What is camping, really?
If you have a tent, some s’mores, and a couple sleeping bags, do you really need anything else? If you haven’t already gone into hibernation mode in the hills, you can plan your own glamping getaway at home!
Here’s a list of tips and tools to use when planning your own backyard camping trip:
If the only semblance of nature you have at home are the potted plants lining your apartment’s balcony window (aka, no yard) you can still join in on the fun. Clear some space in your living room and pitch your tent. Or turn the inside of your place into an epic blanket fortress.
But if you have a backyard, and there’s ample space, you ought to make use of it and get a fuller camping experience.
Get the tent down from the attic or, weather permitting, take some of those blanket fort materials and drag them out to the backyard for the coziest — glampiest? — experience possible.
Also, it turns out teepees aren’t all that hard to make. Give it a go and embrace the nomadic, albeit homebound, lifestyle.
The best part about camping at home is that you are never far from your refrigerator. While no one (save for your quarantine companions) would know if you microwaved an Amy’s Frozen Dinner, you should use this special occasion to satisfy the wilder side of your appetite.
If it’s been a minute since the last time you spent supper time under the stars, here’s a camping starter menu:
- Trail mix
- Sloppy Joes
- Ramen (preferably instant)
- Macaroni and cheese
- Baked beans
- Banana bread (because it’s in right now and also delicious)
- Hot cocoa
- Hot cocoa and whiskey
- Whiskey and coffee
- Hot cocoa and Baileys
- Water (almost forgot)
Camping rule of thumb: all foods are better when made over a flame. If you don’t have a fire pit, please don’t try to set any unnecessary fires! Your oven, stove, and microwave will be just fine.
Chances are that from your backyard (or studio apartment?) you won’t have too much access to nature. So how else does one enjoy the great outdoors? Work that imagination and get creative!
If there’s alcohol present, which there should be, you can entertain each other (or yourself) by trying to learn one of these mostly useless party tricks.
Providing there’s ample space, you can play yard games. Don’t have corn hole, washers, or bocce ball? You can still hack it with a couple DIY camp-style games. Make a beanbag game using a ladder and a couple sheets of paper. Or, if you have a few tins cans lying about and some twine on-hand, construct whatever this game is called.
You can also play a good old fashion game of tug of war. All you really need is rope…or even a water hose. Step the game up a little with a couple of crates. You and your quarantine buddy take the rope in hand, assume your positions on top of the crates, and tug your hearts out.
If you’ve got a quarantine camping buddy or two, set up a little space in your tent, and ignite your lanterns. Don’t have a lantern? Make one easily with a few supplies you probably have lying around your home. You can also use those string lights you hang in your bedroom to make your at-home excursion even more magical.
Speaking of magical, the studio/backyard tent is much like the imagination box featured in Spongebob Squarepants season 3, episode 4…you know the one:
The inside of a tent, teepee, and/or blanket fort is also the proper lodging for board games, puzzles, cards, coloring books, normal books, LEGOs, or your laptop for a late-night binge session of your favorite series.
Add a little Wes Anderson touch to your experience with some music. A portable record player would be on-brand, but you could just use your phone or other sonic device to play some open-air outdoor music.
Checkout this playlist for a campfire music primer.
If you were ever a boy or girl scout, you know that camping is synonymous with ghost stories. Reality is pretty scary right now, but you cam make it seem less scary in comparison to spine-chilling horror stories.
You might not be able to recall the ghost stories that frightened your pants off as a child (not you, Hook Man, who still lives in my nightmares!) but you can peruse the depths of the internet.
You could read a longhand thriller from the likes of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, or Mary Shelly for a heavy dose of fright. Or, if you’re in the mood for something a little less time consuming (although, let’s face it, you have the time) you should check out the plethora of chilling short stories that are available to read and listen to online for free.
Another great resource for horror stories is r/nosleep on Reddit. If you don’t want to sleep at night, we recommend reading Footsteps, the first part in a terrorizing series that will haunt your dreams.
If you don’t have as much space to work with, check out our guide on how to build an epic blanket fort, here.
[Featured image: Instagram / @magicalcity.me]