Person in hammock reading a book. Label: Camping tips for readers

Camping Tips for Readers

Or, Reading Tips for Campers

The Basic Camping Tips

This summer, for the first time ever, I went on a proper camping trip, and to my surprise, I found out that I as a reader, I had some really good camping tips. If you are thinking of heading into the great outdoors yourself, here are some reading habits you should take with you into the wild.

Check out a Hot Spot from your local library.

The Covid Pandemic has pushed Internet access over the wire from being a considered a luxury to being a necessity. Libraries have provided computer access and free wifi in their facilities for some time, but the Pandemic has taken things a step further. Now many larger library systems have started making hotspots available for check out (check your local library’s website for detailed information).

If your campsite is in a remote place, you may have trouble using your cell phone for data. Of course, ideally you won’t need much wifi access, but if you need it, bring a hotspot.

This one of our best camping tips for impressing everyone with your library skills!

Hands free booklights that you wear around your neck make the best book light and the best camping light.

For years I struggled with book lights until I finally figured out that a light attached to a book will never work. it’s hard to get the page illuminated evenly, and they need constant adjusting. Whoever invented those is not a real reader. The key is to wear it around your neck. Then you can adjust the light once, and you’re done. If you shift, the light shifts with you.

I threw my book light into my bag as an afterthought because the only reading material I had was my kindle, and that has its own light.

I can’t tell you how handy it was to have a small, hands free light to use for going to the bathroom or really doing whatever I needed to do outside of the tent. Mine is very efficient, and I rarely have to charge it.

A lot of people think they don’t need flashlights these days because of their phones, but phones are very difficult to hold and angle, and then you’re only left with one hand to actually do stuff.

Wait until your friends see how this camping tip helps your fjord the wilds of your campground after dark!

Instead of bringing a notebook or journal, bring a Rocket Notebook.

I’ve just discovered Rocketbook Notebooks, and they are real game changers. A Rocket Notebook is a wipable, reusable notebook. The pages are designed to feel like real paper (they are a little plasticky but not bad). You can use regular Pilot Frixon erasable pens or markers to write in them. The beauty of this notebook is that you can scan your pages to a variety of digital destinations, wipe the pages with the reusable microfiber cloth, and fill the book again.

There is a simple coding system that you use to mark each page, so if want to keep a bunch of different things in your notebook together, you can code them to go to different folders. You can also use hashtags.

The notebooks are very thin and light. Dampness shouldn’t damage the notebook itself although I would still keep it in a zipped plastic bag to make sure the writing doesn’t smear. There are 20 pages, so unless you are very prolific, you should be able to make it through your trip without scanning on the go.

This camping tip gives you a low weight journal that is also durable.

Bookmarks make great souvenirs or gifts for campers. Or anyone.

I love tacky magnets as much as the next person, but I really love my box of bookmarks and try to collect one from each place I go.

They are light and small, which is great for packing, and they are also earth friendly. You can find them in many places: farmer’s markets, craft shops, camp stores, souvenir stores, and museum shops, to name a few. I love to visit bookstores, but I am unlikely to buy a book. I’m down for a book mark anytime! I try to find at least one with the name of the place on it, but I also label them on the back when I get home.

If someone asks me what they can bring me, “bookmark” is my answer.

This camping tip will bring you great memories of friends and travel without junking up your house.

I have a special box to store my bookmarks, but there are numerous ways you could display them. And of course, they are useful too.

Resist the urge to share books at campsites by leaving them or picking them up unless you are sure they will not get damp.

I was horrified to see that some well-meaning but deluded soul left several books outside the bathroom at my campsite. The campsite was at the beach in the southeast, which means there was a constant damp wind.

The damp is death to books.

Sometimes, in my library volunteer work, I have to help sort through book donations. Most of our energy goes into checking books for signs of dampness. If we see any, the book has to be “black bagged” (sent to recycling). That’s the end of the line for that book as a book.

If we see black mold, we have to empty and clean the entire donations closet AND black bag everything.

Unless there is a climate controlled area for book sharing, don’t do it.

Out of all of these camping tips, this is one of the most important when it comes to your health.

Kindle Camping Tips

The rest of this post is about how useful Kindles are for readers who like to camp (or campers who like to read). If you don’t like Kindles, bring used books so that you can discard them as you go. Thrift stores usually have good selections of recent popular fiction. Some dollar stores also sell a surprisingly good selection of remaindered books.

A Kindle Paperwhite is light, waterproof, and easy to read in bright sunlight or in the dark.

The only electronic devices I brought on my trip are my phone and my Kindle Paperwhite. That’s really all you need unless you need to work or want to watch movies on a bigger device. IPads and Kindle Fires are heavier. They get hot to the touch, are more sensitive to heat, and are hard to read in strong sunlight.

