Post Summary: Glamp my camp? Yes, please! How to do a DIY glamping tent at home or at a campsite.
I am a total unabashed fan of fancy camping, or as it’s more commonly called glamping. Yes, I am more than capable of roughing it, but I also love the novelty of setting up a luxury outdoor setup somewhere gloriously beautiful.
We were supposed to go on a fun two-night kid-free getaway to do some luxury camping, but when that fell through, we thought….why not make our own DIY glamping tent in the backyard?
So for our son’s 4th birthday, we decided to figure out how to make a glamping tent so we could camp out in the backyard.
And then, because we love a challenge and design (have you seen our 1979 camper remodel?), we thought, let’s see what kind of glamping setup we can do for $100.
One caveat though, we already own a tent and sleeping equipment. If you don’t own those two things, it will definitely cost you more than $100. We have an outdoor lifestyle, so we were able to keep costs low since we already owned camping supplies. The good thing is, once you invest in your glamping materials, you can use them over and over and glamp your heart out wherever you want.
I’m going to show you what we did to turn camping into glamping and how to glamp on a budget.
This post is perfect for anyone who wants:
- To glamp in style at an actual campsite
- To learn how to glamp in your own backyard
- Tent glamping ideas and inspiration
*This DIY glamping tent post may contain affiliate links, which means we might earn a small commission if you purchase from them. This is at no extra cost to you! We only recommend products and services we truly think are helpful.
OUR GLAMPING SETUP
Here’s a look at our DIY glamping setup and what we were able to accomplish. We wanted everything to be able to travel lightly with us so we could set up the same configuration whether we were car camping in Arches National Park or a local campground.
HOW TO DO A DIY GLAMPING TENT
Let’s go through all the layers of what it takes to have a glamping setup that rivals the likes of a luxury glamping experience.
1. A BIG TENT
The first thing you’ll need is a tent that feels spacious and cozy. Typical glamping tents are done with canvas bell tents. Unfortunately, they cost a pretty penny, so it’s a silly thing to buy if you don’t plan to set it up and use it A LOT. If you’re curious, you can check out this highly rated one on Amazon. But if you’ve got money to burn, they are the perfect dreamy addition to backyard glamping.
We use the Coleman Octagon 98 Rainfly Tent. It’s a big camping tent that can fit up to eight people. I think it’s the perfect tent for glamping at a campsite because it packs up into a wheeled carrying case that can fit easily in a trunk. Its highest point is 6’10” so you can stand up (crouching around inside your tent is NOT glamping), has room dividers (perfect for families), and my personal favorite, it has a rigid door that can swing open. If you’ve never dealt with zipping and unzipping a floppy tent door, then you don’t know how luxurious it feels to open up a door in a tent!
Those kinds of small details are what elevate you from camp to glamp. I also like that you can zip down sections to make windows if you want an open breezy feel to your tent, or you can close them up if you want privacy.
Other great tents for glamping are:
If you’re buying a new tent, don’t forget to think about real-world applications. We chose a tent that could still go camping with us. You could opt to buy a mega tent like this four-room tent, but don’t forget campsites can be small and might not fit a mansion tent. It’s wonderful if it’s just for your backyard, but it won’t fly in a National Park. Find the happy medium.
2. A COZY BED
Creating a cozy bed is the KEY to going from camping to glamping. Most people suggest an air mattress as a step up from a sleeping bag. I have firm opinions on air mattresses, and to get right to the point…I despise them. You can not convince me that an air mattress is comfortable! No matter how much pillow top – gel foam-down feather-organic cotton the product claims to have. Not to mention, air mattresses have no insulation, and you’ll end up freezing in your beautifully appointed glamping tent. And then, if you’re sleeping with someone else on the air mattress, every time they move, you get bounced around the thing. To further my diatribe against air mattresses, I’ve tried them on 3 separate occasions. I’ve given the darn things three chances. Never again!
Instead, we use two self-inflating XXL Therm A Rest Camping Pads. We love them! They’re insulated, so you won’t freeze your butt off if you’re camping in a high elevation site and the weather drops down to 25 degrees. How do I know? For two weeks, we slept on them when the weather was 18 degrees at night. They were warm, cozy, and we had zero body aches in the morning!
Put two side by side, and you have a queen bed. If you want to go even more cozy ( but honestly, you don’t have to with a Therma A Rest because they are that amazing), you can add a down mattress topper that sits on top of your pads.
Next, you’ll want to bring nice bedding. You can bring a sleeping bag, but there’s no rule saying that camping means you have to use a sleeping bag. Bring one if you have it, but you can also use regular sheets, blankets, and comforters from home. We have sleeping bags already, so for our glamping setup, we used our Kelty Galactic Down Sleeping Bags. They’re amazing for any cool-weather camping. There’s also the Kelty Doublewide sleeping bag that is perfect for couples who will take their glamping on the road.
Regardless of what you use for sheets, you’ll want to add a beautiful blanket to layer over the top of your bed. We used our beloved Pendleton Sherpa Fleece Blanket to cozy up the space. The one we use is no longer available to buy, but you can look through other amazing blankets from Pendleton.
Also, just say no to tiny camping pillows that are meant for backpackers. Bring your pillows from home! I use a contour memory foam cooling pillow and I’ve never looked back.
