Back Yard Camping by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: April 15, 2024

Spring is perfect for the first campout. The RV has been stored and the tents have been packed away. It’s important to set up the camp and test all the gear and systems.

Mice, dry rot, and other challenges plaque stored camping gear. It’s better to discover these problems at home, in the backyard, rather than after a long drive to a campsite. I recently discovered damage to my truck’s wiring. The engine light pointed to which wire had been chewed by a rodent. The wire was near a warm part of the engine.

Rodents love to find warm nooks and crannies in your sheds and garages. It’s amazing what lengths they will go through to get into a camper. Insects also can be a problem. Stored gear also needs to be aired out. The moldy, dusty smell can be freshened outside, before you go camping.

The backyard is the perfect place to discover any problems.Your tools and workbench are nearby. The computer may give you Google solutions. If children are afraid of sleeping outside, the yard provides a safe and comfortable place to help overcome any anxiety. If the weather gets nasty, you can simply go into your home rather than suffering outside. The sounds and smells are already familiar to the family. Hopefully no grizzly bears or other critters are common to your living space.

Teaching families how to set up a tent, turn on the RV systems, start fires, or organize a camp is easier at home.Nature has a way of making things tougher in the wild. Usually a thunderstorm is coming, the wind is blowing, it is getting dark, everyone is grumpy from a long ride. This does not create a positive learning opportunity.

Everyone has a Camping Superpower. Maybe it’s building the fire or putting a tent together. Camp cooks are worth their weight in gold. You can discover these powers in the yard as you go through the camping skills. Let everyone help. Camping is a team effort, and everyone needs to participate.

Pick a theme when you camp. Maybe it’s a treasure hunt or gold panning adventure. How many critters can you identify. What special place will you hike to? What camping cookout menu will you try. Maybe have an outdoor movie night where you set up a screen in the backyard and watch from your tent. Pets can backyard camp too!

Try to anticipate the worst-case scenarios and plan/prepare to deal with them. What do you do if there is a fire? Instruct how to use water buckets or extinguishers. Practice and evacuation drill from a collapsed tent or RV. What do you do if you hear a critter/bear in camp? Learn about using a perimeter of solar lights around camp to discourage curious animals. What about an electric fence in bear country? How far away from camp should you cook, use the potty, etc. Practice makes perfect. Prevention and planning could save lives.

Camping is way more than making S’mores.

Montana Grant

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