How to Plan Your Own  Backyard Camping ‘Trip’

How to Plan Your Own Backyard Camping ‘Trip’

Have you ever wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but aren’t able to head to the woods for the weekend? It might be time to plan a backyard campout. 

Backyard camping is exactly what it sounds like – setting up a tent, cooking outside, and telling stories around a campfire in the comfort of your own yard. It’s a great way to enjoy some quality time and fresh air without ever leaving your house. 

It may sound like a strange idea, but trust us. Once you’ve given it a try, you won’t be able to stop planning impromptu home campouts in between your regular camping trips from here on out. 

In this article, we’ll talk about why you should try camping in your backyard and how to create an authentic camping experience at home, whether with friends, family, or a date. Let’s get into it! 

What is Backyard Camping? 

Family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children, laying on the grass outdoors for outdoor camping activities

The idea behind backyard camping is pretty self-explanatory. It’s exactly like regular camping except instead of packing all your stuff in the SUV and driving to a remote area or campground, you’re just setting everything up right in your own backyard. 

The main difference, of course, is that you still have access to as many of the luxuries you enjoy at home, like a bathroom and sink. That being said, you can still capture much of the same relaxation and nature appreciation that you would on a traditional camping trip if you do it right. 

But, why pitch a tent in the yard when you could head into the woods instead? 

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to plan a backyard campout. Let’s take a look at some of those next. 

Why Try Backyard Camping?

If you’ve never tried it before, the idea of pitching a tent in the backyard might sound kind of weird. After all, why bother when you could sleep in a perfectly good bed inside your house?

Well, there are a few reasons why you might want to have a backyard campout. 

The first reason is to make the best of it when your actual camping trip is canceled for some reason or just isn’t feasible. Whether it’s rain, a busted vehicle, or a sick cat, sometimes our original plans are foiled. But, that doesn’t have to mean the fun is! It might not be the camping getaway you were hoping for, but it’s still an opportunity to spend some quality time with loved ones and get some fresh air. 

Another reason some people opt to camp in the yard for a night or two is to “field test” new gear before a big trip. Instead of hoping for the best on a bigger excursion, it’s never a bad idea to set up a new tent, mat, or stove and test it out to make sure it will work first. 

Camping in the backyard is also a good way to introduce kids to camping who have never been before. After all, it’s better to work out the kinks of camping with kids in your yard than out in the middle of nowhere, where the stakes are much higher. 

The final, and most important, reason you might want to try a backyard campout is simply because it’s fun! Not only is it a great way to shake up the norm and do something different, but you could use the concept for a unique date night, a birthday party, a family reunion, or for absolutely no reason at all. 

Backyard Camping Tips to Bring the Outdoors Home

The beauty of camping in the yard is that there are no rules – the idea is to have fun, so it’s up to you to decide how “authentic” you want to get. While some people want to mimic a camping trip as closely as possible and only step inside when absolutely necessary, others may want to keep it casual and set up a projector for an outdoor movie night. 

That being said, here are some backyard camping ideas for families and adults that we recommend for the best experience possible. 

Family bonding outside their home camping with a small tent


We get that it’s hard to turn off the devices – especially when you haven’t left the house. But in the interest of connecting with nature and others as much as possible, we strongly recommend going unplugged for the duration of the campout

As tempting as it is to check the ‘gram or take a peek at the game stats, we promise you won’t regret putting the devices aside for the evening to look at the stars and fully engage in storytelling over a s’more or two instead. Your phone will still be there tomorrow! 

Stay Outside as Much as Possible

Along the same lines of getting unplugged, we suggest agreeing to stay outside as much as you possibly can. 

Obviously, since you’re in your own yard, you’ll need to head inside to use the bathroom. But other than that, you can do pretty much everything outside if you want to. Decide ahead of time whether you’ll go in to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, change into pajamas, and use the fridge. But unless it’s absolutely necessary, try to stay outside! 

Set the Scene

This is the most important step in creating a truly authentic-feeling camping experience in your backyard – set the scene. 

To do this, go ahead and set up your gear exactly as you would on a real camping trip. Put up your tent, hang your hammocks, break out the camping chairs, and even grab the cooler for drinks. 

We also suggest going “lights out” for the duration of the campout. Turn off all the indoor and outdoor lights and use flashlights to navigate in the dark. For some added ambiance, you can hang up some fairy lights and/or light a tiki torch or two. Not only will this give you some light to see, but it will also make for a very cozy or romantic experience. 

Build a Backyard Fire Pit

It’s not a real campout without a campfire, right? 

Even though you’re at home, don’t forget the fire! Build a backyard fire pit, set up a propane one, or buy one that’s portable. If that’s not feasible for whatever reason, you can always use a BBQ grill or even light a bunch of candles to give off the same vibes. 

Before you go lighting a fire in your yard, make sure to check on any local fire restrictions so you don’t get in trouble. You are still in a neighborhood, after all, and there’s nothing like a ticket to ruin the mood. 

Keep the Food Authentic

Even though you have a perfectly good kitchen just steps away, cooking outside is part of the camping experience. 

Think about the kind of food you normally eat on a camping trip, and recreate it in your backyard. You can cook hobo dinners or roast hotdogs over the campfire, grill up some burgers, or do some old-fashioned Dutch oven cooking.  

One of the best backyard camping ideas for adults is to grab ingredients for some “camping cocktails” of your choice and shake them up around the fire. No matter what your taste, this list from Go Wander Wild is sure to have something you want to sip on. 

Oh, and don’t forget to have some s’mores ingredients on hand for dessert! (These are a must-have, we don’t care how old you are…)

Plan Backyard Camping Activities

Finally, you’re not going to want to just sit around all night. So, plan on enjoying some classic camping activities like card games, telling scary stories, reading, walking, or even singing Kumbaya around the campfire… whatever floats your boat. 

Think about what you would normally do while hanging around camp, and simply do that at home. It’s that easy. 

Family camping outside, on their backyard.


Backyard camping is a great way to bring the outdoors home when testing gear, introducing kids to camping, or just to mix things up. 

For the best experience, try to spend the evening the same way you would on an actual camping trip: set up your tent, leave your devices inside, turn out the lights, cook an authentic camping meal, and play some cards while you hang out. 

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