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(2022 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(2022 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(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 & 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 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
addlon 96 FT (2x48FT) Outdoor String Lights Commercial Grade Strand 32 Edison Vintage Bulbs 30 Hanging Sockets, UL Listed Heavy-Duty Decorative Café Patio Lights for Garden, Black
  • 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 us
  • Dimmer Compatible to Set The Right Mood: For greater mood lighting flexibility and a soft glow, a dimmer switch 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 16 incandescent bulbs . The distance between bulbs is approximately 3.11FT. This Heavy-duty light is bright enough and ideal illumination anywhere.
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Bestseller No. 2
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 and energy saving patio string lights: G40 backyard lights come with 25 glass bulbs and 2 spare bulbs. 1.5 inch light bulbs have E12 or C7 candelabra socket base, 5W per bulb, warm white dimmable string light help you to save more electricity bill.
  • Connectable and portable outdoor lights: 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 and 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 and 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, for its vintage style light string, please search B07W59GM6J
  • Widely used: Our commercial lights are the perfect decoration for balcony terrace, garden, Bistro, pergola, gazebo, tent, barbecue, city roof, market, cafe, umbrella, dinner, wedding, birthday, party etc. For Bulbs replacement, please search B00R25V92Y
  • 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.
Bestseller No. 1
Juegoal Yard Pong, Outdoor Giant Yard Games Pong Game Set with Durable Buckets and Balls, Cup Pong Throwing Game for Beach, Camping, Lawn and Backyard
  • OUTDOOR GAME SET: Juegoal bucket pong game includes 12 durable red buckets, 4 balls - 2 white hollow balls, 2 yellow tennis balls, black carry bag & instructions. Easy to understand game play and flexible rules, suitable for all kinds of people, whether children or adults, beginners or advanced players. Enjoy your favorite pong games!
  • Funny Games for All Ages: The bucket can be filled with sand or water so it can't be knocked over easily. Then take turns throwing the ball into the opponent's bucket to get them out. Ideal for kids and adults, endless fun for the whole family, friends, gathering, backyard party, birthday, family picnics, camping trips, the beach, the backyard, in the water, even indoor spaces like gymnasiums and more.
  • Durable Quality: Our big buckets are made from high-quality, extra-thick and heavy-duty plastic, can withstand significant wear-and-tear, not easy to break. Fine workmanship ensures that the surface is smooth, no burr and easy to clean. This outside party game set will be use for long-term durability.
  • Easy to Portable & Storage: The easy-to-stackable design makes these buckets easy to store and can save a lot of space when not in use. Come with a drawstring bag for easy storage and effortless portability. A great travel game, light weight and easy to carry, perfect for outdoor use.
  • Fast and smart game, enhancing competition and interactive ability. This yard pong game set is a great option for people that love team games and sports. It is a good game to enhance hand-eye coordination.
SaleBestseller No. 2
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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  • 🔝 GIANT SIZE - More than 150 times the size of regular dice! Each oversized die is 3.5” x 3.5” x 3.5”. Big 8 x 11 laminated and reusable score cards. Bucket is 10" tall. Despite the huge size, the entire set only weighs a comfortable 7lb.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Jenga Giant JS7 (Stacks to Over 5 feet) Precision-Crafted, Premium Hardwood Game with Heavy-Duty Carry Bag (Authentic Jenga Brand Game)
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Bestseller No. 4
CALIBER GAMES - TowerBall Bundle - Backyard, Lawn, Beach & Tailgate Game - Great for All Ages & Group Sizes - Includes Collapsible Tower, 8 Balls (4 Green and 4 Blue), and a Premium Backpack
  • THE NEXT CLASSIC BACKYARD GAME - Great for all ages and group sizes, the four-sided, 360 degree toss game is fun for casual group competition. Perfect for those outdoor lawn games or beach games.
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  • 360-DEGREE GAMEPLAY- No more waiting around watching others have all of the fun. Play TowerBall with as many players as you'd like.
  • ALL YOU NEED TO PLAY IS INCLUDED - TowerBall comes with the collapsible tower, 8 balls, and a backpack for storage and transportation.
Bestseller No. 5
B3 Bean Bag Bucketz; Outdoor Backyard Game for Adults and Family: Lawn Bean Bag Toss Party Game - Giant 5' Camping, Tailgate, Beach, Yard or Indoor Game - Cornhole Alternative Game Set
  • Telescopic Game Tower For Quick Set Up, Storage And Portability. Our Portable Outside Game Sets Up Fast At The Beach, In The Back Yard Or For Tailgating
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  • Unique Game: Combines Corn Hole, Washer Toss And Disc Golf Into One Easy Beanbag / Carnival Game
  • 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!