I wanted to put together an ever-growing list of resources for everyone from beginners to experienced outdoors folks of things I’ve found useful for learning and inspiration along my path.
Much of this list is centred around Canada, particularly the hands-on learning experiences, but I’ve tried to also include links to things that have been valuable to me based abroad.
I’ve divided this list into categories with links to any websites for those items. I always encourage folks to shop small so if there’s anything you see and feels exciting for you, please try and buy direct from the source or find a local shop that either carries or can order it for you!
As always this page is ever growing, so check back to see if there’s anything new and I’ll make sure to include any changes in posts if there’s something specific I’ve added.
Books (Non-Fiction Reference)
Books (Guides & Manuals)
The Backpacker’s Field Manual – Rick Curtis
- This book includes an extremely comprehensive look at essentially every aspect of contemporary backpacking and trip planning
- The layout is incredibly approachable and the material is laid out very simply, making finding information a breeze
Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species – Mark Elbroch
- After using a couple of other guides (Pearson and Sheldon), someone lent me this book and I absolutely adored it
- Can use it for differing degrees of tracking, from identifying tracks to learning how to read and track the things you see
The Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition – David Allen Sibley
- There are plenty of birding guides out there, but this one is probably above and beyond the most preferred birders book
- The layout makes it extremely simple to identify birds in a number of ways based on shape, size, plumage, range, etc.
- Detailed yet approachable
Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips: 153 Amazing & Inexpensive Tips for Extremely Lightweight Camping – Mike Clelland
- While I personally find Mike Clelland’s illustrations charming, I will say that upon first seeing this book I did not take it very seriously, which just goes to show you that you truly can’t judge a book by its cover
- This book is full of tons of incredibly useful information from a guy with a lot of first-hand experience
- Great for anyone interested in transitioning to a more lightweight/minimal backpacking journey
Books (Literary Non-Fiction)
Park Bagger: Adventures in the Canadian National Parks – Marlis Butcher
- A great resource for finding inspiration to explore our beautiful National Parks system in Canada
The Backyard Adventurer – Beau Miles
- Equally comfortable waxing philosophical while remaining grounded in real life, I just can’t get enough of Beau Miles’ writing
Once Around Algonquin & Dazed But Not Confused – Kevin Callan
- These are two of Kevin’s (at the time of writing this) 18 books
- I love his literary writing because I find it both hilarious and inspiring the way he shares tales of his adventures in the Ontario wilderness that is so close to my heart, but he also has a whole host of books sharing canoe routes, winter camping tips, and more
- He’s quite a well-known figure in the Ontario outdoors world, so you can find his books at Ontario Parks stores and local and more commercial outdoors stores!
- If you’re looking for a either a great place to begin with paddling of any kind, or you’d like to improve your skills to become certified to be an instructor, there really is no better place to start
- While I’ve had both incredibly motivating and empowering instructors and those that I felt were not particularly engaged with sharing paddling as a vital part of their being, I will say I did always come out with the skills that I went in looking for
- While I highly recommend the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training for anyone who plans to be outdoors for a considerable amount of time, any kind of wilderness first aid will give you the skills and personal confidence to get outside and be an asset to yourself and fellow outdoors folk
- I did my WFR with CWMT instructor Jill Baxter, and if you have the opportunity to work with her as an instructor I could not encourage you highly enough, she is truly one of a kind in the outdoors
- Seven easy principals to apply to your next outdoors experience to make sure the ecosystem we’re a part of endures long after we’re gone
Media (YouTube Channels, TV Shows, Blogs, Podcasts, etc.)
Kevin Callan a.k.a. The Happy Camper
- Kevin Callan has two YouTube channels:
- KC Happy Camper – for informative tips & learning about the outdoors
- Kevin Callan – for videos from his personal adventures over land and water
- He writes a ton of informative and funny articles over at Explore Magazine that have his signature dry humour and passion for the outdoors
- Much like his book I listed above, Beau Miles puts out videos that would inspire anyone to explore their own backyard
- Films gorgeous short-films based on adventures he puts together literally in his own backyard and across the world
- If you’re looking for someplace to stay overnight that isn’t necessarily in the bush but also doesn’t require a fee – this is a great option
- Highly recommend checking the reviews/most recent comments to see details about the space
- Less opportunities closer to cities, but great for planning stops on longer hauls
- This is awesome for finding the most affordable gas in your area or along your route
- Whether you’re commuting or long-haul driving this app relies on drivers to keep pricing up to date
- Definitely a necessity for life on the road to keep costs low
Crown Land Use Policy Atlas (Ontario, Canada)
- While maps like these exist across Canada and the US (BLM land), this one is the one I use most frequently in Ontario
- Allows you to find bushland that you can use and camp on for free
- Keep in mind that it is our responsibility to take care of and use these places respectfully
- Use of this atlas can be incredibly confusing at first, both of these videos breakdown the process into very easy to follow directions
- Kevin Callan’s more contemporary video sharing how to use the CLUPA
- PineMartyn’s original video that many people still reference and refer to in the community – the site look is outdated but the information is still very relevant!