3. DREAMY LIGHTING
Lighting is key to having a DIY glamping tent that feels high-end, but isn’t. We use LED camping lanterns on the side of our bed and LED flickering candles for extra ambiance. Real candles may be fragrant and more authentic, but it’s a serious fire hazard in a tent, so I would opt for worry-free battery-operated candles. You would be amazed at how real they look at night. Also, if you have kids it’s a no-brainer.
I like our camping lanterns, but there are other cute lanterns that can create the aesthetic that’s right for you. I LOVE this vintage-looking camping lantern that is also a power bank. So useful!
We also added solar-powered cafe lights to the outside area. A small touch that adds magic and wonder to the area. Lastly, you can add battery-operated fairy lights to the inside of your tent for a dreamy inside.
4. HOMEY SET UP
When doing DIY glamping, you’ll want to create homey spaces inside and outside the tent for sitting, reading, lounging, and eating. We placed two side tables from iClimb to create a frame for the bed. Not to mention the usefulness of having side tables! The ones we used are specifically for camping and fold into a lightweight bag making it perfect for easy transport. We like the natural wood tables, but they come in a variety of other colors.
If you have enough room in your tent for a portable dining table, you can set up a lightweight aluminum folding table and cover it with a pretty material. We used rugs we already owned for a layered, bohemian look. You can also use these Turkish towels from Denmex. I love Turkish towels because they can be used in many ways: as a towel, a picnic blanket, a throw, or a shawl. They aren’t the typical terry cloth feeling, but they’re soft, fold up small, and absorb more than regular towels. They’re the perfect multi-use item for glamping.
For us, we put our seating set right outside the tent. A nice touch is to add a recycled plastic outdoor rug that the chairs and table can sit on top of.
The final touch is a hammock or swing chair that you can tie-up between two trees. We use the Wise Owl Double Hammock so the entire family can pile up and swing together. You can also get individual sizes and kid sizes.
Here is where you can really add some lush detail to your DIY glamping tent. We kept our decor really simple since the idea was to have something that could be transported to a campsite. For our decor, we stuck to rugs, wildflowers, macrame plant holders, and a DIY chandelier.
To make our DIY chandelier we bought a 1000 piece pack of natural wooden beads and a spool of blue jute twine. We bent up an old wire hanger for the round center and strung the beads up with the blue twine. We positioned our battery-powered camping light bulb inside and hung it all from a gold circular carabiner.
We already had macrame and plants from our camper, so we added them for our backyard glamping, but we probably wouldn’t bring that with us to a campsite if were car camping.
To bring even more vitality to the tent, we picked some wildflowers from our yard and put them in our copper camping cups from United by Blue. It’s a small touch that you could do at a campsite. That being said, it is illegal in all National Parks to pick flowers and not recommended to pick flowers from public lands.
Lastly, we added a simple wooden wall decor with a picture of a tent and the words “simplify.” We picked that up in Austin Texas for $2 dollars and it travels with us wherever we go!
We have an entire post dedicated to glamping essentials that you can add to your DIY glamping tent setup. Things like cozy slippers and a solar power charger are the proverbial cherry on top of a lux glamping experience.
Check out our post on 25 glamping accessories to add to your luxury camping adventure.
6. EAT LIKE ROYALTY
If you take the time to set up your own glamping setup at home or camp, then eating well needs to be a priority. When we camp, we use a Coleman camping stove which absolutely gets the job done. It’s a great starter stove for anyone new to camping. But to be honest, it’s not fancy enough to be called a glamping stove. Do you know what is? The Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven. When we were camping in Yellowstone, the family next to us rolled up to their site and brought this baby out to make dinner.
All I could think was…they win. They win at glamping.
With an oven to make chocolate chip cookies in and a stovetop for omelets, you can’t beat it.
Also, because making S’mores are the ultimate camping activity, you can get a portable campfire from Radiate. It’s brilliant and perfect for anyone doing backyard glamping without a fire pit. Buy yourself some rotating marshmallow sticks (so much better than sticks…and safer!) and a S’mores kit and enjoy your ember-free, soot-free campfire.
DIY GLAMPING ON A BUDGET
Here’s a breakdown of what we spent. Like I said, we aimed to source everything from what we had already. Below is what we bought to complete our glamping setup.
- 2x Side Tables: $46
- Solar Power Cafe Lights: $21
- 2x Faux Sheepskin Rugs: $14
- Wooden Beads: $12
- Jute Twine: $7
GRAND TOTAL: $102
DIY GLAMPING TENT CHECKLIST
Here’s a quick recap of what we did to make a DIY glamping tent.
- Get a roomy tent that you can completely stand up in.
- Use your own sheets and blankets from home and buy comfortable sleeping pads that become the size of a queen-size bed.
- Use solar powered lighting and lanterns to create a dreamy ambiance.
- Set up cozy nooks and stations for reading, lazing, and eating.
- Decorate with small touches that pack a punch.
- Eat well.
- Laugh, drink, and enjoy yourself!
We had a lot of fun making our own DIY Glamping Tent! We hope you take our ideas on how to glamp your tent and create your own backyard memories. Or even take it on the road to a campsite! Comment below with any questions.
Pin It For Later