Backyard Camping: 18 Actionable Tips and Ideas To Make It Happen (In 2024)

Woman enjoying nature as seen from a backyard tent camping in Uz salas, Dagda, Latvia

Planning a relaxing vacation or that perfect getaway is often a point of stress for families or groups of friends.

What’s more:

With so many unique experiences on offer, people sometimes overlook the possibility of having fun in their very own backyard. Especially now, when finding avenues for staying entertained at home is more important than ever.

In this article, you’ll uncover everything you need to know to make your upcoming staycation memorable with over eighteen backyard camping ideas and actionable tips, partaking in this trend that is topping every list for awesome ways to have fun at home.

Let’s dive right in:

Choose Backyard Camping For a Unique Vacation Not Too Far From Home

No matter if you’re an expert or new to outdoor adventures, camping is always a great way to try something different. Not only do you learn to live without the basic luxuries you’re used to at home, but you also get to partake in something new every time. With backyard camping, it’s like going on an inexpensive camping trip nearby without worrying about all the unnecessary packing and excess baggage. 

With the changing trends of technology, people have detached themselves from the wonders of nature. In today’s fast-paced world, people barely seem to make time to get outside for a walk, exercise, or enjoy the outdoors. With such a large proportion of the population working from home, it’s easy to forget about life beyond the confines of our walls and get acclimatized to life at home. Therefore, outdoor activities like camping really give you a new perspective, coupled with a refreshingly positive change in the environment. 

There are several different approaches you can take to camping, all revolving around the basic idea of getting closer to nature and connecting with loved ones. That said, not every type of camping is feasible for families, especially when there are kids around. 

Generally, preparing for a camping trip is a bit of a nuanced process, with extensive researched required around a location to set up camp, clothes to pack as per the weather forecast, meals to prepare in advance and at the campsite, games, and other ways to stay entertained, and activities to partake in when camping.

In addition to that, with many national parks closed for operations and people attempting to maintain a safe distance from each other, it currently isn’t entirely possible to go camping even if one wants. Enter backyard camping.

Backyard camping can be a great option for a family or group of friends looking to create a new experience while staying at home. It’s also a fantastic way for folks with not as much experience with camping to enjoy (at least a few of) the perks of a camping getaway. 

What’s the Difference Between Backyard Camping and Regular Camping?

Camping is often deemed to be one of the sweetest ways to connect with nature. By disconnecting with your mostly technology-governed lives, you see the true beauty of nature and learn to appreciate the smaller things in life. 

This, however, also usually entails a complete removal from traditional day to day living and taking along specialized gear for camping. For example, it’s likely that you’re going to be sleeping in a sleeping bag in a lightweight tent, have little access to a functioning bathroom, and have to carry along a portable stove for food preparation. 

Backyard camping, on the other hand, borrows from regular camping without the need to plan excessively or give up on many of the things you would otherwise have to do without. The primary difference is that you can practically see your house from the campsite and easily access the nice, clean bathrooms whenever you need! 

Backyard camping brings a large part of the camping experience to, well, your backyard (without the wild animals, of course) and gives you the opportunity to connect with your group, be it friends or family, in a cosy tent under the night sky without having to travel far from home. 

Backyard Camping Ideas: How Do You Set Up a Cozy Campsite in Your Backyard?

Backyard camping may be considered an easier task as compared to regular camping, but there are a few things to keep in mind before heading out to ensure you have as complete an experience as possible and, ideally, as close as possible to traditional camping. 

Setting up an entire campsite can be a daunting task considering the onus is on you and the rest of your group to create the environment for a weekend (or night, or week!) of camping from virtually scratch. 

