It would appear that the National Wildlife Federation’s annual Great American Backyard Campout has lost something. And that something is the backyard.

Now known as the Great American Campout, the mission of the June 27 camp-for-all is largely the same as in years past: to get cooped-up kids and adults outside and engaged with the natural world. However, this year the NWF has opted for a decidedly more inclusive purview that expands well beyond backyard bivouacs to proper wilderness camping in local, state and national parks and everywhere and anywhere else that one can safely — and legally — pitch a tent or sprawl out for the night under a blanket of stars.

And similar to past events, there’s a fundraising component: for each individual pledge to camp that the NWF receives, $1 will be donated to the organization by “top supporters.” These funds — as much as $100,000 — will enable the NWF to carry out its crucial conservation work and “to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future."

In addition to pledging to camp on June 27, the NWF is also imploring participants to share “campies” on social media (provided campers get cell service and aren’t abiding by a strict “no tech” rule) and to organize community-based public campouts.

Of, course, no proper campout, be it in the backyard or in a state park, is complete without the compulsory gear. Below, you'll find 14 Mother Nature-approved — and I'd like to think Phyllis Nefler-approved — essentials for (kind of) roughing it, ranging from lanterns to hammocks to an anthology of terrifying tales that may prompt you to sleep in the car with all the doors locked. While most of these items, many American-made, are geared slightly more toward backyard excursions, they’ll all still come in handy in when venturing out into less familiar outdoor settings.

Fredericks & Mae KiteKite — Morning @ Fredericks & Mae ($64)







Camp Stool, United by BlueCamp Stool @ United By Blue ($78)






Wind Up Accordion Lantern





Wind Up Accordion Lantern by Wu Jian Jun @ MoMA Store ($28)



Brendan Ravenhill Bottle OpenerBottle Opener by Brendan Ravenhill @ Areaware ($12)







Turkish towelsTurkish Pestemal Towel @ Poketo ($39)







S'well BottleBlonde Wood S'well Bottle @ S'well ($35)




games bandanna



Outdoor Games Bandanna @ Terrain ($10)






Yellowleaf hammock

Yellowleaf Hammock @ Dry Goods ($150)






Patagonia disc



Patagonia Logo Disc @ Patagonia ($10)





govino decanter and wine glassDecanter and Wine Glass Set @ govino ($14.95)






Alite Meadow MatMeadow Mat —Ace Multi-Stripe @ Alite ($39)







Original One Log FireThe Original One Log Fire @ Daytrip Society ($15)







Spooky Campfire Tales"Spooky Campfire Tales: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Supernatural Lore" by S E Schlosser @ Powells






Explore Pouch

Explore Zipper Pouch @ Izloa ($30)







Brass and Cooper LanternsBrass & Copper Handheld Lantern @ Kaufmann Mercantile ($19)






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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.