Camping Out Becomes a Way of Life

Josh and Terri Shortlidge in their backyard tent.

On June 26 Josh and Terri Shortlidge will participate in their fourth Great American Backyard Campout®, the NWF event that changed their lives—or at least their sleeping habits.

“Last summer we woke up so refreshed and filled with the wonders of nature that we just had to go back out the next night … and then the next night,” says Josh. Since participating in the 2009 event, the Massachusetts couple (above) has spent all but a few snowy nights outside in their tent. When the seasons grew colder, they adjusted their bedding for warmth and protected their backyard sleeping quarters with a geodesic dome given to them by an architect friend.

While the Shortlidges don’t expect other folks to make a daily routine of sleeping outside, they do “hope to inspire others to enjoy what we enjoy so much,” says Terri.

The Great American Backyard Campout is about creating lasting memories by connecting with family and friends in the great outdoors,” says Karoline Hurd, NWF’s senior manager of events. “As soon as you register, you’ll gain access to creative camping activities, recipes and crafts to make your camp out unforgettable.”