Here are a few things that you can do to make sure your campsite is the way you envisioned it:

  1. Invest in a reliable camping tent: A camping tent is the most essential item for your backyard camping staycation. A good camping tent will provide you with the necessary shelter, a breathable environment on the inside, and plenty of space for furniture or to move around. For extra coziness, you can always line the tent floor with blankets or yoga mats. This will prevent your beds from getting cold in the middle of the night. 
  2. Choose your campground wisely: One of the most common mistakes that people make while camping is choosing an unleveled campground for their tent. Setting up a camping tent on an uneven area in your backyard can lead to difficulties when setting up your tent and may also be uncomfortable to sleep on when you turn in for the night.
  3. Build your own campfire pit: If you’re looking for that authentic camping feel in your backyard, a campfire is almost a necessity. To get a campfire going, though, you’ll need to build your own campfire pit, which isn’t as difficult as it may seem. All you need to do is manufacture a small pit with regular bricks and add wooden branches to it to get the fire going. This helps keep the fire controlled in one area and prevents ash from spreading out around your campsite. Once your flame is roaring, you’ll be good to start roasting your marshmallows and preparing any other tasty delights! 
  4. Ready-made food is a better option: While camping, most people prefer preparing food at the campsite. However, in the case of backyard camping, ready-made food might be the smarter choice as you can prepare it in your own kitchen on the same day. If you really want to cook something at the campsite, make sure you have all the necessary kitchen utensils and recipes noted down beforehand. This makes the process a whole lot easier as you know exactly what you need to prepare the meal and prevents unwanted trips back into the house to grab essentials you accidentally left behind. 
  5. Give your backyard camping experience that extra flair: The best thing about backyard camping is the ease of accessibility. This gives you the perfect opportunity to revamp your camping style and take it to a whole new level. Bring in some string lights to decorate your backyard or simply sneak in your favorite blanket. You can set up a projector for a movie night or even create an area for games. As long as you’re comfortable, you’re not breaking any rules here! The main purpose of backyard camping is to get closer to nature and if you add a bit of your own magic to the place, it’ll feel that much more special. 

Things You Need To Pack Before Going Backyard Camping

One of the perks of being a backyard camper is not having to pack too many things before setting off on your “trip”. Whereas regular camping requires extensive planning and a lengthy list of things to take along, backyard campers only have to focus on the absolute essentials and some items to make the trip memorable. 

In order to fully enjoy your camping experience, be sure to carry these things along:

  • A canvas camping tent
  • Cooking utensils (if you’re planning to cook some meals)
  • Campfire essentials
  • Entertainment for the family
  • Healthy snacks and drinks
  • Bedding
  • Insect repellent
  • Appropriate clothing

Choosing a Tent For Your Backyard Camping Experience

Sleeping in a tent is one of the main ways that backyard camping is similar to regular camping and it’s essential to invest in one that meets the needs of your group. Since you’re going to be setting up your tent in your backyard and won’t be traveling miles either in a car or over a hike, you have the opportunity to make use of canvas tents, instead of the more fragile, lightweight ones made from synthetic fabric or plastic. 

Canvas tents are made from 100% cotton canvas, which affords them the breathable nature of cotton. That means, if it’s cool outside you’re going to stay relatively warm inside the tent, and if you’re backyard camping in the summer months, the canvas tent will keep you cool. 

The benefit of canvas tents is also that they come in a few different shapes, giving you the opportunity to choose the one that’s ideal for the style of camping you’re going for. Wall tents from White Duck Outdoors, for example, are extremely durable, versatile, and spacious so you can use them for more conventional versions of camping or set them up as glamping tents with beds, furniture, fans, and other luxuries. Bell tents are a more familiar shape and offer fun for everyone when used for backyard camping. 

Canvas tents stand up brilliantly to almost any kind of weather, so whether it’s raining, sunny or you’re facing heavy snowfall, you probably won’t have to reschedule your backyard camping weekend. All canvas tents from that shop are treated with a water repellent, mold & UV resistant finish, so you can also expect them to last a long time. 

How to Keep Yourself from Going Back Inside the House?

No matter how tempted you are to get back inside your house, it’s extremely essential to the overall enjoyment of the backyard camping that you don’t! Going back can defeat the whole purpose of backyard camping. Not only will it prevent you from experiencing the true essence of camping, but your constant visits back to your house may discourage others around you as well. 

