How To Camp In A Backyard Without A Tent

photo of backyard tarp

Camping in your backyard without using a tent can be lots of fun. It’s also an excellent way to experience camping before going to the real outdoors. Besides, backyard camping is fairly easy, as all you need to have is a few basic supplies, and you’re good to go. 

Here’s how to camp in a backyard without a tent:

  1. Sleep underneath the stars with only a pillow and blanket. 
  2. Sleep under the open skies with a bedroll.
  3. Sleep in a hammock.
  4. Pitch a lean-to tarp shelter.
  5. Use an A-frame tarp. 

If you’re considering camping in your backyard, read on for a detailed guide on what you need to replicate a camping experience in a remote location. You’ll also learn how to make backyard camping an exciting adventure.

Why You Might Not Want To Use A Tent When Backyard Camping

You might not want to use a tent when camping in your backyard due to various reasons. These include:

  • It’s more expensive than a tarp.
  • Some places aren’t suitable for pitching a tent.
  • Unlike a tarp, a tent provides less ventilation, views, and versatility.
  • You might be looking to have the ultimate experience of camping without shelter.

1. Sleep Underneath The Stars With Only A Pillow and Blanket

photo of pillow and blanket

If the weather is going to be nice overnight, with no rain, you might want to just take a pillow and blanket outside and sleep on the ground. The benefit of this method is that you’ll be able to see the stars, constellations, and the moon as you go to sleep. This can be a very relaxing way to fall asleep on warm summer nights.

This is the most basic method of camping in your backyard and an excellent way to take advantage of perfect weather. 

It entails laying your camping pad directly onto the ground. For extra comfort, consider using an air mattress and sleeping bag. Place a ground cloth underneath the air mattress, then spread out your sleeping bag on top.

2. Sleep Under The Open Skies With A Bedroll

photo of bedroll

Similar to the first point, you can take a bedroll out to your backyard and layout under the stars and open skies. This is especially great if you live in the country, away from the light pollution of large cities. 

This cowboy-style entails using a bedroll or bivy sack, which offers extra protection from the elements. A canvas bedroll is most suitable though you can also use a lightweight bivy sack. 

3. Sleep In A Hammock

If you’d prefer not to sleep on the ground, go for a hammock. Attach your hammock to trees, posts, or a frame. For more protection from bugs and the elements, use an enclosed hammock or place a tarp over it. 

You can also add an under-quilt, insulated blanket that offers extra warmth.

For my favorite hammock, I’d have to recommend the Vivere Double Cotton Hammock with Stand. The stand is a requirement for my backyard, given I don’t have adequate tree coverage.

When anchoring a hammock, do so on strong, healthy trees because dead trees could be hazardous during strong winds. 

4. Pitch A Lean-To Tarp Shelter

You can set up a lean-to tarp shelter to keep safe from wind and rain, though the protection is on one side. While this method might not be like sleeping under the stars, it can be good if the forecast calls for minimal rain. After all, you don’t want to get too wet.

To set up a tarp shelter, watch this YouTube video:

5. Use An A-Frame Tarp

Pitching an A-Frame tarp provides you with more protection than a lean-to tarp shelter because it protects you on both sides. This type of shelter might be best if you plan on camping in your backyard for longer than one or two days at a time.

Fortunately, setting up the A-Frame tarp is straightforward. Here’s a short YouTube video to guide you on how to make an A-frame tarp:

How To Select The Ideal Backyard Campsite Location

When choosing a suitable backyard camping site, there are several factors to consider. While backyard camping doesn’t require lots of space, the designated area should offer ample space for cooking, eating, sleeping, and carrying out planned fun activities. 

It should also be flat and free of rocks or protruding roots.

Items To Use When Camping In The Backyard

Camping in your backyard might not require as much as camping outdoors or in the wild, but you still need some essential items to have a wholesome experience. 

