The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Camping

We dream of a weekends spent outdoors, but sometimes we can’t travel farther than our own yards. If finances, full campgrounds, health concerns, or social distancing restrictions are keeping you at home this season, that doesn’t mean you have to give up camping. With some creativity and flexibility, it’s possible to re-create an authentic camping experience right at home. You might not have the lake or the hiking trails, but you’ll still have the fresh air, starry skies, and outdoor fun.

Not convinced? Here are some advantages of backyard camping:

  • It’s convenient. No need to spend hours on the road or in traffic to reach your weekend getaway location when it’s right outside your door. Plus, you don’t have to spend time packing and unpacking.
  • It’s (relatively) cheap. You’ll save money on gas and camping permits.
  • The food is better. Unless you plan to cook outdoors, at home you’ll have an entire kitchen you can use including a stove, oven, refrigerator, and freezer.
  • You won’t have weather worries. If it rains, storms, or gets uncomfortably hot, it’s easy to simply head indoors—and crank up the air-conditioning.
  • It’s a good trial run. If you’re new to camping or aren’t sure if your kids are old enough to try it, camping at home is a great low-stakes way to test it out. Not to mention, it’ll give you a chance to try out gear such as a new tent or hammock set-up.
  • It’s pet-friendly. Have a dog (or cat!) you love but would never take to the campground? See how they do in a backyard camping situation. You’ll be close to everything you need if it turns out they’re more comfortable indoors.

Before you set up camp for the weekend, here are some ideas that will help you plan the perfect camping staycation:

backyard camping hammock

Campsite Considerations

Your backyard camping accommodations will depend on where you live and the gear you have on hand. Here are some options:

