The Best in Tent Camping: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos: Northern California, by Hans and Jane Huber and Bill Mai, Menasha Ridge Press, 2004, 192 pages, $14.95 (www.menasharidge.com).
Whether you’re an experienced camper or you need a guide to walk you through your first adventure, you will appreciate having The Best in Tent Camping on your shelf. This book caters to campers who seek quiet, remote campsites, but would rather not have to strap on a 50-pound pack to find it. The authors use a simple five-star rating system to grade the beauty, privacy, spaciousness, quiet, security, and cleanliness of each site, and they provide detailed tips and contact information. The inexperienced will especially appreciate the authors’ thorough checklist of necessities and extras, from the obvious (bring a tent) to the ingenious (bring earplugs to block out flapping tents and snoring spouses).
There are a few flaws that keep the book from being the definitive Northern California car camping guide. It maps only the immediate area around the campsites, so you’ll need a state map or Internet search to find the way in. The book also lacks photos, so the reader has to rely on the descriptions provided by the authors. Aside from these points, discriminating campers will find The Best in Tent Camping to be precise, informative, and easy to use. Overall, its best feature is the inclusion of little details–where the last gas stop is, what soup to order from the nearest restaurant, and tips for exploring the surrounding area–that will make your trip easier and allow you to focus on the enchanting landscapes that make up the place we call home.