By Beth Clark • July 11, 2018
If you're rafting, kayaking, canoeing, paddling, snowshoeing, skiing, trekking, backpacking, or hiking to your next campsite, then you're backcountry camping. (Car campers, glampers, and RV'ers, we have books for you too!)
Buck Tilton is the author of 43 books and the real deal in wilderness education, medicine, and humor, evidenced by his wit and numerous awards, including the Warren Bowman Award for contributions to wilderness medicine, the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence, the Paul Petzoldt Award for excellence in wilderness education, and the Ben Franklin Award, given to the second-best humor book of the year. His Backpacker Magazine column "Medicine Man" has been running for 24+ years, he's the Wilderness Medicine Institute co-founder and a volunteer rescuer at Denali whose day job is English Instructor at Central Wyoming College.
A Yale and UC Berkeley graduate, author, and wilderness expert with over 30 years of experience, including 15 as a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) instructor, Molly Absolon lives in Victor, Idaho with her husband and daughter. She exemplifies the life of an adventurous spirit during all four seasons, on land, in the water, on the snow, in the sun, up high, and down low. In addition to 10+ books on outdoor skills, Molly has written for Backpacker Magazine and is a columnist for the Jackson Hole News & Guide. She knows her stuff and her writing has an authenticity that makes it easy to relate to.
Director of the Outdoor Action Program at Princeton University since 1981, Rick Curtis lectures regularly on outdoor safety, running a wilderness orientation program, and training college wilderness leaders. He has four decades of backpacking and camping expertise that makes The Backpacker's Field Manual a bestseller for good reason.
Don Jacobson's 35+ years as an avid backpacker, canoeist, and spelunker who likes fresh, delicious food on the trail have given him ample opportunities to develop and test the 175 recipes in The One Pan Gourmet: Fresh Food on the Trail that only require one pot to prepare. Plus he has some excellent trail tips and practical planning resources.
Technically more narrative than guide book, Mike Barenti's Kayaking Alone: Nine Hundred Miles from Idaho's Mountains to the Pacific Ocean is a firsthand account of man and nature. In his stories of the river guides and rangers, biologists and ranchers, Native Americans and dam workers he met along the way, the ecology, history, and politics of Pacific salmon unfold in fascinating detail and offer a new perspective of the nature that unites and sometimes divides us.
Jeff Bennett is a bestselling author, kayaker, rafter, and outdoor enthusiast whose tips and guides are revered by pros and adrenaline seekers across the globe. The Complete Whitewater Rafter is the most comprehensive Class V guide and rafting manual there is, from a quick day trip to multi-day adventures. Oh, and it's endorsed by professional guides, instructors, and recreational river runners everywhere.
Shop this list and get outside!