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Turn Cabin Fever Into Camping Bliss at Home

Posted by cwakenshaw at Apr 21, 2020 05:00 PM |

Inspiration for turning your living room or backyard into a campground.

Has the comfort of your pillowtop mattress grown tiresome? Is the climate-controlled air inside your home starting to sour? Open wide your windows and doors and give camping at home a try. Whether you rearrange the furniture to make a tent pad in your living room or set up on the lawn, here are some ideas to get the benefits of an overnight trip without leaving home.

Backyard Camp. Photo by Hikes With Dog.
Bring out all the bells and whistles to make it extra cozy. Photo by Hikes With Dog. 

Setting up camp

Start with the tent and build out from there. If you have a free standing tent, it’ll be a breeze to set up inside or out. If it’s the kind that will only stand up when staked in the ground, you're in luck. WTA’s Rachel Wendling is happy to demonstrate that you don’t need dirt to stake a tent. Once you have your home within your home constructed, here are some other ideas for your camping staycation:

  • Balconies, porches, patios, decks, hallways and living rooms all make for great camp spots.
  • Make it lavish with lots of pillows and blankets.
  • Or think of this as a test run, and only use the camping gear you would bring on a real overnight
  • Hang a hammock between two sturdy trees or posts and hang out in the sun all day.
  • If you don't have a tent, make one by hanging a blanket over some chairs and snuggle up inside.

It's all about the ambience

If it looks like camp, smells like camp, sounds like camp, and feels like camp, it must be camp. These additional tips will take your homebound hideaway to the next level: 

  • Arrange your tent so the door is facing a TV or computer. Play a wildlife documentary or set your screensaver to a photo from your favorite camping view.
  • Find a nature inspired Spotify playlist for background music (e.g. rain on tent, rushing river, frogs around a lake).
  • Wind twinkle lights around your tent poles.
  • Arrange your house plants into a forest outside your tent.
  • Light a scented candle that reminds you of the piney air of the forest.

Loaded Backpack. Photo by Emma Cassidy.
Pack like you would for a backpacking trip and head out on a neighborhood adventure. Photo by Emma Cassidy. 

Simulate the real thing

For some, a fun living room hang out will be the perfect way to while away the hours; others may crave a more rugged experience. Fire up your imagination and mimic the rhythms of a backpacking trip while staying close to home. Here are some things to try:

  • Go backpacking around your neighborhood, and end back at your home campground for the night.
  • More into car camping? Pull out all the bells and whistles and lounge away the day. Or if you you've always been curious about literally sleeping in your car, give it a try for the night to see how it feels.
  • Unplug by stashing away all your devices and rely only on your headlamp for light when it gets dark.
  • Use this as an opportunity to test out all your gear and mend anything that needs it.
  • If you miss waking up to the sound of raindrops hitting your tent, fire up the sprinkler and see if that old rain fly still keeps you dry.
  • Break in a new pair of boots by going on long walks during the day and resting your feet at your home camp at night.
  • Live out of your backpack for the weekend to get familiar with all of its secret pockets and zippers and doodads. Only use what you would normally bring camping and see where you can lose weight — or what you need that you forgot.

S'more. Photo by Michelle Hobson.
This is what camping's really all about. Photo by Michelle Hobson. 

Camp activities that work at home

Now that you've gotten your miles in and set up camp, it's time to kick up those feet and enjoy the scenery by doing the things that make camp life so refreshing: 

  • Test out a future backpacking meal and eat it out of your favorite camp bowl.
  • Practice proper food storage by rigging up a bear hang in your backyard, or in your living room.
  • Have a race to see who can set up their tent the fastest.
  • Grab a book and read by headlamp after the sun goes down.
  • Use a star finder app on your phone to learn the constellations.
  • Start a fire and make s'mores.
  • Tell stories of past hiking adventures.
  • Learn some knots.

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