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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.
Backyard camping is a fun, inexpensive staycation for the whole family! In this blog post, we’ll discuss backyard camp basics and give you some great ideas for backyard camping activities. We will also share essential items to bring when going on your next backyard camping adventure. It’s the best way to have an adventure with kids without going far. So grab your tent and sleeping bag because it’s time to go outside and have a blast with the family! Here’s everything you need to know for a successful backyard camping experience.
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Benefits of Backyard Camping
Camping in your backyard is a great way to spend time with the family. It’s also an inexpensive getaway that won’t take you very far from home. You can cook, play games, and enjoy nature all in your own yard! The benefits of backyard camping are endless.
Backyard Camping is Inexpensive: 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.
Camping in your own backyard means you don’t have to go far or pay a lot of money! You can plan an amazing “getaway” for less than $50 (if you already have camping gear. If you don’t have camping gear the initial investment is well worth it as it will last for years!) and you don’t have to pack anything since it’s just steps from your back door.
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.
Backyard Camping is Close to Home
Staying close to home means you won’t have a hard time getting back on track with the daily routine. You can go camping for an afternoon or stay all weekend long without having too much of an impact on your day-to-day life. This kind of getaway is perfect for families with children or anyone who doesn’t want to miss work.
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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
It’s a good idea to plan some fun activities before you go backyard camping. You want to make sure everyone in your family is having a good time, which means no boredom! These backyard camping ideas are fun for the whole family and can be done anywhere.
Explore Nature in Your own Backyard
Go exploring in your own backyard! You can get lost in nature without ever leaving your own home. Look for ladybugs, butterflies and any other wild animals that may be hanging around.
As you’re exploring the yard, go on a bug scavenger hunt with magnifying glasses and see who can find ants, beetles, worms and more! There are so many interesting things to discover when you get outside and look for them.
Make a Fairy House!
Making a fairy house is easy – it’s just a small house for fairies made out of natural materials. A creative afternoon camping craft is building a fairy house. All you need is some twigs, sticks, and flowers to create your own mini-adventure in the backyard!
This fun camping activity for kids will have them playing outside all afternoon long. You can even get creative with it by drawing up plans before you begin or including other materials like small stones. You can also include little trinkets or treats the fairy will love!
Fairy houses are typically built on tree stumps, rocks and near plants to help keep their environment intact.
Play Flashlight Tag
Kids and adults alike will love playing flashlight tag in the backyard. This is one of those games that’s fun no matter how old you are and gets everyone outside moving around! All you need for this activity is a flashlight and somewhere to play (like your yard or neighborhood street.)
If it starts getting dark, make sure all players have flashlights so they can see and stay safe. The player with the flashlight is “it” and needs to find everyone else before they get tagged! If you’re playing with younger children, have an adult team up with each child.
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.
If you’re camping with young children especially, you’ll want to make sure and set some rules before your adventure. If your children are old enough, discuss this with them ahead of time so everyone knows what’s expected.
Talk about what to do if they wake up in the middle of the night. If you’re camping in your backyard, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But it’s always good to have a plan just in case!
Backyard Camping Is A Great Way To Spend The Weekend Together
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! If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive staycation idea that the whole family will enjoy- consider backyard camping. In this blog post, we’ve discussed how to plan your next campout and shared some of our favorite activities from flashlight tag to exploring nature in your own backyards. Which outdoor activity do you want to try first? Did you find this article helpful? Please share it to help someone else!
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