Stay Close To Home With Backyard Camping

An escape to the wilderness is unquestionably wondrous, but sometimes you can get away from it all just by leading the kids across the lawn and pitching a tent. Even the simplest backyard campsite provides an instant backdrop for a night to remember.

Cookie magazine contributing editor Laurie Gelman came by The Early Show Monday to discuss this fun camping alternative.

For first-time campers, it's a wise idea to have a camping test-run. Your whole family might enjoy it, but you may find that your kids are more of the indoor types. Backyard camping always provides you the opportunity to go back into your house if things don't pan out well.

"You want to test the waters and (ask yourself), 'Are we a family that really wants to go camping?' " Gelman said.

Camping can be very expensive, but you don't need to make a huge investment if you want to give your children a backyard camping experience. Gelman suggests purchasing a Wenzel Nova Pup Tent for $20. Because of its low price, you can buy a few and invite your neighbors over for a camping party. This tent is great for a play-date or a theme sleepover for your kids.

If you are looking for a more simulated camping experience, you can purchase a Eureka! Pine Lodge Tent ($400). This tent, which sleeps eight people, is relatively simple to put up. You can get many accessories with it such as a butterfly net or a water bag, which will truly give you the feeling of being in the wilderness.

Some kids are averse to leaving behind their electronic amenities. Gelman suggests purchasing a Eureka! N!ergy Tent ($340) for the electronically-inclined family. This tent has three electrical outlets and is run on a rechargeable 12-volt battery. The inflatable mattress has an iPod outlet in addition to outlets for lights or other electric items. And if you are in need of some nighttime entertainment, Gelman recommends buying iPod karaoke, which is a high-tech way to pass the time outside.