Updated: Jun 26, 2020

I am a girly, city-girl from California who recently moved to Arkansas, so it’s not unsurprising that I have not done a lot of camping. However, on a college budget, if I want to take a trip with a group of friends, I probably can’t afford to stay in a fancy hotel. But that doesn’t mean I have to just sweat it out in a boring tent, while I’m covered in mosquito bites, eating charred hot dogs. Thankfully, a new generation of campers have introduced the world of “glamping.” And for those of you who, like me, love cute DIYs and an excuse to shop, a glamping trip may be the perfect summer weekend away.

If you’re tight on money and don’t want to buy camping supplies new, Goodwill has got your back. Any Goodwill in Arkansas should have campfire grates, kitchen utensils, hiking boots, fans, canteens, and whatever else you might need all for under $5. For the items you can’t find in stores, the online Goodwill shop has the rest. And when you’re done picking up what you need to cook and live for a few days in the middle of the woods, you can get to accessorizing.

Glam-up your camping experience by finding some twinkling lights that are battery-run to light up your camp space. String the lights along the top of your tent for a helpful night light. Add some glitz to your plain site with these sparkling fairy lights plus a festive rug (for a few dollars!), and your campsite will already start to look a little more glam.

What really makes your experience glamping, not camping, is how you sleep. Instead of roughing it with just a sleeping bag, opt for a mattress (blow up or padded can both be found at Goodwill) or sleeping pad. Then, throw in a soft bohemian blanket (like the $4 one I found that is knitted with tassels) and some statement pillows, and your bed will become the focal point of your campsite.

For my camping excursion to one of Arkansas’ state parks, I’m renting some collapsible chairs from my college, but if you’re no longer in school, Goodwill can give you a similarly thrifty deal on some comfy seats. And if you’re not borrowing the chairs, you can glam them up by covering the chairs with a fabric of your choice. At the Bryant store, I found the perfect chair (for a few dollars) for a ladies camping weekend. Add a fuzzy pillow to any chair for added comfort while lounging by day or stargazing at night. I was able to find a fuzzy blue pillow for $3 that would add a little coziness to any space.

And while you’re at Goodwill, be sure to hunt for the perfect outfits for your weekend. Instead of spending a fortune on some boots and shorts that are just going to get dirty anyway, shop Goodwill for deals that are guilt-free. Add a cute oversized flannel to tie around your waist when it’s hot or wear it as a jacket for those cold nights (I do this year-round, and trust me—it’s an essential!). At my local Goodwill I fell I love with a mini faux leather backpack perfect for carrying around snacks and sunscreen for a day of hiking.

I know luxurious camping may seem like an oxymoron, but I promise, with the right supplies, you’ll be wishing you could go glamping every weekend.


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