Whether it’s budget, bad weather, failing to secure a coveted campground reservation (guilty as charged) or a global pandemic, setting up an indoor campsite is a fun antidote to bringing the Great Outdoors home. All it takes is some imagination and household items to set the scene. But here’s the thing, constructing a living room campsite is kind of like throwing a birthday party; sure, a cake and balloons will suffice, but with some crafty handiwork and perhaps an Amazon delivery, creative campers might actually convince themselves they're sleeping beneath the stars.
Choose your "campsite"
Pick a room with an adequate amount of space to accommodate your tent (more on that below), “campfire” and some seating. Commit to turning off consumer electronics and after sunset, keep the lights off. Use flashlights, camping lanterns or candles for soft illumination. Rearrange potted house plants around the periphery of the campsite.
Pitch your tent
Pitch your outdoor tent (be sure to leave flaps open as not to overheat) or use a sheet or tarp to construct a simple “pup tent.” Bonus: you won't have to search for a level spot to sleep!
Make your nest
If you’re fully committing to indoor camping, unfurl your sleeping bag and inflate your air mattress and camp pillow. (This is also a great opportunity to give your gear an off-season clean.) Glampers might collect and assemble sofa pillows, foamies and duvets.
Build your “campfire”
If indoor camping is a tradition your family might enjoy time and time again, a pretend campfire made of plush felt or cardboard might prove a worthy investment.
For those with an aptitude for simple DIY, pretend campfires are easy enough to construct with some items found around the house or in your backyard. First, define the campfire with some rocks. Next, use paper towel rolls or old wrapping paper rolls to “saw” some logs, or collect sticks from outside. In the centre, arrange red, yellow and orange tissue paper around a flameless candle or a flashlight propped upright.
Play a soothing nature soundtrack
Turn on a music streaming app or navigate to YouTube to play a forest-themed soundtrack. We recommend Spotify’s “Forest Sleep and Relaxing Sounds” or “Fire Sounds” (specifically, the track titled Camp Fire in the Wind (No Fade for Looping) playlists. Turn on the "replay" song feature to loop the soundtrack.
A white noise machine with nature themes (crickets or campfire) will also do the trick.
Create ambiance with earthy aromas
Level up your campsite setting by illuminating a woodsy-smelling candle. We prefer a clean-burning soy candles for their longevity and are inspired by Ontario-based artisan candlemaker Mayberry and its Campfire Smoke candle.
Alternatively, an essential oil diffuser works great, too. Our go-to’s are Saje’s woodsy “Mountain High,” “Into the Trees,” or cedarwood blends.
Guarantee shooting stars
If your indoor campsite isn’t adjacent to a picture window filled with a sky full of stars, consider a star projector. Sega's Home Planetarium Star Projector is a splurge but it projects the entire night sky across a room (load the Northern or Southern Hemisphere disk), rotates and even has a shooting star setting.
Otherwise, glow in the dark stars or a DIY star garland will do the trick. Bonus points if you arrange constellations.
For dinner, barbeque burgers or hot dogs then munch on trail mix, stovetop popcorn (steal these tasty homemade popcorn seasonings), flavoured sunflower seeds and beef jerky.
It wouldn't be camping without a quintessential graham cracker-marshmallow-chocolate treat. Here are five recipes for flameless s’mores and of course, mix up some cozy mugs of hot chocolate; classic enamel cups are encouraged.
Games & Entertainment
Card games: UNO, Skip-Bo, Gin rummy,
Interactive games: Charades, hand shadow puppets/animals, Wink Murder, Who Am I?
Word games: Twenty Questions, Two Truths and a Lie, tell ghost stories
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