Glamping Structure Types

Glamping structures overview

One of the reasons glamping is so sought after is the diversity and uniqueness of the structures available. However, when approaching glamping from a business perspective, the volume of possible options can become overwhelming. 

Glamping Advisors has broken down glamping structures into what we consider to be the 12 most common types. Below, we outline some of the characteristics of each structure type and answer some of the most common questions that people have about each possible glamping structure. 

Table of Contents

What is the best glamping structure?

The “best” glamping structure is really a matter of what you are looking for. Each structure has positives and negatives, as well as most having the option to customize parts to suit your needs. To help you start your search for the best glamping structure for your business, below is an overview of:

  • What the glamping structure is
  • What the glamping structure is made of 
  • How much the structure generally cost
  • How big the structures usually are


To get more detailed advice for your specific project, get in touch with one of our advisors today. If you’re looking to just dip your toes in, we have also just released the Glapming Structures 2021 report which can be purchased here. 

Bell Tents

An example of a glamping bell tent

What is a bell tent?

A bell tent is made up of a single central pole supporting sloping canvas walls and guy lines pulling its circular structure taut. While early bell tents imitated native-American tipis, those that we see at glampsites today typically have a walled base (a material “tub”), a doorway, and no ventilation for smoke.

Bell tents have a history stretching back almost 1500 years, and what we see today is just one of numerous iterations that have been used by everyone from explorers to cavalry.

What are bell tents made of?

Bell tents are traditionally made of cotton canvas, but there are an increasing number of man-made fibres now also being used. These are normally polyester or polyester blend, but nylon can also be used.

How much do bell tents cost?

Bell tents range in cost depending on the size, but can be purchased for as little as a few hundred euros. This relatively low cost of entry is what makes bell tents a popular choice for glamping site operators.

How big are bell tents?

Bell tents vary in size, typically starting at 3 meters in diameter. This size might be appropriate for two people. However, many site owners will opt for a larger bell tent – such as 5-meter options – in order to provide a more luxurious stay.

What is your perfect glamping structure?

Get in touch with Glamping Advisors for a free consultation today.

Safari Tents

An example of a safari tent (aka a wall tent) used for glamping

What is a safari tent?

A safari tent is traditionally a wood and canvas structure, with four vertical walls of material topped by a steepled roof – hence the more general name “wall tent”. These walls have the practical advantage of giving more headroom and are thus ideal for more glamorous outdoor stays.

Safari tents – as opposed to other types of wall tents – are named for their use on African safari’s starting in the 1800’s all the way up to present day. Their use is now widespread around the world and they have become an extremely popular glamping option.

What are safari tents made of?

Traditionally, safari tents are made of canvas. However, as camping technology has moved on, so have wall tents, so they can now commonly be found made of:

  • Army Duck — a tightly-woven cotton canvas.
  • Polyester – often lighter, and less likely to suffer rot and mildew than traditional canvas, this is a popular modern choice. However, there are a number of drawbacks from the breathability of the fabric to the sustainability of its lifecycle.
  • Blends – many safari tents might have a blend of cotton and synthetic material.

The structure (i.e. beams and flooring) are often wood, but we are starting to see alternatives coming in such as bamboo.

How much do safari tents cost?

The price of a safari tent ranges massively depending on a number of factors such as size, material, quantity purchased, build quality and setup location. For a mid-sized safari tent of good quality, you can expect to pay upwards of 10,000EUR.

How big are safari tents?

Safari tents range in size from a few square meters to over a hundred square meters. The size of your particular safari tent will depend on your needs. For example, a tent which would be appropriate for two guests with a sleeping area, kitchen, bathroom, dining area, and terrace might have a total area of around 30m2. Of which a third would be an external terrace.

Tipi (tepee or teepee)

An example of a modern tipi used for glamping

What is a Tipi?

A tipi is the traditional tent of Native Americans. Originally made from animal skins wrapped in a large cone shape around wooden poles, today tipis are more frequently made from cotton canvas. It is distinguished from other conical tents (such as early bell tents) by the ventilation flap at the top, originally for smoke.

