Maybe your kids have BEGGED you to do some backyard camping, or maybe you’re just seeing if you can even handle camping for one night and want to stay close to home. For us, it’s usually about breaking in the new camping gear! Whatever your reasons, below you’ll find some experienced tips for camping in your backyard! If you’re considering buying a camper, read this first.
You can absolutely just throw a pop up tent in the backyard and call it a day – and we still do this when the kids are just out having fun. But if you’re planning a dry run for a camping trip then you definitely want to take the time to have a plan and think ahead.
The great thing about camping in your backyard is that you have literally everything at your disposal! If you run into any thunderstorms, broken tent gear, etc. you can just sleep in the house! The biggest downside to camping in your backyard is not being prepared. Let me explain.
The first few times my kids decided to camp in the backyard we just popped up a quick tent and then left to back to our regular routine. We didn’t stop to check the weather which would have told us to take the extra few minutes to put a cover on the tent so it wouldn’t rain inside.
We didn’t bother weighting the tent down because we were in a hurry to let the kids have their fun so we could go back to our chores….let’s just say wind + unweighted tent = an interesting experience! So you see, even though you are “just” camping at home there are still some things you need to take the time to do!
Tips for Camping in Your Backyard:
- Check the weather! I’m not even kidding you, I can’t tell you how many times we just popped a tent up without a consideration if there was a lightning storm or rain storm headed our way! It left us scrambling and with some very wet items and disappointed kids!
- Clear the ground. The first thing you’ll want to do before you even put your tent up is to decide where in the backyard you want to camp! Consider things like street lights, safety, the type of ground you will be sleeping on (gravel, sand, grass, concrete, etc), and inclines. Check for piles of ants, clear sticks, any seed pods/fruit tree debris and rocks out of the way before starting.
- It might not be a bad idea to add your rain fly on for cover just in case it rains along with checking the weather! We have woken up in the middle of the night to surprise rain storms so it wont hurt to add your rain cover on!
- Weight your tent down. We’ve all seen those horror stories about kids being tossed through the air inside an unweighted tent or bouncy house in a wind storm. Don’t be that person! It’s SO easy to forget basic camping safety measures when you’re in your own backyard! Use tent stakes if possible or weight down your tent with gallons of water or other heavy objects.
- Consider protection. It doesn’t matter whether I’m camping in my own yard or camping in the middle of nowhere, I always have some sort of protection with us. Whether it’s a stray dog or raccoon, someone walking by the property in the middle of the night or any other number of things, it’s a good idea to even teach the kids how to handle the unexpected. Consider things like a long handled heavy duty flashlight, baseball bat, stun gun, etc.
- Write it down! If you’re doing a dry run for an away-from-home camping experience then I highly recommend you write down what you need! It will help you build your ultimate packing list so you don’t forget the small things like tent stakes, a hammer, extension cords, etc.
- Don’t store food in your tent! One tempting thing to do, especially for kids, is to grab all their snacks in the house and then bring them in the tent! You may not be worried about bears discovering your Pop-tart crumbs in the backyard but ants and other critters definitely will! If you absolutely need to have snacks with you eat outside of your tent and store them in an airtight container.
- Bring a flashlight! Or glow sticks for extra fun! You’ll definitely want a camping lantern, flashlight, or glow sticks so that you can see inside the tent and as you stumble across the yard in the dark!
- Consider a white noise machine! Whether you’re camping around the country or camping in your backyard, I always recommend having a white noise machine! It helps drown out loud neighbors, noises from nearby highways, the spooky wind and rustle of leaves, and other things you may not be used to hearing as you fall asleep at night.
10. Don’t be discouraged! If you end up indoors or something goes wrong – don’t be discouraged! After camping across tens of thousands of miles there are still things that happen that I just can’t plan for!
11. Remember everything you bring out you have to bring back in! Not to be a “debbie downer”, but remember that if you are carting all sorts of toys, electronics, fluffy pillows, etc into your tent – it all has to be put back! Unless you’re glamping (more on that below), just bringing the necessities for camping will take up plenty of room as it is!
Cool Places to Camp in the USA: