How to do Backyard Camping During the Pandemic

I have been thinking about fun activities to do close to home that do not require planning a vacation, spending extra money, getting out of town, or potentially exposing yourself and loved ones to COVID-19. Backyard camping came to mind! Keep reading for how to do backyard camping during the pandemic (or anytime after the pandemic).

Photo by Emmanuel Maceda on Unsplash

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Are you craving an adventure? Does sticking close to home during the pandemic have you feeling a little cooped up? Or, are you new to camping and want to try out your gear before you get out in the woods?

Let’s Get Creative – Backyard Camping Ideas

Earlier this summer, my husband and I did our annual getting our camping gear ready for summer weekend. This entailed pulling out our gear, cleaning it, admiring it, and laughing about previous escapades. The goal of this was to get our gear ready for summer adventures (because it would totally stink to need a rain fly when you are camping out of town to discover the rain fly has a hole). True story – this happened to me in college on a rafting trip. I was SOAKED. Ehhh, fail… You know what they say, you live, and you learn.

While we were preparing for a camping trip earlier this year in the Ozarks, I had set up the tent in our backyard. Then I took out the sleeping bags and set them in the tent to air out. Next thing you know, I am suggesting to Pablo we should camp in the backyard. So, we did! And it was super fun.

Close to all our creature comfort amenities but fresh outdoor feel. We planned an urban campout! Pablo started a fire in our clay chimenea – burned delicious smelling cedarwood purchased from the local grocery store. We had an impromptu date night and we grilled and chilled.

Dreaming of Bigfoot?

When it was time, we hopped into our backyard tent and dreamed the night away. For some crazy reason, I had a dream there was a Bigfoot in the neighbor’s yard. It’s true! I am obsessed with the Bigfoot mystery.

Allegedly Bigfoots wander the southeast Oklahoma woods, Ozarks, and Arkansas bayous. I hope I see one someday…

The morning was the best part since we had access to our home for morning creature comforts. We made “cowboy coffee” outside, enjoyed the morning, then packed up our gear and went on with the rest of the day. It was a super fun activity to break up the norm, inspiring simple joy. Sounds silly, sounds simple, but it was fun, especially with COVID-19 stranding us to the home front.

If you are interested in camping in your backyard, read more below for how to do backyard camping.

How to do Backyard Camping During the Pandemic

Having an urban campout is easy and convenient! Here’s everything you need to know.

  1. Sleep under the stars (if it is not too buggy)
  2. Sleep in a tent
  3. Fill the tent with lots of comfortable blankets and pillows
  4. Start a fire in a city-approved fire pit or chimenea
  5. Roast marshmallows – make s’mores
  6. Enjoy the fireflies
  7. Cook a camp dinner outside on a camp stove or grill
  8. Enjoy summer beverages of your choice in your mug of choice. We like our Yeti mugs.
  9. Play with the dog (or cat) outside longer
  10. Watch the sunset
  11. Listen to the birds and other noises
  12. Look up the wildlife you see to get acquainted with what is local to your neighborhood. You may be pleasantly surprised. Just this summer, in our Tulsa backyard, I have seen an owl, rabbits, turtle, toad, hummingbirds, blue jays, red cardinals, hawks, bald eagle, blue heron, garden snake, leopard slugs, squirrels, and a fox.
  13. Meditate – get grounded in nature (yes, even in a city)
  14. Tell whoever you are camping with why you appreciate them
  15. Stare at the moon. Take a moon bath.
  16. In the morning, have cowboy coffee and enjoy the sunrise.

How to Make Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is easy to make! Here is how:

  • Boil some water in a container on a camp stove or over a fire
  • Pour a little bit of ground coffee into a metal container or camp french press
  • Fill the container or camp french press with the boiling water
  • Let the mixture sit
  • Press out the coffee grounds
  • Serve!

This is a super fun camp treat. See photos below.

Serve coffee in your Yeti.

What you Need to Camp in Your Backyard

The super cool thing about camping in your backyard is that you do not have to worry about forgetting anything. It can be a laid-back adventure – muy tranquilo. You can also be creative. Worst case, you are going back in the house (if it rains or you forget something).

Backyard Camping Checklist

Here is a basic list of the ten items you need to have an urban campout:

  1. Tent
  2. Sleeping bags or linens to be warm and comfy
  3. Sleeping pad, foam, or blow-up mattress
  4. Flashlights or headlamps
  5. Delicious camp snacks and beverages
  6. A fire pit or chimenea (urban approved)
  7. Firewood (and lighter, of course)
  8. Cowboy coffee ingredients – water + coffee (super simple, right)
  9. Camp stove or grill – if you do not have one, just use your inside kitchen. Keep it simple. If you need a camp stove, Amazon can hook you up! Here is a link to our favorite Coleman gas stove.
  10. Camera to document your memories

Happy Backyard Camping

Ahhh, the good life. The simple life. Are you going to try it?

Happy urban camping adventure. Backyard camping is so fun and makes for a silly pandemic fair-weather date night!

Have a marshmallow for us! Mmmmm… marshmallow… on fire…

Bye, Y’all!

Ashlee & Pablo

You might also enjoy…

Are you starting to get into camping? You might enjoy our other articles:

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tent camping in backyard, grilling food, and smore in hand

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation writer and founder of The Happiness Function based in Oklahoma. Her goal is to help inspire people to build a life they love by sharing how simple and fun it is to travel locally, connect with nature, and explore off-the-beaten-path. You don't have to spend a lot of money or use a ton of vacation time to explore close to home. Ashlee holds a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability and has a passion for the outdoors. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo! They camp in their Aliner often and love road trips and hiking.


  1. Marcela on October 16, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Que hermosas fotos y que lindo relato! Desde Argentina les mando mis saludos y gracias por compartir estas cosas tan lindas. Me llamo Marcela y soy amiga de Cristina, la mamá de Pablo. Los felicito por el amor que tienen y por el amor a la naturaleza ! Cariños! Marcela

    • Ashlee Fechino on October 16, 2020 at 10:56 am

      ¡Hola Marcela! Gracias por visitarnos y por tus comentarios. ¡Estamos MUY felices de ver amigos de Argentina! Que tengas un hermoso día.

  2. Cristina Sala on November 1, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Maravilloso el camping en el patio trasero. A veces Pablo mandaba fotos de la estufa encendida en el patio y no entendia el motivo. Ahora lo entiendo, Tienen un gran ingenio para el disfrute con las cosas simples.

    • Ashlee Fechino on November 2, 2020 at 11:59 am

      ¡Hola Cristina! ¡Jaja, sí! Pablo es un genio 🙂 Siempre tiene ideas divertidas.

  3. Burt on December 6, 2020 at 1:35 am

    Sounds like fun !!

  4. Uncle Burt on December 6, 2020 at 1:35 am

    Sounds like fun !!

    • Ashlee Fechino on December 6, 2020 at 10:15 am

      Hi Uncle Burt – thank you for reading our blog! <3

  5. Lisi on March 10, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Sounds fun. I can’t wait for summer, I will try my self-inflatable mattress and sleep in some caves at the mountains 😱😬😉😃

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 10, 2021 at 11:43 am

      Hi Lisi! We are excited for summer too. Which mattress did you get? We have the exped megamat duo 10 and LOVE it!