What are tipis made of?

The tipis common in glamping are made of cotton canvas, man-made synthetics such as polyester and nylon, or a blend of materials. The actual structural parts of the tipi (the poles) are still commonly made of striped wood in single, whole logs. This can of course make for troublesome transport, but also spectacular-looking structures.

How much do tipis cost?

Tipis tend to be more expensive than bell tents but cheaper than the often more substantial safari tents. A small unit (of 6 or 7 meters in diameter) designed for glamping, for example, can be purchased for around 7000EUR, whereas larger tipis for events can run into the tens of thousands.

How big are tipis?

Tipis range from a few meters in diameter, designed for sleeping, up to those big enough to accommodate seated parties (10m2+). What sets tipis apart from other tents in glamping sites is that they are frequently so large as to act as shared or communal space rather than bedrooms.

This means that they can make a perfect additional structure for services such as a bar at sites where bell tents or safari tents are used for sleeping, for example.

Looking for more information about glamping structures?

Check out our full Glamping Structures Guide for 2021!


An example of a modern yurt used for glamping

What is a yurt?

A yurt is a round tent consisting of a latticework of wood or bamboo covered in material. Traditionally this would have been pelts or felt, but as with other tents, many modern yurts use cotton canvas or synthetic fibres such as polyester in place of these more traditional coverings.

Yurts have been used by nomadic groups in Central Asia for several thousand years and are most frequently associated with Mongolia. They are still used by many people for primary housing, which is testament to the quality of the yurt design.

What are yurts made of?

Yurts are traditionally made of wood or bamboo with skins and felt, but more recently utilize a whole host of other materials. Yurts used for glamping can include:

  • Canvas
  • Steam-bent wooden frames
  • Metal frames
  • Tarpaulin
  • Plexiglass domes

and more.

How much do yurts cost?

Yurts can easily run into tens of thousands of euros. Unlike smaller bell tents, yurts are designed as homes and are often installed as a more permanent – and less seasonal – structure.

How big are yurts?

Traditional yurts are around 3 or 4 meters in diameter, but the more permanent modern yurts that are often found as glamping accommodation can easily reach 10 meters or more in diameter. This is in part to allow for the amenities that may need to be part of a standalone hospitality unit. More important, however, is the fact that modern yurts are not moved around as traditional nomadic yurts would be.


An example of a glamping dome

What is a glamping dome?

A glamping dome, or to call it by its proper name, a geodesic dome, is a hemispherical structure made up of rigid triangular elements (the frame) covered in a thin shell. This shell could be any number of things, from canvas to cork.

Domes were popularised in the United States during the 1950s thanks to their strength, stability, minimal surface area, and aesthetic appeal. The same holds true today, with domes proving a popular unit type amongst glamping operators as well as guests.

What are glamping domes made of?

The triangular frame of a geodesic dome is most often made of metal (commonly steel) but can also be constructed from wood or other materials. This frame is then wrapped in a membrane, commonly of coloured or translucent PVC but with many other options available.

How much do glamping domes cost?

Like many other glamping units, domes vary in price depending on factors such as size, materials, insulations, and accessories. That said, you can expect to pay around 5000EUR for a basic dome and 20,000EUR+ for more glamorous structures or ones made of more interesting materials.

How big are glamping domes?

For a dome suitable for glamping, the size can start from around 5 meters in diameter and up. The size for a project will largely depend on space, budget, vision, etc. One of the major factors in deciding the size of a dome will be whether amenities such as a kitchen and bathroom are within the dome itself or separate. The full footprint of a dome can also be expanded through the use of terraces.

Want to start your own glamping business?

Get in touch with Glamping Advisors for a free consultation today.

Shepherd’s Huts

An example of a shepherd's hut used for glamping

What is a shepherd’s hut?

