What Is Day Camping? This TikTok Mom's Video Is A Total Aha Moment

Camping is… not for everyone. There’s mud and bugs and snakes and bears (or worse, men). Plus, when you camp overnight, you have to deal with setting up those god-awful tents and then taking them down and fitting them back in their tiny bags come morning. And anything you do after that first night, you do on practically no sleep because no one actually gets decent sleep in a tent on the ground. Well, here’s an idea: What about camping *without* the overnight stuff?

A mom on TikTok recently posted about her family’s love of day camping, and, honestly, it seems so nice and easy compared to the “real thing.” Less gear and less commitment, and you still get to sleep in your own bed and take an actual shower? Sign me TF up!

“This is what I call day camping, and I know we’re not the only people who do this. But it’s basically camping without spending the night,” explains Teresa Kellogg (@teresa.and.littles). “It works really well if you just have one day, or maybe you just don’t feel like dragging the tent out, and the sleeping pads and the sleeping bags, and all the extra clothes and extra food out for normal camping.”

So, what is day camping, exactly?

Picture your favorite parts of camping. Are you imagining sitting by the campfire, cooking over the open flame, exploring nature, and maybe lounging in a hammock? Same. This is the magic of day camping. You can do all the good stuff without the hassle of overnight camping.

You start by finding an area in nature that offers whatever you’re looking for: shade, sunlight, hammock trees, a creek, etc. Once you find your day camping spot, you stay there for the day and simply enjoy nature. Except, ya know, you can go home whenever you need or want.

Isn’t this just… a picnic?

Some people in the comments section of Teresa’s video snarked that this is just a picnic or “going outside.” But when was the last time you built a campfire, hung a hammock, roasted hotdogs, and spent an entire day exploring nature while on a picnic?

Besides, calling it “day camping” is much more fun. If you’re stuck on the idea that it’s a glorified picnic, at least do what one commenter said her family does and call it a “fire picnic.

What are some other fun benefits of day camping?

If you’re lucky enough to live close to safe and free outdoor areas, day camping can save you some dinero. “We have never done this at a paid campground,” Teresa explains. “We always disperse camp somewhere within 30 minutes of our home.”

Day camping also obviously means you get to go home at the end of your trip, and even people who love camping often admit that they sleep better at home. Says Teresa, “We usually come in the morning and spend the whole day out. Sometimes, we don’t go home until it’s dark out. But the best part is when you get home, everybody can shower and go to bed in their own beds.”

Day camping is inherently ideal for novice campers, too, since you can pull it off with as little supplies as you have or want. “I also feel like this would work really well if you’re a beginner camper or maybe a mom trying to go camping alone with her kids and maybe don’t wanna commit to spending the night by yourself,” suggests Teresa.

Commenters on Teresa’s video highlighted a few other pros to this type of excursion.

“I’m in Florida and mosquitos get worse at night, and I don’t wanna buy a tent. I will be planning a day camping trip soon,” wrote Juniper 🍉.

“As a single mom of four who has never been able to afford many camping supplies, this is actually genius,” said AFish.

“This is great bc I hate sleeping on the ground, but I want my kids to have fun memories of camping,” added .heatherdoodle.

“My spouse can’t sleep outside due to medical issues. I love this idea for our family!” gushed Steph.

What do you take day camping?

The beauty of day camping is that it doesn’t require as much stressing over what to pack. But if you’re an “always prepared” type of parent, there are some things that might improve your day camping experience:

  • Campfire tools (a lighter, a kindling, and maybe some cookware)
  • Food and snacks (including a s’mores kit!)
  • Water (consider bringing drinks with electrolytes, too)
  • Hammocks, chairs, blanket
  • First aid kit
  • Towels for post-creek explorations
  • Books, a radio, or a Bluetooth speaker
  • Beach or sandbox toys (they work just as well in the dirt)
  • Personal fans or cooling towels
  • Walkie-talkies

The bottom line, though, is that if you’re comfortable on a blanket and bringing along just a few simple sandwiches, you can hike to a spot that suits your needs and take the bare minimum with you.

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