The Great American Backyard Campout: 4 Tips for Family Camping


Shake out your tents: It’s time for the 10th annual Great American Backyard Campout. On June 28, thousands of people will be pitching tents in yards and parks across the country as part of this nationwide family camping adventure.

Whether you camp with a community group, head to your backyard, or hike to a remote backcountry site, the night is sure to reconnect you and your kids to nature. Eat a picnic dinner, listen for frogs (or squirrels), watch the sunset, stargaze, and give your kids an experience that is, unfortunately, all too rare for their generation.

The event is organized by the National Wildlife Federation and has been held on the fourth Saturday of every June since 2005. This year, the group’s goal is to get more than 200,000 people to camp out.

Here are some tips for planning a memorable outing:

1. Find a campout near you. If one doesn’t exist, consider organizing a local public event yourself.

2. Or plan an adventure beyond your neighborhood with AMC’s recommendations:

3. Borrow, rent, or buy the right gear:

  •  the perfect family tent, with features like thicker aluminum poles and a rainfly that extends to the ground
  •   kids’ sleeping bags, with a snug fit and enough insulation for nighttime warmth
  •   essential outdoor gear for kids, from synthetic clothing layers to waterproof outerwear

4. Check out the official site’s camping tips, recipes, campfire song lyrics, and activities.

Get tips on raising the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts in Great Kids, Great Outdoors and find trip ideas in AMC’s community for families, Kids Outdoors.

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Heather Stephenson

AMC Outdoors, the magazine of the Appalachian Mountain Club, inspires readers to get outside and get engaged. Learn more.