As mentioned in a previous post, I have bad case of backyard that increases during the summer months. All I can say is, thank god for community gardens and cold beer.

For folks who do have a backyard and didn’t travel over Memorial Day weekend, here’s an idea for future long, summer weekends: stay put and have a backyard campout. With a still shaky economy, staycations continue to be a hot trend for those who would rather enjoy themselves at home than blow a bunch of cash (not to mention CO2 emissions) and be hassled by traveling.

Staycations often involve visiting local attractions that are otherwise neglected — museums, parks, the municipal swimming pool, farmers’ markets, grandma’s house — but many fail to realize they can spend an entire relaxing weekend in the comfort of their backyard. Like a real camping trip you need gear for that, right? Right. Below are 10 environmentally friendly, backyard camping trip accessories to pick up before heading into the great, suburban outdoors.  

Clear2Go Bottle @ Clear2O ($16.99)

If you’re going to pretend to go camping, there’s absolutely no reason to buy a case of waste-generating bottled water. Invest in a Clear2Go Bottle, a 24-ounce, BPA-free water bottle with a powerful built-in filter. Just fill ‘er up with a garden house as you please instead of making periodic treks inside to refill it under the kitchen tap. 

Recycled Lantern @ CB2 ($19.99)

These “campy" handled lanterns from CB2 are made from recycled iron sheet. Supply your own 3"x6" candle. More decorative than heavy duty, they’re recommend for sheltered outdoor use. 

Help I’ve Cut Myself bandages @ Help Products ($6)

Instead of hauling your medicine cabinet out back, have a pack of Help I’ve Cut Myself bandages on hand for any minor slip-ups but as the ethical folks at Help warn: “if your injury is bleeding everywhere, you might want to use something else.” The packaging is made from compostable, 100 percent recycled molded paper pulp and the bandages themselves are made from hospital-grade, scar-reducing hydrocolloid. 

TING Recycled Seatbelt Pillow @ Branch Home ($114)

A bit steep for a pillow, I know, but who else will be able to say they spent the weekend in their backyard watching shooting stairs with their head gently resting on a pillow made from reclaimed nylon seatbelt webbing?  No one, I’m guessing. This funky 14-inch pillow is durable, zipper-less, and filled with a feather-based pad.  

Govino Plastic Wine Glass @ The Shop at Cooper-Hewitt ($12/4)

For romantic, vino-themed backyard excursions, these recyclable/reusable PETG plastic wine glasses from Govino are a must-have. Originally designed for use as stand-ins for stemware at professional wine trade events, these vessels are a classy and lightweight substitute for crystal. 

Solar Shoji Lanterns @ Gaiam ($79/3)

Hang these solar-powered lanterns on a couple trees in the backyard … as the sun sets, the yellow LED lights inside the paper-like, waterproof nylon globes will light up and cast a peaceful, lunar glow. Each lantern comes with a rechargeable AAA battery.  

Badger Anti-Bug Balm @ Badger Balm (1.5 oz push-up stick, 2 oz tin $10; .75 oz tin, $5.50)

You’re not heading into the woods but just in case: This tested-in-India bug repellent with certified organic olive oil, citronella oil, and lemongrass oil keeps mosquitoes at bay without the use of harsh chems like DEET.

Direct Designs’ Space Grill 600 @ A + R Store ($395)

More convenient that a mammoth gas grill and decidedly safer than sparking a bonfire in the backyard, the compact but mighty Space Grill 600 is easy to use and store and thoughtfully designed. Comes equipped with eco-friendly bamboo chopping blocks. I recommend using with Cowboy Charcoal

Earth Friendly Rope Hammock @ Green Home (single, $100; double, $120)

There are a few hemp hammocks on the market but I prefer this one made with cotton-esque recycled plastic rope and FSC-certified wood spreader bars. Not recommended for those looking to simulate a true camping experience in the backyard but still pretty sweet to have around.

Synchilla Blanket @ Patagonia ($35)

Patagonia’s comfy, camping-perfect fleece Synchilla Blanket is made from 85 percent recycled polyester fiber that comes from soda bottles, unusable fabrics, and worn-out garments. Sales support the Great Pacific Childhood Development Center in Ventura, CA. Available in five different colors. 

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

Camping in
Have a boring holiday weekend at home? Invest in green backyard camping gear that'll make your next long weekend more memorable.