Photo: Find some old sheets that can serve as the cover for your tent or even some large blankets that you can spread across chairs. Shutterstock.
Sometimes you don’t need to go out into the woods or the mountains to have that authentic camping experience. Instead, you could enjoy it from the comfort of your own home. It is essential to make the experience something fun and unique.
Camping indoors is a great idea for something fun to do on a rainy weekend when your children or partner need a “change of scenery.” However, first, you’re going to need to make sure that you’re ready for your indoor camping adventure. It’s time to make the list of all the essentials you’ll need to make this a great staycation from tents and sleeping bags to snacks and toys for your DIY indoor camping fun.
Time To Plan Your Indoor Camping Night
The first thing you’re going to need to do when planning your indoor camping night or weekend is to pack your bags. If you’re doing this activity with your children, it will make the experience seem more real to them, and it will become even more fun. Get them to pack a change of clothes and a pair of pajamas as you prepare for your “holiday.”
If you don’t have actual camping backpacks that you would use, get inventive, and use your standard backpacks. You could find some rope and tie on items to make it seem more like the real deal. You can add on your sleeping bag and even some tin mugs. You could write out a list of items your children will need so that they can find them and packing them.
Before you head off to your campsite, you’ll want to make sure part of it is set up, and you might need to order some of these items online if you don’t already have them at home. All of these items are very affordable, and you won’t just use them for this indoor camping weekend, you can use them for several activities so that it won’t be a waste of money.
Some important things to consider when setting up your DIY camping site is where you’ll sleep, what you will eat and what activities you want to partake in or organize. A tent is vital to camping indoors, and you don’t have to use an actual tent. If you have one, that’s great, but if you don’t – there are so many great DIY options that will be much fun to set up. Why not try out a sheet fort instead?
There are so many options when it comes to building a sheet fort. You could use any flat sheets you have at home, blankets, towels, or even some large pieces of fabric. Make sure you have enough of these items for the tent you have in mind, or perhaps you want to make a few tents instead of just one. If you have these items, you’re ready to start setting up camp.
The tent can be set up before you go to the campsite, or you can make this an activity to do with the whole family. When you start to set up the blanket fort, you can use chairs to prop it up, drape fabric over a table, or if you have some large and sturdy poles or sticks, you could go to the DIY pro-level and construct your very own A-frame fort.
If you’re going to use chairs to create your tent, you will need four of them. Place two next to each other – spaced apart from each other, this will depend on how big you want the fort to be. Place two chairs opposite these two chairs and make sure the chairs have their backs to each other. Next up is to set up the flooring of your tent. Lay down a blanket and either set up the sleeping bags or put those in later when you “arrive” at the camping location.
If you don’t have sleeping bags, you can just place a few pillows in there to make it a lot more comfortable and inviting. You will then take your sheet or blanket and drape it over the chairs to make the tent’s roof. You can change how dark it is inside the tent by adding more layers. You may notice that the blankets start to slip off, so take heavy objects like books and weigh down the sheet by placing these items on the chair seats on top of the blanket.
If you have a big table, this could also be an option for your tent. It will save you much time as well in this DIY camp set up. All you need to do is move the table to your campsite, drape a large sheet or table cloth over it, and set it up the inside like you would with the chair fort. This might provide you with a sturdier frame for the tent.
If you have a tent, you can use this as well. Make sure that you have enough space in your house to set it up without breaking something. You can even order a small tent online to make your weekend of camping feel very real for you and your family. You can then use this tent when you can go out and experience a real camping weekend in the great outdoors. What are your options when it comes to buying an affordable but good tent?
2-Person Tent, Water Resistant Dome Tent for Camping
This two-person tent is the perfect size for a weekend of indoor camping, and you can use it outside as well. The great thing about this tent is that it is lightweight and also suitable in any weather. We know you won’t be encountering any rain or sunshine inside, but it’s good to know for when you want to use it outside. It has a ventilation window which might come in handy for your indoor camping too as it can get quite hot inside a tent. Open the window and place a fan outside to let some fresh air inside. This tent is also easy to set up.
If you’re not the type of family who is likely to go camping outside, you can use it for so many other things like shade at the beach, a spot to relax at events, and even outdoors in your garden when you have people over for lunch. Jacqueline says, “This tent was bought for my son and his friend to play in and sleep in. It worked great for them. no tips or tears or issues.”
This teepee tent for children would be fun to have at your indoor camping night and in your children’s bedroom. It is a fun spot for your children to play indoors and gives them a private place. It’s easily collapsible and portable so it can be moved around your home and your garden too.
