Today’s review is going to be an in-depth informational guide on how to make a camping tent from scratch. You might be wondering why anyone would want to do that when there are so many options available on the market that can be purchased with ease right. Well, as you progress on in our review you will soon figure out that there are multiple reasons for this. We will cover these and much more in the coming paragraphs.
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What is the purpose of a diy camping tent?
To begin with let’s start by figuring out why someone would need a tent in the first place. The main purpose of make your own camping tent is of course shelter. Shelter in the wild, in nature, and in unknown conditions where the temperature could change instantly and the sleeping conditions might not be ideal! The main components of a tent are a solid yet flexible structure usually made of plastic poles and a strong rugged and durable material similar to tarps.
This material is usually fitted with UV protected coating, is waterproof, and is resistant to rain and fast winds. The main reason you might require a camping tent is that you are on a recreational trip, are trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, or just want to explore the natural world on your terms.
Why would you want to make a camping tent from scratch?
Now, coming back to the main question we asked a minute back; why would anyone want to make their tent? Well, for starters, you will realize soon that if you truly want to get a lay of the land, be one with nature and venture forth into the unknown, then a camping tent will just be one of those things that weigh you down!
Sure tents are available in all forms and sizes and even prices! However, they can also be quite limiting. If you are traveling with your family, then you are most likely doing so in a car and that will make it easier to transport the camping kit. On the other hand, if you are trying to explore the natural world around you, then you might want to travel light.
If you’ve ever seen a nature documentary or an episode of Man vs. Wild, then you might want to try testing your survival skills out too. One of the best ways to put yourself through the test is to try and create a tent from scratch. Have you ever been in a situation where you and your friends were just trekking and had to turn back due to undesirable weather? Well, think of all the possibilities if you could quickly turn a tarp and some string into an impromptu shelter. Is there a better way to impress your friends?
Like we mentioned before, who doesn’t want to check how much of a survival instinct they have in them, and what better way to test your survival skills than by not being tied down to one camping ground. A makeshift camping tent will also enable you to move from place to place and you’ll have a truly freeing experience exploring around you. This will also let you know what you are truly made of as in any potential accidental situation such as your tent getting damaged or lost, you will be able to work quickly to try and salvage the situation.
How to set up a camping tent?
In the following paragraphs, we are going to cover the main two points that you should consider before you commit to making a camping tent from scratch in the wild.
Better safe and prepared than sorry!
The first bit of advice that we can give you is to always plan out your camping set up beforehand. While we realize that in case of an emergency you might have to be quick on your feet, if possible, always act out your steps and procedure once or twice in a carefully planned way. This might include making the tent from scratch and then setting it up as well. Also be sure that whether as a practice session or as the real deal, always be done with your shelter preparation before nightfall as it is simply safer.
Choose your location wisely!
The next consideration that we think is vital is the location. You might not always have the most ideal location in a haphazard situation however we recommend picking ground that is flat and not too bumpy. You want to create a nice even base for your makeshift tent. You should also make sure to clear out the area of any sharp objects or unrecognizable plants as these might be poisonous. The sharper rocks or branches might tear your tarp or sleeping bag and harm you.
While it is certainly wise to want to set up your shelter near trees that might be providing a good amount of shade, this is also risky if the tree looks worn out. Another important point is to steer clear of locations with watering holes and water bodies because these are sure to attract larger animals and it will be infested with bugs. Also remember, do not set up near a hill or rough terrain as you might roll over during the night.
Next, we are going to go over the 4 main types of camping tents you can make from scratch and all of the important considerations that you need to keep in mind as well.
The most important consideration in our point of view is the material of whatever tarp, cloth, or waterproof fabric you are using to create your tent from scratch. Ideally, you will want it to be waterproof, wind-resistant, and also have some form of UV protection.
Tents are normally made from some form of sturdy nylon. This is important because as a material, this is quite versatile along with being long-lasting and resistant to the elements. We also recommend a material that provides a decent amount of insulation. This will help ensure that even if you are in your sleeping bag, the cold or dampness will not reach you.
It is also wise to pack bug spray, bear spray, and a mosquito net within your backpack. We think that because you will have packed lighter than if you had to carry a whole tent, this won’t be too difficult.
Option number 1
To start with today’s methods on how to make a camping tent from scratch, our first option is perhaps the most effective one especially if you might find yourself caught in the rain or unideal weather. However, this one requires some skill and also has the most amount of things that you will need on hand. So this is certainly one of those options that you will have to prepare more for. It is a single-walled A-shaped tent. The best part about this one is that it provides complete coverage.
To build this one from scratch, you will require a stretchy cord, 5 pieces of wood as stakes, an extendable pole, a piece of rope, and 2 tarps. One of the tarps needs to be used as an insulation material on the ground so it will be a durable material while the other needs to be your tent’s roof so it has to be lighter yet more waterproof.
When you begin, be sure to clear out all sharper rocks and debris from the area and then lay out your rugged piece of tarp on the ground. This will prevent you from getting cold and will act as an insulated floor.
Now you should ideally start from the back of the tent. This will have to be made very stiff and well extended because you want to make sure that your tent has good support at the back. To ensure this is made a reality, simply drive down your pieces of wood down the corners of your tarp. Now you want to bring the front corners up and towards each other. However, the idea is to use them as an entrance to your tent and you can achieve this by driving them down into the ground in the middle via your stakes.
To create a triangle, next you will have to add your longer pole to the middle and lift it. This will help create a triangular space within the tent as well. The pole then needs to be driven into the ground with a good amount of force so that it doesn’t move.
Option number 2
Our next method on how to make a camping tent from scratch requires much less material when compared to the first one. It is pretty easy to master and you will find yourself setting it up in no time. However, when compared to the first one, this is truly a makeshift tent and doesn’t offer a ton of room inside. You will certainly want to make use of two tarps since you want to make sure that you are well protected from the cold or wet ground.
