The prospect of a night spent under canvas (in this case nylon) in the backyard with just your older sibling and the crickets for company, yields excitement so heavily charged, it could power a suburb.

Backyard camping is a fabulous adventure when you are 6 (or 14). There’s nothing like experiencing the great outdoors, knowing the backdoor is only metres away, should a possum hiss break the night silence. Lying on the foreign surface of an inflatable mattress, with some familiar bedclothes on top for security, a new range of sounds is audible, and extending from this, a new range of thoughts and ideas develop.

Spending a night in the natural world sparks an awareness of self – one that is mutually exclusive to the rest of existence, even crystallising for us, our place within this larger picture. All the while, the sanctuary of indoors provides the safety net required to promote the confidence required to make these developmental leaps. Under a crescent moon with the occasional twitter of ringtails, what better way can there be for emerging independence to take its first steps?

Small tents are very inexpensive and simple to pitch. The hours of pleasure they provide coupled with the level of self-reliance they facilitate, make them an extremely practical investment for christmas and birthday gifts alike.

Postscript: and should any danger have been lurking, we could rest easily knowing the camp was being safely watched over…


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