Caravanning and Camping by A.H.M. Ward (1933)
Caravanning and Camping
by A.H.M. Ward (1933)
The early days of towing caravans around BritainÖ before traffic jams.

During the Industrial Revolution, people flocked from the countryside to the cities to seek work and wealth. As urban areas expanded, city folk began to hanker for the countryside their fathers and grandfathers had left behind, and camping as a form of leisure was born.

But it wasn’t as simple as that. At the end of the 19th century, public transport was limited, camping equipment was rudimentary and not everyone was convinced that camping was actually fun.

The leisure aspect was to really evolve much later. Several key figures and some social movements believed camping was more than sitting around a fire and roasting marshmallows.  It was encouraged as a healthy pastime that would build character and well-being. Socialists, naturists, militarists, pagans and the Nazis have all valued camping, hiking, woodcraft and the outdoor lifestyle at one time or another.

Camping books poured out from publishers – how to camp, where to camp, what to take, what to cook.  Cycling and car camping evolved followed by caravanning. In the 1950s, the Americans began sending their kids to summer camps while the British created holiday camps. By the 1970s, campers were looking to push themselves to the limit by hiking to the world’s most remote places.

Fiction writers embraced the subject too. Camping plays an important role in Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five were often pitching a tent before discovering smugglers, and many juvenile books were published in the first three decades of the 20th century where camping was the key theme.

Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the Scouting movement, saw camping as a method of toughening up young men for when their country needed them in military uniform.  Henry Ford saw cars and camping going hand-in-hand, and staged high-profile camping trips to show how automobiles could ferry Americans in and out of the wilderness.

There are many books dedicated to camping from the past 120 years. Significant writers include Baden Powell, Ernest Seton Thompson, who founded the League of Woodcraft Indians, George W. Sears (known as Nessmuk and the author of Woodcraft), and Thomas Hiram Holding who wrote The Camper's Handbook and founded the Camping and Caravanning Club.

 

Vintage Camping & Hiking Books

Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires by Egerton R. Young (1887)
Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires
by Egerton R. Young (1887)

A missionaryís experiences with the Canadian First Nations.
Camping in the Canadian Rockies by Walter Dwight Wilcox (1896)
Camping in the Canadian Rockies
by Walter Dwight Wilcox (1896)

Camping was a necessity as the Canadian wilderness was tamed.
Scouting the Balkans in a Motor Boat or an Escape From the Dardanelles by Captain V.T. Sherman (1913)
Scouting the Balkans in a Motor Boat or an Escape From the Dardanelles
by Captain V.T. Sherman (1913)

An adventure story from an era where scouting was expected to produce men of action.
The Camperís Own Book - For Devotees of Tent & Trail by George S Bryan (1913)
The Camperís Own Book - For Devotees of Tent & Trail
by George S Bryan (1913)

Published by the Canadian Camp Club, this is a collection of articles by outdoorsmen.
The Campfire Girls Go Motoring by Hildegard G. Frey (1916)
The Campfire Girls Go Motoring
by Hildegard G. Frey (1916)

The Campfire Girls series of novels for children spanned four decades.
American Boys' Handy Book of Camp-Lore and Woodcraft by Dan Beard (1920)
American Boys' Handy Book of Camp-Lore and Woodcraft
by Dan Beard (1920)

Everything you need to know about camping with 377 b&w illustrations.
Bob Hunt Senior Camper by George W. Orton (1924)
Bob Hunt Senior Camper
by George W. Orton (1924)

Second of the three volumes in the Bob Hunt juvenile fiction series.
Hiking by D. Francis Morgan (1927)
Hiking
by D. Francis Morgan (1927)

A practical manual on what to take hiking and how to use it.
Scouts in Bondage by Geoffrey Prout (circa 1930s)
Scouts in Bondage
by Geoffrey Prout (circa 1930s)

An innocent Scouting adventure that attracts much attention today.
The Camperís Kitchen by F. Marian McNeill (1933)
The Camperís Kitchen
by F. Marian McNeill (1933) Sold

Recipes for British campers between the World Wars.
Practical Camp Cookery for Guides and Guiders by E.M. Anderson (1936)
Practical Camp Cookery for Guides and Guiders
E.M. Anderson (1936)

Recipes and tips for Guides that was reprinted until 1968.
The Untutored Townsman's Invasion of the Country by C.E.M. Joad (1946)
The Untutored Townsman's Invasion of the Country
by C.E.M. Joad (1946)

A British intellectual, Joad crusaded to preserve the English countryside.
With Rucksack Round Ireland by John Wood (1950)
With Rucksack Round Ireland
by John Wood (1950)

The author tramped a thousand miles in 60 days.
The Second Rucksack Book by Margaret Playle (1954)
The Second Rucksack Book
by Margaret Playle (1954)

An illustrated collection of stories and Girl Guide-related articles.
The Camperís And Tramperís Week-End Book by Showell Styles (1956)
The Camperís And Tramperís Week-End Book
by Showell Styles (1956)

Written by a Welsh mountaineer, this book describes how to camp in the Alps and Himalayas.
Popular Science June 1956
Popular Science
June 1956

Includes Ď12 New Ways to Camp in Comfortí by Frank Rowsome, Jr.
The Camperís Bible by Bill Riviere (1961)
The Camperís Bible
by Bill Riviere (1961)

Riviere was an American camping icon in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher (1967)
The Man Who Walked Through Time
by Colin Fletcher (1967)

This two-month solo journey in the Grand Canyon illustrated endurance camping.
Family Campersí Cookbook by Bill Riviere (1971)
Family Campersí Cookbook
by Bill Riviere (1971)

Bill appears to be cooking on a massive cast iron stove.
Wilderness Cooking by Berndt Berglund & Clare E. Bolsby (1973)
Wilderness Cooking
by Berndt Berglund & Clare E. Bolsby (1973)

This book describes the Indian and Buckskin techniques of cooking.
The Canoe Camperís Handbook by Ray Bearse (1974)
The Canoe Camperís Handbook
by Ray Bearse (1974)

Pack your tent into the canoe and paddle into the wilderness.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail edited by James R Hare (1975)
Hiking the Appalachian Trail
edited by James R Hare (1975)

A 2-volume set describing one of Americaís more challenging hiking routes.
The Rucksack Man by Sebastian Snow (1976)
The Rucksack Man
by Sebastian Snow (1976)

A huge trek through South America starting at the worldís most southerly city.
Norman Rockwellís World of Scouting (1977)
Norman Rockwellís World of Scouting
Norman Rockwell (1977)

250 illustrations from this long-time supporter of American Scouting.
Backwoods Ethics: Environmental Issues for Hikers and Campers by Laura & Guy Waterman (1993)
Backwoods Ethics: Environmental Issues for Hikers and Campers
by Laura & Guy Waterman (1993)

A modern checklist for zero impact camping and hiking.

 

Recommend a book to read in a tent:

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