Backyard Camping – You Can Have Fun Camping Close To Home, Or Even In Your Own Backyard!
Many families head out to camp sites every year. Camping is a past time that many today still look at it as the number one family activity. Unfortunately, there are families that are unable to get to a camp site for camping. Whatever the reason, there is always an alternative. An alternative to camping at a camp site can be backyard camping. Although camping in your own backyard may not seem as realistic, it can still be fun.
Backyard camping can really be split into 3 separate categories. These are family, adult, and kids only. The reasons for wanting to camp in the backyard can be many and realistically need to have their own set of rules.
For a kid’s only night, backyard campaign will require some adult supervision, but not so much that it interrupts their adventure. If it is their idea, then by all means, it should be encouraged. Let them put up the tent by themselves and do a quick check that it is put up properly. More than likely, they will gladly give up the notion of cooking their evening meal so the parents can help out here with a simple meal of hot dogs on the grill. After the meal, let them be as they settle down for the night. You know by the flashlights within the tent that they are not going to bed on time, but demanding they do so will just put a damper on everyone. They’ll get tired soon enough and as long as they are not prone to running the streets, you should sleep peacefully knowing that your children are showing their first signs of independence.
This also makes it more enjoyable when going on a family camping trip since they will already know the meaning of “roughing it.” A family camping trip however has a little more interaction as the group will be together for at least a full day if not longer out in the wild.
If you and the family are planning for backyard camping, the rules will change slightly. The two areas that need some control are going to be the hardest even for the adults. These are their willingness to sever themselves from cell phones and other electronics and bathroom necessities.
Depending on what type of camping you and the family will be doing in the great outdoors will determine what action should be done to accommodate the hygiene/bathroom trips. If you will be doing what is called “primitive camping”, you already understand that a bathroom is going to be one of the items you do without. It is very simple to create your own camping toilet and when placed inside a 4′ x 4′ shower tent, offers all the privacy you would expect.
When it comes to the cell phones and tablets, etc., this is going to be surprisingly tough for a lot of people. The addiction to texting and playing games is a tough habit to break, but it’s one of those habits that need to be broken.
To minimize the stress on everyone, don’t start the “camping trip” until sometime after supper. Depending on the age group of the children will determine what type of nighttime activity is needed to occupy their time until bedtime. Board games or playing cards are usually the two easiest types of games to get started.
The whole idea is to make your backyard camping a dry run that the family will participate in and this will make the actual trip a lot more enjoyable. This is the time to figure out what you missed packing for the trip and what else could you have brought to make the trip more complete.
The last category of backyard camping is probably one that needs the most self control if the backyard precursor to the actual trip is done. An adult only camping trip tends to sometimes get out of hand especially if alcohol is involved. The last thing you want is for the neighbors to call the local police because of a large amount of noise coming from the backyard of your home. Discipline is key and you and your spouse should keep the end goal of a relaxing time when you eventually go for your backyard camping. Again, cell phones and other electronics should be out of the picture entirely no matter how hard the abstinence becomes.
Why Backyard Camping?
Taking your camping activities to your back yard can make things much easier. When you go to a camp site, you still need to get there. Before you leave, you need to make sure you have all your supplies for camping, along with the budget that goes into planning a camping trip. By taking the family activity to your own backyard you can eliminate the worries of forgetting supplies, along with minimizing your budget. You can also cheat by using electrical appliances, along with electrical entertainment.
Backyard camping can also be a safe haven. When families go to camp sites, they are in unfamiliar territory. This can make a camping trip very uncomfortable. You need to beware of wild animals. Also, there are other encounters such as snakes and other reptiles. At least in your own backyard camping you will have an upper hand by knowing your surroundings.
Families with small children will benefit from camping in their own backyard. Small children usually have a bad time with camp sites because of their own unfamiliar territory. Some small children do not handle a camping trip. They would rather be in their own home. Sleeping anywhere else besides their own bed can be a challenge. While some children have a hard time camping at a camp site, it makes it much easier for the parent by camping in their own backyard.
Although you want to avoid your house as much as possible, there are many activities you can enjoy from backyard camping. By having electricity from your home you can take the enjoyment of watching television outside in your backyard when it gets dark. Furthermore, you can set up a small movie theatre by hooking up a projector to your cable box, or DVD player. There are inflatable movie screens that sold in stores. If no inflatable movie screens are available, you can use a plain white sheet and lay it over a fence. Now you just reflect the projector on it. Add a receiver with speakers for sound, and you have an instant movie theatre.
