What Do You Need To Go Camping In Your Backyard?

Backyard camping is a simple and easy way to have a fun and authentic camping experience at home. If you have never taken a family camping trip, this is a great way to introduce your children to the outdoors and instill a love of nature. Start by trying some of our best backyard camping ideas. But the first question many parents ask is, what do you need to go camping in your backyard?

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This is a parent’s guide to camping with children. Keep reading to learn more about making this the best camping experience for your family!

This article will discuss the safety of camping in your backyard and the necessary camping supplies. Get our free backyard camping checklist. We will also focus on choosing a backyard camping tent and fun activities while camping in your backyard, including camping skills and safety. We share our favorite backyard camping recipes and backyard camping hacks to help save you time and make your camping experience more enjoyable.

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What Do You Need To Go Backyard Camping? Parents Guide To Camping with Kids

What is Backyard Camping?

Backyard camping is simply that – camping out in your backyard. It doesn’t require much preparation – as with traditional camping – because you and everything you need are just steps away from your home. Backyard camping is a great way to introduce your family to the great outdoors and to sleep under the stars. And the good news is that if your child changes their mind about camping, they don’t have the spend the entire night outdoors.

Is Backyard Camping Safe?

If this is your first time camping with children, you may wonder about camping safety. Is camping in your backyard safe? It depends on where you live and the security of your neighborhood. If you have a lot of crime in your community, reconsider camping in your backyard to avoid a burglary or being faced with an intruder. If your area is safe with a low crime rate and your feel secure in your neighborhood, then with the proper preparations, you should be fine to go backyard camping.

Aside from crime, fire safety should be your primary concern. Don’t set your tent up too close to the fire, and ensure the campfire fire is entirely out before going to sleep. Also, a sudden storm may be a safety concern for backyard camping. Make sure to check the weather forecast and avoid camping during a storm.

How To Go Camping In Your Backyard

The same as camping in the wild or on a campground, there are several steps you must follow to set up a campsite – even in your backyard! Firstly, you must look for a flat spot clear of rocks and branches; then, you will set up your tent. Get the necessary supplies for backyard camping, including food and activities, then build a fire as you prepare for nightfall.

What Do You Need To Go Camping In Your Backyard?

If you want to go camping with children, some backyard camping essentials will make the experience easier and more enjoyable. Here’s a good starting point if you’re wondering what to bring to your backyard campout.

  1. Family Sized Tent
  2. Air Mattress or Sleeping Pad
  3. Sleeping Bag and Pillow (or try this sleeping bag for little kids)
  4. Comfort Items such as Blanket and Stuffed Animal
  5. Warm socks and a Hat
  6. Flash Light
  7. Camping Chairs
  8. Backyard Camping Food
  9. Cooking Utensils
  10. Camp Fire Supplies
  11. Camping Activities for Kids
  12. Insect Repellant

Now let’s expand on these backyard camping essentials so you will feel prepared with the best backyard camping hacks for families.

Backyard Camping List

Get our backyard camping checklist for a more comprehensive guide to family camping with children. It includes items you will need for camp life and backyard camping activities, plus backyard camping food ideas and camping skills and safety.

backyard camping checklist

Backyard Camping Tent

Even if the weather forecast is warm and dry, it’s always a good idea to be prepared with the best tent for backyard camping. You never know when the weather forecast may change, and it can turn cooler or damper than you expected overnight.

There are four main types of tents: A-Frame tents, Hoop tents, Pyramid tents, and Dome tents. One of the best backyard camping tents for families is the CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent. This is a large pop-up tent with storage pockets for camping accessories.

Some essential features to consider when choosing a backyard camping tent include:

  • Living Space – depending on the size of your family will determine how big of a tent to purchase. Children take up more space than you might imagine. Remember that your children will grow, so allow plenty of room to accommodate your family as they grow.
  • Organizational Options – these can increase the cost and reduce your sleeping space. But when camping with a family, you should consider options such as screened-in rooms with and without floors. Tent dividers can be used to create more privacy. Storage pockets can be conveniently located to keep small items off the floor.
  • Multiple Doors – it can be handy to have a second entrance, so you don’t have to climb across your entire family in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. This can also create more ventilation and a cross breeze on warm nights.
  • Ease of setup – choosing a backyard camping tent that is easy to set up and tear down will mean you’ll likely use it more often. Setting up a tent for the first time can be intimidating. Therefore, it’s crucial to practice pitching the tent a few times, so you become comfortable with what to do. And don’t be afraid to ask for help because it’s easier to set up a tent with an extra set of hands.

Fun Things To Do Camping In Your Backyard

What Do You Need To Go Camping In Your Backyard? Camping essentials for families.

Consider what backyard camping activities you want to do during your campout. It’s always fun to set up a small fire pit and use it for cooking dinner and roasting smores, singing songs, and telling stories around the campfire.

Children love water activities, such as playing with a water hose or in the sprinkler. Playing wet games and getting wet are the perfect outdoor camping activities for preschoolers and kids who want to cool off in the summer heat. Set up some backyard camping games such as bocce ball or cornhole, which can be enjoyed by the entire family, or prepare a backyard camping scavenger hunt for your kids.

