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Everything you need to take your kids backyard camping

Here's our list of solid buys for both camping traditionalists and "glampers"

A backyard camping trip is a great way to get out of the house for a night and pretend like you're on a trip. For families, the thrill of sleeping in a different location might be an excellent way to break up the monotony and repetition we're all facing. Plus, most younger kids relish the chance to stay up late and tell fun campfire stories for a night.

family camping
Photo (c) m-gucci - Getty

There are two basic approaches:

  • Roughing it: Roughing it is when you and your loved ones treat camping like a traditional experience. You set up a (safe) campfire, grill some food and look at the stars.
  • Glamping: Glamping is a relatively new phrase that embodies a more modern camping experience. With glamping, you and your family camp with modern amenities like electricity, wifi, tablets and other gadgets.

Once you and your loved ones decide on the best way to camp, you'll need a few basic items to pull off a great adventure on your property. Make sure to check out our Authorized Partner Academy Sports, one of the best options for getting all your camping gear in one go!

A camping tent

Unless you're up for a night of stargazing and taking your chances with the wildlife, you're probably going to want to sleep in some sort of enclosed tent. Find a tent that is reasonably simple to assemble, fits everyone comfortably and priced in your budget.

blue tent
Photo (c) Amazon
  • 4-person tent
  • 1-minute setup

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green tent
Photo (c) Amazon
  • 8-person tent
  • 15-minute setup

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A comfy air mattress

Although your lawn may be soft, it's probably a little too hard for a good night's sleep. An easily inflated mattress that can fit inside your tent is a popular camping accessory. Like tents, you can go big or go basic; a top-of-the-line air mattress runs over $100, but is built to last and has an electric blowing motor.

blue skinny air mattress
Photo (c) Amazon
  • I-Beam air coils
  • Supports up to 661 pounds

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blue and white air mattress
Photo (c) Amazon
  • One-year warranty
  • Waterproof flocked top

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Fun sleeping bags

Blankets may work just as well, but for the authentic camping experience, kids will love the idea of using their own sleeping bags. Be mindful that sleeping bags differ by temperature rating — you don't want to be sweating in a sleeping bag intended for winter!

sleeping bag
Photo (c) Amazon
  • Weather-resistant design
  • Comes with compression sack

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Camping chairs for kicking back

If you don’t already have some sort of outdoor seating, foldable chairs are generally very inexpensive, durable and useful for many purposes outside of camping. Be sure to get one with a built-in cupholder for easy drink access!

red folding chair
Photo (c) Amazon
  • Extra-wide seat
  • Breathable nylon mesh

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bug-print folding chair
Photo (c) Amazon
  • Child-sized
  • Too cute to not buy

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A toasty fire pit

It wouldn't be camping if there weren't a fire, would it? A contained fire pit run by a responsible adult is a fun addition to any night on the lawn. Whether you're sitting around chatting or roasting marshmallows, there is the perfect fire pit for your backyard adventure.

fire pit iron
Photo (c) Amazon
  • Good for charcoal or wood logs
  • Compact design

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Handy marshmallow roasters

No food is quite as fun to roast over a fire like a marshmallow. There's nothing like poking a marshmallow on a stick, letting it catch fire for a split second, then blowing it out and chomping down on a graham cracker with chocolate. Marshmallow roasters are a great addition to any campout, especially those with color-coded, expandable sticks.

roasting forks
Photo (c) Amazon
  • Long design to avoid burns
  • Stainless steel prongs

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Bright camping lights

Once the sun goes down, you'll want light around camp. Camping lights are useful when you're trying to read a story, get inside for a bathroom break or make shadow puppets. A lantern-style camping light is another fun tool to have at your disposal.

portable lanterns
Photo (c) Amazon
  • 90-hour battery life
  • Waterproof

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Headlamps for night entertainment

Why fumble around with a light in the dark when you could simply attach it to your face? A headlamp is a clever way to boost the backyard camping experience and make kids feel like they're really out in the woods.

Photo (c) Amazon
  • 45-hour life on low power
  • Weather-resistant

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An ice-cold cooler

A cooler keeps your snacks and beverages chilled on the spot, allowing you to avoid the irritating routine of making trips back and forth into the house. A quality cooler is something every family needs, and you can use it for future outdoor events!

cooler with wheels
Photo (c) Amazon
  • Ultratherm insulated body
  • Made in the USA

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A useful extension cord

If you are glamping, you'll need access to electricity. These outdoor extension cords are inexpensive and have many different purposes. Run it from the nearest outlet into your tent to power devices, turn on lights or inflate your air mattress.

green extension cord
Photo (c) Amazon
  • 25 feet long
  • Protective vinyl covering

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A movie-time projector

Finally, the item that kids and older glampers will love — a projector for watching movies outdoors. You can find projectors around $100 and compatible with everything from laptops to smartphones to Fire Sticks for streaming video.

video projector
Photo (c) Amazon
  • High-resolution
  • 100-inch projector screen

Buy on Amazon

If you want to ensure your home and family remain safe while you’re out on your camping adventure, try our Home Alarm & Security Systems matching tool. Answer a few questions about your home, and we’ll pair you with a leading Authorized Partner who meets your needs!

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