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Camping Made Easy

Camping Made Easy

Jul 10 2013

Camping, for many of us around the country, is one of the highlights of summer.  Sleeping under the stars, the gentle roar of a river nearby, the warmth of a campfire, and grilled meats and dutch oven dishes are just a few of the things that we look forward to.  However, for many of us city dwellers, camping is just another dream of what summers used to be!  The reality of “camping” is that it takes days to pack up your favorite foods, utensils, napkins, sleeping gear, pots and pans for the outdoor fire, daily necessities such as wet wipes, toilet paper, dishes,  bug repellent, and nice things to have like condiments and down pillows.  And once you get to the destination and find your camping spot right next to the noisy family with the loud speakers, it takes hours to unpack and set up camp to make it as easy and comfortable as it is at home.

And cooking in the real great outdoors?  Double the preparation and cook time and the clean up time as you find yourself cleaning pots and pans in small little plastic tubs you have to fill up with fresh water from the campground's water spout, usually located far from your site, three or four times for one meal's worth of dishes.  You get the drill. Or at least get an understanding of what your parents did each time they took you camping! 

A great alternative to camp outings in national parks and forests is setting up camp in your backyard.  As uneventful as that might seem, its actually quite nice.  You can easily inflate your air mattresses with the electrical outlets on your patio, and place it on your soft lawn, right under the stars.  And your entire yard takes on a whole new dimension at night, when all is quiet except for the occasional crickets or giggles from your kids or even yourself as you share favorite campfire stories and more.  Many backyard campers enjoy setting up a tent for a more cozy feeling.  Either way, great times and fun memories are in store.  Either way, you don't have to plan and pack for days for some outdoor relaxation and adventures.

It's easier than you think to recreate some of the great outdoor elements from those far away camp sites that you love.  For example:

Campfire:  With a portable or permanent fire pit, you can easily create the same warmth, glow and smells of those you build from wood scraps in the forest.  If you have a gas firepit, heat up some pine potpourri to create that outdoorsy ambiance.  And get out the marshmallows and chocolate bars for that sticky traditional campfire treat which will be much easier to clean up afterwards with running water nearby.

Water elements.  There's nothing like falling asleep to the sounds of a rushing river by your campsite.  And there's nothing more simple than flipping a switch on your backyard water feature to get that same tranquility from a home-made waterfall or fountain.  Might sound a bit different but the calming effect is just the same.

Grilling:  You can make outdoor camping more authentic by cooking outdoors all weekend.  BBQ chicken at night, fried eggs in the morning.  And with the right grill top, you can make those tin foil dinners from your girl scout and boy scout days.  Its just a bit more convenient as you don't run the risk of dropping your entire dinner in a dirty fire pit.

If you live in the middle of the city, the outskirts of town, or in the country, backyard camping offers a new dimension to your summer and your entire outdoor living spaces.  For ideas on building some of the elements of nature in your backyard, visit

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