How to have an epic camping trip in your own backyard

How to have an epic camping trip in your own backyard

Too late to book a get­away? There’s an adven­ture wait­ing for you in your own back­yard. Here’s how to camp at home.

Has the long week­end crept up on you and you haven’t had time to book a mini getaway?

It’s time to get creative.

If you’re still keen to go camp­ing and want to give your kids the thrill and expe­ri­ence of sleep­ing in a tent, now is a great time to test out your equip­ment and pol­ish up on your out­door skills at home.

We’ve put togeth­er some handy tips for you to have a per­fect stay­ca­tion in your own backyard.

1. Pick and pre­pare your ide­al campsite

With the excite­ment of set­ting up for your back­yard adven­ture, it’s easy to skip past the plan­ning stage and before you know it you’re ham­mer­ing in tent pegs.

But before you do, it’s a good idea to take some time to check:

  • How is the weath­er fore­cast looking?
  • Does the lawn need mow­ing first?
  • Can you find a nice flat space with lit­tle or no slope?
  • Are there any obsta­cles in the way, such as sticks or rocks where you want to place your tent, or do you need to move or low­er your clothesline?
  • Is the irri­ga­tion timer off?
  • Do you know where your lawn irri­ga­tion pipes are so that you don’t bung a peg tent through one?
  • Are there any over­hang­ing tree branches?
  • Are you in a good spot in case it rains? You don’t want to camp in a pud­dle or watercourse.
  • Are you pre­pared for wildlife? You might not have kan­ga­roos and emus try­ing to break into your tent, but your pets might. Also hav­ing some insect repel­lent is always a good idea.

2. Think out­side the square when you set up your accommodation

One advan­tage of camp­ing at home is that it doesn’t mat­ter if you for­get to bring some­thing with you as you can pop inside to fetch it, and all of your crea­ture com­forts like a hot show­er and flush­ing toi­let are just inside the house. It’s also no extra cost to have a pow­ered site.

If you’re not keen on pump­ing up, and sleep­ing on, an air mat­tress and sleep­ing in a bag, you can sim­ply take the mat­tress and doona off your bed and take it outside.

Con­sid­er adding some mood light­ing by using some fairy lights. This is also a great way to iden­ti­fy where guy-ropes are locat­ed at night to avoid trip­ping over them.

Use fairy lights to set the mood (Image cour­tesy @austravelia – Instagram)

3. Set­tle in for a home campfire

A camp­fire at home is great if the weath­er gets a bit cool at night-time. But there are some impor­tant rules to follow.

If your home is with­in the Ade­laide met­ro­pol­i­tan area or with­in a town­ship, you can have a fire in a bra­zier, chiminea or fire pit, but only if you use char­coal as the fuel. If you live out­side of the met­ro­pol­i­tan area or a town­ship, you can use dry wood for your fire.

It’s also a good idea to check the Fire Dan­ger Rat­ing on the CFS web­site as fires are not allowed on Total Fire Ban days.

If you decide to have a fire, make sure you select a loca­tion that has a min­i­mum of 4 m clear­ance above and around the fire, and make sure a respon­si­ble per­son is in atten­dance at all times with water and/​or an appro­pri­ate extin­guish­er, just in case.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about hav­ing a com­fort fire at home, see our blog about camp­fire safe­ty and vis­it the CFS web­site or EPA web­site.

4. Be cre­ative with your food and snacks

There’s noth­ing quite like the taste of a cup­pa out of a tin cup or a baked pota­to cooked on the coals. Don’t for­get to grab a bag of marsh­mal­lows to roast if you have a fire.

Camp­ing at home is a great chance to test out your camp­ing recipes for you next trip. If the recipe doesn’t quite work out, you can always get a piz­za delivered.

If you’re still look­ing for inspi­ra­tion, why not try the Camp­fire Nachos recipe that Ranger Steve from Onka­paringa Riv­er Nation­al Park swears by.

You’ll need:

  • 1 bag of corn chips
  • 1 x 400 g can refried beans
  • 1 jar black olives
  • 225 g ched­dar cheese, grated
  • 2 toma­toes
  • 12 onion, diced
  • 1 x 225 g jar salsa
  • 1 x 400 g can sweet corn
  • 1 x 100 g jar jalapenos (if you like it spicy!)


1. Place a lay­er of chips in the bot­tom of a cast iron pan, and top them with half of the beans, olives, cheese, toma­toes, onion, sal­sa, corn, and jalapenos.

2. Place a sec­ond lay­er of chips on top of the oth­er ingre­di­ents, and then top these chips with the remain­ing ingre­di­ents, fin­ish­ing with the cheese on top.

3. Cov­er the top of the pan with a sheet of foil, and place the pan over some hot coals.

4. Let the nachos cook, main­tain­ing the hot coals for 10 – 15 min­utes or until the cheese is melt­ed. Move the pan and allow nachos to cool for a few min­utes. Enjoy!

5. Think out­doors’ with your entertainment

Just because you’re in your back­yard, and you’re still in range of your Wi-Fi and elec­tric­i­ty, it doesn’t mean it should stop you from hav­ing a nature expe­ri­ence at home.

Stream­ing apps like Spo­ti­fy have playlists of Aus­tralian nature sounds. Make a game out of it with your kids and get them to try to guess which ani­mal is mak­ing the noise

You can also keep a diary of the wildlife see in your back­yard. You might be sur­prised how much wildlife calls your back­yard home. Species like lori­keets, cock­a­toos, rosel­las, kook­abur­ras, rep­tiles, koalas and pos­sums are reg­u­lar­ly spot­ted right through­out sub­ur­ban Adelaide.

Yel­low-tailed black cock­a­toos are often seen in urban areas of Ade­laide. Lis­ten out for their loud screech.

At night, don’t for­get to look up if it’s a clear night. The stars can offer plen­ty of enter­tain­ment and inter­ac­tive smart­phone apps like Pock­et Uni­verse (iOS) or Sky Map (Android) allow you to explore night sky and iden­ti­fy the loca­tions and names of the plan­ets and stars above.

How to have an epic camping trip in your own backyard

Won­der­ing how else to get cre­ative in your back­yard? Check out sto­ry:5 ways chil­dren can con­nect with nature at home these school hol­i­days.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in April 2020.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living