I suck at camping. My kids love it. So I camp for my kids.

Our usual routine is a Father’s Day camping trip as it is safely away from the random snow and frost that always ravages Calgary on the May Long Weekend.

Our favorite is Dinosaur Provincial Park, but last year we had a great time at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park.


This year, however, I told the boys we were pulling the plug on our annual Father’s Day campout. With a big trip planned for Australia the weekend after Father’s Day, and me in the midst of half-marathon training, I asked the boys if we could take a rain cheque on this year’s adventure. They sheepishly agreed. We made this agreement months ago as I was planning out the rest of our summer camping adventures.

Since then Charlie has been begging to go camping. We’ve had an unseasonably warm spring, and after he joined me for some tv camping segments with Energizer, he’s been anxious even more to get out under the stars.

His Father’s Day card for me was a picture of us camping, and he was counting down all week to Saturday night.

A camping pic from my Charlie after a night of Father’s Day camping. #perfect

A photo posted by Buzz Bishop (dadcamp) (@dadcamp.ca) on

I know the first rule of parenting is stick to your demands when you draw a line in the sand, but .. I love keeping traditions alive more than I love the first rule of parenting. So we made a compromise.

Instead of packing everything up into the truck and heading out of town, we’d pitch our tent in the backyard. All the camping adventure my son wanted, none of the time consuming stress that made me hesitant.

So we pitched a tent in the backyard.

backyard camping tents


We set up our camp chairs around our new firepit.  We unpacked our sleeping bags (check out this article for some kid friendly ones) And, for the first time ever, Mama joined us at a campout!!

fireplace tent

Can’t you tell how much Mama loves camping? We made campfire smores

backyard camping smores

We loaded up our flashlights and headlamps with fresh Energizer batteries in case someone needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, or if any wild rabbits came to scare us.

backyard camping lights

We played with Snapchat (username: buzzbishop) filters and giggled ourselves silly way past bedtime.

dadcamp snapchat

By ten o’clock the sky was still blue, and we were still awake.

blue sky tenting

In the morning, after a sleepless night of tossing and turning on a cold air mattress, and pounding rain on the tent, I got up exhausted.


Yup! That’s what real camping feels like too!


It was camping without camping. The kind of camping you can do on a weeknight in the summer when you still have to go to work in the morning. The kind of camping that doesn’t result in a 3 hour drive back home when you forget something (like tent poles, I’ve done it).

I talk a lot about going uncamping with your kids in the summer. Doing all the sorts of long daytrip adventures that you would do on a camping trip away from home, but sleeping in your own bed at night. Really, backyard camping is the ULTIMATE in uncamping. All the adventures, with everything right near by when you need it.

I’m all for climbing mountains, getting bitten by mosquitos, and peeing in the woods, but I must say I absolutely loved backyard camping with my sons and keeping a Father’s Day tradition alive for a 4th year.

Go pitch a tent in the backyard. School’s out, summer is here, and there are 10 weeks of adventures waiting.


Here’s a contest where you can win a $500 gift card to get the backyard camping supplies you need (like batteries!).  Energizer Recharge® are the world’s first rechargeable batteries made with 4% recycled material.

Energizer Recharge

The same innovation brought to Energizer® EcoAdvanced®, is now with Energizer Recharge® batteries. You can save money and have less impact on the planet by reducing the number of disposed batteries, creating less waste.

We use  Energizer Recharge® batteries as a great way to keep our lighting options charged:

Hands down, Energizer has the most useful range of lightweight and versatile lighting products designed especially for those tasks that require two hands.

Flashlights- handheld
Bright. Versatile. Indispensable. Energizer brings bold, innovative flashlight technology to virtually any situation, indoors or out. For simple household use or serious storm preparation, the standard flashlight has come a long way.

Area lights
Another area of Energizer expertise – 360º area lighting. Area lanterns are the safe, reliable way to provide bright 360° light long into the night, at the camp fire, or while weathering a storm.

Stuff some of these in your camping buckets and you’ll always have juice to light your way to the potty (or back to the house) in the middle of the night.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions: Prize open to Canadian mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited. Prize must be accepted as awarded. Please use a legitimate personal social media account instead of a contest-only account.

Disclosure: Thanks to Energizer for making our Father’s Day backyard camping weekend brighter and for sponsoring this branded content.

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  1. Debbie Sherrer June 23, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Looks like a great time! Camping is so much fun and it’s great in the backyard too!

  2. Margaret H June 24, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I used to love camping with my kids!

  3. Johanne Laurin-Castonguay June 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful giveaway!

  4. sabina edwards July 8, 2016 at 11:37 am

    thanks for sharing your family trip with us on snapchat!!

  5. sabina Edwards July 9, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Calgary stampede? where are you getting all the energy from? You’re going to need a holiday from the holiday!!

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