A shepherd’s hut is a small shelter with a corrugated roof and metal wheels. Used by farmers for the better part of 500 years, especially, as the name would suggest, by shepherds tending a moving flock, they have since become very popular for glamping.

While original shepherd’s huts would have been warm but spartan, modern huts designed for tourism frequently have all the mod cons associated with a tiny home or RV (see below). They are particularly associated with the United Kingdom.

What are shepherd’s huts made of?

Shepherd’s huts are made predominantly of wood, with timber frames and walls atop a metal chassis and wheels. The roof is traditionally made of corrugated iron, which is also sometimes used to construct the walls.

How much do shepherd’s huts cost?

A shepherd’s hut for glamping will start at around 6000 EUR for a basic model, but they can easily go into the tens of thousands for larger or more luxurious models. There is also the option of getting a shepherd’s hut custom-built, which will affect the price.

How big are shepherd’s huts?

Shepard’s huts for glamping range in size depending on an operator’s needs, but tend to be better 3.5 and 6 meters long. That said, it is possible to get them all the way up to 9 meters or more and fewer than 3 meters.

Glamping Pods

And example of a glamping pod

What is a glamping pod?

A glamping pod is often described as a glamping tent built of solid materials – and this isn’t too far off. Glamping pods are normally small, wooden structures designed as a more comfortable (and more permanent) alternative to traditional camping.

That said, there are now many pods that are the size of larger suites, with amenities self-contained rather than shared with a wider site.

What are glamping pods made of?

Glamping pods are typically made of wood, metal and glass – like a hut or cabin but smaller. They can frequently be seen with sloping, shingled rooves, which give pods a distinct look as compared with tiny homes or other small, wooden glamping units.

How much do glamping pods cost?

Glamping pods range from as little as a few thousand euros all the way up to tens of thousands. This depends on construction materials, build quality, size, location and much more. A big draw of pods is that there are many “off the shelf” options which can make for a cheaper set up.

How big are glamping pods?

Glamping pods are typically between 5 and 12 meters long and 2 to 4 meters wide. However, this can vary, and the exact size very much depends on whether it is off the shelf or a bespoke design.

Not sure on the right glamping structure for you?

See our full Glamping Structures Guide for 2021 now!


An example of a treehouse used for glamping

What is a treehouse?

Treehouses in glamping are typically like huts, cabins and tiny homes, but in the trees. They can be structurally supported by an actual tree (or tress) but are frequently built on stilts so as to have a lofty feel whilst not relying on natural support.

What are treehouses made of?

Treehouses are most often made of wood, but there are some interesting designs appearing with sweeping glass windows and other building materials.

They will often be seen with natural-fibre ropes, walkways and other features that blend into the canopy environment. 

How much do treehouses cost?

Treehouses are one of the most expensive options for a glamping operation, often starting in the tens of thousands of euros and easily going into hundreds of thousands for more advanced, luxurious units.

For example, a relatively modest, rustic treehouse on stilts, which is situated around (but not supported by) a tree and a couple of meters of the ground will cost around 23,000EUR, excluding any licences, infrastructure, etc.

How big are treehouses?

Treehouses for glamping range from a few metres squared simply to sleep in to the size of an apartment with all the mod cons in the canopy with you. Unlike other glamping units, treehouses are generally bespoke and built according to the site – unless constructed entirely on stilts.

Tiny Houses

An example of a tiny home used for glamping

What is a tiny house?

A tiny house is exactly what is sounds like — a small dwelling. Often made of wood and mounted on a trailer, these small homes are part of the “Tiny house movement”, which advocates for simpler living with a smaller footprint.

Tiny houses are constructed very thoughtfully to include the necessities of a home in a much more condensed package. That said, the definition drifts according to who you talk to, with some examples being far more pared back than others.

What are tiny houses made of?

Tiny houses are most often made of a timber frame and walls topped with a metal roof. Like a regular house, the walls will often have insulation, wires and pipes run through them, but are more frequently wood than drywall (plasterboard). A metal trailer (the type that can be hitched to a car) acts as the foundation to ensure mobility.