  • RV or camper: Set it up in the driveway or on a level spot in the yard. Done.
  • Tent: Find a flat area in your yard that’s free of tree roots, rocks, or other sharp objects. If you want power for fans or other electronics, make sure the tent is close enough to the house so an extension cord will reach. Line the bottom of the tent with sleeping pads, yoga mats, cushions, air mattresses, bean bag chairs, or anything that will make it comfortable!
Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent, Navy
Outbound 8 Person 3 Season Lightweight Easy-Up Dome Camping Tent with Room Divider, Heavy Duty 600mm Coated Rainfly and Screened-in Front Porch, Blue
Toogh 3-4 Person Camping Tent 60 Seconds Set Up Tent Waterproof Pop Up Hexagon Outdoor Sports Tent Camping Sun Shelters, Instant Cabin Tent, Advanced Venting Design, Provide Top Rainfly(2022 Update)
Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent, Navy
Outbound 8 Person 3 Season Lightweight Easy-Up Dome Camping Tent with Room Divider, Heavy Duty 600mm Coated Rainfly and Screened-in Front Porch, Blue
Toogh 3-4 Person Camping Tent 60 Seconds Set Up Tent Waterproof Pop Up Hexagon Outdoor Sports Tent Camping Sun Shelters, Instant Cabin Tent, Advanced Venting Design, Provide Top Rainfly(2022 Update)
Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent, Navy
Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent, Navy
Outbound 8 Person 3 Season Lightweight Easy-Up Dome Camping Tent with Room Divider, Heavy Duty 600mm Coated Rainfly and Screened-in Front Porch, Blue
Outbound 8 Person 3 Season Lightweight Easy-Up Dome Camping Tent with Room Divider, Heavy Duty 600mm Coated Rainfly and Screened-in Front Porch, Blue
Toogh 3-4 Person Camping Tent 60 Seconds Set Up Tent Waterproof Pop Up Hexagon Outdoor Sports Tent Camping Sun Shelters, Instant Cabin Tent, Advanced Venting Design, Provide Top Rainfly(2022 Update)
Toogh 3-4 Person Camping Tent 60 Seconds Set Up Tent Waterproof Pop Up Hexagon Outdoor Sports Tent Camping Sun Shelters, Instant Cabin Tent, Advanced Venting Design, Provide Top Rainfly(2022 Update)
  • Hammocks: Try sleeping in a hammock for the night. (Here’s how to set one up.) Keep in mind that sleeping in hammocks can get chilly. Make sure you have a pillow and enough blankets and possibly an insulating blanket on the outside. (Unless it’s a balmy summer night in July.) Depending on where you live, you might also want to use a mosquito net.
Vivere Double Hammock with Space Saving Steel Stand, Natural (450 lb Capacity - Premium Carry Bag Included)
Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock for Camping Single Hammocks Gear for The Outdoors Backpacking Survival or Travel - Portable Lightweight Parachute Nylon SO Black & Grey
PNAEUT Max 475lbs Capacity Double Hammock with Stand Included 2 Person Heavy Duty Traditional 2 People Rope Hammocks Stand with Pillow for Outside Porch Patio Garden Backyard Outdoor ( Burlywood )
Vivere Double Hammock with Space Saving Steel Stand, Natural (450 lb Capacity - Premium Carry Bag Included)
Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock for Camping Single Hammocks Gear for The Outdoors Backpacking Survival or Travel - Portable Lightweight Parachute Nylon SO Black & Grey
PNAEUT Max 475lbs Capacity Double Hammock with Stand Included 2 Person Heavy Duty Traditional 2 People Rope Hammocks Stand with Pillow for Outside Porch Patio Garden Backyard Outdoor ( Burlywood )
