Family camping trips aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. After endless hours of packing, traveling, and setting up, you and your family are more ready for a good night’s sleep in your own beds than a few nights in sleeping bags. If you want to have the camping experience but don’t want to travel far from home, then turn your backyard into your very own campsite. Here are some tips from Modernize to help you set up.
Make A Checklist
Before you heave all the tents, sleeping bags, and flashlights into the middle of the yard, make a list of everything you’ll need for your camping “trip”. Start with your shelter (probably a tent, but more rugged campers can try sleeping under the stars on a tarp or in hammocks), sleeping equipment, and a flashlight. Add in a few less than necessities, like hot dogs and s’mores ingredients. The best part? If you forget something, you really don’t have far to travel to get it.
Build Your Campsite
Once you’ve figured out what to take on your backyard camping adventure, it’s time to set up camp. If you’re considering having a sleepover with your children’s friends, it might be a good idea to set up tents before everyone arrives to avoid stressing out over tent poles. When you’re setting up camp, make sure to consider the kind of ground you’re using (too soft? wet? not level?) and adjust your site accordingly. If you don’t have enough suitable yard space, use your deck, porch, or sunroom. Designate space for food and fire, if you want one, making sure to keep fire at a safe distance from tents and other flammables.
This yard is perfectly flat and relatively closed in, perfect for pitching tents:
But honestly, who needs a backyard when they have this deck?!
One of the most exciting parts of the camping experience is making fire. Use this opportunity to teach the children in the group how to safely build a campfire. Make a contest out of your search for firewood: collect dry pine needles, tree bark, and tiny twigs for tinder, larger twigs and small, dry sticks for kindling, and bigger logs for fuel. Practice traditional friction-based fire starting methods (but keep a few matches or flint and striker handy if no one manages to make fire on their own) and set a fire starting challenge where the winner gets the first toasted marshmallows. If you have an existing fire pit in your backyard, this part will require little setup. For a more temporary solution, use a portable fire pit or chiminea.
Possibly overkill in the style department, but it ticks the box for a perfect fire circle!
Eat Camp Food
Even more exciting than fire building is eating camp food. During the process of making a checklist, you should have identified the most important camping foods to pack. S’mores and hot dogs are essentials, of course, but consider experimenting with foil and really wow your fellow campers with some fire grilled chicken breasts, vegetable skewers, and melted chocolate banana boats for dessert. Just make sure to tidy any leftovers or garbage away before you head to bed, unless you want the raccoons or foxes to join your party in the middle of the night!
This is probably the wildest animal you’ll encounter on your campout, but be careful just in case!
Camping safety is probably the most important of all. Even though you will be in the comfort of your own home (almost), it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Keep food out of reach of animals, talk about and practice fire safety, and make sure you always know where everyone is. The world is a much bigger place when it’s dark, so keep tabs on everyone all the time… and remember to do some stargazing!
Use these tips for a perfect backyard camping experience. We promise you won’t want to leave the comfort of home any time soon!
By Kaitlin Krull
Image Credits: Modernize