How much does a tiny house cost?

The average cost of a tiny home is just shy of 20,000EUR according to a survey from 2015, but this can vary significantly, with tiny homes ranging from a little over 5000EUR to well over 100,000EUR.

How big are tiny houses?

A tiny house should be less than 37 square meters, with those built between 37 and 93 square meters being classified as “small houses”. That said, there are many tiny homes that are far less than this “cap”.

Wondering how to get started with Tiny Houses?

Get in touch with Glamping Advisors for a free consultation today.

Cabins / Huts

An example of a cabin or a hut used for glamping

What is a cabin/hut?

A cabin or hut is a small shelter made of wood in a remote or secluded area. The image of a cabin is iconic, harking back to examples like the writings of Walden, and is often what people associate with accommodation in nature. The design of cabins and huts varies from country to country, from panelled walls to stacked logs.

We are seeing an increasing number of very modern designs for glamping cabins and huts, which incorporate metal, glass and other materials into interesting and unique structures.

What are cabins and huts made of?

Cabins and huts are typically made of wood, with the exact type often depending on the area in which it is constructed. Due to their secluded locations, cabins are often built in situ from local resources, which gives them a rooted and unique look.

As mentioned above, there are some more modern cabins and huts that are breaking from tradition to include metal, glass, and other materials into new and unusual forms. Whether or not there are glamping at all is still up for debate.

How much do cabins and huts cost?

The cost of constructing a cabin depends on the location, the land, access to existing infrastructure, size and whether it is bespoke or off-the-shelf. A cabin doesn’t cost as much as you’d think, however, with small units starting at around 5000EUR.

However, for the type of luxury cabin that would really draw in a high-end glamping clientele, you should expect to pay considerably more than this.

How big are cabins and huts?

As with many glamping structures, the size of a cabin is up to the operator of a site. That said, they are typically single-story and range from a few metres squared and up.


An example of a caravan used for glamping

What is a caravan? What is an RV?

Caravans, campervans and RVs all fall into the same category of road-based units designed to live or holiday in. The biggest difference between them is that caravans are towed by another vehicle (such as your car) while RVs and Campervans are vehicles.

This is a very broad category since it can include everything from traditional horse-drawn bow top caravans used by the British Romanichal Travellers to the iconic American Airstream.

When it comes to glamping, caravans are more likely to be used then campervans and RVs since the latter is inherently meant to move. That said, there are interesting sites cropping up making use of all manner of structures.

What are caravans made of? What are RVs made of?

As mentioned above, this mainly depends on the type. Traditional caravans such as the bow top are made of planked wood and are highly decorative.

Modern caravans, campervans and RVs are more commonly made of wood (such as plywood), fibreglass or sheet aluminium along with insulation, plastic, etc., for the fittings, fixtures and various other components. This is not including the actual vehicle, which is of course made of metal, etc.

How much do caravans cost? How much do RVS cost?

Basic, vintage caravans for renovation can cost a few thousand euros. Airstreams, on the other hand, can easily be upwards of 50,000EUR. Similarly, RVs vary massively, from simple converted vans that cost a few thousand up to new American RV coaches that start at more than half a million euros.

How big are caravans? How big are RVs?

The most common sizes for a caravan are between 3.3 and 7.3 metres long, while the most common size of an RV is about 10 metres long. As with everything else, this can vary dramatically with the type of caravan or RV a person is looking for.


An example of an alternative glamping structure. In this case, an aeroplane.

What other glamping structures are there?

In addition to these unit types, glamping also encompasses a whole array of creative and unique places to stay – this is what separates it from many other types of hospitality. These “units” can range from the fuselage of a plane or the carriage of a train, to hobbit holes and glass eyes.

To find out more about glamping structures or get personalised advice on how to start, run and succussed with your glamping project, contact one of our Advisors today.

Get tailored advice on glamping structures today:

Get in touch with Glamping Advisors for a free consultation.
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