. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
This is a young adult contemporary romance that features a group camping trip that goes south leaving the two main characters – best friends turned enemies – alone in the wilderness. Can the two stop fighting long enough to get out of the woods in one piece? And what will happen as their hidden feelings start to surface? This is one that I have had on my list for a while after reading, and loving, another book by the same author.
9. The Distance Between Lost & Found by Kathryn Holmes
I read this book quite sometime ago, and from my Goodreads review it seems that I had mixed feelings about it at the time, despite giving it 3 stars. I don’t remember it enough to say why I felt this way, so it might be worth a re-read. This story features a group of characters with a complicated history, that set out on a youth group camping trip. The three main characters become separated from the group and they need to overcome their history to survive and escape the wilderness.
10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Okay… so this one is really stretching it, but I didn’t love some of my other options so I decided to just go with it. This is a book that features the type of camping you might enjoy if you like your vacations with a touch of danger. And of course, by a touch of danger, I mean that chances are you won’t survive. This book gives new meaning to the theme of escaping the wilderness alive. Beware of changing landscapes and unpredictable killer creatures. “May the odds be ever in your favour.”
There you have it. 10 books that I was able to find that feature camping to some degree or another. I am certain that there are more books that I have read or heard about that include camping, but they were playing hard to get. Hopefully going forward, this topic will be something that I can keep in mind while reading, and maybe somewhere in the future I’ll be able to write an updated list with more titles.
Have you read any books that feature or include a type of camping that I have missed? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,