Vivere Double Hammock with Space Saving Steel Stand, Natural (450 lb Capacity - Premium Carry Bag Included)
Vivere Double Hammock with Space Saving Steel Stand, Natural (450 lb Capacity - Premium Carry Bag Included)
Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock for Camping Single Hammocks Gear for The Outdoors Backpacking Survival or Travel - Portable Lightweight Parachute Nylon SO Black & Grey
Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock for Camping Single Hammocks Gear for The Outdoors Backpacking Survival or Travel - Portable Lightweight Parachute Nylon SO Black & Grey
PNAEUT Max 475lbs Capacity Double Hammock with Stand Included 2 Person Heavy Duty Traditional 2 People Rope Hammocks Stand with Pillow for Outside Porch Patio Garden Backyard Outdoor ( Burlywood )
PNAEUT Max 475lbs Capacity Double Hammock with Stand Included 2 Person Heavy Duty Traditional 2 People Rope Hammocks Stand with Pillow for Outside Porch Patio Garden Backyard Outdoor ( Burlywood )
  • Sleeping bags: A minimalist option is to simply roll out some sleeping bags on the ground. Be sure to add pillows, sleeping pads, foam cushions, or an air mattress underneath to make it more comfy. (If you don’t own sleeping bags, blankets will also work just fine.)
Flantree Sleeping Bag 4 Seasons Adults & Kids for Camping Hiking Trips Warm Cool Weather,Lightweight and Waterproof with Compression Bag,Indoors Outdoors Activities
Coleman Sun Ridge 40°F Warm Weather Sleeping Bag, Blue
Sleeping Bag 3 Seasons (Summer, Spring, Fall) Warm & Cool Weather - Lightweight,Waterproof Indoor & Outdoor Use for Kids, Teens & Adults for Camping Hiking, Backpacking and Survival (Emerald Green)
Flantree Sleeping Bag 4 Seasons Adults & Kids for Camping Hiking Trips Warm Cool Weather,Lightweight and Waterproof with Compression Bag,Indoors Outdoors Activities
Coleman Sun Ridge 40°F Warm Weather Sleeping Bag, Blue
Sleeping Bag 3 Seasons (Summer, Spring, Fall) Warm & Cool Weather - Lightweight,Waterproof Indoor & Outdoor Use for Kids, Teens & Adults for Camping Hiking, Backpacking and Survival (Emerald Green)
Flantree Sleeping Bag 4 Seasons Adults & Kids for Camping Hiking Trips Warm Cool Weather,Lightweight and Waterproof with Compression Bag,Indoors Outdoors Activities
Flantree Sleeping Bag 4 Seasons Adults & Kids for Camping Hiking Trips Warm Cool Weather,Lightweight and Waterproof with Compression Bag,Indoors Outdoors Activities
Coleman Sun Ridge 40°F Warm Weather Sleeping Bag, Blue
Coleman Sun Ridge 40°F Warm Weather Sleeping Bag, Blue
Sleeping Bag 3 Seasons (Summer, Spring, Fall) Warm & Cool Weather - Lightweight,Waterproof Indoor & Outdoor Use for Kids, Teens & Adults for Camping Hiking, Backpacking and Survival (Emerald Green)
Sleeping Bag 3 Seasons (Summer, Spring, Fall) Warm & Cool Weather - Lightweight,Waterproof Indoor & Outdoor Use for Kids, Teens & Adults for Camping Hiking, Backpacking and Survival (Emerald Green)
  • DIY tent: If you don’t have a tent but want some shelter while you sleep, it’s easy enough to make your own pup tent. String a clothesline or paracord between two trees about 4-5 feet off the ground. (Fence posts or deck rails will also work as long as they’re sturdy enough.) Then drape a tarp or sheet over the clothesline. Make sure it’s large enough that the sides reach the ground. If possible, stake the edges of the tarp to the ground or anchor them in place with rocks or other heavy objects.

