While summer may usually mean long days and warm nights spent looking up at the stars at your favorite campground, you may be bummed to learn that some state, national, and public parks remain closed — or are only reopening in phases. (Click here for updates on campground closures, limitations, and openings due to COVID-19.)
But that doesn't mean you have to stash your tent away for the season. Even throwing your gear together and setting up in your backyard for the night or weekend could give you the fix you need. And if you have kids — well, it may just end up being a highlight of their summer! Consider making it a regular activity, getting you outdoors and spending time with your family without the extra trek involved with making the trip to your usual campground.
We've gathered some of our favorite tips in the form of a simple guide to backyard camping, with the intention of making this a fun and easy little adventure. In the meantime, click here to shop our camping collection — both "real" and backyard-style.
Light up a fire
If you haven't invested in a backyard firepit, now may be the time. (Consider this 30-Gallon Fire Kettle, Stand, and Boot Rail from one of our featured brands, Sea Island Forge). While summer nights may feel too warm for a fire for some of you, others could still benefit from a little flame and s'more action due to chillier evening hours. Plus, you'll have it when you really need it once the temperature starts to drop in the fall.
Don't forget these accessories:
Bring a simple game or deck of cards
Stay in the moment with a fun game that's casual and easy to clean up. While you may not be able to spend time exploring the outer grounds, take this as a chance to remain 100% present with your loved ones, relying on relaxation and conversation.
You won't need to bring all your normal camping gear, but you definitely don't want to neglect textiles for getting comfortable. Along with your tent (unless you prefer to sleep under the stars) and sleeping bag, you'll need some blankets, comfortable attire, and maybe some floor cushions for lounging around on the ground.
Combine grilling, picnic-ing, and camping all-in-one
If you happen to have a grill set up in your backyard, why not combine the two activities in one? And to go even further, why not pack for a full-on picnic? Remember, one of the good things about staying close to home is the fact that you can bring more food goods than you normally would do so camping. After all, you're not going far and you technically still have access to the fridge (although we recommend pretending that's not the case for the most part to make the experience feel "real"). So, no need to leave behind those special toppings and veggies this time.
Shop our grill night collection and picnic collection.
Come prepared with hardy containers for your drinks of choice — from travel shot glasses, beer coozies, and enamel mugs (good for both coffee and camp-style cocktails) for the adults, to water bottles and enamel cups for the kids.
Capture the moment
Another good thing about backyard camping is that you can feel comfortable bringing your favorite camera without worrying about leaving it unattended or exposed to nature's elements. Capture some portraits of your partner or the kids and stash your camera safely away when you're done.
Jot down your thoughts
Use some of this idle time to get in your head — in a good way. Bring a casual, not-too-precious notebook to write down ideas and goals that may come to mind. Or, if no brilliant revelations appear, simply use it to jot down the score of your game.
Written by Paige Alexus Yau