Turn Your Room Into the Great Indoors

All the fun of camping without even leaving the house.

A city kid since birth, I've learned to be more and more outdoorsy thanks to an annual weeklong camping trip that became a part of my life a few years ago. But after these yearly excursions are over, I'm left wondering: what the hell am I supposed to do for the next 51 weeks?

Improvise, that's what.

The other night, to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday, I tried an experiment: camping indoors. And we had a blast. Now, if an absurd adult take on fort-building doesn't sound up your alley, please feel free to move along. But if you like the thought of simulating the wonders of the great outdoors while still getting to laze about in the comfort of your heated home, here's everything you'll need to have the most transportive experience possible.

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A Starry Sky

One of the highlights of camping for me is getting to spend hours staring at something I never see at home in New York City: a starry sky. But the weather is always a variable, so you can never be sure you won't end up sleeping under a cloud cover.

At home? No such risk. There are a number of small projectors on the market that can instantly turn your blank ceiling into a star-filled night sky.

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You can use an app for an iPhone or iPad.

Skyguide, $3, Apple's App Store.

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Or go all in with the help of a projector.

Homestar, $150, segatoys.space.

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A Comfortable Campsite

One thing you can control at home much better than you can in the wild is your comfort level. Now, lying in bed is a cop-out—we are trying to simulate camping, after all—but you can make your at-home campsite cozy with a plush sleeping bag, an extra blanket, and, for maximum enjoyment, the right sleeping pad.

Flannel-Lined Camp Sleeping Bag, $90, llbean.com.

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Down Puffy Blanket by Rumpl, $199, rei.com.

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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite SV Sleeping Pad, $180, rei.com.

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The Proper Soundtrack

In this situation, you can always loop a playlist of nature sounds, but I find it a bit more fun to go with sweeping, epic, cinematic music.

For soothing nostalgia: "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Original Soundtrack)," $10, amazon.com.

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For a bit of a fright: "It Follows (Original Soundtrack)," $5,  music.disasterpeace.com.

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And you'll need a good mobile speaker.

SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker, $180, bose.com.

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Or, if you really feel like being ambitious, you can put a portable turntable to use. (Yes, of course you could just use your regular stereo—but let's keep the dream of stylish camping alive here, people!)

Portable Battery Powered Turntable by Numark, $79, americanmusical.com.

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