Backyard Camping for a (Slight) Change of Scenery


Title: Shelter in the Greatest Place laid over a photo of Rachel and one of her children on a backyard camping trip.

Let’s face it, it’s going to be a while before we can all get outdoors for anything more than a local jaunt. By now, everyone is more than a little bit stir-crazy. This is the perfect time to grab your kids, pitch your tent, and camp in the backyard! While kids of all ages love a good backyard campout, kids are by no means required. We can all use a little change of scenery right now. 

All it takes is a tent-sized patch of ground, a place to hang a hammock, or even a balcony where you can lay out a pad and sleep under the stars. You can even pitch your tent in your living room, play some soothing wave sounds on the white noise machine, and pretend you’re camping on the beach. Maybe you have a new piece of camping gear you just can’t wait to test out. Now is the time! This is also a great opportunity to air out and inspect your equipment.

If you’re doing this with your kids, they might enjoy being involved in tent setup. Younger kids can spread out a ground cloth. Older ones can put together poles and learn how to assemble the tent. We pitched our tent in a small patch of backyard at 3pm, giving the kids plenty of time to hang out and get excited about sleeping out there. Everyone did a lot of reminiscing about past camping trips, like the time we snow-camped in a blizzard and the local trips with friends.

Remembering past trips keeps the excitement and enthusiasm for the outdoors alive!

Pillows, sleeping bags, blankets, sleeping pads, and stuffed animals make things cozy. Break out the headlamps and lanterns for atmospheric lighting. Bring a favorite book or game to pass the time. If you have space, set up a “backcountry” outdoor cooking and dining space.

While campfires aren’t really an option, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has a great list of campfire alternatives. Make hot drinks with the backpacking stove and relax in your favorite camp chair. Fire up the BBQ to cook hot dogs and s’mores. 

Whether you’re sleeping under the stars in your backyard or cozied up in a tent in the living room, you might want to make this camping stand-in this a regular thing while we shelter-in-place. I know we will!

A Yosemite backcountry campsite from the last Sports Basement Outdoors trip this winter. We will do this again someday soon!

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