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Glamping Utilities - How to Power Your Rural Glampground

When people ask us how to start a glamping business in the US or Canada, questions about utilities are never far behind. The issue is, the answer to any question about utilities is so dependent on the individual property that it’s impossible to provide a universal answer. 

There are, however, some lessons we’ve learned while setting up both our own and our clients' glampgrounds over the years. We’ve faced a range of issues on projects that we’ve had to find creative solutions to. Today, we’re passing that knowledge on to you to help you get started on your glamping project.

What Do We Mean by Glamping Utilities?

When talking about utilities for a glampground, we mean:

  • Water
  • Electricity 
  • Drainage
  • Internet

As the most suitable land for glamping is generally found in rural areas, providing each of these services to a glampground can be challenging. If you’re lucky, your property will have some kind of water and electricity source, but even then it can be difficult and expensive to supply it to each of your glamping units. Those without any pre-existing utility sources face even greater issues. 

Thankfully, there are answers available if you get creative.

How Do You Ensure Your Glamping Units Are Connected to Utilities?

The best way to get answers specific to your site is by asking local companies what would be required to connect your glampground to utilities. But what happens if they say it’s not possible, or if they charge a ludicrous fee? That’s where creative solutions can be your saving grace. 

In this section, we’ll cover the traditional means of connecting to utilities, as well as some alternative options for when you’re on a budget or in a remote area.


If you have a water source on your site, it can be as simple as connecting that source to each glamping unit. If there’s no pre-existing water source, you may be able to create a new source by installing a well. This doesn’t work in every location, but it can be a good solution for those on a suitable location with large water needs. The downside of both of these options is that they can get incredibly expensive if your units are spread out and a long way from the main source.

The alternative is to place a water tank on each of your units, to be manually re-filled when required. This is labor-intensive, but it can reduce setup costs significantly. Just make sure to look into fire safety regulations to check if your site needs a certain type of water supply.


Again, the simplest solution for connecting each of your glamping units to electricity is to connect them to an existing power source. This has the same downsides as connecting to a water source, namely that it can get incredibly expensive. You may also need to upgrade the power source if supplying a large number of units.

If you’re a smaller site with fewer electrical needs, you may be able to use portable generators for each unit, rather than having one central power source. This drastically reduces costs, as you can pick these up for less than $1,000. These can be powered by solar (as seen in the video below) or diesel. The downside is that the supply isn’t as powerful as a traditional electricity supply, and it’s not usually a suitable solution if you have whole buildings that require energy. 

Electrical supplies aren’t just there to allow guests to charge their phones. If you want to operate year-round, you’ll want some kind of heating element. If you have some electrical supply but not enough to heat the units, you can supplement your supply with a gas tank or a wood-burning stove.


Drainage is code for getting rid of the nasty stuff. Nobody wants human waste lying around. For those with suitable properties, the easiest and cheapest way of dealing with drainage is by connecting all your bathrooms to a sewer network. This isn’t always possible in rural locations, however, so you’ll likely have to install a new drainage solution.

The most common solution for glampgrounds is to install a septic tank. This is a tank where waste flows to to be treated and discharged, generally into the ground. Another similar option is a wastewater treatment plan, which performs the same function but treats the waste to a greater degree, allowing it to be discharged into nearby rivers. Treatment plants are generally more expensive than septic tanks but require less maintenance. You’ll almost certainly need a permit to install either of these options.

The cheapest drainage solution is to use composting or incinerator toilets. These are low-cost options with minimal permitting requirements, but they may not align with the 5-star luxury experience you want to create.


As much as glamping is advertised as a chance to leave the hyper-connected world behind, let’s be real, most guests want internet access when they go glamping. This doesn’t mean off-grid sites will be left in the dust, as a “digital detox” glampground is actually a unique selling point. However, unless you’re willing to go down that niche route, you probably want to supply some kind of internet connection.

If your property has a phone line, it may be possible to extend a broadband connection to each unit. As you can probably imagine by this point, this won’t come cheap.

The next option would be to install a satellite receiver on your property. Here, you install a dish with a central hub and run cables to each of your units to create their own wifi network. We did this on one of our NC500 Pods sites when we were quoted an extortionate fee to connect our glamping pods to the broadband network. It’s worked brilliantly so far, although you’ll need to be careful if you’re in an area with strong winds and storms. The costs will also rise with the number of units you want to connect to and the distance they are from the receiver.

If you have no broadband and satellite internet isn’t suitable but there’s a 3G, 4G or 5G cellular network in your area, portable wifi may be the answer. For this, you’d just purchase a wireless “MiFi” router or a “Dongle”, which connects to the cellular network and gives you internet access. These are available to buy cheaply (less than $100), and you can pay for either a fixed or flexible tariff depending on your provider.

Finally, love him or hate him, Elon Musk may be able to help your glamping project through Starlink! This is SpaceX's satellite system that transmit signal and internet from space to remote areas. We've not tested it ourselves, but there's no reason why you can't try an internet package from Starlink to power your rural glampground.

How Much Do Glamping Utilities Cost to Install?

This is a question that’s impossible to give a general answer to. Glamping utility installation costs are completely dependent on the location, layout and existing facilities of an individual property.

What we can say is that routing water, electric, drainage and internet to each glamping unit from central sources will be the most powerful solution. You’ll probably need to do this if you’re looking at developing a large resort, or if you want to be truly high-end. The downside is that it’s the most expensive solution, as Kevin Rains of Dappled Light Adventures can attest to below. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars, to potentially millions of dollars, if your units are spaced out.

At the other end of the spectrum is the cheapest possible route. We’re talking water tanks, portable generators, composting toilets and portable Wi-Fi. If this is the difference between being able to afford to start a glamping business and not, then it’s a no-brainer. But just know that you’ll be limited in what you can charge per night, and that your city/county/municipality may have specific rules that stop you from going down this route.

Looking to Start a Glamping Business?

Glaampitect are the global glamping experts, having set up more than 20 glampgrounds for our clients. We guide you through the whole process of starting a glamping business, including finding a property, checking your zoning, acquiring your permits, recommending suppliers and writing business plans.

You can start your glamping journey by booking a free glamping coaching call below.

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