Backyard Camping Checklist


Have you given any more thought to pitching a tent in your backyard this weekend to participate in the Great American Backyard Campout? I hope you’ll give it a go – if not now, at some point this summer. And remember, I’m here to help!

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Today said help comes in the form of a list. ’Cause you know how much I love my lists. This backyard camping checklist is designed to help cut down on your prep time – simply download the list, print it out and go.

One thing worth noting: The one time we camped out in the backyard, we treated it just like the real thing. Which meant that once we declared the camping to have officially begun, we didn’t go back in the house again except to use the bathroom.

Backyard Camping Checklist

If you aren’t feeling that adventurous, you might find you don’t need quite as many of the items here. Pick and choose from (and add to) the list to meet your family’s specific needs.

The Basics
These items remain pretty standard whether you’re camping in your backyard or beyond.

  • Tent
  • Ground cover/tarp
  • Sleeping bags (or sheets & blankets)
  • Sleeping pads or air mattresses
  • Portable crib for younger kids
  • Pillows & kids’ favorite items for sleep time

Clothing & Helpful Equipment
Notably absent here are the items within easy reach when you’re camping in your backyard – things like a first aid kit and basic toiletries.

  • Jammies & a change of clothes
  • Jackets & hats (it can get cold at night)
  • Camp chairs
  • Beach blanket
  • Flashlights/headlamps (one per person)
  • Outdoor fire pit
  • Fire starting tinder, kindling & firewood for the fire pit
  • Matches or lighter
  • Insect repellant (if needed)
  • Diapers (if applicable)
  • Baby wipes (they’re good for just about everything)

Camp Kitchen
We prefer to keep our camp meals simple, so we plan on grilling dinner (or ordering take out), then having a light breakfast. We use the inside kitchen to wash up after meals.

  • Backyard grill or camp stove & propane
  • Plates, cups & utensils (plastic utensils can keep it simple)
  • Cooking utensils, pots & pans
  • Cooler with ice
  • Reusable water bottles for everyone
  • Portable high chair or booster seat for younger kids
  • Food for dinner & breakfast
  • S’mores supplies (including marshmallow sticks)
  • Water & other drinks of choice
  • Formula or baby food for infants as needed
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags

Fun & Games

  • Bubbles
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Glow sticks
  • Scavenger hunt list or camping bingo
  • Play tent
  • Favorite games, coloring books & crayons
  • Books for bed time
  • Camera
  • Binoculars (for stargazing & wildlife spotting)

For more backyard camping tips, check out:

What did I miss – what’s on your backyard camping checklist?

It's always nice to share.
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  1. says

    It's mine – we're huge KEEN fans, so not a problem to get a bunch in the same picture! 🙂

  2. kris weber says

    Depends on how big your backyard is, I live on a 6000 acre cattle, house sits on a section, which is 640 acres, but the ranch is mostly rolling sandhills grass, and my good friend's husband works for a ranch that is 90,000 acres, so we usually ride for a day, pitch a tent, down by the river, and then ride a day back. But we also go on longer trail rides, where we pack the horses in and out,

  3. says

    Umm … this is a list for backyard camping, not campsite camping. Sounds like you have quite an adventure when you go. 🙂

  4. kris weber says

    You missed the most important thing on our list of camping, the horse, horse trailer, hay, saddles, tack, extra saddles and tack, brushes, weed free grain and hay, apple picker, wheel barrow, fly sheets, splint boots, hay bags, water hose, pack bags, for hauling in the tents, and supplies to the campsites.