Introduce Your Kids to Camping with Backyard Campouts

News & Tips: Introduce Your Kids to Camping with Backyard Campouts...

The tent shook almost as badly as we were. My brother, cousin and I could hear the creature circling the tent, stalking its prey. Eventually the beast approached the tent door. Peeking out from my sleeping bag, I expected to see a grizzly's head blast through the screen. My movement and my fellow camper's yelps, enticed the brute to come crashing through the door. It took a few seconds to realize the bruin had really small feet and it licking our heads was similar to what our cousin's dog does. "Ben?" my cousin yelled. His faithful companion came looking for him when his mother put Ben outside to do his business and he tracked us down to the tent pitched on the edge of the backyard.

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Backyard campouts are a great way to introduce children to camping in tents.

Our grand camp was not perched high on a mountain top in grizzly country, although the adventure level was still high for three young boys. My uncle was away from home for days doing construction work, which led to many hours for our cousin to join us in any adventure we could get into — even in the backyard.

Pitching a tent in the backyard for a one-night campout is an excellent way to introduce kids, or adults whom have never camped, to the camping — and doing so in comfort.

A backyard campout is also a perfect scenario for avid campers and backpackers to break in and test new gear. If a problem with the gear exists, better to handle it at home opposed to miles away at the campground or on trail. Leaving a new tent set up outside for a few days allows the tent to settle into shape and be ready for a water repellent treatment including seam sealing.

Although backyard campouts may not include impressive, designated hiking trails and nature centers, there are plenty of interesting happenings going on about. If town lights are not existent, night sky watching leads to hours of gazing and question and answer sessions. Outfitting for the occasional overnight campout is easily and affordably done. A three-season tent provides shelter from a rain shower or heavy dew. Sleeping bags laid out on foam mats make a comfy roost. Add a battery-powered lantern or flashlight (to keep away the monsters or grizzlies) to provide security for the kids, both physically and mentally. Throw in a couple fruit drinks and a few snacks, and the backyard campout is on — no bear repellent spray needed.