4 Easy Camping Structures to Build for Under $500

Looking to take your outdoor space to the next level? There’s nothing quite like a cozy cabin or yurt to entice glampers into a weekend getaway at your place. If you’re interested in hosting campers and glampers on your land, you should start a listing with Hipcamp (it’s free to make one!)

Here’s our short and sweet guide to four simple camping structures you can build yourself (yes you!) for under $500.

Photo by Lisse L. at Sundog Natural Building School, California.

1. Cob House — $400 to $500

A what you ask? Cob houses are a great option for campsites in warmer climates. Made out of organic materials and soil, cob houses do better in warm places where insulation isn’t a problem; but will guaranteed give your space that extra special something. Another great thing about cob houses? No two are alike. Let your creativity run wild by adding in a few funky colored windows. Since these structures tend to be made of almost entirely natural and recycled materials, they are beyond a doubt one of the nicest (and cheapest) additions you can make to your property.


Photo by Julie W. at Stargazer Yurt at Luna Vista Ranch, California.

2. Yurt — $400 to 500

Ah the yurt. Another awesome (and portable!) structure you can build yourself to upgrade up a campsite. Although yurts have become a major trend in the past few years, you can still build one on the cheap. While some yurt designs are meant to live permanently on your property, others can be as simple as a few pieces of wood and canvas, and still others can be made entirely from recycled materials. As with any structure, the inside is just as important as the outside, so don’t forget to outfit yours with a soft rug and a few pillows to complete the look.


Photo by Nic C. at Camp Nauvoo, California.

3. Tent Platforms — $100

If you’re looking for one the simplest and best ways to get guests excited to stay at your place, consider building a few tent platforms around your campsite. These simple structures add a homey touch for guests looking to pitch a tent, ensuring they’ll stay comfortable and dry no matter what the weather brings. Add a small roof overhead or build a deck off the main platform. Throw in a few garden chairs and a small table too— transforming their tent into the perfect outdoor living space.


Photo by Andrea W. at Rusty Can Ranch, CA.

4. Tiny Cabin — $300

We all fantasize about the perfect weekend spent in a log cabin. But for the non-lumberjacks among us looking to build one themselves, it’s really much simpler than you may imagine. Skip the tree-cutting and opt for a cabin made entirely from recycled materials, or if you have a bigger budget consider supporting your local lumber mill. Call them up with your dimensions (we like this 8’ by 8’ cabin, built for only $300) and save even more money by buying leftover wood from previous orders. Finally, don’t forget to scout local yard sales for affordable vintage furniture to complete your cozy cabin look.

Before you start your new project, don’t forget to check that your building plans are up to code. While every state and region has their own building codes, some locations are stricter than others about what can and cannot be legally built on your property. Generally speaking, small and simple structures (without utilities) won’t be a problem in rural areas, but it’s still a good idea to double check before you get started!

Whether you’ve got a structure or not, you should start hosting campers with Hipcamp (it’s free to make a listing!)

Larissa Runkle

Writer and climber, living on the road since 2018.

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