What happens when two great friends – Jennifer Pharr Davis, a record-setting hiker who has covered over 14,000 miles of long distance trails on six different continents, and Haley Blevins, who has walked over 10,000 miles tackling America’s longest distance hiking trails – team up to share their passion and knowledge with middle schoolers? They write the definitive interactive field guide to inspire kids to get outside, and go on adventures with curiosity and courage. Here’s what you should know about their new info-packed, activity-jammed, illustration-rich book, Outdoor School: Hiking & Camping.

In the week since its April 27 debut, Outdoor School has already climbed to the top spot in new releases (Children’s Fitness books category) on Amazon. Through its 400 full-color pages, all beautifully illustrated by Aliki Karkoulia, Jennifer and Haley set-out to help kids rewild their lives with immersive activities to get them exploring the outdoors. It includes write-in sections for kids to journal about their experiences and track their progress, as well as next-level adventures to challenge seasoned nature lovers.

The authors stress that “no experience is required” for Outdoor School, as they lead kids through the basics of planning hiking, camping, and all-things-nature adventures, while covering all the essentials:

  • Outdoor Gear
  • First Aid & Survival
  • Navigation
  • How to Handle Extreme Weather
  • Crossing Dangerous Terrain
  • Setting Up Camp
  • Building a Fire?In Rain or Shine
  • Games for the Trail
  • Finding and Filtering Water
  • Animal Tracks, Calls, and Sounds
  • Bird Watching
  • Plant Spotting
  • Rock Hunting
  • What to Do If You’re Lost
  • And More, More, More…

Sure, this book is technically for readers in grades 4-6, but that’s not going to stop us – a bunch of grown “kids” – from checking out Outdoor School, too. We want to learn all about hiking and camping and adventure… at our beginners’ speed (we’re based in New York City – not an excuse, just a fact). And who better to teach us (and kids of all ages) than Jennifer and Haley, two trailblazing adventurers everyone should know?

What You Should Know About Jennifer, Haley and Aliki

Jennifer Pharr Davis is an acclaimed hiker, author, speaker, entrepreneur and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year who has covered over 14,000 miles of long distance trails on six different continents. In 2011, Jennifer covered the 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail in forty-six days, eleven hours, and twenty minutes, maintaining a remarkable average of forty-seven miles per day. By doing this, she claimed the overall (male or female) fastest known time on the “A.T.” and became the first woman to set the mark.

Jennifer has authored books and written articles for the New York Times, Outside, Backpacker, and Trail Runner. She is also a professional speaker and the founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company, a guiding service that strives “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable” for hikers of all ages, genders, and ability levels. She is also a former board member for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and an ambassador for the American Hiking Society.

Haley Blevins has spent her life swimming the waters of Florida, hiking the mountains of western North Carolina, teaching elementary school children, playing and coaching soccer, and backpacking trails all over the US. After 14 years in the classroom, she took on a new challenge–tackling America’s longest distance hiking trails: the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Colorado Trail. She has walked over 10,000 miles of trail, and her mission is to share her love for the outdoors. She leads hikers of all abilities and backgrounds with the Blue Ridge Hiking Company in Asheville, NC.

Aliki Karkoulia is an illustrator and artist from Greece. Her work explores themes of childhood, nature and imaginary worlds. She is inspired by the world around her and has a deep passion to understand and highlight its most wonderful parts.