When I was younger we used to spend a lot of time in the backyard. A few times, we ventured out and spent the night outside. I can remember the excitement as it built up to the nights we would spend in our tent.
Inevitably, though, every time we camped out in the yard, we would have some kind of failure. Once, we got soaked because we setup in a bad spot and water puddled as heavy rain came down on us. Another time, we made tent and mosquitoes had a field day.
All of these mishaps could have been avoided if we had done a little bit of planning. In this article, I'm going to go over everything you need to know when tent camping in your backyard.
Start with your shelter
What’s great about tent camping is that you get to experience the feel of being outdoors without going too far from the comforts of your own home. But to create that authentic experience, you need to start with a good shelter for the night.
If you already have a tent, make sure to set it up at the most ideal location in your backyard. The area shouldn’t have any obstacles and bumps that would affect your comfort when inside the tent.
You should also make sure that your tent is sturdy enough to withstand wind and rain.
Make sure that your tent is cozy enough for sleeping by adding comforters, sleeping bags, and even some bed rolls to the inside. You can even use an inflatable air mattress if you want, especially if you have kids.
Treat your backyard as a real campsite and make it extra special by hanging some string lights or using hanging lamps instead of larger lights. This will really give the feel of being in the forest.
Now if you don’t have a tent yet, here are some tips to help you buy the right one:
Think about purpose
You’ll have no shortage of choices when it comes to tents. There are all-around backpacking tents, car camping tents, family tents, and ultralight tents that are ideal depending on where and how often you will use them.
If you don’t spend a lot of time camping, you can go with a basic tent that’s spacious enough to accommodate everyone and sturdy enough to last for a long time.
Think about comfort
Before buying a tent, make sure to check your options inside out so you know if you’ll have enough space not only for sleeping but also for moving around. Verify the tent offers proper ventilation while keeping the elements, like bugs, out.
Think about portability
While you’re only setting up your tent in the backyard, you may have plans to go outdoors in the future. A good tent should be light enough to be carried easily when going on a real camping trip that may involve a lot of walking.
Think about weather resistance
You don't want to make everyone excited about backyard tent camping and end up moving indoors because your tent can’t handle the rain and wind.
To experience what it’s like to be on a real camping trip, you need to choose a tent that can resist even the hardest downpour and wind.
Pack your essentials
Sure, you’re only a few steps away from your house, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack anything for your backyard tent camping adventure.
Bring essentials like lights, bug spray, sunscreen, blankets, sleeping bags, clothes, and toiletries. This will keep you from going back and forth to your house and ruining your camping experience.
Prepare your food
Food is one of the best reasons for going on a backyard tent camping adventure and you won’t run out of choices when it comes to camp chow. Like your essentials, you should prepare all your ingredients ahead of time.
If you’re doing barbecue, make sure that your meat is marinated and ready for the grill. You should pack your salad ingredients and prepare snacks and other foods that everyone can munch on while you’re camping.
Again, having access to your home doesn’t mean you should go inside every time you forget an ingredient. If you want an authentic camping experience, you should have everything you need ready and packed for your backyard tent camping trip beforehand.
Of course, you’ll also need the tools to cook your food outdoors. You can go with a small charcoal grill as your stove for cooking. You’ll also need small pots, pans, and utensils to cook up a great meal for the family in your backyard.
Find ways to keep everyone entertained
You can’t just rely on the idea of being outdoors to keep the family entertained during your backyard tent camping adventure. You have to find ways for everyone to have fun and make your camping experience more memorable. Here are some of the best activities that you can include on your list of to-dos:
This is a hit, especially for the kids because it allows them to explore your backyard and the rest of your property while having lots of fun.
Make a list of the hidden things you can find around your property. Prepare a bag and maybe a camera, and set a time for your family members to do the scavenger hunt. To make the game more exciting, prepare a gift for the one who finds the most items on the list after the given time.
Campfire and stories
You can’t get any more classic camping than sharing stories over a campfire—and maybe even some s’mores. Leave all your gadgets inside the house and let everyone gather around the campfire after dinner so you can have a real conversation without any distractions.
You can ask everyone to share their own stories. You can toast some marshmallows or hotdog on the fire while you’re listening.
Do you have a projector or a large television? You can turn part of your backyard into an outdoor entertainment space where the whole family can enjoy a movie under the stars. Prepare some popcorn, chips, and drinks, and just have a great time together.
If you’re camping with a big group, stocking up on different kinds of board games is a surefire way to give everyone options on how they will spend their time during your adventure.
You can choose from classics like UNO, Jenga, and Pictionary to more adventurous games like The Appalachian Trail Game, Mancala, Beat the Parents, Battleship, and Cribbage.
Of course, you can’t end your night without doing some stargazing together. If you’re backyard camping on a clear night, you can spread out a blanket, get some pillows and blankets, and just snuggle together as you look at the stars above.
There are many fun things your can do will camping out in your yard. Choosing the right tent is essential. Prepare food and games ahead of time so you don't waste time when you are on your excursion. And bring everything to your tent so you're not going back and forth to your house.