Jeff Burlingame

How to Camp Like a Pro: One Star for You!

How to Camp Like a Pro: One Star for You!

On April 28, 2016, Posted by , In Jeff Burlingame, By ,,, , With Comments Off on How to Camp Like a Pro: One Star for You!

How to Camp Like a Pro (2015)

Jacket copy:

With this “how-to” guide, readers will learn all the basic knowledge of camping and the important components that will make a first time camping trip a success. Between picking a location and setting up camp to the necessary gear and supplies, readers will learn everything needed to become a skilled camper!

The first in a series of two outdoors books I wrote for teens and the first of three books I wrote on the outdoors, How to Camp Like a Pro challenged me from the start for one simple reason: Just how does one camp like a pro?

I know my camping skills are not professional-level. One time, I “fed the animals” and they soon began to swarm my campfire and surround my family. We retreated to our vehicle and had to wait for a park ranger to help save the day. Another time (okay, several other times), I have injured myself in nature. I have burned myself with s’mores. I have cut myself chopping wood. I have even attracted potentially deadly wild animals to my base camp in the mountains by not following proper food-storage procedures. I have made more mid-camping trips to remote mom-and-pop grocery stores than I care to admit.

Who am I to write about professional camping?

I did not share any of the above anecdotes in the book, but I did research and draw from my experiences. I wrote about the history of the activity–why people do it, where they do it, and what supplies they need to be safe and successful. Setting up camp effectively is an art, so I wrote a little about that. And about etiquette and even unloading the car when you return home. Ways to streamline the process and make camping more fun.

I received this scathing review from a reader:

Vacillating between independent adventures and family camping and frequently falling back on the advice to consult parents or other experts, but featuring no pictures of adults, only teens and college-aged campers, the text is unfocused and shallow. Would-be campers will not find the detailed lists of equipment/gear, techniques/tips, and helpful guides to welcoming camping sites/experiences in this book. This is a general overview about camping, not a practical camping handbook. Readers would do better to obtain a Scout handbook (for about the same price).

During my two decades as a journalist, including nine years as a columnist and nine years as an author with hundreds of thousands of books in circulation, my skin has grown thick to ignoramuses. But I still become a tad frustrated when people so obviously miss the point, as did the reviewer above. The book was meant to be a “general overview about camping, not a practical handbook.” The reviewer berates the product for being exactly what it was intended to be. “You hit the nail on the head, Mr. Writer Man, so I will bestow upon you a one-star review!”

You want to talk about reading comprehension?


Coming tomorrow: Freshwater Fishing


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