How To Make A Camping Tent From Scratch

How to make a camping tent from scratch in 6 Easy Steps

If you are planning to go camping with your friends or family, you certainly need a strong and durable tent that can provide shelter in every weather condition.

While you can find tents of various styles and sizes online, not every tent includes the needed accessories. Though a camping tent with some good amenities, with an easy step option, is available, you might have to spend some extra dollars for the same.

So, building a camping tent from the scratch is an amazing idea. This works well if you want to save some money or if you are looking for a tent that matches your needs.

You can even make a lightweight tent that can be easily carried in a backpack, without killing your back. You can also add a waterproofing feature, which most commercial tents lack.

How to Make a Camping Tent from Scratch

If you want to build a camping tent yourself, but are confused about where and how to start, do not worry. We got you covered! Just keep reading to know it all.

6 Easy Tips To Make A Camping Tent From Scratch:

1. Plan, Plan, and Plan

If you are planning to build your camping tent from the scratch, you must make sure to do it right. When you are starting a project like this, you need to plan first. Knowing what you need and making a list of materials will make sure you do not fall short on anything when you start making the tent.

Before you start building, there are a few things you must consider.

Size – This is the very first factor to consider. If you are making the tent for the first time, you can go easy, and start by building a tent good enough for two. You also need to remember that the weight of the tent increases with size.

The Weight – As we mentioned above, the bigger the tent, the heavier it is. So, if you want a tent that you can carry in your backpack, you need to ensure it is light in weight. The materials you use in building the camping tent can affect the overall weight as well, especially the fabric.

The Season – Are you planning to go camping during summer? If yes, you certainly need a tent that is made using breathable fabric. The tent also needs to have enough windows for the free flow of air. However, if you are planning to camp during winters, you might face harsh weather conditions like rainfall or snow.

Hence, you need to make the tent using fabrics that provide good insulation. You also need to keep everything closed to make sure no bugs or reptiles enter the tent.

The Material – It is time to know the kind of materials you can use to build your camping tent from scratch. Most readymade tents are made using synthetic materials, but you can always use polyester or nylon to build yours.

Before you pick a fabric, know both the advantages and disadvantages it offers. For a summer tent, you can pick cotton or canvas fabric as they are very breathable, and provide a good atmosphere inside.

2. The Components

It always helps to have an idea about various components of a camping tent. You can use this knowledge to make a list of all the items you need to build one.

The Poles – Poles are the most important components of a tent, and they function as a skeleton. They provide resistance and strength to the tent. You can pick tarp poles that are made of aluminum as they are rigid and corrosion-resistant.

Tarp Poles for Camping Tent
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The Ropes – You need ropes to provide stability to the tent. You need to pick the most durable ropes as you use them to connect the tent you made to the ground. The rope you pick should have perfect tension, and it should be neither too rigid nor too loose.

The Pegs – You need pegs to fix the tent securely to the ground. You can find pegs of different shapes and sizes, and you need to pick one based on the size of the tent you are building. Pick the ones that are galvanized and are rust-proof.

Pegs for camping tent
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Tarp Sheets – If you are building a waterproof tent, you need waterproof tarp sheets. The number of sheets you need depends on the size of your tent. You can find heavy-duty tarp sheets online that are UV resistant and tearproof. You can even use a tarp for the bottom of the tent as well.

Heavy-Duty Tarp Sheets

Now that you know the factors and the materials required, it is time you learn how to make a camping tent from scratch right at the camping spot. Make sure to carry all the required materials to the camping spot without fail.

3. Find the Right Spot

You need to pick the right spot to set up your camping tent. If you are camping during summer or spring, you can set it up near a tree as it provides shade. The altitude of the tent needs to be lower as a higher altitude will increase the exposure, and can make it colder during the night.

If you are camping during the winter or rainy season, you need to avoid trees or grounds that are close to mountains and hills. Never build a tent near a dead tree as it might break and fall when the winds are high.

You can look for a spot which is near to a lake or a river. That way you can spend some time catching fishes and even cook them for supper.

4. Make Sure That the Surface is Flat

You need to find a flat surface or make one as it makes the stay comfortable. You will find it hard to sleep when the surface is uneven. You also need to find the ground which is a little damp as it makes it easy to place the trap at the bottom.

Start by removing the leaves or the stems that are scattered. You need to do this before you lay the bottom trap. Spread it evenly and ensure it is smooth.

5. Take Out the Materials

Once you have the bottom trap spread out, you need to place all the materials you have in order. Form the walls using the poles and the same can be used to provide a little strength to the tent. The rope is used to tie the tent to the poles. You also need another trap for the tent’s roof.

6. Start Setting Up the Tent

The Tarp Sheet – When you are placing the trap sheet on the group, you will be doing it as per the tent footprint you planned. Next, measure the diameter of the poles you have, and make holes on each end of the bottom tarp. You can make sure of a multi-tool to do the same.

Leatherman heavy-duty multitool
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Make sure the holes you make are a little smaller than the diameter of the poles. Once you cut these holes, cut the rope and pass it through the holes.

Secure the Tent – Take the rope, and tie it around a tree. You need to do it a few times and make tight and multiple knots. You also need to check the elevation here.

If you tie the rope too high, it prevents the tarp walls to reach the ground, and if you tie it loose, the tent might fall when the weather is harsh. Now place the tarp you will be using for the roof over the tied rope.

Build the Walls – As you have already made the holes in the tarp towards the ends, you need to place the poles in the holes and pound them in using a rock or a hammer. Now remove the poles. Align both the tarps and pound the poles again, repeating the steps on all the sides.

Tie All the Knots – Make sure to check all the knots to ensure they are not loose. If you feel that the tent is lighter on any side, you can correct and balance it by placing some stones.

A Few Extra Tips You Can Keep in Mind

  • Make sure you keep all the tools or the gear near the sides of the camping tent. Ensure the gear is covered or is placed securely in a bag.
  • You can naturally insulate the tent by decreasing the free space inside. If you are staying with your friend or a family member, you can place his/her sleeping bag close by as it helps with body warming. Such a trick can come in handy when the nights are colder or during cold weather conditions.
  • Once you come out of the tent in the morning, make sure you reverse it to let it dry.


Building your tent might not be as hard as you think. With a little preparation and a few materials that you can procure easily, you can build a camping tent in no time. Do not lose hope if you fail the first time, and do not give up and try building a smaller tent.

Do follow the step mentioned above to make your own camping tent from scratch, and do let us know how your tent turned out in the comment section below.

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