Also, with very young children, backyard camping is the ideal location since you are always just moments away from the bathroom and even their own bed if it proves to be too much for them. The backyard should be very familiar to them so they will likely be less anxious than in a public facility. Once it starts too get dark, this familiarity may not be as helpful.
Let’s face it….camping is a great experience in general. The sights and sounds are different at night. The campfire, toasting marshmallows, and collecting firewood are all parts of the experience that your child will remember fondly. Although not everyone enjoys a sleeping bag for a bed, a night or two in the tent or under the stars will be an experience that you will be grateful to have shared.
That said, let us not forget that this is a camping trip, so if the reality of camping is what you are after, then avoid all electrical equipment. Avoid all house comforts also, although you may want to use the restroom facilities. Depending on your preference, you may want to sleep in a sleeping bag, or simply under the stars.
Backyard Camping Tips
By preparing for your backyard camping, you will be able to have everything you need. By planning everything, you will be able to stay in your backyard without the need for any house supplies. Here are some tips you can use to maximize your backyard camping enjoyment:
When preparing for your camping “trip”, a small table top grill is an item that you should consider. The table top grill will securely hold a small campfire for you to enjoy. This will be large enough that you can toast marshmallows if you would like.
You should try to plan your camping trip so that everything that you will need, except the bathroom, is already along for the trip once you get to the back yard. This includes food for dinner – unless your trip is not going to start until after dinner, drinks, snacks and toys.
Flashlights are an excellent addition to your “camping” gear. A flashlight will allow you to explore the yard in the dark or tell spooky stories around the campfire. Several flashlights and you can play flashlight tag.
Depending on where you live and the time of year, the night life that is available varies. You may have a number of animals that come out at night. Each new sight or sound presents its own opportunity for a lesson about wildlife. Lightening bugs are always great fun for children. If these have been out recently, be sure to have a small glass or clear plastic jar available so that you can check them out a little closer.
Star gazing is another popular camping activity. Whether this has been a hobby of yours, or you just enjoy the view, a clear night and a star filled sky is always another opportunity for a lesson about the world around us.
If either you or your child has an interest in the sky, the stars or the moon, you may have a telescope. This would be the perfect opportunity to set it up and spend time exploring the night sky.
3. Practice make perfect
If you have never camped before in your life, it’s a good idea to try setting out a tent in a house or in a backyard first. With the improvement in tent these days, it doesn’t take long to put it up as long as you read the instruction carefully. Oh! And make sure to use the right pole. 🙂
4. Buy the biggest tent you can afford
For a family of 4, a tent that sleeps 4 might be too small for backyard camping. Yeah.. You might say but my kids are small, they don’t need a lot of space. OH! They do. Kids love to jump and run around. So a tent with enough headroom for you to stand up and for them to jump will give you some peace. Otherwise, you will be yelling ‘No Jumping’ all day long.
5. Rent equipment is good but buy cheap one is better
At first, most people consider renting camping equipment from REI. It’s a good option since we don’t even know if we will like it and return to the wilderness the next time. However, after looking at the price, you can get a cheaper tent from Wal-Mart or Target. Plus even if you might end up using it only once, you can always sell it on Craig’s list or eBay. I mean if you have money to spend, then by all means get the Hobitat from REI. I would love to have one. But our Coleman 8 does the job and it has plenty of room
6. Before bedtime, everyone MUST go potty
It’s not fun for a 3 AM bathroom trip even if it’s just walking upstairs to your own bathroom inside the house. Make sure all the kids and adults have done their business before light out.
7. Don’t forget bug repellent even in your backyard
Bugs do live in your backyard as well. So even if you don’t have to get in a car and drive to your campsite, you still need that bottle of bug repellent lotion to fight off little buggers at night.
Overall, you no longer have to drive miles into the mountains to enjoy a great camping experience. You can have fun camping close to home, or even in your own backyard! It’s your turn now to make that backyard camping experience a reality for your family!
Browse our Camping List and Tips category for more camping related ideas and information of your interest to guarantee yourself a smooth camping experience!