For this, you require 2 waterproof and sturdy tarps, 5 sticks of varying lengths, and of course a long piece of rope or cord.
To make this tent, first and foremost look around for a good and sturdy tree that isn’t rotten or worn out. Then tie your rope around this medium-sized tree specifically on a tree branch that is around your height. Then, pull the rope so that it is stretched as much as possible and pull it down in the other direction. Once that is done you may drive a stick down into the ground and tie the piece of rope around it. Next, you will throw your tarp over this lopsided rope and you will already have the beginnings of your tent.
Ideally, you want to make sure that your tarp is long enough to fall to either side of the ground. This will provide complete coverage that will protect you from rain or windy weather. If your tarp is even longer we suggest that you use it as the floor of your tent. You may also use another tarp for this. Place larger stones on the excess tarp so that it won’t be blown away.
Option number 3
Next, we have another interesting method and this one is a real test of your creativity, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. This option on how to make a camping tent from scratch will be the perfect one if you do not have a lot of resources on hand and are in an unknown environment or a situation where you find yourself shelter less after dark.
If you find yourself in a forest with limited materials. The design of this tent is the traditional triangular one that we are all familiar with. There are quite a few reasons why someone would want to choose this one. The first reason is that out of all of the options listed today, you will get the most space inside. This means it is good if you are not alone and need that extra bit of space.
It is also quite simple to make and of course just like all our other options, it is quite cheap and affordable. You need a tarp as usual and this can ideally be taken off of a tent that you might have lying around. However since it is just a cloth, it can be folded and placed in your backpack as it is much lighter on its own. You will also need a cord or piece of rope and course poles to be used for the structure. Finally, we recommend that you use a knife but any sharp object might do for cutting out the holes.
To set this tent up, the first thing you need to do is find 2 sturdy trees of almost equal length and they should be a couple of feet apart. Once you’ve found one that looks resilient and reliable, then you want to tie your rope or piece of cord around the two so that it is now in between them. The idea is to throw your tarp or waterproof material over the middle of the rope to create that classic triangle-shaped tent.
Make sure the rope is tied tight on both ends and then add the tarp over. Make sure to use a tarp that is large enough that it provides complete or ample coverage at the sides. Next, take out your knife and cut out small holes on each corner of the material.
This is where the smaller sticks come into place. You will poke each hole with a stick and drive them into the ground using rocks as hammers. If in case you think it needs a little bit more stability, you may add rocks as weights. Be sure to add in another tarp under your sleeping bag on the floor of the tent for proper comfort and warmth.
Option number 4
Our last and final option is one of the simplest methods and this sort of tent is quite versatile! It is great for all those who are good with their hands and want to create a memorable camping experience. The best thing about this style of tent is that it is the best for overall coverage and protection. For this idea to work, all you will need is a pole or stick of some sort that is extendable, a tarp or other sturdy and waterproof material, and a cord or rope of some sort.
Our top for this one is that instead of your tent poles, consider using a hiking stick instead. This will even cut down the number of items that you will have to carry and that’s always good while on the go. This will not only help make you more resourceful but will also make your job easier. The only drawback of this option is that you will not get a lot of space inside.
The first step is to spread out your covering or tarp on the ground but make sure it is completely level. Next, you have to measure the breadth of your posts or hiking stick and cut out a decent-sized opening on each side. The diameter of the holes that you are cutting out should be slightly less than the total measured width of the sticks. When this is done, next you will have to cut your rope or cord in 4 sections each of the same lengths and in each corner add them around the stick.
The idea here is to create a pyramid style sort of like a monopole shelter and the main longer stick or pole will act as the central structure. This will have to be pushed down into the ground a little for stability. This is also why it is wise to find ground that is a little damp. Once the post has been driven into the ground, next, you may add your tarp over the center and pull out the corners.
Make sure you pull them out and attach the smaller sticks in place in such a way that your cut out openings will allow them to be driven into the ground with ease. On the off chance that you don’t have a proper tool, you may utilize a stone to hit the post into the ground. This is when your tent should look completely like an erected pyramid.
When you think your tent is at the right angle and there is enough room inside for you to rest with ease, that’s when you should firmly tie the tarp with pieces of rope around your sticks. Be sure to add in another tarp-like material that has insulation properties on the floor of your makeshift tent as this will protect you from the cold, dampness, and insects. For even more stability and protection from the wind, we also suggest you add some medium-sized rocks as anchors.
In conclusion, we hope that this has been a helpful and informative guide on how to effectively create a viable camping tent from scratch. All it requires is a little planning, a little strategizing, some clever utilization of what you have on hand, and of course the motivation to excel at conquering the great outdoors! We hope that this article has been an informative journey that lets you know of the different options that you have to create your camping tent from practically nothing.
We will certainly add that this is not for all readers! This might not be your cup of tea if you value comfort over adventure and a challenge! However, if you want to feel the satisfaction of being warm and safe in a structure that you built with your own two hands, then this article is for you! As a word of caution, we wouldn’t advise anyone to go ahead making a tent from scratch if they do not have something planned.
It is one thing to use your skills in a survival situation but to purposefully endanger yourself is not wise. While it is tempting to act like the adventurers and thrill-seekers we see on television, they all are trained actors that have complete teams at their disposal. However, as we have shown and elaborated on, it is not impossible to make a camping tent from scratch and use it effectively.
For one, this will help you save up on a lot of money that you otherwise would have spent on buying the correct kind of tent with insulation and proper airflow among other features. Tents do not come cheap so the methods we listed above are good alternatives. However, when you are making your decision sure to keep in mind exactly what your limitations are and what your specific skill set is.
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