9 great camping horror books

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I hate the song “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic”. It gives me goosebumps! It starts with “If you go out into the woods today …” and I’m like “LEMME STOP YOU RIGHT”. I do not go into the woods, precisely because there is things in there. More like a million ways to mix up your deadly reel. Sure, I’m a… what’s that word?… A chicken. I’m a big chicken, bawk bawk. I don’t go camping because I don’t want to run the risk of being eaten by a bear or bitten by a snake, or chased through the woods by a man with mom issues wearing a human flesh mask. You know, the usual outdoor stuff. This is the horror of camping.

This is why the Scary Books About People in the Woods are so effective for me. I don’t wanna be there, but I love read up on other people who do. One of my favorite camping horror stories – which unfortunately is no longer in print – is Summer is over and we’re not saved yet by Joey Comeau. It was extended from the original short story Bloodbath at Bible Camp. (Which has maybe my favorite jacket description: “Martin is going to Bible camp for the summer. He’s going to make new friends. And he’s excited, but that’s probably because no one told him how.” this book was called. ”)

So please join me in celebrating the terrible things that happen to people on hikes and rafting trips and summer camp adventures, which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. . Please also note that, like most horror movies, this sub-genre is primarily written by white writers featuring men, so if you know of any big, diverse camping horror let us know!

troop cover by nick cutter

The band by Nick Cutter

This horror novel about a Boy Scout troop hits the ground running. Or squirming, for that matter. Boy Scout Leader Tim Riggs took his troop on a three day camping trip to a small remote island on a lake in the Canadian wilderness. But things go horribly wrong right away when a stranger shows up. He is very thin and very hungry and full of things that you don’t want to touch yourself. Suddenly the boys are fighting for their lives against hordes of unspeakable disgust, as well as * CRISES IN GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY *.

Sarah Lotz's White Road cover

The white road by Sarah Lotz

Simon Newman is an adrenaline hunter always hungry for views for his internet videos. After a misguided expedition into inaccessible caverns ends in tragedy, one would think he would learn his lesson. Spoiler: You would be wrong. Years later, seeking to reclaim his mojo from the caves, he signs up to climb Mount Everest. Because, you know, it’s never difficult. Between the horrors of his expedition in the cave and the dangers – and the rarefied air – on the mountain, Simon knows many fears.

ritual cover by adam nevill

The ritual by Adam Nevil

This is a perfect example of the “don’t go” horror. Four college buddies decide to get together and go camping in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. But when the trip isn’t as fun as they hoped, they decide to take a shortcut to their destination and end up paying the price. Lost and hungry in the desert, they stumble upon an abandoned house. Upon entering, they discover evidence of pagan sacrifices and rituals, and the friends soon learn that they have alerted evil in the wilderness to their presence. Good luck with that!

hunger blanket by alma katsu

Hunger by Alma Katsu

Okay, it’s not technically a “Let’s go camping for the funsies” story, as it’s based on the actual trip of the Donner party. You know the story of cannibalism that got you paying attention that day in American history class? But as families head to California, families begin to fear that the terror they are feeling is not man-made, but something else. Something with a taste for human flesh. And, my God, they’re all alone there, with nothing to protect them but their wagons …

cover of the ruins by scott smith

The ruins by Scott Smith

And that’s what I call “forced camping”. The two couples in this book, all American students, celebrate in Mexico when a friend’s brother disappears in the Mexican jungle. Against advice, they decide to walk after him and bring him back. But now they are at eye level in a spooky environment, and many sensitive things slide across the site of ancient ruins. It’s a horror novel – sorry kids, that means not everyone is coming back.

cover of Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz

Strange Piece of Heaven: A Return to the American West to Investigate My Attempted Murder and Solve My Riddle by Terri Jentz

And I’m 100% serious when I say that if you enjoy camping, or are thinking of going camping, you should skip the description in this book. Because the first 150 pages are one of the most intense, terrifying crime stories I’ve ever read, and it still haunts me almost two decades after reading it. Terri Jentz was on a cross-country bike trip with her Yale roommate in the summer of 1977. One night, after they had set up camp for the night and fell asleep, a man drove his truck over them. in their tent, then went outside and hit them with an ax before walking away. Jentz and his roommate suffered horrific injuries, but both survived. The crime was never solved and years later, Jentz returned to town to try to find out what had really happened.

cover of the laws of heaven by Grégoire Courtois

The laws of heaven by Grégoire Courtois, Rhonda Mullins (Translator)

And if mindless, uninhibited violence is your cup of tea, then have I a book for you. Scary camping story! Child murderers! Terrifying bodies of water! More gory than you can get with a sharp stick! The premise of the book is that a group of young children and three chaperones go camping in the woods – but one of the children was waiting for an opportunity like this to practice his homicidal skills. And he’s not going to let this trip go to waste.

river cover at night by erica ferenick

The river at night by Erica Ferencik

Winifred Allen and her three friends have embarked on what is supposed to be a girl-to-girl rejuvenation trip, hiking and rafting in the white waters of Maine. (Note: There are many scary books set in Maine.) But after a rafting accident left them stranded, women now have to navigate their way through Maine’s isolated nature to find help. They think they are saved when they arrive at a campsite, but Issuance banjo music. * Winifred and his friends are about to learn that they will have to save themselves.

killface camp cover by Saundra Mitchell and Josh Berk

Camp Murderface by Saundra Mitchell and Josh Berk

And, last but not least, it’s a fun and spooky camping book for all ages, but it’s also a great place to start for young readers. It is 1983 in Ohio and Corryn Quinn and Tez Jones are delighted to be spending the summer at Camp Sweetwater which has just reopened. They don’t realize that a camp closed for decades for mysterious circumstances is Red Flags 101. And that all the laughs, toasted marshmallows, and camp camaraderie won’t be enough to scare off the supernatural. Will Corryn and Tez survive the summer? I fully admit that I bought the book just because of the title. I mean, Camp Murderer. That’s great ??!)


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