Dottie says, “My grandson has had many play tents through the years, and this is by far the nicest when it comes to construction. He is sleeping in his teepee in front of the “campfire” fireplace this evening.” So join in the fun like Dottie’s grandson and enjoy a campfire indoors from the comfort of this awesome teepee for kids. There are other variations of this teepee tent for children that you can find on Amazon, depending on the look you want to go for. This teepee is easy to clean, though, so you won’t have to worry about any messes from s’ mores or hot dogs!
You don’t have to go online and order a sleeping bag if you don’t want to. There are many other options that you can replace this camping essential with. Since you won’t be weathering any harsh conditions, you can roll up a duvet and place it into your campsite and unroll it when it’s time to go to bed. You could also roll up a blanket and take it with you to the indoor camping as well.
However, if you do want to start investing in some camping gear for the future or perhaps you want to buy your child a sleeping bag for sleepovers, then there are some affordable options that you could order to add to your camping set up.
This sleeping bag is an excellent option if you’ve decided this is something you want to invest in. Not only is it a fantastic price, but it’s also a great sleeping bag that can be used in three seasons. This sleeping bag is designed for 35-50 degree weather and will prevent you from getting damp because of its fabric technology. They are double filled and will help you get the best night’s sleep wherever you decide to set up camp. There is a zip at the bottom of the sleeping bag so you can let your feet get some air if needed. It also comes with a half-circle hood and adjustable drawstring in case it is a frigid night.
Trina says, “My kids loved these sleeping bags. If it is going to be cooler than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, bring extra blankets and use the drawstring around your head. I went camping Labor Day weekend in the Adirondacks, and it was chilly; my kids said they wished they had an extra blanket then slept in sweatpants and sweatshirts. But they would be great for summer months or indoors.”
If you want to buy the most adorable sleeping bag, you have to buy this for your kids. It is designed for children ages 3-8, but most of us adults wish it came in our size. You have the choice between the bunny or the unicorn and would make a lovely gift for your child. It is also the cutest sleepover accessory. It is made from soft faux fur fabric, so it isn’t suited to outdoor camping unless you are sure that you are going to be sleeping in a nice, comfortable, and waterproof tent. This novelty sleeping bag is soft and sweet for your indoor camping holiday.
It also has a hood which will probably excite the kids even more! Jen says, “This was a great sleeping bag- larger than expected. Unicorn is a soft fluffy pillow, light lilac sleeping bag- great quality. Makes a great gift.”
Now that the logistics are pretty much covered, it’s time to get to the entertaining part – setting up your campsite. It includes fire, food, activities, and nature around you. Since this camping experience is taking place indoors, you can’t make a fire. If you have a fireplace, though, it’s the perfect excuse to get some logs and light it up. If you have a fireplace, you can make actual s’ mores as one of your activities.
If you don’t have a fireplace, we have some great ways to make it feel like you do. The first idea is to create a flameless fire pit with some rocks, sticks, and some fairy lights. Most of these items you’ll find around your home and your garden. Arrange the stones into a circle on the floor, put on some battery-powered fairy lights, bundle them up in the center of the rocks and then place the sticks over to create an illusion of a fire.
If you don’t have fairy lights, there is another way too. Raid your arts and crafts drawer and find red, yellow, and orange tissue paper or cardboard. You can then cut out flame shapes. Place some logs into a firepit shape and then place your fake flames on top of it. If you have some battery-powered candles, you can make it look even more real.
You can stick the tissue paper to the taller candles so that it supports the fake flame. The light of the candle will shine through the tissue paper and make the flame even more real. If you want to make it warm, you could place a fan heater underneath the wood stack and turn it on to release some heat while you sit around the campfire.
Electronic LED Fake Fire Flame Simulated Flame Effect Light
If this DIY isn’t for you, you can order an electronic fake fire pit online. It has flickering fire flames that are fake, so it is very safe for use indoors. There is also no setup required for this product; you can take it out of the box and start using it immediately. It makes it a great option if this is something you’ve decided to do last minute. The silk flame will blow you away with the atmosphere within your DIY indoor camping site.
Bob says, “I bought this Fake Fire Flame for a tent that I bought my children to make it look like they are having a campfire in it in the house. It is nice, and it is not too loud. It looks like a real fire to a degree and has a great effect while camping in the house. I would highly recommend it. Good quality and very nice.”
What goes with a campfire? S’ mores, of course! The great thing is that you don’t need a campfire to make s’ mores, you can use your oven or your microwave instead. Make sure you are fully stocked up on Graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate (or chocolate spread). Set up a s’ mores station to make things easier.
