Do you love camping? I do! Well, except for setting up the tent and dealing with porta-potties. I love a campground with modern amenities, like flushing toilets and hot showers.
Camping at a campground takes a bit of planning, though. You have to gather your supplies, buy camp-friendly foods to pack in a big cooler, and fit your equipment in the car. For a family with three kids, packing the car if often our downfall. It’s difficult to fit all of our camping supplies, three kids, two adults, and one dog in a minivan!
That’s why I love a good backyard campout! All you need to do is set up your tent, blow up your air mattresses, and bring a few supplies outside. The bathroom and shower is readily available, and the food can remain in the refrigerator until you need it. And kids love the novelty of camping in the backyard!
We have a super-huge tent that we generally use for family camping trips, but I hate to go through the process of setting it up, if we’re just going to camp in the yard. I was given the opportunity to review a smaller, more manageable tent from Walmart that promised to be perfect for the backyard campout!
The Ozark Trail 9×7 Instant Dome Tent sets up in just 30 seconds, according to the packaging. How? Well, the poles are already attached to the tent. They just need to be extended and placed into position.
My preschooler, Gracie, and I headed out to the yard to see exactly how easy setting up this dome tent is. I didn’t have my husband’s help. It was just me and the three year old. How long did it take to get the tent up?
It took three minutes from the time my finger hit the zipper on the tent case! Yes, I timed it. And I didn’t read the directions. Did I mention that my helper was three years old?
Seriously, the Ozark Trail Instant Dome Tent was super easy and intuitive to set up. Taking it down was a little more challenging, just because you have to get it folded just right for it to fit back in the case. Still, packing it up took less than 10 minutes.
The Instant Dome Tent is big enough to fit a queen sized air mattress or four sleeping bags on the floor. It’s not a huge family tent, but it’s perfect for a couple of campers. My teen, who camps a lot with her youth group, is going to get a lot of use out of this. And on family campouts, my older two kids will probably share this smaller tent, so they don’t have to stay with mom and dad.
For backyard camping with Gracie, I picked up a couple of twin air mattresses and a little lantern to light up our tent at night. I found that two twin mattresses work better than a big queen mattress for this tent. Having a big space in the middle of the tent makes it easier to move around in the tent.
All in all, it cost us less than $100 for a few supplies that will provide a summer’s worth of fun (and beyond).
- Ozark Trail 9×7 Instant Dome Tent (exclusive to Walmart): $59.97
- Intex Vinyl Twin Bed: $11.47 each
- Ozark Trail LED Lantern: $14.97
Supplies on hand: sleeping bags, pillows, batteries, air pump (for blowing up the mattresses).
The only other thing needed for a great backyard campout is a good imagination for telling stories in the dark. But if you don’t have a good imagination, that’s OK. Just grab a book and read by lantern-light.
Do you camp in the yard with your kids? My goal is to do a backyard campout once a month this summer. Imagine the memories we will create!