Into The Wild
Yes, I know this is not a camping book per se. However, it is a very good book just the same and does touch on a number of camping
issues. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer is the type of book that
creates strong opinions from its readers and the fall into two camps surrounding the story of Chris
McCandless. Either you think his actions were extremely foolish and
down right stupid or you believe that his journey although ill-fated is one of hope, excitement and
This book chronicles the life of Chris McCandless who after graduating
from college decided to instead of getting a regular job decided to walk across
America by camping and living
essentially as a hobo. He did quite a bit of traveling, but his adventures culminated with his final one a trip
to Alaska where he ultimately died in the Alaska wild. Jon Krakauer takes an in
depth look into Chris’s life and studies the interactions he had with others and looks into what ultimately were
the likely causes of his death.
For those who are not familiar with Mr. Krakauer’s writing, you will be
impressed. He has written a number of adventure books and occasionally writes for Outside
Magazine. All of his writing is top grade as he has a knack for writing straight-forward and
action-oriented material that brings in his own personal experience as mountain climber and camper to give
the writing greater authority.
In addition, he will often take a step back and provide some
thought-provoking ideas about a certain action and provide introspection on what may have been going on in
Chris’s mind about undertaking a specific action or making a certain
I especially liked the sections where he brings in stories of other
ill-fated journeys for comparison to Chris’s story. This blend of history of
similar circumstances makes for interesting reading for all history buffs or those who are curious of other
instances where this has occurred.
Plus, Krakauer goes into detail about Chris’s plan concerning food rations and
food selection and how his death may have been due in part to mistakenly eating some poisonous
food. This was done apparently by Chris who mistook the food for an edible
As I said before, reading this book will evoke strong emotions in you as
you try to grapple with the final outcome. Regardless of your final
opinion, this books serves as a strong reminder the importance of a few rules that all wise campers already
know: (1) you can never do enough planning for your trip and (2) if you test nature too often, you can pay the
ultimate price. Even with these painful reminders, I found this book
to be truly fascinating and will be one that you will easily finish in a weekend if not
sooner. There is also a movie out about the book; however, I would
recommend you read the book first as it provides more detail and background knowledge.
My final takeaway from this book is to simply approach it with an open
mind. Even if you are part of the group who would reject this story as foolhardy adventure,
take note of the spirit behind this adventure. It is that spirit which
we all are going after when choose to go tent camping rather than do something less
adventurous. For this reason, I strongly recommend this book.