Glamping is great for experiencing a bit of nature, while also having the amenities you would usually find in an Airbnb apartment. However, those amenities often don’t come cheap, with many glamping destinations charging the equivalent of an upmarket hotel for a night’s stay.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that people are turning to DIY glamping on a budget, to get a similar experience but for a much lower price tag.
And the good news is it doesn’t take too much planning or that much extra work to deck out a regular tent and upscale your trip from camping to DIY glamping.
To help you with your DIY glamping ideas we’ve put together this guide with our top 12 glamping hacks. Enjoy!
1. Pick the Right DIY Glamping Tent
If you’re buying a DIY glamping tent for the experience, then you’ll want to make sure you get the right type. Look for one that’s large enough to stand up in and that has a single large central space, rather than being divided into several rooms. Plastic windows are also great for watching sunrises in bed during the mornings.
2. Leave the Sleeping Bags at Home
Sleeping bags and foam mats are for trekking expeditions, not for DIY glamping. Instead, bring an airbed that will comfortably fit you and your partner. Lay a fitted bed sheet over the top, and bring your own comforter and pillows, so you’re nice and warm and have a bit of familiarity when out in nature.
3. Bring Proper Cutlery and Crockery
A plastic spork and metal mess tin will definitely kill the vibe, so bring your own plates, bowls, and cutlery from home. And think about the other kitchen utensils that will help make your trip a bit more comfortable, such as a frying pan and chopping board.
4. Repurpose a Picnic Blanket for a Rug
Nothing brings a room together quite like a rug. But while you’re not going to want to haul a rolled up piece of carpet with you, a lightweight picnic blanket will work just as well. As well as giving the inside of your tent a more cozy atmosphere, it’ll also insulate you from the cold floor.
5. Brighten Up with Battery Powered Fairy Lights
Lighting is one of the big differences between camping and DIY glamping. You don’t want the harsh white light of a flashlight when trying to relax in the evening. A great solution to this is using battery-powered LED fairy lights. You can easily string these up on the inside of your DIY glamping tent and one set of batteries should comfortably last the night.
6. Throw Some Cushions Around
Soft furnishings can really elevate a space from spartan to luxurious. Take a few cushions from home that you can place around the tent to give the space a much more homey feel.
7. Turn a Suitcase or Packing Box into a Side Table
Lift some of your gear off the cold floor by turning a suitcase or packing box you brought with you into a side table. Bring a vintage tablecloth to throw over the top, to complement the picnic blanket rug and cushions.
8. Bring Great Coffee
Forget about instant coffee drank from a washed-out can, a great day starts with great coffee, whether you’re at home, in a hotel, or DIY glamping. So not only bring premium coffee, but also pack your favorite coffee brewing accessory, be that a french press, pour-over drip, or percolator.
9. Repurpose a Glass Bottle into a Vase
Repurpose a drink bottle or food jar into a vase, to bring a bit of the outside into the inside of the tent. Pick some flowers around the campsite and make a nice arrangement. Just make sure you don’t pick any endangered wildflowers, so check with the campsite staff first.
10. Clean Out Some Food Jars for Wine Glasses
Carrying on with the repurposing theme, bring some empty washed out food jars to use as wine (or other drink) glasses. These are much sturdier than drinking glasses and the lids are perfect if you want to take an evening stroll and have a tipple without spilling anything on the way.
11. Cook Over a BBQ Fire Pit
A portable gas stove is fine for boiling water for your morning coffee, but for your evening meal, you want something a bit more extravagant. A portable cast iron BBQ fire pit will do the job nicely. Bring this along with a bag of charcoal to cook up a flame-grilled treat will also staying nice and warm next to the fire.
12. Create an Outside Chill Out Space
If you’re cooking over a BBQ fire pit, then you’ll need to create some space around this for relaxing while cooking and eating. Bring a waterproof picnic blanket for the ground, another blanket for warmth as well as some cushions to create a relaxing space.
Where Should You Go for DIY Glamping?
DIY glamping is of course done via road travel (as opposed to air travel with some other glamping destinations), so make a list of destinations that are within a reasonable drive from home.
Most states have great websites that will allow you to research and book State Park campsites. For camping at National Parks or other federal campgrounds, recreation.gov is an incredible resource for getting inspired and planning your trip.
Or if you’re feeling adventurous and want to get off the beaten path, you can always seek out boondocking sites on federal BLM land or National Forest land. Just remember all the DIY glamping ideas so you don’t forget to bring anything essential.