Recommended Reading


The Well-Fed Backpacker - June Flemming
I only really recommend one camping cook book, due to the simplicity of the recipes and the multitude of good ideas.  Most require no dehydration and ingredients are generally easily sourced.  The only book you'll need, as I've bought a few but only really prepare meals out of this one.

The Complete Trail Food Cookbook - Mackenzie and Others
If you love using your food dehydrator or are looking for some excuses to use it, this book is helpful. Personally, I think it's too much work, but I'm sure there are some who are more dedicated to low-weight cooking than I.


This book was actually the inspiration for this website. I love the authors' approach of trying to warn you about some of the less spectacular hiking spots in the Canadian Rockies.  After all, not all hikes are equally rewarding and their opinions are valuable.  Be warned; for a flat-land hiker (i.e. those towards the centre of the continent), their "Easy" hikes can be strenuous.  "Challenging" hikes probably have a high likelihood of death.

Canoe Trip Planning

The first resource I always check for canoe routes is the Canadian Canoe Routes website. The site is indispensable, and route information can get quite detailed (even including .GPX files on occasion).  Its more than likely that information on nearly any backcountry outing you seek can be found here.

Algonquin Trip Planning Map (Jeff McMurtrie)- I'm convinced that this is the only map you'll need when planning an outing to Algonquin Park.  You'll find this map is far more detailed than the Chrismar adventure maps and the MNR Canoe Routes map put together.  And the developer has offered it free for use on his website (obviously he is one heck of a nice dude, because he put a lot of work into it).   I suggest you provide a donation on his site and buy a copy of the map for use in the field.

Canoeing Algonquin Park by Donald Lloyd - This book is a great companion when you're shut in for the winter, dreaming of sitting by a lake on a warm summer evening, watching the stars and listening to the loons call.  I find that it's sometimes short on detail of the actual routes, but the anecdotes and trivia interspersed throughout its pages make it a valuable and enjoyable edition to any Algonquin afficianado's library.

For car camping, I recommend A Campers Guide to Ontario's Best Parks - Donna Carpenter. An invaluable resource, with critical reviews of campgrounds.  She provides excellent lists of the best car camping sites in some of Ontario's most popular parks.  Book early; thanks to this book, the word on these sites is out and they vanish first.

Kevin Callan's Ontario Canoeing Series - I really enjoy these books in helping to get a sense of where to explore next, and Callan's writing style is a lot of fun.  I'm not a bushwhacking type of paddler and I aim to base camp more often than true canoe tripping, but Callan's books provide enough detail where you can plan either type of trip.  My only complaint about these books is that Callan seems to endorse every trip that he lists.  I love canoeing, and I love camping, but there are only so many trips that I would do more than once.  Life is short, so some subjectivity can be helpful for those who aren't able to get outdoors 6 months of the year.  He also has a book entitled the 50 best canoe trips in Ontario;  I'd be lucky if I get 50 trips in during my lifetime, so I think it would help to rate these individually.  Other than that, a valuable resource for trip planning.  A list of my favorite titles includes:

A Paddler's Guide to Ontario - Focuses on a range of trips of some of Ontario's most popular canoe camping destinations
A Paddler's Guide to Ontario's Lost Canoe Routes - The most southerly route in this book is near Bancroft, all the others are further north and are more remote (not the usual destinations)
A Paddler's Guide to Ontario's Cottage Country - Great resource for destinations close to the Greater Toronto Area.  He examines the Kawarthas (much of which is now Kawartha Highlands Signature Site), Georgian Bay, Haliburton Highlands (Frost Centre), and Muskoka.
A Paddler's Guide to Algonquin Park - A good attempt at trying to highlight some of Algonquin's best routes (guess he's not a fan of the Rain Lake access)
A Paddler's Guide to Killarney and the French River -  A great introduction and explanation of where to paddle in Killarney and some excellent guidance on the French.

As well, if you can get a hold of Canoe Routes of Ontario, which harkens back to the glory days of backcountry paddling in Ontario, I suggest you hang onto it.  Its no longer in print and a difficult find.  There used to be significant provincial resources maintaining these routes, however those days have past. The Ministry of Natural Resources advises against using this as a resource, but I would imagine there are still some valid routes to be found in this book.  With further research, some hidden gems could be discovered, with access to some of Ontario's most remote and secluded wilderness.  Darren provides a complete list.

Wilderness Survival

I think wilderness survival is a natural extension of a deep interest in experiencing the outdoors and there are some handy resources out there.  Here are some of my favorites:

Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival - A great resource from one of the most celebrated US trackers and survival experts 

SAS Survival Guide - The pocket edition is handy to keep around to hone your skills when having fun in the outdoors

Medicine for the Outdoors - Written by a doctor and comprehensive.  Probably the only outdoor first aid book you'll need, though can't this come in a pocket size?

Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance - Dr. Herrero's many years of research provide a lot of insight into what to do in the rare event of a bear attack and how to reduce the risk of negative encounters.  A lot of gory details, which I feel can be gratuitous at times, but a lot of valuable information.  You'll definitely have greater respect for bears after reading.