Since going on our first RV trip our daughters have been begging to do the “real” thing and go camping. However, we’ve had a busy summer and trying to fit in a camping trip didn’t seem like it was possible. So instead of crushing their dreams we enjoyed backyard camping and realized it’s the perfect staycation idea for families. It’s the best way to have an adventure with kids without going far. Here’s everything you need to know for a successful backyard camping experience.
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Benefits of Backyard Camping
Camping Without the Cost of Travel
Backyard camping is the perfect staycation idea for families because it’s an adventure with kids without the cost that usually comes with travel. There are no flights to buy, gas to put in the car, hotel costs, or excursions.
Backyard Camping Doesn’t Require Much Planning
Planning vacations as a family can sometimes be stressful especially if you aren’t a planner. While we had an amazing time vacationing in an RV it required planning. Thankfully backyard camping doesn’t really require any planning and you don’t need a travel agent or to be an expert researcher as there isn’t much to research. If you don’t have a backyard you can still camp in your living room as we’ve recently done.
It’s the Perfect Introduction to Real Camping
Backyard camping is the perfect introduction to camping for those not familiar with real camping. It will give you a taste of what to expect to help you determine if you can really rough it in the wild. It’s also great for families with younger children as if you really need to you can always just go back inside your home.
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Gear Needed for Backyard Camping
Before you can have your adventure you’ll need to get your camping gear if you don’t have it already. We were able to get everything we needed for camping from Backcountry.com. It’s our second time partnering with them after having a great experience using their gear for hiking Pedra de Telegrafo in Rio de Janeiro. You can use promo code HAMBRICK15 for 15% off your purchase.
You obviously can’t camp without a tent. Since we don’t ever plan to go camping in the winter when it snows we got this Marmot Tungsten Tent which sleeps 4 people. It was more than enough space for the four of us to sleep in one tent and play games throughout the night.
Once the lights go out you’ll need light in your tent. We used the Princeton Tec Helix Backcountry Lantern. It lit up our entire tent and is battery operated but comes with it’s own so you don’t even have to buy any.
If you go camping in the summer like we did or in a tropical location with mosquitos you will definitely want to protect yourself from bites. Instead of spraying yourself especially young kids with a ton of bug spray consider buying this ThermaCELL Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent. It repels mosquitos for up to 110 square feet and is chargeable.
For relaxing outside of your tent you’ll need somewhere to sit. We got these amazing ALPS Mountaineering Spartan Chairs. They are currently 56% off which made them even more affordable.
Cooler for Drinks
You’ll need something to keep your drinks cool or anything else you pack that requires refrigeration. If you don’t already have a cooler it makes sense to get one as they are great for beach days, road trips and BBQs. We have the Yeti Roadie 20 Cooler and love it. The only thing I wish is that it had wheels but otherwise it is amazing!
Comfort Camp Bed or Sleeping Bag
You don’t want to sleep directly on the floor so you’ll need a comfort camp bed or sleeping bag. Since we went summer camping we chose to get a comfort camp bed which is basically a thin blow up mattress. We got this Kelty Tru.Comfort Camp Bed Doublewide which says it fits two adults but you can definitely squeeze a small child on there as well. You can use promo code HAMBRICK15 for 15% off your purchase at Backcountry.
While backyard camping obviously allows for you to use your own pillows if you want to make it more like the real experience get camping pillows. They will also come in handy if you decide to do the real thing. The Klymit Pillow X Camp Pillow blew up in three breaths and is so compact when deflated it’s easy to pack.
Fun Activities to Do While Backyard Camping
Use a Sheet to Have a Backyard Movie
If you have a projector, hang a sheet on your fence and enjoy a movie outside. There is nothing like watching a movie under the stars!
Tell Spooky Stories in Front of the Lantern
This activity was my three year olds favorite while backyard camping. She loved telling us stories so much she pretty much hogged the lantern and wouldn’t let anyone else get a chance. Still it was so much fun listening to her express herself and be creative.
Backyard camping was a great way for us to get off our phones and tablets and spend quality time. We played kids charades, uno, and junior monopoly and had so much fun without electronics. It actually showed us we should have at least one night a week like this. If you have young kids like us, I really recommend this Charades for Kids game as it’s great for non-readers.
Making s’mores has to be most people favorite part of camping. Even if you don’t have a fire pit at home you can easily make s’mores in the oven and enjoy in your tent!
Bring Back 90s Fun and Slip n Slide During the Day
Growing up I remember the excitement of my parents bringing the slip n slide out during summer time. It was great to introduce this childhood memory to my own family. We got this 3 lane slip n slide for under $20 and it was such a good investment!
Set Rules to Backyard Camping
When backyard camping you can set your own rules on how much or little you’d like it to be like real camping. Are you allowed to use electronics or not? Can you make your meals in the house but eat outdoors or are you only allowed to grill or eat meals that don’t require cooking? These are things to determine ahead of time to see how much roughing it you want.
We had so much fun backyard camping and the girls can’t wait to do it again. It was the perfect staycation for our family and prepared us to do the real thing! Did you find this article helpful? Please share it to help someone else!