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25 Backyard Camping Essentials for Family Fun

If you, like many of us, are rethinking your summer travel plans, backyard camping is a fun and creative way to recreate the outdoor experience without leaving home. Whether you’re looking for alone time, crazy kid time, seriously fun family hijinx, or a romantic retreat, we’ve got all the essentials you’ll need to be comfy, cozy, or crazy, depending on your mojo.

All of our camping accoutrements are unisex, so they also make great gift ideas if you’re searching for someone hard to buy for.

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Why Are People Backyard Camping?

Well, we've all been forced to rethink our summer vacation and travel ideas and if you're stuck at home with kids who'll be disappointed with the change of plans, you can orchestrate a wickedly cool backyard campout that will make them forget about pouting and embrace all the fun that's to be had right out their own back door. 

On the other hand, if you've been sheltered in place with someone for the past few months, you might be looking for some solace away from them, as was Melanie Kaplan. Her article in the Washington Post offered a humorous perspective on backyard camping as a new way to embrace some "me time."

What Do You Need to Set Up Your Backyard Campground?

There are a few obvious things like tents, lanterns, and camp chairs, but we tried to go beyond the expected to add things that will be different depending on your age. If you're planning around kids, think about games, water play, and make-believe.

If you're planning an adults-only backyard escape, think more along the lines of Bluetooth tiki torch speakers, shatterproof wine glasses, and sleeping cots to save your back. 

If you're planning on a romantic backyard camp out, solar string lights can add tons of ambiance, and by all means, make sure you have a way to create a (legal) campfire if at all possible. Stargazing is a fun way to snuggle up and share the night sky, and a two-person hammock is a lot more romantic than sleeping in a tent.

What's the Best Backyard Campsite Design?

If you've got a fire pit, whether gas or wood, it's great to build with that as the centerpiece, especially if you've got multiple tents, which you might need if you have both teens and smaller kids. Keep your camp chairs around the fire as it's a natural setting for great family conversations. 

If you're wondering where to start, especially with teens who are less likely to share the details of their life, this guide to great campfire conversation starters is worth a read. 

What Are the Advantages to Backyard Camping?

Of course, you can spend darn near as much on your backyard campout as you would on a regular camping trip, but once you have gathered the essentials and created a camping checklist, you'll be ready to set up on a whim.

You'll save money on gas, and extra food, plus you'll still get to enjoy indoor plumbing, which is definitely a bonus. You might also find that the experience brings you closer to your loved one in a new and different way, which is our hope.

Whether you leave your new backyard campground set up all summer, or you decide to recreate it now and then, all the essentials we've included are the real deal, so you can use them in the forest or at the lake, or anywhere else you want to go camping when travel feels safe. Enjoy!

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