Place all the ingredients on a tray, let everyone make their s’ mores, and then take then all to the oven or microwave. You can then bring them back once they’re ready for everyone to enjoy. Make sure you have other camp snacks like trail mix and even some hotdogs too. Use paper plates so that there is minimal mess to clean up afterward.
Nostalgia SMM200 Indoor Electric Stainless Steel S’ mores Maker with 4 Compartment Trays
You can buy anything online these days, and that includes an indoor electric s’ mores maker. If you choose to buy this, it will become an activity that everyone can participate in and make their own. All it needs is an electrical outlet. It is a flameless heater that will give you the golden brown s’ mores of your dreams. This set also comes with four stainless steel roasting forks and excellent little dividers around it to store everything you will need for this dessert.
You can then use this again at any party or gathering – everyone loves making s’ mores, so it will be a hit and won’t be a waste of money. Timothy Goeres says, “It was a cold, windy, snow-filled day. The kids were getting cabin fever being cooped up inside, so it was perfect having this mini s’ more maker. We watched movies, drank hot cocoa, and ate delicious s’ mores ALL from the comfort of my cozy bed.”
One of the best things about camping is spending a night underneath the stars. It is something that you don’t have to miss out on if you’re doing a camping night indoors. You can make your very own DIY constellation jar. All you need is a jar, an aluminum sheet or tin foil, and a pair of scissors.
Roll your sheet of tin foil or aluminum around the jar and cut it to size. Then lay it flat and plot out your constellation. If you want to be very accurate, you can bring out an actual constellation and make the marks on the sheet below it as you go so you know where to make the holes later on in the process. You should also use different size instruments to make different size holes for a better effect.
Next, put the sheet into the jar carefully. Now you need to choose your light source that you’re going to put into the jar. It could be an LED light or candle. Do not use a real candle as this could burn the tin foil inside, and this should be a safe activity. Turn off the lights and watch your hard work come to life.
If you are doing this with children, it would be great to make it a bit more educational. Do some research beforehand on the constellations and stars so that you can lie down and do some proper stargazing with them. You could also print out a fun facts sheet for them so that you can all discuss it around the campfire before starting your stargazing activity.
What’s a camping trip without some scary stories too? But, to make your stories extra frightening, you’ll need a flashlight, of course. It might be something you already have at home, but if it isn’t, you can just order one online. It will always come in handy, so it won’t just be a one-time use item. This Eveready LED flashlight pack comes with two flashlights that are perfect so that you can share the torch. If you want to make the experience even more real, try not to use any artificial lights except for your torches.
The best part about this flashlight pack is that it comes with two batteries, so you don’t have to order those as extras. Pretty Handy says, “I am not kidding when I say awesome! COB LED runs on a single D cell. Single cell stored in a cool place has ZERO possibility of dead batteries when you need them. No intermittent operation, just bright steady light.”
There are so many activities that will bring your camping indoors for life. One of these being a scavenger hunt. This can be fun for both children and adults. Outdoors you would generally be looking for different animals, leaves, and trees, so what should you hunt for indoors? It could be anything. Print out a list of items that you want the kids or adults to find and let the hunt begin.
This idea is also a fun activity where the flashlights come into play to make the hunt even harder. You can also set boundaries for the scavenger hunt and choose if you want to play just in the nearby campsite area or open up other rooms in the house. The first person to find all the items should win a prize – this could be an extra s’ more when it comes time to roast some marshmallows!
Thanks to technology, with just a click of a button, we can bring nature indoors with sounds. Find a video on YouTube that plays nature sounds that you can play during the evening. Most of these videos are very long, so you won’t even need to loop them. There are various options like crickets, fire sounds, and many others. You could also plan it out according to the weather.
Create a playlist that will dictate how the evening goes. It could start with friendly, gentle breeze sounds with leaves rustling, crickets, and coyotes in the background, and maybe follow this up with a rain shower so that you all have to huddle inside the tent and you can tell ghost stories inside.
Camping outdoors is one of the most fun activities to do as an adult or as a kid. Sometimes circumstances don’t allow us to get out and experience this, but with a bit of creativity, we can enjoy a similar experience inside our homes. It’s all about thinking outside the box and finding great gadgets online to make it feel real.
Many of these things you need for a DIY camping night at home you’ll already have, and if you don’t, they’re just one click away at a very affordable price. All of these items you will use again, and it might encourage you to have more than only one of these camping indoors nights with the ones that you love.