As a chic city girl who loves to tent camp, I have made several glamping upgrades over the years. Comfort and style matter a lot to me, but to a point. My wallet isn’t bottomless.
Here’s a list of my fave upgrades over the years that have truly taken my camping to glamping without breaking the bank.
1. Upgrade Your Camping Chair
Chairs aren’t just chairs when you spend as much time in it as you will camping. From relaxing around the campfire, to reading that great book, or putting your feet up after a long hike, you will find yourself sitting more than you may realize when camping.
Your camping chair can also double as an outdoor nap spot!
That why an easy glamping upgrade to your camping trip is an upgraded chair!
When selecting a comfortable chair, think of the ways you’ll use it and look for one that won’t hurt your back, booty, or hips with regular use. Simple upgrades can also include a side table, cup holders your drink will fit in, or a head rest.
Like most campers, we started with traditional folding chairs. It did not take long before we realized the chairs caused our hips to roll and shoulders to fall forward leading to back discomfort after regular use. It didn’t help that our waterbottles didn’t fit in the cupholders either.
Camp Chair Brands and Retailers
After years of trying a variety of chairs, my favorite chair is the Directors Chair. The base provides stronger support for my hips and back, and the pockets and side table have an added practical element I’ve grown to adore.
Alan likes to slouch and nap in his chair. His favorite is the High Back Chair . Rawlings makes a standard high back chair and a variety of lines with your favorite sports team logo to help with your personalization.
Zero Gravity Chairs
Our first luxury chair upgrade was to zero gravity chairs. The ability to put our feet up after a good hike was so luxurious. We struggled getting both zero gravity chairs into our smaller vehicle and had to stop bringing them along due to vehicle capacity issues.
If you have the packing space, explore Zero-gravity chairs. They are strong, and so comfortable after a long hike. Zero gravity chairs come in a variety of fabric types and sizes to ensure you get the perfect one for you.
Invest in a pad for the your zero gravity chair for extra luxury. The mesh on most chairs is breathable, which is perfect for summer days, but come fall or cooler nights, that padding will help with temperature control as much as bring added comfort.
2. Ambiance String Lighting
Who says the campfire is the only ambiance lighting you get? String lights are a great low cost way to add some romance and fun to your glamping space. They also provide great atmosphere for those hot summer nights where a campfire is too much heat.
Today, you can find string lights that are electric, battery powered, or solar. You will also have a variety of lighting temperatures, brightness and weight.
String Lighting Brands and Retailers
We love our waterproof string lights by Revel Gear and have used them on tents, trees, and even our balcony at home. They have 8 brightness levels and various blinking settings.
For a great indoor option, try the Big Agnes string lights. The Big Agnes MtnGLO Camp Tent Lights were my first love in string lights. They are light, easy to use, and come with a power source. They come with preinstalled, movable clips for easy set up.
I hang them over my bed in the tent and leave the switch next to my pillow for easy access form my sleeping bag.
3. Comfortable Bedding
Cozy sleeping is important no matter where I’m sleeping, and who says you need to use a sleeping bag when camping?
Solution: Bring your own bedding! What do you like sleeping in at home? Bring it! You can always wash your bedding after a camping trip.
Comfy Bedding Brand and Retailers
Cuddl Duds is my favorite camping brand. Cuddle Duds are designed to be comfortable and budget friendly. We have a Cuddl Duds twin sized flannel sheet set for year round camping use, and add a Cuddl Dud queen sized plush blanket for cooler nights.
If you’re low on car space for your comfy bedding and pillows, use a Granite Gear compression sack to save space.
Budget advice: Wait for off season clearances on bedding. Flannel sheet sets go on sale come spring and summer, and light bedding is on sale in the winter.
4. Instant Up Tent
I want to get my camping adventure going ASAP and relax. I want my tent to feel like a luxury cabin more than a fabric cave I need to crawl into. I also don’t want to have to spend 20-40 minutes setting up my lodging, especially if its cold or raining.
The solution: Instant up tent! Instant up tents are amazing and a true game changer for the budget glamper or car camper looking to up their tent game. Instant up tents will cut your set up time by 90% while increasing the overall luxury of your camping experience.
Instant up tents go up in under 2 minutes with two people (5 minutes if setting up solo), are super roomy, and there are no tent poles or fabric loops to deal with. Simply, remove the tent from the bag, unfold, and extend the poles. Done!
Instant up tents are often more affordable than both traditional dome tents, and traditional glamping tents which is great for every budget. You can get an instant up tent from around $170-$300 depending on the space and layout.
Instant Up Tent Retailers and Brands
5. Tent Lighting
Flashlights prevent you from using both your hands, and headlamps may be uncomfortable and awkward for others, not to mention, pricey. The solution: Eteck LED Lanterns.
A budget-friendly gem we found our first camping season was the Eteckcity LED Latern. These lanterns provide bright lighting, are lightweight, easy to use, and weather resistant.
These lanterns come with easy to use handles that are great for hanging on your tent or nearby branches and are light weight for easy carrying. They also have a steady base and bright lights for hands-free use.
Eteck makes these lanterns so user friendly that they come with batteries and you can get 4 for under $30 on Amazon.
We’ve been using the Eteck LED lanterns for over 4 years now. While we have expanded our lighting options over the years, these are a reliable budget-friendly staple we recommend to everyone.
6. Canvas Cot
I do not recommend an air mattress for glamping or comfort camping. They look nice in photos, but are a disaster in practice.
Air mattresses do not hold their shape as the outdoor temps and moisture levels change throughout the night. What looks like a nice sleep space at bedtime becomes a wobbly sinking abyss by morning.
A quicker and more stable solution is to sleep on a canvas cot; however, not all cots are equal.
Canvas cots provide more stability, comfort, and are built to last longer than folding cots. The result, is more comfort and value for your money and a budget friendly glamping must-have.
Canvas cots give you an even sleeping surface and the material has some give to adjust to you while you sleep. You will have a better night’s sleep on a canvas cot than a folding cot. You won’t sleep well on an air mattress.
7. Heavy-Duty Tarp for Tent Flooring
Heavy-duty tarps are perfect for budget glamping because you get a lot more comfort for the price. A heavy-duty tarp will cushion and comfort your bare feet while preserving your tent’s floor. It’s a win-win!
Heavy-duty tarps are under $20, are lightweight and easy to pack, and they are waterproof.
If you find yourself in a heavy rain that soaks through your tent’s base you and your gear will be protected by the heavy-duty tarp between your tent’s floor and you.
Heavy Duty Tarp Brands and Retailers
Do spring for the extra $3-5 to get a heavy-duty tarp and not a standard tarp. The added thickness is what adds comfort and protection for your feet. It is comfort you’re looking after all. Standard tarps don’t add any cushion.