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 Dome Tent for Camping with Screen Porch and Carry Bag | Easy Up & Water Resistant | 3 Season| 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(2021 Update)
Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent, Navy
Outbound 8-Person Dome Tent for Camping with Screen Porch and Carry Bag | Easy Up & Water Resistant | 3 Season| 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(2021 Update)
Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent, Navy
Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent, Navy
Outbound 8-Person Dome Tent for Camping with Screen Porch and Carry Bag | Easy Up & Water Resistant | 3 Season| Blue
Outbound 8-Person Dome Tent for Camping with Screen Porch and Carry Bag | Easy Up & Water Resistant | 3 Season| 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(2021 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(2021 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 & Double 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 & Double 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 & Double Hammocks Gear for The Outdoors Backpacking Survival or Travel - Portable Lightweight Parachute Nylon SO Black & Grey
Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock for Camping Single & Double 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 Season Warm & Cool Weather - Summer, Spring, Fall, Lightweight,Waterproof Indoor & Outdoor Use for Kids, Teens & Adults for Hiking,Backpacking and Camping (Emerald Green, Single)
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 Season Warm & Cool Weather - Summer, Spring, Fall, Lightweight,Waterproof Indoor & Outdoor Use for Kids, Teens & Adults for Hiking,Backpacking and Camping (Emerald Green, Single)
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 Season Warm & Cool Weather - Summer, Spring, Fall, Lightweight,Waterproof Indoor & Outdoor Use for Kids, Teens & Adults for Hiking,Backpacking and Camping (Emerald Green, Single)
Sleeping Bag 3 Season Warm & Cool Weather - Summer, Spring, Fall, Lightweight,Waterproof Indoor & Outdoor Use for Kids, Teens & Adults for Hiking,Backpacking and Camping (Emerald Green, Single)
  • 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
addlon LED Outdoor String Lights 48FT with 2W Dimmable Edison Vintage Shatterproof Bulbs and Commercial Grade Weatherproof Strand - UL Listed Heavy-Duty Decorative Cafe, Patio, Market Light
  • Perfect shatterproof LED Bulbs:Each strand contains E26 based hanging sockets, provided with shatterproof LED bulbs. The distance between bulbs is approximately 3.11FT. Ideal Outdoor Lighting with Italian Bistro Style.
  • Weatherproof and Heavy-duty: This market lights are designed to withstand the wear and tear of year-round outdoor use. They are UL listed weatherproof commercial. The insulation material can protect the strand from hot winter, sun, wind, rain, snow and damp. The heavy duty light cord is rubbery, flexible, and thicker than a traditional cord so that you can confidently leave these ultra-durable string lights on display year round.
  • Dimmer Compatible to Set The Right Mood: For greater mood lighting flexibility and a soft glow, a dimmer switch(NOT Include) to create the perfect atmosphere for a birthday party, family reunion , or wedding reception. It adds flair to bistro deck porch patio garden backyard terrace pergola café restaurant malls for wedding BBQ party banquets, also suitable for tree-lighting like Christmas tree.
  • Vintage Pergola Canopy Lights Smart Installation: Yard / outside lighting can connect with another simply use grounded cord plugs into any standard outlets. Link up to 30 strands.
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed: If you have unsatisfactorily with your purchase for any reason, please contact us. Customer satisfaction is our highest pursuit.
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 LED torches, 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
CROSSNET Four Square Volleyball Net & Game Set - Volleyball Set for Backyards - Yard Games for Kids and Adults - CROSSNET Game Four Square Volleyball - Includes Poles, Carrying Backpack & Ball
  • ADJUSTABLE SIZE - CROSSNET is the ONLY height-adjustable four-way volleyball net. Our net can easily be set to traditional women's (7'4"), men's (7'11"), and kids (5’6”) outdoor volleyball heights
  • QUICK SET UP - With fast and easy setup, it only takes 5 minutes to assemble your CROSSNET. Our easy to use manual allows for effortless setup, a comprehensive setup video is also available on our website.
