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5 Tips for Backyard Camping

Is camping on your fall bucket list?  Whether you are heading to the mountains or just pitching a tent in our backyard, there’s just something special about camping outside and spending time with the family away from the distractions of life in our home. Before you head out for some backyard camping, think about these 5 things that you need to know!

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5 Tips to Get Ready for Backyard Camping

Camping with the family outdoors can be a super fun experience for everyone, but if you don’t do a little prep first, it might not go exactly as you expect. I remember one night when  the kids and I decided to camp out in the backyard.  That night we only made it till 10:30 before we headed in to the comfort of our own beds, it was still a fun experience and a great opportunity for memories!

Find your Tent

What kind of tent do you need for your camp out? We have several tents of different sizes that are perfect for different situations. One year we put up this canvas tent in our backyard and loved the rustic, natural feel. It had plenty of height for us to all stand up and space for our inflatable mattresses.

backyard camping

But for other campouts, we prefer the easy tent with room for the family with zip flaps on the windows like this one from Lightspeed Tents.

big bone lick tent

If you are new to camping, you may prefer to borrow a tent from a family member or friend so you can find out if you like it before you invest the money.

Pick the Best Night

For seasoned campers, any night is perfect for camping out. But for kids and new campers, it’s best to plan your first backyard campout on a night when you don’t have early morning responsibilities like school or work. Check the weather to make sure there are no storms coming in or wind advisories.

Make a checklist

Printable Camping Checklist

Even though you are only going to be in your backyard, you still don’t want to have to to make multiple trips back and forth to the house. Think about what you will need for the next 12 hours and put it all in a bag so you can carry it to the tent.

bag for picnic table
  • Snacks
  • Bug Spray
  • Bottle of Water
  • Book to read

This market tote bag from Mountain Khakis is a versatile bag that I use for everything. It lays flat when not in use, but easily expands to carry everything I need for outings, picnics, camp-outs, shopping trips or library runs.

One thing to consider is your bedding that you will use in your backyard camping experience. We sometimes take “everything but the kitchen sink”. We have been known to pull out all the blankets, sheets, and pillows off each bed and pile them in the little red wagon to cart out to the tent. But it is more efficient if you can just grab each child’s sleeping bag and a designated camping pillow.

We love sleeping bags that help us maintain a perfectly comfortable temperature all night.

Think about Lighting

If you are camping with young kids who aren’t used to sleeping outside, plan ahead with personal flashlights, glow sticks or even a lantern outside on the picnic table.

My Mom created the “sky hook” when we were kids so we would be able to see to read when we were camping. She would use an extra clean sock and drop a flashlight inside the sock. Then she would suspend it from the top of the tent so it would shine directly on our book when we were laying down.

sky light

Inside our canvas tent, I was able to secure a small battery lantern to the pole by sliding a light stick through the handles. Don’t worry about being official, just look for ways to be creative and provide light for the kids in your tent.

Don’t be afraid to take a rain check

When you are backyard camping for the first time, it may not come off smoothly without a hitch. If you get into the experience and realize it’s not going well, then call it a night and move inside to your own beds. You want the kids to love the experience so they will be willing and excited to try it again. We didn’t make it all night, because they got hot in the tent. No problem at all! We all agreed that we will definitely be camping out in a few weeks!

I know many of you have camped out in the backyard! I would love to hear your stories! Did you make it all night or did you go sneaking back in the house before midnight? Leave a comment and share your story!


Looking for more ideas for camping? Here are 12 Things to Take Camping so you will be prepared!

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