Camping is a favorite past time of many. There's something magical about toasting marshmallows over an open fire and sleeping under the stars.
The best part is, you can camp virtually anywhere -- even in your own backyard!
If you want to experience all the fun of camping without leaving home, check out this helpful backyard camping guide.
Here we'll share six essential items you need to create a memorable backyard camping experience.
Grab your comfy blanket and a flashlight and let's take an adventure!
No backyard camping experience would be complete without a tent -- or at least somewhere relatively comfortable to sleep.
Tents come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. If you're an avid camper, you may want to invest in a quality, family-size tent that you can use for several years.
A small 2 or 4 person tent is sufficient if you only plan on camping in your backyard on special occasions.
Just be sure to use plenty of padding on the floor of the tent. Some campers prefer inflatable mattresses.
In mild weather, you don't even need a tent! Create a makeshift tent by stringing rope or clothesline between two trees. Next, hang a blanket or tarp over the top.
Opt for a waterproof tent or tarp in case of inclement weather. Line the ground below your makeshift cover with a waterproof tarp as well. Then, have fun stacking up lots of soft blankets and plush pillows for a comfy sleeping area.
2. Bedding Supplies
Now that you have the base of your sleeping area set, you need blankets and covers to keep yourself warm.
Sleeping bags are a popular camping item thanks to the fact that they stay put! No more fighting over blankets.
Once you're zipped-up snug in your sleeping bag, you're set for the rest of the night. This is especially useful if you're sleeping under the elements and not in the protection of a tent.
You can also use cotton or wool blankets for added warmth and comfort.
3. Bug Spray
Bugs and insects are all part of the backyard camping experience. It's important to prepare with plenty of bug spray and insect repellent.
Regardless of where you're camping, chances are, mosquitoes will find you! Even if your backyard is in a non-wooded area, you'd rather be safe than sorry.
Deet is the most popular and effective bug spray ingredient. It protects against not only mosquitoes but ticks and other harmful insects.
Liberally apply bug spray to any exposed skin. You can even spray it on the outside of clothing for extra protection.
Light a few citronella candles and you're sure to have a fun, bug-free camping experience!
When backyard camping at night, you'll need some light to guide your way. Leave your smartphones behind and invest in a few handheld flashlights with batteries.
Not only will flashlights help you navigate the great outdoors, but they're fun for telling ghost stories around the campfire.
Small lanterns are another option and have easy-to-carry handles. Get creative and string lights around the exterior of your campsite to create both light and ambiance.
What backyard camping experience would be complete without some delicious food? Popular camping meals include hot dogs or grilled cheese made over the fire or cheeseburgers on the grill.
You'll need chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows for s'mores -- a timeless camping tradition.
Get creative and stay healthy by making camping trail mix or bringing along some dried fruit and nuts. Camping with kids means they're always hungry, so be sure to bring along plenty of supplies.
The good thing is, if you run out, the refrigerator isn't far away.
When camping in the woods, always store food safely to avoid unwanted visits from bears and other wildlife.
6. Games and Activities
Leave your electronic devices behind to experience all the fun and wonder that camping has to offer. Without digital interaction, your kids will need to get creative to pass the time.
There are plenty of fun camping games and activities for kids. Here are just a few of our favorites.
Revisit the past with some classic games like charades, telephone, hide and seek, and tag.
Choose fun themes for charades and telephone. Set a timer for hide and seek and tag to add to the challnge. Or you can add music and play freeze tag! The kids will be exhausted by the time their head hits their pillow.
The outdoors is the perfect backdrop for a scavenger hunt. Before your campout begins, hide small clues or trinkets throughout the backyard.
Give the kids clues and flashlights. They can use journals to take notes and document which items they've found and which they still need to find.
If you don't feel like hiding items, let them hunt for things in nature and common items like flowers, mailboxes, or a bird's nest. The child who gets the most items gets a sweet treat or first dibs on telling a scary story!
What better time to teach your kids about astrology and the world around them than at night under the stars?
On a clear night, lay down blankets and pillows in an open space with a clear view of the sky. Point out specific stars and constellations.
Bring along a guide to help the kids find some of their own. If you're lucky, you may even see a shooting star!
Backyard Camping Has Never Been More Fun
You don't have to leave home to plan a fun and memorable night with your family. Backyard camping is easy, convenient, and a great way to reconnect with nature.
Leave your devices in the house, cook up some delicious camping meals, and get ready to have some fun!
When it's time to get some shut-eye, be sure to bring along quality, comfortable blankets and pillows for a good night's sleep.
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