Thus, you’ll need to have the following:

  • Bug spray
  • First aid kit
  • Cooking ware
  • Camping chairs
  • Sleeping bag, hammock, or air mattress 
  • Flashlight and camping lantern
  • Marshmallow roasting sticks
  • Ground cloth such as an old blanket

Related: How To Keep Mosquitoes Away: 12 Proven Methods

If you plan on using a tarp, you might need an extra cord, guylines, stakes, and trekking poles, though some tarps come with these items. But if you choose to use a hammock, you’ll need anchors.

These include trees, rocks, or improvised structures. 

Fortunately, like tarps, hammocks are pretty versatile, making them suitable for almost any environment. In addition, they feature various accessories such as insect nets, extra-long straps, rain flys, and under quilts designed to make hammock camping more comfortable.

Why You Would Want To Camp In The Backyard

It’s not always possible to visit a campsite in a remote location in the great outdoors, pitch a tent and enjoy nature in the wild outdoors. For starters, the nearest campsite might be located far away, or you might not have adequate time to travel and camp or possess the necessary camping gear. 

Nonetheless, the above circumstances shouldn’t stop you from camping since you can do so right in your backyard, even without a tent. 

Besides, camping in your backyard isn’t only a great way to ease into camping as a beginner, but it also presents a safer option to camping wild, particularly if you have young children

Backyard camping offers other benefits such as:

  • It offers a simple way to spend a night under the stars.
  • It features fewer bugs and wildlife, widening your sleeping options.
  • Taking the entire family on a camping trip can be overwhelming and stressful.
  • Unlike camping in the wild, home amenities like the fridge, grill, bathroom, and electricity are within easy reach.
  • It enables you to get outside and enjoy nature without the hassle of detailed planning, packing, and hauling camping necessities and gear.
  • You can do backyard camping on the spur of the moment without any need to book a campsite or source for camping supplies and equipment
  • It’s cheaper since you don’t have to spend money on travel expenses, extra supplies, or booking a camping spot.

How To Recreate A Real Camping Experience

To simulate a genuine camping experience, you might want to separate yourself from the house entirely. This entails bringing all your camping essentials like the cooler, food, fire pit equipment, sleeping bags, flashlights, games, drinks, and snacks to your backyard. 

Having everything you need outside also means that you won’t keep dashing into the house to pick something or the other.

Fun Backyard Activities

To make the most of your backyard camping, consider setting up a fireplace and cooking your food over the open fire, or a charcoal grill. Some camping classics to make include s’mores, hotdogs, cream cheese sandwiches, campfire pizzas, and cinnamon bears. 

Related: Protect Your Patio! What To Put Under A Firepit & Why

You can also get creative and make foil packet dinners comprising meat or vegetables with olive oil and choice seasoning. Toasting marshmallows over the campfire, grilling corn and cooking burgers are more fun ways to make campfire dinners too.

photo of backyard jenga

Other exciting camping activities to indulge in while backyard camping includes the following:

  • Stargazing
  • Flashlight tag
  • Catching fireflies
  • Toasting marshmallows.
  • Telling campfire stories.
  • Hanging string lights around your campsite.
  • Going on a backyard scavenger hunt.
  • Glow in the dark games like glow stick ring toss.
  • Backyard games like Frisbee, badminton, Simon Says, Tag, and Giant Jenga.

Final Thoughts

Spending time outdoors is a crucial element in a standard camping trip. Fortunately, you can recreate the camping experience in your own backyard. Follow the tips in this article to immerse yourself or your family in a backyard camping adventure that can rival outdoor camping in a location far from home.

Related Questions

What is a bedroll?

A bedroll is similar to a sleeping bag, except for the fact that it can be laid on the bare ground without the risk of getting damp overnight.

Michael Carpenter

Hi, I'm Mike. I grew up in North Carolina having a blast on trampolines, go-karts, and just sitting on the porch with my friends. I have since moved to Las Vegas with my wife, 2 children, and 3 dogs. When I'm not chasing the kids around the house, I am probably chasing them around the backyard!

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