In recent times, where we are permitted to travel has been hugely restricted and this has meant that a lot of avid campers are now restricted to enjoying the great outdoors in their backyards. This isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you have a decent-sized space to pitch a tent.
Couples looking to change up the scenery for date night, parents looking for creative ways to entertain their children and housemates wanting to enjoy a night under the stars are all examples of people who might enjoy backyard camping. But while this might seem like an innocent activity that is available, well, literally on your back doorstep, there are some safety factors that you will need to consider.
We certainly are not saying that camping in your backyard is a no-go activity, but we would urge you to err on the side of caution and make sure that if you do it, you will do so safely.
In this article, we are going to be looking at 7 things to consider before packing your tent and heading out of the back door.
Is It Safe To Camp In Your Backyard?
There are certainly many benefits to camping out in your backyard and when the activity is properly planned out, you and your loved ones will likely have a wonderful time. For the most part, backyard camping won’t pose any significant threat but if you want to make the experience as safe as possible, you might want to keep a few things in mind.
Local wildlife will alter dramatically depending on where you are. For example, if you live in the tropical regions of Australia, there is a very real risk of bumping into a venomous snake or a bear in your own backyard. Conversely, in the UK, there is more chance of bumping into a fox or a badger.
While these animals may be cute to look at, they can also be very territorial and aggressive. If you or one of your children approach one of these animals during the night, there is a chance that they will run away before you get close but some of the more daring individuals might become aggressive.
What’s more, you will also need to think about the insect population in your back yard. Again, this will vary according to your location but one of the most common problems around the world are biting insects like mosquitoes that love to come out at night.
If you are planning on sleeping in your tent in the backyard, be sure to arm yourself with plenty of insect repellent.
While your backyard should be your own little sanctuary, there are unfortunately people who won’t see it in quite the same way. They may see your backyard as somewhere that they are entitled to enter and with all the police power and security systems in the world, this is not always a deterrent.
There is no denying that some areas of the UK have more significant crime rates than others. Crime tends to be more rife in more densely populated urban areas.
One of the main safety concerns for backyard campers is whether they will be approached, or even worse, attacked by an intruder. It is much less easy to protect yourself in a canvas tent than within the safety of the four walls of the main house.
However, if you are in a location where crime rates are high, you might still be able to camp in your backyard if it is surrounded by high walls or some other form of heightened security.
In addition to this, and not so much of a safety concern as one to do with respect, but if you are surrounded by neighbours, you should ensure that your activities will not cause disruption to them.
It goes without saying that camping out in the middle of winter when there is a chance of snow is not the wisest idea. We doubt very much that anyone would want to do that.
Weather conditions can affect your backyard camping experience and it is important to make sure that you are prepared for this.
Most people will look at camping in the backyard during the summer months, however, if there is a risk of a summer storm then it might be better to put the camping equipment away and try again the following evening.
But even during the warm summer months, the temperature can drop considerably once the sun goes down, so do be prepared with good quality sleeping bags and additional blankets.
No camping trip is complete without a campfire, even if you are in your backyard. However, we don’t need to tell you that fire poses one of the biggest risks to safety and it is vital that any fires you have are carefully controlled.
For adults who intend on sitting around a campfire and enjoying a few glasses of wine, there is a significant risk of falling asleep around the fire which could go out of control.
Furthermore, you should make sure that your backyard is large enough to safely house a fire without it getting too close to the main house.
The best way to have a fire in your backyard is to be prepared. Before the sun goes down, get the fire area ready by removing any plant life or debris. Using a fire pit will ensure that the flames stay within a contained area.
Before you light the fire, it is a good idea to lay down some ground rules, especially if you are camping with your children. Check out our best camping fire pit article and then go to read our guide how to cook on a fire pit.
If you are planning a trip camping in a remote location, you will likely factor in all of your creature comforts and pack accordingly. However, when you are camping in your backyard, it is often a spur of the moment decision and this can result in not having all of the correct equipment.
Most importantly, sudden backyard campers find themselves without suitable bedding, making the experience a lot more uncomfortable than it would otherwise be. Even if you do decide off the cuff to spend the night in the garden, it is worth it to gather your supplies to ensure your and your family sleep comfortably.
If you do not, there is a risk of pain in the morning and while this may be a minor consideration, it can be enough to put backyard campers off enjoying the experience for a second time.
Many families have pets but not all of them will be happy to spend the night under the stars with the adventure-seeking owners. If you have a family dog, it is highly likely that they will want to join you.
However, pets like cats will more than likely want to spend the night in the comfort of the main house. If you do have pets that will be staying indoors, you should ensure that they have everything they need and will be safe while you enjoy your night outside.
Similarly, if you plan to allow your pet to camp with you, it is vital that you secure the yard to avoid your beloved pet going wandering while you sleep.
7. Leaving Kids Alone
As your children get a little older, they may ask if they can camp in the backyard without you; perhaps inviting some friends to enjoy the experience. Many parents can be quick to issue an instant ‘no!’ But it does pay to consider this a little more before making your final decision.
Kids love a little independence and while allowing them to go off camping in the wild may be a few years away, giving them the freedom to do so in the garden can be an excellent compromise.
That being said, before you agree, you should consider all of the factors we have already discussed and children should not be allowed to tend to a fire without supervision.
If you are in any doubt about their safety, then backyard camping might be off the table. However, if you think that there won’t be any significant issues, the best way to handle the situation is to lay out some rules and make regular checks on the children.
It is not always possible to go camping on a campsite or in the wild but most of us are fortunate enough to have a backyard where camping can be just as much fun.
Many people will head out into their backyard and pitch a tent without first considering some important safety points.
While backyard camping is typically an enjoyable and exciting experience, there are some things that could make it less so. By thinking about these before you go outside, you can be better prepared for every eventuality.