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Backyard campouts

What you need to know to set up camp

Create lasting memories with a backyard campout this summer. Stock photo

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There is something nostalgic about pitching a tent right in your backyard. Dragging the sleeping bags from the hall closet and frantically searching for a flashlight to be used to tell ghost stories long after you should be asleep. This is the year to bring that nostalgia back for the whole family.

Here are some ideas to take your family backyard campout to the next level. We don't judge if you sneak back in the house at 2 a.m. to sleep in your own bed. 

Tent: There are a couple of options here. If you have a tent, great, bust it out of the garage and set it up in the backyard. However, if you don't, no need to fret -- you have options. Tie a tarp to two trees or posts to create an overhead shelter. You will then want to lay a tarp or some type of plastic covering on the ground as well. Load it up with pillows and blankets and you're all set.

Equipment: If you're wanting to step-up your tent game, or just explore more camping gear for your backyard excursion, here are some local outdoor stores to head to:

  • Cabela's (1600 Gateway Blvd. NE, Lacey)
  • Big Five Sporting Goods (5700 100th St. SW #600, Lakewood)
  • REI (3825 S Steele St., Tacoma) 

Scavenger Hunt: A large part of camping is hiking or exploring the great outdoors; this shouldn't be lost in a backyard campout either. Since you won't have a trail map to follow, we recommend setting up a scavenger hunt. This will ensure the kids are engaged while exploring your backyard, or even the neighborhood.

S'mores: One of the most essential parts of a campout is no doubt the s'mores! There is nothing better than oozing marshmallows sandwiched between graham crackers and your chocolate of choice. We understand you might not have a permanent fire pit like most campgrounds, but don't worry. Walmart and Target sell different variations of portable s'mores makers that can be set up on an outside table the whole family can gather around. 

Ghost Stories: Hot dogs and s'mores have been consumed, songs around the campfire sung and now it's almost time for lights-out. But everyone knows you can't go to sleep before ghost stories with a flash light shone on your face are told. Head to and search campfire stories.

Breakfast: We know you might be eager to get back into the comfort of your home in the morning, but why not finish with one last campout meal. Check out Fresh Off The Grids blog for tons of breakfast suggestions.

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