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:
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!
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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.
- ✅【WEATHERPROOF & HEAVY-DUTY]】This outdoor string lights are UL listed weatherproof commercial. The insulation material can protect the strand from hot winter, sun, wind, rain, snow and damp. Flexible heavy-duty cord withstands the wear of indoor and outdoor use.
- ✅【DIMMER COMPATIBLE TO SET THE RIGHT MOOD】 For greater mood lighting flexibility and a soft glow, a dimmer switch【not included】 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.
- ✅【IDEAL OUTDOOR LIGHTING】 Each strand contains 15 E26 based hanging sockets, provided with 11W S14 incandescent bulbs . The distance between bulbs is approximately 3.11FT. This Heavy-duty light is bright enough and ideal illumination anywhere.
- ✅【SMART INSTALLATION]】Each socket has hanging hook above, makes it easy for hanging with hooks, guide wires, or zip ties. It can connect with another simply use grounded cord plugs into any standard outlets. Link up to 5 strands.
- ✅【SATISFACTION GUARANTEED】 Your satisfaction is first. If you are not fully satisfied for any reason, please contact us.
- PATIO DROP LIGHTS CREATE A CLASSIC CAFE AMBIENCE IN YOUR EXTERIOR SPACE: String up Ambience Pro lights on your pergola, porch or other outside space to create a great atmosphere to relax and/or entertain guests. These vintage Edison string lights with old-fashioned filaments give off a warm, old time glow so that you can come home after a busy day and enjoy your very own retreat.
- HEAVY DUTY, COMMERCIAL GRADE WEATHERPROOF LIGHTS HAVE SURVIVED 50MPH WINDS: These yard lights are durable thanks to Brightech's industrial grade WeatherTite Technology. These lights are waterproof and have withstood Nor'Easters blowing at 50 MPH, per reviews! They are UL listed, and the extra thick light cord is flexible. Confidently leave these string lights on display year round.
- HANG UP A CANOPY OF ALEXA COMPATIBLE EDISON STRAND LIGHTS FOR WEDDINGS, PARTIES ETC. : Create a warm atmosphere with these retro filament Edison bulbs. Add a festoon touch to a wedding reception, cocktail party, birthday, BBQ, carnival etc. Each 48 foot strand contains 15 hanging 11 Watt bulbs spaced 3 feet apart. Works with Alexa to turn on/off, requires hub sold separately. Connect up to 8 strands end to end.
- BEST DIMMABLE ELECTRIC PLUG IN LIGHTS SET THE RIGHT MOOD INDOOR OR OUT: For mood lighting on the balcony or in the bedroom, wire the rope to a dimmer switch. Ideal for a romantic dinner for two, an elegant nighttime celebration, or a wedding reception. Use indoors or out, the choice is yours.
- BRIGHTECH'S 3 YEAR PRODUCT WARRANTY: We proudly stand behind all of our products 100%, which is why we offer a full 3 year warranty. If your lights have any defect or stop working within 3 years, we help you troubleshoot and/or send replacement parts or a whole new product. If any problems arise, please contact us because our number one goal is customer satisfaction. Note: incandescent bulbs are only covered for 3 months, strand for full 3 years.
- 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.
- 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.
- The #1 Outdoor Party Game in America. Kan Jam is a tremendously fun and popular competitive team game in the same family as Ultimate Frisbee, Frisbee golf, cornhole, and basketball.
- In teams of two people, take turns throwing or deflecting the disc across the yard, beach, or park at your opponents' goal - 21 points wins, or go pro and slot the disc for an instant victory
- Set includes two portable, weatherproof goals, an official Kan Jam disc (color may vary), and play instructions - it's perfect for backyard or tailgate parties as well as camping - and kids and adults can compete together
- Play without limits – Kan Jam Splash is made for pools or water, while Kan Jam Illuminate can be played in total darkness. Weather not cooperating? Bring this modern, outdoor classic indoors with Kan Jam Mini
- Proudly Made in the USA - and with licensed NFL, NCAA college football, and NHL designs you can mix and match, challenge your opponents to put their team pride on the line ahead of the big showdown
- Frisbee lawn games are great for sports and outdoor play. Basically any age can play. They are wonderful tailgate games, or outside games for kids 8-12, and are very popular teenage boys gifts ideas. also as outdoor gifts for men. If you’re looking for outdoor fun, you have certainly found it
- Fast and easy to set up outdoor games for kids 8-12 plus. They can set it up themselves in a few minutes, and be ready for some outdoor fun. All Giggle N Go outdoor games are great as gifts for family with kids
- YOU'LL SIMPLY LOVE THIS GAME, active sports gifts for boys or girls or where everyone at any age can join in, are just a wonderful....you can play with 4 or more people or just 1 person at each end..any combination will do
- PACK IT ALL AWAY IN ITS OWN HANDY CARRY BAG, you won't be losing any pieces of your game with our handy carry bag for fast storage. our sports games INCLUDE 1 Flying Disc, 2 knock off Stands and a Storage Carry Bag..Targets NOT Included. use whatever you have available for the target, EG: plastic bottles, cans, cups or toys to make it much more fun
- OUR GUARANTEE TO YOU, at Giggle N Go, customer satisfaction is our number 1 priority. All Giggle N Go family games for kids and adults come with a 1 year warranty
- GIANT SIZE: Tower starts at 2. 5 feet tall and grows to over 5 feet during play - includes 54 giant blocks (18 rows). Each block measures 7. 75 x 1. 5 x 2. 5 inches
- BONUS RULES WITH DRY-ERASE BOARD: Includes bonus dry-erase board to make your own optional party rules: Goofy rules, adult themed rules, and more
- PREMIUM QUALITY: Hand selected knot free pine blocks - Beware of other low-cost towers that use low quality wood
- CARRYING CASE: Includes robust canvas carrying case for easy portability and storage of blocks and accessories
- CLASSIC GAMEPLAY: Pull blocks out of the body of the tower and replace them at the top without the tower falling over
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED: Set Includes 2 Targets with Score Trackers, 6 Rubber Bolos, Carrying Case & Rules
- FASTEST ASSEMBLY: PVC Targets are Pre Glued so Assembly Takes Under 2 Minutes, Compared to 10+ minutes For Competing Sets
- KID FRIENDLY: Soft Rubber Bolos are Kid Friendly and Great for Indoors and The Extra Thick String Prevents Tangles
- PREMIUM CONSTRUCTION: PVC Tubes are 50 percent Thicker Than the Leading Economy Set (PVC Has Been Upgraded as of August 2017)
- BEWARE OF KNOCKOFFS: Beware of Cheap Chinese Knockoffs That Look Similar in Pictures
- AS SEEN ON SHARK TANK – Spikeball is a fun, active, and competitive (if you want it to be) 2 on 2 outdoor indoor sports game played on college campuses, tailgates, the lawn, yard, backyard, beach or gym with rules kind of like volleyball.
- PLAY ANYWHERE - Spikeball is perfect for the backyard, the beach, or even your living room!
- FOLDABLE LEGS make the product tougher. Errant dives and falls happen, these legs can take the abuse. Bonus! They make it easier to store Spikeball in your trunk, closet or garage
- ADJUSTABLE NET – Play at the tournament standard or tailor the net tightness to your preference. More bounce for newer players, Less bounce for advanced
- LIFETIME GUARANTEE - Purchase from Spikeball and we'll replace any broken part, free of charge, forever. Don't get stuck with knock off brands and knock off warranties. This warranty is not transferable.