All of us are well too-aware of a time wherein we used to go camping in our front or backyards as kids.
Among the outdoor enthusiasts of us, setting up our own tents and creating our own campfires have remained as one of our favorite childhood memories. Unknowingly for some, however, what was once considered a beloved childhood became the catalyst to a much-loved outdoor activity known as camping. Individuals who have a penchant for exploring the great outdoors and immersing themselves in nature find themselves thriving in this particular activity. Unfortunately, with the recent turn of events, most of us are cooped indoors as advised by state mandate and restrictions. Inevitably, this has led to a lot of individuals developing cabin fever and stir-crazy symptoms. Indeed, after being restricted to our homes for months, the yearning to get outdoors is especially intense in these trying times. However, we could not just choose to flout state authority as movement outdoors is still heavily monitored and limited. With that said, our yearning to go outdoors and set out camp seems hardly plausible to indulge.
In response to the restrictions imposed on us, we need to be creative. As lovers of the outdoors and with a unique proclivity for immersing ourselves amidst nature surrounded by greenery, we ought to devise an alternative way to indulge our wanderlust which brings us to our next point of discussion: engaging in a once-beloved childhood activity called backyard camping. For many, backyard camping is an alternative way to get outdoors and maximize family time while still respecting social distancing and state-imposed restrictions. Sure, we might have dismissed the idea of setting up camp in our own yards as an activity limited to children. However, with these trying times, we need to think out of the box to indulge our caprices and hopefully put a semblance of sanity and normalcy back into our lives. In this regard, we should pander to every plausible idea that might cater to our whims of going outdoors–no matter how outlandish they may sound to some. Besides, even if you are just a few feet away from home, backyard camping is a great way to get the family outside and fend-off the stir-craziness that comes with being cooped up inside for too long. What makes the experience even better is that this is a great opportunity for you to ease your kids into the outdoor activity themselves and who knows? Once the lockdowns are lifted and we are all able to move outdoors normally again, your kids might just be asking you for the real camping experience.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY BACKYARD CAMPING
a.) To reconnect with your gear
For many outdoor lovers, there is nothing like the thrill of opening up your camp box at the beginning of the season. This along with doing inventory, reorganizing, and performing maintenance excites them–even if the trip is still a few weeks away. With that said, you do not need to have a destination or even a tangible plan just to enjoy that experience. Just taking it out and setting it up at the front or backyard will be enough to fire up your imagination.
b.) To share the fun
Most of us are quarantined with our families but whether you are spending quarantine alone or with family, friends, partners, or roommates, there is a likely chance that you have exhausted all possibilities for social connection. In this regard, backyard camping is an excellent, even novel, way to entertain yourself and others. If you are part of a couple, backyard camping is a good way to rekindle the spark in your relationship and get cozy in a different environment. For families, this can be an avenue to teach your kids basic outdoor skills such as the proper way to set up a tent and safely lighting a campfire. Solo campers are not excluded from the fun as they can share their experience by posting on social media. Bear in mind that you do not even need a backyard just to get on the fun. Simply setting up a makeshift campsite in whatever outdoor space offers would do–whether that be a deck, patio, balcony, or even a rooftop.
c.) To reset priorities
We all know the saying that goes “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “You do not know what you have got until it is gone”–maxims that could not be all the more true in this time of indoor isolation. Indeed, these aphorisms have made us rethink our priorities. Regardless of how much we love the outdoors, we tend to spend far less time outside than we would like to considering that there are times that we do get busy or lazy. As a result, we do not make plans and we only ever get out once or twice before the weather becomes a little too prohibitive. By setting up camp at home, you can see how your gear does not exactly belong within the confines of your backyard fines or wedged between your TV and sofa. In this regard, it makes you rethink your priorities and if anything, it strengthens your resolve to get out there more. While staring up at the stars from your backyard is a way to indulge your wanderlust at the moment, you know that an even better way to do this is to recommit to the outdoor life that you love.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED
Whether you are setting up camp in the forest or at your backyard, where you will be sleeping in is the most important thing: The tent. If you are feeling particularly adventurous (and if the weather permits), you may want to fashion our own tent using blankets and sticks. Otherwise, use a roomy tent that is truly designed for outdoor activities.
2.) Sleeping bags, pads, blankets and pillows
Even a pile of cozy blankets will do if you do not have sleeping bags. You need something to cushion your body from the hard ground, so you can never have too many throw blankets or duvets.
3.) Flashlights, lamps and lanterns
While admittedly it is a lot brighter in your backyards than it will be in forest campsites, one way to make your experience a bit more authentic is to turn off your backyard lights and stock up on flashlights, lamps, and lanterns.
4.) Outdoor game props
Make the experience even more enjoyable by bringing with you a bunch of outdoor game props that are sure to have everyone pitching in on the fun. You may opt to bring some board or card games with you or if you wish, you can think of other ways to have fun such as telling each other scary campfire stories or leading your group on an imaginary trail outside of the house. Your possibilities are endless, you just need to be creative.
HOW TO HAVE AN EPIC BACKYARD CAMPING EXPERIENCE
CREATE A COZY BACKYARD CAMPSITE
a.) Pitch the tent
To make your experience as close to the real thing as possible, you need to treat your backyard like a real campsite. With that said, take your tent outside and find a smooth, flat surface to pitch it on. Have everyone participate and allow them to help–whether they are spreading out a tarp or putting together the poles. Do not forget to make your sleeping place cozy by lining the tent with bedrolls and multiple layers of duvets, blankets, cushy comforters, or sleeping bags.
b.) Set the scene
Make the experience more authentic and magical by stringing lights or hanging lamps around the tent. Apart from setting the scene, this will also illuminate your campsite with a soft glow and help everyone feel more comfortable about spending the night outdoors in the dark.
DO NOT FORGET THE ENTERTAINMENT
c.) Play games
There is plenty of adventure waiting for you outside. Whether that may be classic backyard games, board games, or hikes around the block, you can surely keep your campsite buddies entertained all day and well into the night.
d.) Cook up camp food
If you wish to make the experience more authentic, go ahead and eat around the fire. If you have set up a campfire or if you have a fire pit, you can easily toast marshmallows, roast hotdogs, and even cook up meats and vegetables in foil packets. However, if you do not have a campfire, you can simply eat packed sandwiches, trail mix nuts, juice boxes, and desserts stocked in your cooler ready to grab anytime.
e.) Do stargazing
Before tucking in for the night, make sure to lay down and stare at the stars. Spend a moment to relax and see just how many stars you can count from your backyard.
While your backyard camping experience might be enjoyable for now, there is no doubt that this is still a temporary way to address your yearning for the great outdoors. Should your experience make you wistful for the real thing, go ahead and indulge the feeling by reading up on camping stories, going on virtual tours, and even going on guided meditations–all of which will help you connect with nature while respecting state protocols. With that said, by the time you are finally able to reconnect with nature, you may find yourself appreciating it more.