backyard camping roasting marshmallows

Backyard Basics

One advantage of camping at home is personalization. You can set up your camping spot exactly how you want it. (That said, make sure you follow your city ordinances about fire and noise. Different communities have different guidelines and restrictions.) Here are things that’ll make your yard feel more like a real campsite and a few extras that are just nice to have:

  • Firepit: If your yard doesn’t already have a firepit, follow these instructions to build your own. (Here’s a cheaper method that uses cinder blocks.) If you’d like something less permanent, try Landmann's Outdoor Fireplace or this extra-large firepit with a moon-and-stars pattern. Make sure to set up your firepit a safe distance away from any homes, buildings, or trees.
  • Water: Sure, the kitchen’s probably just a few steps away, but it’s nice to have an outdoor water source too. Set up a garden hose near your eating area or fill a water jug.
  • Electricity: Many buildings have outdoor outlets, but whether your electricity source is outdoors or inside, you’ll want an extension cord or two. This outdoor extension cord comes in five lengths and two colors.
  • Lights: From headlamps to solar lanterns, there are a lot of options when it comes to outdoor lighting. Check out our guide to outdoor lighting to see which lights you’ll need.
SaleBestseller No. 1
Outdoor String Lights 25 Feet G40 Globe Patio Lights with 27 Edison Glass Bulbs(2 Spare), Waterproof Connectable Hanging Light for Backyard Porch Balcony Party Decor, E12 Socket Base,Black
  • 【Dimmable Compatible & Energy Saving】G40 outside string light come with 25 glass bulbs and 1 spare bulb. 1.5 inch light bulbs have E12/C7 candelabra socket base, 5W per bulb, warm white dimmable string light help you to save more electricity bid.
  • 【Connectable & Portable】25 hanging sockets, 6 inch lead with male plug, 12 inch spacing between bulbs, 6 inch tail with female connector, total length 25 feet. End to end connect up to 3 strands. Portable size for easy carrying and storage
  • 【Safety & Durable】UL certified deck lights is built with weatherproof technology, which can withstand extreme temperatures, rain, wind, and damp climates. Safe and durable electric bistro lights either with a built-in spare fuse for easy replacement
  • 【Practical & Easy to Install】This outdoor decorative light string is very easy to install with a cable tie or cup hook, fix it or place it anywhere as you need. flexible and practical, a light bulb that goes out does not affect other lighting bulbs
  • 【Widely Used & Warranty】Our commercial lights great for balcony garden pergola gazebo tent bbq market cafe umbrella wedding decor. Please contact the seller directly if you have any quality problems. For Bulbs replacement, please search B00R25V92Y
Bestseller No. 2
alitade S14 LED Outdoor String Lights, Shatterproof IP65 27Ft (Maximum 918Ft) Outdoor Lights for Patio Lights Outdoor Waterproof, Outside Lights for Outdoor Lighting, Edison Vintage Backyard Lights
  • Ultra Energy-Saving: These alitade stylish and functional LED energy-saving outside string lights dramatically reduce your 95% electricity bills compared with incandescent bulb ones. 30,000 hours long lifespan could reduce maintenance costs on changing bulbs frequently.
  • Weatherproof and Shatterproof: Plastic bulbs assured you and your family safe while hanging the string lights for the patio, free worry from glass shards, and greatly reduce bulb change especially for outdoor use. IP65 waterproof patio string lights can withstand snow, sun, dampness, wind, rain, and extreme temperatures for outside use. Inside the E26 socket is pure copper, faster electric conduction, less heating.
  • Vintage Bistro Ambience: alitade bistro lights use vintage Edison bulbs to create a great ambience on your patio. These outdoor party lights are bright enough to grill and eat, without being overpowering. Install by attaching with a clip or a stake in the ground. They put out 2,700K warm white light and the life is up to 30,000 hours.
  • Connectable and easy to install: Each outdoor hanging lights strand contains 10 E26 based hanging sockets, provided with 1W S14 LED bulbs(*10). The distance between bulbs is approximately 2.5FT. These Edison string lights can end to end connect up to 34 sets, which is long enough for all kinds of activities! Built-in 0.25 inch hanging loops are convenient for using cup hooks, guide wires, zip ties, or screw nails to hang the string lights for the patio perfectly.
  • Applications: These LED string lights are suitable for indoor, outdoor, dorm, café, bistro, camping, balcony, gazebo, canopy, house, village, apartment, festival, wedding, birthday, Christmas, party decoration
  • Bathroom: Since you’re camping at home, this is one thing you don’t need to worry about! Just make sure the house is unlocked for everyone’s middle-of-the-night trips and you’re stocked up on TP.