  • SET CONTAINS - CROSSNET comes complete with steel uprights, travel backpack, volleyball, pump, boundary lines, and rule book. Essential volleyball equipment for all ages.
  • PLAY ANYWHERE - That’s right, anywhere. CROSSNET can be played on any surface! (Please note: for indoor and blacktop surfaces you will need additional indoor bases).
  • SAFETY & AUTHENTICITY - We are foursquare volleyball; offering the safest, most durable, and height-adjustable four-way net. We take the safety of our consumers very seriously, that’s why our patented design does not feature a center pole. Center poles are very dangerous and can result in injury during gameplay.
Bestseller No. 2
Kan Jam Original Disc Toss Game, American Made, for Backyard, Beach, Park, Tailgates, Outdoors and Indoors
  • #1 OUTDOOR GAME: The No. 1 Outdoor Party Game in America: Kan Jam is tremendously fun and a popular competitive team game similar to cornhole, washer toss and horseshoes.
  • HOW TO PLAY: Take turns throwing and deflecting the flying disc across the yard, beach, or park at the goal - 21 points wins, or go pro and slot the flying disc for an INSTANT WIN!
  • EASY SET UP: So easy to set up, you can play in seconds!
  • USA MADE: Kan Jam is proudly Made in the USA.
  • PLAY ANYWHERE – Kan Jam is perfect for the backyard, the beach, the park, a tailgate. Kan Jam is so light weight and easy to assemble you can bring it anywhere, set up and play within seconds!
Bestseller No. 3
Bocce Ball Set – Outdoor Backyard Family Games for Adults or Kids – Complete with Bocce Balls, Pallino, and Equipment Carrying Case by Hey! Play!
  • FAMILY GAME – This go-to summer yard game can be enjoyed by kids, teens, and adults. The complete bocce ball set is sure to be a hit at your next party
  • PLAY ANYWHERE – Bocce is easy to play on your own lawn or can be taken camping, to the beach, barbeque, or to the neighbor’s backyard with the carrier bag, complete with handles for easy portability
  • OUTDOOR FUN – Bocce Ball is best played on outdoor surfaces such as grass, sand, or dirt
  • QUALITY MATERIALS – The Bocce balls are made with high-quality poly-resin compound material that is crack and damage resistant for long-lasting use, year after year
  • PRODUCT DETAILS – Carrying Case Dimensions: (L)7” x (W)7” x (D)7”; Set includes 4 green and 4 red balls with two different scoring patterns of 3.5” diameter, and 1 pallino ball, 1.5” diameter; Recommended for ages 3 and up
Bestseller No. 4
Giggle N Go Yard Games for Adults and Kids - Outdoor Polish Horseshoes Game Set for Backyard and Lawn with Frisbee, Bottle Stands, Poles and Storage Bag
  • Portable: Bring the fun to all your backyard games and beach games! Our kit sets up nicely at any bash and packs away neatly in the handy storage bag.
  • Easy to Assemble: With a quick and simple setup, this equipment will be ready to go at the next outdoor games for adults and family event.
  • Bottles: Let the lawn games begin - the Polish Horseshoes kit can be used with a water bottle, beer bottle, soda can, and other beverages.
  • Everything You Need: Get the most out of your camping games with the set that includes a flying frisbee disc, bottle stands, and pole parts (target not included).
  • Perfect Gift: A shindig with outdoor games for kids, teens, and adults isn't complete without a match of Polish Horseshoes, so give this set to a friend!
SaleBestseller No. 5
Little Tikes Huge Inflatable Backyard Soccer & Basketball Court for Multiple Kids
  • CONSTANT AIR INFLATABLE COURT - Kids can play in their own backyard
  • HUGE SIZE - Measuring 24' L x 12' W x 7' H
  • 2-IN-1 SPORTS GAMES - Has both basketball hoops and soccer goals
  • EASY SETUP & PLAY - Inflates in minutes for quick action
  • MULTI KIDS CAN PLAY - So huge, this court can hold up to 8 kids at once
  • 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!