If you camp a lot and want the bigger screen of a tablet, consider investing in a Kindle Fire as a back up to your iPad as a far less expensive alternative to bring camping. Kindle Fires, however, are not great for reading.

You don’t need the expensive Kindle Oasis, but you don’t want to get the device known as “Kindle” either because it’s not waterproof.

The Oasis has a few bells and whistles, but the main difference is its memory size. Amazon stores all of your Kindle books in their cloud for free, so you really don’t need the memory.

Read more about selecting the right Kindle for you here.

Keep your devices on airplane mode to save your battery, especially in remote locations.

If you live in a rural area, you may know this already: when data service is spotty, your battery will run down faster than usual. That’s because it uses energy trying to find a connection.

Also keep in mind that Google maps uses a lot of energy when the phone isn’t plugged in. It’s also easy to accidentally leave it running in the background, which also depletes the battery quickly. Take it from me, an experienced traveler with a horrible sense of direction.

Naturally, you probably brought a charging pack, but those tend to be slow. You also don’t want the extra weight of it when you are on a day trip. But you definitely need a functional phone for an emergency!

If you keep your Kindle on airplane mode, you will probably last a week or more without needing to charge it at all. And of course you only need wifi for shopping or downloading books anyway.

I brought one charger that lasted the four days of my trip. I charge my Kindle at all, and I charged my phone while I slept, just as I normally do.

During my trip, I had only had enough of a signal to text and make calls. To save my battery during the day, I kept my data turned completely off unless I wanted to check my messages.

I’ve learned from experience that it’s also a good idea to keep your phone on airplane mode when you’re traveling through remote locations. Battling the struggle to find a signal with the constant movement can cause your phone to quickly run down.

Note: Don’t rely on the solar chargers. They need to be used exactly when you are least likely to be at the campsite: in sunlight.

I fully recharged the charger at home, and it lasted through my whole trip without having to top it up. I would advise bringing one of these devices per person.

Get the digital versions of any guide books will use regularly.

For years, travel guru Rick Steves recommended ripping the unneeded pages from their guide books to lower their luggage weight. Note that Rick Steves was one of the first travel guides to come out on kindle too.

I just love being able to have all kinds of travel guides and nature guides with me for reference. If you get guidebooks for your hometown or home state, you will be surprised at how often you can find something awesome to do on a whim. Try the “Off the Beaten Path” series for tips on the places locals love.

Keep in mind that Kindle Paperwhites do not reproduce images very well. Make sure that you have the free Kindle app downloaded to your phone for any images or diagrams you may need to check.

You can have any Kindle book downloaded on up to six devices at a time, so you shouldn’t have a problem.

To share your Kindle books with friends or family, they have to be logged in to your account or have them assigned to your “Family Library”.

Find the best activities by checking out guide books you will only use once from the library.

The Old Guide Book Camping Tips

Refusing to spend $15-20 on a guide book when you are taking days from your life, not to mention effort and money, is poor economy. For many years I always invested in the most recent guide book I could find. Many people plan to use the Internet, many times the best experiences aren’t advertised. Many of my best travel memories come from free experiences or random deals I found.

If you rely on social media or recommendation sites, you might find information that is grossly outdated, blatantly incorrect, or sometimes illegal. Why do you want to risk a good time by relying on that?

But if you’re a reader, you probably know better than to take camping tips from strangers without checking a reliable source.

Guess what? You don’t need to spend the money on a guide book either.

Lois’ Theory of Entertainment Spending

My theory about spending on entertainment is to always maximize my value (Enjoyment/Cost) so I have more money to spend on more fun. I will splurge if I think the experience is worth the cost, but honestly, few expensive things are. Some, but not many.

To avoid missing those key activities, my family has the tradition of choosing one “splurge” on each trip. To make that happen, we economize on things we don’t care about as much; for example, we’ll eat al fresco rather than in restaurants most of the time.

If you are a major foodie, you might choose that as your splurge and skimp on other things.

One reason I have latched onto camping recently is that it’s a great way to maximize my enjoyment for the cost.

The Updated Guide Book Camping Tips

With the wide availability of digital books at libraries, you can have the best of both worlds. Find out about the best places to visit, eat, etc. by getting a guidebook free from the library…right on your Kindle…. Now, the catch with that is that they probably don’t have the newest edition available, and so prices, opening times, etc. might be outdated…especially with the Pandemic. That’s ok, because you have your phone and Google, so you can double check that information there.

Primary tourist sites usually don’t change that much; what changes are the costs and accessibility.

Your friends may think you’re a reading nerd who doesn’t know anything about the outdoors. While they may have the experience, with these camping tips, they will see why they should always bring a reader!

Find out all about how to check out Kindle library books here.

Enjoy your trip with these camping tips!

Whether you are an experienced camper or a recluse open to trying new things, I hope these camping tips help you enjoy yourself even more!

Please add your own camping tips, or reading tips, below!