Camping in Your Backyard: The Ultimate Guide!

Camping in Your Backyard: The Ultimate Guide!
Anthony Crider/Flickr

Summer is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors with a camping trip. If you can’t make it to a camp site or spend a lengthy car ride up to the mountains, you can still have an adventure right in your own yard!

A backyard camping trip is the perfect way to spend a summer weekend without packing the car or lengthy planning. Have your kids invite some friends over for a fun sleepover under the stars!

Here’s what you’ll need…

These days tents come in all shapes and sizes. Look for one that’s tall enough for everyone in the family to stand up in and wide enough for your supplies (like clothing and sleeping bags). Bonus: Most tents are now so simple that it takes mere minutes to have them up and ready, which means that you can decide to camp in the yard at the last minute.

Sleeping Bags
Getting all warm and snuggly in a sleeping bag is one of the best parts of camping. My daughter calls hers a “snuggle bag” and the bright colors make it fun. >Here’s a tip: Each bag has a temperature rating that identifies how low the temperature can drop for you to still be comfortable in it. If you’re camping in the summer, a 35-degree bag (meaning you’ll be comfortable if the temperature drops as low as 35) is fine; if you’re camping in the spring or fall, look for temperature ratings between 10 and 30 degrees.

Sleeping Pads 
Even if you’ve got a nice comfy lawn, you’ll want extra padding between you and the ground. We have self-inflating mats that fill quickly and roll up easily. If you don’t want to invest in anything extra you can also use that spare inflatable mattress you keep at your house for guests.

Battery-Powered Flashlights or Lantern
No matter how close you’re sleeping to the house and exterior lighting, you’ll want to have a flashlight on hand. It’ll keep your kids feeling safe that they have a light if they need it, and it’s also handy in case of any middle of the night potty trips back to the house.

The Snacks

No campout is complete without some special camping treats! For us that means S’mores and campout ice cream.

Make traditional S’mores (you know, graham cracker sandwiches filled with toasted marshmallows and melty chocolate squares) in an outdoor fire pit. Or, if you’re like us, improvise and make ‘em on your grill with a S’mores Grill Tray. You’ll get perfectly plumped up marshmallows and melted chocolate without much mess.

Ice Cream Ball
We take this gadget with us on camping trips, but it’s just as fun as an activity in the backyard. Just fill the metal canister with ice and rock salt, then add half and half, sugar, and vanilla to the other end and roll the ball around the lawn. Within minutes you’ll have fresh vanilla ice cream!


Fun Activities:

Share these classics with your friends for good old fashioned fun!

  • Telephone
  • Simon Says
  • Name That Tune
  • Have a Scavenger Hunt
  • Go on a nature hike through your neighborhood