Zine Review: Shoestring A Guide to Low Budget and DIY Camping Gear by Katherine Smith

A refreshing alternative to the glossy outdoor magazines with high-end advertisers, Shoestring is a simple book talking about simple ways to low-budget and DIY your camping gear. Katherine Smith (whose trail name is Up Dawg) hiked the Appalachian Trail (known colloquially "the AT") in 2019 and only spent half her budget with some judicious and shrewd choices.

She dives right in with bullet point "Gear Hacks" and charming illustrations - all told in her upbeat and straightforward writing style - which is nice if you're the type to overly research and overthink! But Katherine makes a really daunting process approachable and easy, assuaging anxieties about not having the right (and expensive!) gear. For example, did you know how invaluable floss is on the Trail? Or how you can ingeniously turn your old boot insoles into flip-flops you wear around your campsite? Big Hint: Katherine does! And she'll even show you with a step-by-step illustrated guide!

Overall, Katherine's zine Shoestring is a bright, charming and, (most and best of all) a gentle punch on the shoulder that says, "Yes! You can do it, buddy!!!" You can buy her zine below or in the shop. 30% of the proceeds is donated to the Muzineum.

You can follow more of Katherine's work here at The Muzineum with her collaborative community project, The Nature Sanctuary of Dreams and Mirrors and follow her on Instagram @material.drifter.