9 Ways to Adventure Without Leaving Your House: Backyard Camping, Campfire Cooking & More

marshmallows on a backyard campfire

April 21, 2020

Backyard camping is a great way to entertain the family, test out new or old camping gear, and scratch your adventure itch without leaving the house.  For the millions of us who’ve been advised (or ordered) to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak, it’s a welcome break from the computer screen and a fun way to stave off cabin fever.  But what are the best ways to adventure in the Great Indoors?  These at-home camping ideas will kickstart your adventure.

1. Perform a Gear Check

A spring gear check is always a best practice.  If you’re camping at home, use your mini-adventure to make sure your gear is functioning properly.  This means sleeping bags, trekking poles, stoves, tents, coolers, chairs – if it’s in your camping kit, give it a test run, better to find out it needs repair here than at the trailhead.  Most companies have instructions on how to clean and maintain your gear on their website, so check online for maintenance instructions.  If your camping kit doubles as your home emergency kit, this is the perfect opportunity to make sure you’re stocked up on emergency necessities.  For an intro to what camping gear should also be in a home emergency kit, check out this blog.

hiker checks her trekking pole tips

2. Set up Camp in Your Backyard (or Back Porch)

Fresh air, birds chirping and the soothing sound of a babbling brook.  You might not be able to check all these boxes with a backyard campout (unless your neighbor is named Brook and she has a penchant for long phone calls), but the fresh air alone is enough to ease the mind.  Camping at home eliminates a lengthy commute and there’s no rush to get the best campsite.  You can leisurely gather your gear and set up camp, stress-free.  Another perk: if you forget something, no worries! All your worldly possessions are just a few steps away.  Turn on a nature playlist on Spotify to complete the vibe.

3. Identify the Plant Life in Your Yard

You'd be surprised how many types of plants live in your backyard.  Even the apartment dwellers among us likely have a handful of moss, shrub or ivy varieties growing just outside.  With the help of a reference book or handy app you can begin to identify your local plants.  Amazon.com will have a plant identification book suited to your region.  If you're more inclined to use an app, try PlantSnap or PictureThis.

4. Build a Campfire

Maybe you have a fire pit already.  Maybe you have a place to build one.  Maybe you have an indoor fireplace.  Or, maybe you don’t have any of these but you have YouTube and can turn on this 10 hour video of a campfire with soothing nature noises.  Making a fire is a great way to entertain yourself, but it’s also a good chance to dust off your fire building skills and make sure your camping kit has the necessary fire-starting equipment.  If you’re building a fire pit in your backyard, check out this tutorial on how to make a fire pit at home.  However you campfire, be responsible, use basic fire safety tactics and obey any local burn laws.

5. Make Your Favorite Camp Recipe (Home-style)

We all have a favorite camp meal, typically something simple, flavorful and hearty.  Making this camp favorite at home gives you a chance to refresh yourself on the ingredients and steps, but also to test out variations and add gourmet twists that are only possible with a full kitchen at your disposal.  Whether you’re using your fridge or being a little more off-the-grid with a camp cooler, use the amenities of home to get creative with the food you make.  Cooking, in itself, is a good way to spend your time so why not practice a useful camp recipe?  You can even cook over a campfire or get your camping stove involved. 

man barbecues his favorite camping recipe in the back yard

6. Unplug 

Do you enjoy the off-the-grid disconnection of nature?  You can achieve this even in your backyard!  Make a pact with whomever you’re with to unplug.  Turn off all electronics and put them out of reach.  Enter your home as little as possible and face your campsite away from any electronic temptation.  If you make the conscious choice to go “off-grid”, commit!  You can get your much needed R and R right at home.

7. Stargaze from the Backyard

Take a blanket or a comfy beach chair outside and look up.  Even if you're in a population center, you might be surprised by how many stars are visible when the lights are out and it's a new moon.  You'll probably see The Big Dipper, Cassiopeia or Orion's Belt, some of the brightest constellations.  If your at-home setting has too much light pollution for traditional star gazing, use an app, like SkyView, to get a virtual tour of the cosmos.  Even through a phone, the night sky has a way of putting life in perspective. 

stargazing in the back yard

8. Set up Camp Indoors

Why let a yard (or lack thereof) stop you from making lasting camp memories?  Put the “Great Indoors” to the test by pitching your tent inside!  Get the #campvibes going by setting up your camp chairs, filling your cooler with good beers, and telling some campfire stories with whomever you’re with.  If you’re separated from your camping buddies, set up a Zoom chat and pretend you’re 20 miles deep in the backcountry.  After 6 weeks in quarantine, you'll hardly be able to tell the difference.

9. Turn on a Great Outdoor Adventure Movie

If you are looking for a more low-key adventure to get your mind off the news, put on an exhilarating adventure movie to transport you elsewhere for a couple hours.  This list of the best outdoor content will keep you entertained for days.


Camping at home is a great way to check your gear, brush up on your camping skills and take your mind off the day-to-day grind.  Whether you camp in your backyard or in your living room, adventures are everywhere if you’re ready to get creative.  Show us your at-home camping setups by tagging @cascademtech in your photos on social!

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If you’re wondering when you can get outdoors again for some real-deal camping, go to our blog that outlines which state and national parks are currently open during COVID-19.  If you have access to open trails, read up on social distancing hiking etiquette to make sure we are all keeping each other safe out there.

Happy camping!

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Comments

Rich

Rich said:

What great ideas! Thanks for helping me get out of my doldrums.
Here is to unplugging!!!!

Ross

Ross said:

Absolutely love this!

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