5 Ways To…Go Camping in Your Backyard

All is not lost if your favorite campsite is closed during the pandemic. You can create the same magical family memories in your own backyard with these tips.
1 Five Ways Camping


Most vacations are cancelled for the summer of 2020, and staycations have proved more difficult too due to local restrictions. And if you and your family take annual camping trips? Forget about it for the time being, as many (but not all) popular campsites in the area remain closed as well. But you can still experience sleeping under the stars—just steps from your home. So, pack up your overnight bag and read on for five ways to recreate the magical camping experience in your backyard using products that can be found here in Bergen County.

  1. Pitch your tent. Shelter is perhaps the most integral part of the camping experience, so you want to make sure you’re prepared. REI in Paramus has tons of tents in stock for groups of all sizes (including pop-up tens for the tent-pitching-impaired), while Ramsey Outdoor sells small and large tarps, should you prefer an unobstructed view of the constellations. You can sleep in sleeping bags, which both stores sell as well, or blow up an inflatable mattress and whip out a comforter and pillow for more of a “glamping” experience.
  2. Set the mood. You’re out in your backyard almost every day, but how can you make it feel different for your night of camping? Set up a string of lights around the patio, carry lanterns as you walk from place to place, or simply go to Backyard Living in Ridgewood to see what outdoor décor strikes your fancy. If you’re not giving up technology for the night, you can also rent a projector screen from Bergen Audio Visual in Bergenfield on which you can enjoy a fun family flick.
  3. Prep your food. Family fun night is nothing without the perfect snacks. If you don’t have a firepit, invest in a small portable grill from ACE Hardware where you can cook your protein and veggies easily in packets of tin foil. For dessert, get some chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers and skewers and roast s’mores on the fire, or order some yummy s’mores cupcakes from Sweet Avenue Bake Shop in Rutherford or Kara Kakes in Franklin Lakes for the same deliciousness without the effort.
  4. Plan your activities. From telling spooky stories at the campfire to a backyard scavenger hunt, there are tons of ways to get creative here. Just make sure you have a reliable flashlight or two (we like these from Paramus’ Campmor) for when it gets dark! Another fun idea? Take your kids beforehand to pick out one new outdoor-friendly toy at a local shop like Tons of Toys (with locations in Westwood and Wyckoff) that they’ll use while camping and will always associate with the experience.
  5. Add personal touches. Remember that there are no “rules” to outdoor camping—do whatever fits your family’s interests. That can include making DIY camping crafts, trying out some fun new summer recipes, searching for bugs under rocks—whatever! You can also make the experience memorable by ordering fun, personalized outdoor gear for the whole family like backpacks, water bottles and sweatshirts from a boutique like Teaneck’s The Purple Bow. It’ll make for some seriously cute photo ops, if nothing else!
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