Other fun camping activities in your backyard include playing card games, like our new family favorite – Sleeping Queens. You can even set up a projector with a white sheet and enjoy a backyard movie night during the campout. If you’re going backyard camping with toddlers, grab some glowsticks for the kids to wear as necklaces and bracelets, then finish the evening with stargazing.

Backyard Camping: Skills & Safety

Camping with children in your backyard provides an excellent opportunity to practice camping skills and safety at home. This is a safe environment for a trial run before you take your family camping in the wilderness.

Essential life skills to learn before a camping trip include:

  • First Aid – review basic first aid and teach kids what to do for a cut or a bee sting. Talk about when to call for help using a whistle or when to call 911.
  • Fire Safety – learn how to build a campfire and the importance of extinguishing a fire at night. Understand the concept of STOP, DROP, and ROLL.
  • Food Storage – learn about proper food safety and using bear boxes.
  • Knot Tying – knots aren’t easy to learn, but they are helpful when camping, so spend time learning how to tie knots. Check out this knot-tying book for kids.
  • Knife Safety – learn how to use a pocketknife and practice these fun whittling projects with older kids.
  • Hiking Safety – learn about always carrying water and staying with a buddy when hiking.
  • Leave No Trace – learn how our actions affect plants, animals, people, and the entire ecosystem. Teach kids why following these Leave No Trace Seven Principles is essential to minimize our impact on nature.

These are all critical skills for children, especially when camping. Learning these life skills also provides the opportunity for engaging and fun backyard camping activities.

Backyard Camping Food Ideas

A nicety of backyard camping is that you don’t have to be concerned with taking a cooler and keeping food cold. You can use the refrigerator in your house for storing your camping food, and you have easy access to warm water for cleaning dishes!

This is the perfect time to try out a Gas Camping Stove or use a Charcoal Grill or a Gas Grill at home.

One of the highlights of camping with children is the delicious campfire foods you get to try. We like to have backyard camping food that is cooked on the campfire. We have several backyard camping recipes we save for our family campout, and our favorite meal is Beef and Veggie Campfires.

These foil-pack dinners can include any combination of chicken, salmon, steak, or sausage with seasoning and veggies wrapped in aluminum foil.

Other popular foods for backyard camping include roasting hot dogs over the fire, grilled corn, roasted veggie skewers, s’mores, campfire cinnamon roll-ups, omelets, and pancakes. Hot chocolate on a chilly evening is always a big hit, too!

Backyard Camping Hacks

Try these backyard camping ideas to help save you time and make the experience more enjoyable, even when you’re not far from home.

Get your kids involved in setting up the campsite. To enjoy the fun camping experience, they must participate in the work it takes to set up and tear down for backyard camping.

When making Aluminum Foil Dinners, use heavy-duty aluminum foil, so it holds up in the fire and doesn’t tear. Or you could cheat and use one of these disposable aluminum pans to hold the food and cover it with foil. Whichever method you choose, ensure it’s a disposable item, so you’re not left scrubbing a reusable dish with food baked on from the fire.

Camping Safety

Be sure to have heat-protective gloves, mats, tongues, and roasting sticks to avoid burns when cooking on the campfire.

Before the sun goes down, give each child a glowstick necklace and bracelet to wear. That way, you can always see where the child(ren) is after dark.

Burn Citronella Candles to help fight off the bugs, and remember to reapply insect repellant regularly. I like Cutter Skinsations Insect Repellent as it leaves my skin feeling smooth and not sticky, is effective against bug bites, and has a pleasant smell.

If you find you or your children have been stung or bitten by an insect, use this Bug Bite Thing. This suction tool offers natural chemical-free insect bite relief, removing the poison from bug bites and bee/wasp stings. I am susceptible to mosquito bites, and during the summer months, I do not leave my house without this tool.

Wear a hat and warm socks to bed if temperatures drop overnight. Over half of our body heat is lost through the head. Keeping your head and feet warm will make it much easier to regulate your body temperature and stay warm overnight when camping.


Planning a backyard camping sleepover is a great way to introduce your children to the outdoors. It’s less hassle than packing all the camping supplies and loading up your vehicle for a traditional family camping trip. Now that you know exactly what you need to go camping in your backyard, try it with your kids. Our annual Father’s Day Backyard campout is one of the highlights of our year and has created so many precious memories for my children with their dad.

Watch this Video with Tips For Backyard Camping With Kids 

For more about family travel, check out these posts:
How Much Does Camping Cost?
How To Plan A Camping Trip
What To Pack On An RV Trip
Is Camping Safe?
How To Pack A Backpack for Traveling

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Last update on 2023-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ruth Hutchins grew up in England and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, Doug, and their two young daughters. They always loved to travel, but once having children everything changed because family travel is more complicated. Traveling with a baby may feel overwhelming to new parents. Travel with a toddler can really test your patience, and traveling with kids can lead to utter chaos. However, travel with your little ones doesn’t have to be that stressful or exhausting. On the BE Family Travel blog Ruth shares her parenting wins, and even epic failures about traveling with kids. She provides resources to help you feel empowered to plan a family vacation and travel with your children.