For this reason, it’s important to ensure that you have everything you need before setting up outside, else you may find yourself making trips back inside the house. 

If you think there’s a chance that your backyard campers might get bored, you can incorporate these fun tips and tricks to keep everyone engaged in the experience:

  • Set up a projector and a laptop for a movie night: One of the easiest ways to pass time is by watching an engaging movie together with the family. You can decide on the movie beforehand and make sure you have enough snacks that last throughout the night. In case you experience internet issues, it’s always a good idea to keep the movie downloaded from Netflix or another streaming website. 

  • Incorporate outdoor games: Taking board games along is pretty usual for campers, but have you ever considered incorporating outdoor games in your backyard camping trip? Since the campsite belongs to you, you can play games that take up as much space as you need and even get rowdy with the family! You can play frisbee, badminton, Spikeball or even Giant Jenga.  
  • Keep a large blanket to lay on for stargazing: The best thing about being a backyard camper is being able to sleep under the starry skies without having to travel miles away from your house. There are few things as stunning as a sky full of stars, so it’s good to ensure you have the things you need to capitalize on this opportunity. Keep a large blanket that you can spread out on the ground to lay on for stargazing. Once you’re looking up at the sky, it may be difficult to look away when you’re in search of that shooting star. 
  • Recreate new recipes for s’mores: Whenever we think about camping, the first thing that pops into our minds is a cozy campfire and marshmallows on sticks. The craze is real, but there are so many recipes for s’mores that you can try out. You can even combine hot chocolate, crackers, and marshmallows all in one to create a deadly sugar rush! Even the kids can enjoy creating new, fun recipes for those deliciously warm s’mores as they’re super easy and fun to make.
  • Storytelling: Nothing makes camping more exciting (or scary!) than a storytelling session around the campfire. Gather around with your folks and see who can tell the eeriest tales of the group. In the midst of darkness, the mysterious tales of bigfoot hit the hardest! Oh, and a flashlight might just make everything come together spookily. 
  • Sing along to your favorite songs: Among the many things you can do, singing along with everyone is also a great way to keep everyone engaged and happy. You can make a list of songs you all like and sing your heart out with the people you love. It’s in these little moments that you truly enjoy spending quality time with those around you. 

Getting As Close to Camping As Possible

Even though backyard camping has a lot of benefits, the one thing that makes it seem insignificant is the fact that it’s literally in your backyard. Where many families prefer it the way it is, the kids may struggle to accept it as an authentic camping experience. 

In order to bring backyard camping as close as possible to traditional camping, here are some things you can incorporate during your staycation:

  • Try and steer clear of using electronics and technology, or even consider leaving your phones or tablets inside the house. Engaging with technology may make it tougher for little ones to feel like the experience is unique.
  • Make sure you do everything that regular campers would do. For example, if you’re planning on setting up a tent, ask your kids to help you with the process so that they know it’s an important part of camping. 
  • Backyard camping can be a good opportunity to teach kids about handling food, from packing it to preparing it, to eating on paper plates with disposable utensils. If you have gourmet meals or order take-out for the trip, it may detract from the entire experience. 
  • Practice setting up your tent before actually setting it up. This can help create a sense of excitement and anticipation for the entire group. 
  • Spend the night in sleeping bags and try to leave most of your usual luxuries like comfortable blankets inside the house. 

Choosing Backyard Camping As Your Next Big Staycation

It’s easy to think about backyard camping as a less authentic, not-as-fun version of traditional camping. Depending on how invested you are in creating your own memorable experience, though, you can enjoy all the perks of camping while going above and beyond. 

With the right tent, entertainment, meals, and of course, company, your backyard camping experience can be a new, unique, and enjoyable way to spend a night or an entire weekend. In addition to it being a novel way to spend time with loved ones, it’s also an awesome way to have fun while staying safe and distanced from others.

We are always happy to improve our articles, please get in touch via email: aworldtotravel @ gmail . com and let us know your backyard camping ideas and tips.