backyard camping bocce ball

Extra Amenities

  • Grill: You can cook over the campfire if you want, but for more dependable backyard camping results, just fire up the grill. If it’s summer, chances are it’s all ready to go. Stick to camping basics like burgers and brats or take the opportunity for fancier camping fare.
  • Festive lights: Decorate your yard with , string lights, or paper lanterns.
  • Decorations: For a celebratory feel, now’s the time to break out party decorations like streamers or pennant garlands. Decorations aren’t usually on most campers’ packing lists, but you don’t have to pack for this camp-out anyway.
  • Yard games: Break out the badminton, ladder toss, bags, bocce, or any other outdoor game.
SaleBestseller No. 1
Spikeball Standard 3 Ball Kit - Game for The Backyard, Beach, Park, Indoors
  • IF VOLLEYBALL AND FOURSQUARE HAD A BABY - Spikeball is a fun, active, easy-to-learn game that can be played anywhere by anyone. The Spikeball Standard Kit is all you need for a good time.
  • EASY TO LEARN FOR INSTANT FUN - Yard game experts and newcomers alike can pick up Spikeball quickly as it is easy to learn but difficult to master. Like volleyball, teams alternate possessions and try to spike the ball away from each other! Rule book included!
  • PLAY ANYWHERE - Spikeball is perfect for the backyard, the beach, the park, the gym, and even your living room (if you're careful enough).
  • SHIPS IN A SPIKEBALL BRANDED BOX! Choose "Ship in Amazon Packaging" at Checkout if it is a surprise!
  • ALL YOU NEED TO PLAY IS INCLUDED - The Standard Kit comes with the Spikeball set, three balls (you only need one but extras won't hurt), netting, and a carrying bag for easy transport!
Bestseller No. 2
Toss and Catch Ball Set, Catch Game Toys for Kids, Beach Toys Paddle Ball Game Set with 6 Paddles and 3 Balls, Perfect Outdoor Games Sets Playground Sets for Backyards for Kids/Adults/Family
  • Hight Quality Ball Set: Our catch and toss ball set was maded by 100% high quality material, not fragile, softer balls keep the racket from being damaged again.
  • Funny Toss and Catch Ball Games: Our catch ball set includes 6 balls and 3 paddles, 1 exquisite storage. It is easy to play, one side throws the ball and the other catch the ball. This game can be played by 2-6 peoples, which is flexible and funny to bring both kids and adults together to play game.
  • Perfect Outdoor Sports Racket: Are you still worrying about the lack of company for your kids because of busy work? This Paddle Ball Game Set can help you. You can play the toss and catch game with your kids on your backyard anytime, so please start to enjoy your funny family time now!
  • Play Anytime Anywhere: The catch game toys is suitable for backyard, beach, lawn, park, ect. You can play the game with your family, friends, classmates to have much fun. Great for kids’ party, camping trip and other activities.
  • Great to Enhance the Child's Physical Fitness: Are you still worried about your child's addiction to electronics?This toss ball game can help you. Toss ball game can exercise kids hand-eye coordination and arm muscles, always keep kids active and heathy. Toss game needs at least 2 players, which is a good way to promote interaction among friends and family members.
Bestseller No. 3
Megwoz Giant Tumble Tower, Stacking Backyard Game Stacking from 2Ft to Over 4.2Ft with 2 Dices|Scoreboard| Carrying Bag, Wooden Block Indoor Outdoor Game Set for Kids Adult Family- 57 Pieces
  • 『57 PCS GIANT TUMBLE TOWER SET』MEGWOZ giant tumble tower come with 57 pieces Tumble Blocks,2 pieces dices, 1 scoreboard & marker and one high quality handy zippered bag. Each block measures 6 * 2* 1.3", the toppling timber starts at 2 Ft (19 rows) tall and can be grown up over 4.2 Ft tall during played,allows you to experience the joy of challenge and victory.
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  • 『EXCELLENT TEACH TOOL & SUITABLE FOR ALL AGE』Playing block stacking yard game is a good way to develop social skills like being patient, sharing, taking turns and enjoying interactions with others, it also can help to foster the ability to focus. The giant tower is a great indoor and outdoor game for Children, Adult, Families of all age with hours of quality entertainment.
  • 『CONVENIENT TO TRANSPORT & FUN FOR ALL OCCASIONS』The giant games indoor or outdoor comes with a durable carrying bag, which is portable, heavy-duty and waterproof, storage the tumble tower blocks into the bag and take it to anywhere you want, such as beach, camping trips, birthdays party, Christmas party, friends party, family activity, weddings, Pub, BBQ and park, enjoy the leisure time with your families or friends, enhance the relationship with them.
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Bestseller No. 4
SWOOC Games - Yardzee, Farkle & 20+ Games - Giant Yard Dice Set (All Weather) with Wooden Bucket, 5 Big Laminated Score Cards, and Dry Erase Marker - Jumbo Backyard Lawn Games
  • ✅ ALL-IN-ONE - All equipment included for Yardzee & Yard Farkle for up to 5 players. Includes 6 solid wood jumbo dice, 5 large reusable score cards, wooden bucket, & marker for a complete yard dice set.
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SaleBestseller No. 5
Bolaball Four-in-a-Row Outdoor Games for Family Fun, Yard Game for Adults and Kids, Backyard Party Toys, 27 x 22 Inches
  • GIANT FOUR-TO-SCORE BOARD: This extra-large Four-in-a-Row game is great for big families or a group of friends. Play one-on-one or as a team. This size can be played on an indoor table or in the backyard.
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  • Pet priorities: If you invite your dog to join the fun, give them a cool and comfortable place to be. This elevated pet bed is made from breathable mesh and is easy to clean. When night falls, snap on this LED collar so you’ll always be able to spot your dog in the dark!