Three Camping Accessories That Will Make Your Backyard Feel Like A National Park

Can’t get to Yellowstone or the beach? Camp right behind your own house.

America's national parks are glorious, but they're also hard to get to. And if you're not an experienced camper, you probably don't want to try and rough it in the middle of nowhere on your first try. Fortunately, your backyard is a campground that always open.

You can install a permanent hammock in your yard, but it's also great to have a portable version. | Amazon

Start with how you're going to sleep. Some of us can just lie down anywhere and get a good solid eight hours, while the rest of us are going to need more than a rock as a pillow. Hammocks are a good way to sleep outdoors during the warmer months, but they definitely take a little practice, as anybody who's been flung out of one can tell you. Test it out in your backyard to see if it's right for you.

sleeping bag
A good sleeping bag has great padding, but you can always use some reinforcement. | Amazon

If you need back support, or just prefer the earth under you when you drop off, an inflatable sleeping pad should be on your list. Unlike airbeds, they're relatively small, so they're easier to inflate, and they're lighter, making them much easier to haul. In warmer weather, they can be all you need to relax under the stars. Look for one made out of ripstop nylon or similar tough material, and that will be easy to inflate by mouth when you're ready to drop.

Everyone loves dogs, burgers or veggie patties on the grill. No reason to miss out on that when a grill isn't available. | Amazon

After sleep comes food. And while building a fire is part of any camping adventure, it's not always a good idea in a park, and doubly so in your backyard. So, now's the time to get the hang of a camping stove. Usually powered by tanks of butane or a similar fuel, a camping stove takes a little practice to fully get the hang of, so firing it up in your backyard to make some coffee and eggs is a smart idea. Once you've broken it in, you'll be able to eat no matter what.