How To Make A Camping Tent From Scratch

how to make a camping tent from scratch

Campers, who love camping in the wild, usually want to make a camping tent on their own. After all, building a shelter in the middle of nowhere can be quite rewarding. If you are also thinking about it, then read this guide. I have written a systematic method on how to make a camping tent from scratch. 

Get The Required Materials

Since you are going to make a camping tent from scratch, you need a whole load of material for it. You will need tent material, ropes, tent stakes, and poles. 

Tent material can be tarp or canvas sheets. The fabric needs to be waterproof and weather-resistant. Otherwise, you will have to do extra work to make the tent safe. You can also use two different materials’ sheets in conjunction: one sheet for the bottom of the tent and the other for the top or ceiling of the tent. Moreover, you need to take care of the size as well. Get the sheets as large as you need space.

Further, you need ropes to secure the tent and its poles. You can easily use them, and they come at a reasonable price. However, you need to get ropes that can withstand wind pressure.

Tent stakes also help in keeping the tent at its place. You can even make wooden sticks on your own. Lastly, poles are another essential item for the tent. They help in making the camping tent upright. Like other materials, tent poles need to be tough and durable. They should hold up against harsh weather.   

Find A Location To Build Up The Camping Tent

To build a tent, you need to find a spot that works well for camping. You must find a surface that is not rocky or slanted. Also, it is better to avoid camping out in a depressed or low altitude area. That is because, when it will rain, the water can gather there. But, camping at a higher altitude also have some drawbacks. The surroundings get colder at night, and you will expose to that at the elevated area.

Moreover, you can choose to make a camp in a place filled with trees. The trees can provide you with extra support and shade, or help in breaking the wind pressure. However, that is not necessary. But, if you choose to camp in a spot with trees, do check out any dead or broken branches. The tree branches can fall and damage your tent.

Prepare A Flat Surface

Acquiring a flat surface is quite crucial for camping. It will help you in staying out longer and make it a pleasant experience. For sure, you cannot sleep at a ground that is rocky and uneven. It can ruin your night and sleep. So, find a flat place or make one by clearing out the land.

Remove all the rocks or other things dispersed on the ground. You have to ensure that when you spread the tarp, the earth is flat and even. So, you can smooth the tarp on the ground to make a camp. Also, the flat ground helps in sticking the tarp. 

Spread Out The Tarp

Once the surface is clean and flat, you will spread a tarp over the ground. Smooth the tarp on the land and make sure that there are no folds or wrinkles. Otherwise, the water can collect in the folds. Once it smoothens, you can use tent stakes to hold it in its place. Place the stakes at 90 degrees angle, as it will help in spreading the pressure.

Steps: How To Make A Camping Tent From Scratch

Here are five steps for how to make a camping tent from scratch. 

Set Up The Top Tarp

You will secure a footprint when you have laid out the tarp on a flat surface. Then, measure the diameter of the tent poles to create holes in the tarp. Now, you have to make holes at every corner of the tarp. You can use a knife or a multi-tool for it. Also, keep in mind that the holes need to be smaller than the diameter of the poles. So, they can fit around the tent poles. 

After that, cut the ropes in four equal pieces for each corner. Now, you have to pass those pieces of cord through each hole. Do not tie them right now; you will use the ropes to secure the tent, but later on.

Place The Tent

The place you have located to make the tent on, you have to place the poles there. Fix a center post in the middle of the ground. The center post is mostly the largest one out of all the posts. Then, make sure that you have secured the pole tightly in the earth. That is because it will ensure the protection of your tent.

Moreover, along with a smooth surface, you have to get enough space for both the tent and campfire. The campfire should be almost two feet away from the tent. So, find a spot with enough space to place a tent with a campfire.

Secure The Corners Of The Camping Tent

Now, you have to secure the tent by moving each corner of the second tarp. Pull all the corners of the tarp and spread them over the center post that they form a diagonal. Do not stretch the tarp too far; you have to place a diagonal from the center of the pole to the surface. To make certain that it stays in the same position, place a stick into the holes. The shaft will move across the gap and secure it in the ground firmly. After you have done it, it will look as if the camp is like a pyramid.

However, there is one more method that you can use to secure the tent. You can take the rope and wound it around a tree multiple times. Then, make many knots to fix it in its place, so that the cord does not loosen up. Meanwhile, you also need to take care of the angle of the cable. If the rope elevates more than the need, then the walls will not extend to the ground. 

Further, if you will tie it too low, then the ropes can loosen up. It can easily fall off with high and strong winds. So, you need to secure the cord at a moderate height. Do not tie the rope too high or too low, for a protective base. Now, you can place the second sheet of the tarp over the rope tied to the tree.

Build Reliable And Strong Walls

Now, it is time to construct strong walls for the tent. Both the tarps (footprint and the ceiling) have holes in their corners. You have to align these corners, such that each hole place itself on the holes of the second tarp. Before that, remove any stakes, if you have used them to secure the footprint. Now, hammer the poles into these holes to fix them in the ground. Repeat this action at all four corners of the tarp. 

You can also use a rock instead of a hammer or the stakes. You can put the stakes through with the help of the stones. Also, if you do not have stakes, you can use big rocks to secure the corners. But, it will not be as reliable as putting poles through it. 

Tie The Knots

Lastly, you have to tie the knots, and you would have a tent made from scratch. Now, you have to secure the ropes you cut in the beginning, around the poles or stakes. You have to ensure that you have tied them tightly. If need be, double-check every knot, on the tarp, and the tree. 

Then, check if the camping tent is sturdy by moving each corner. If it feels loose or light, then you can use some large rocks to fix it and increase the weight. After that, you will be ready to move into your new camping tent.

Solutions For Some Common Issues

Solutions for some common issues that you can face while making a camping tent. 

Keep The Rainwater Out

If you think that despite all precautions, rainwater can still flood your tent, then I have a solution. You can keep the rainwater out by creating a wall around your tent. Use the sticks, rocks, dirt, or whatever you can find, and build a wall with them. This wall will help you in keeping the water out of your tent.

Moreover, there is another method to keep the rainwater out of your tent. You can dig trenches all around your tent. For this, you can use a shovel or a rock that can hit the ground. So that during rain, the water will flow around your tent and will not come in it. 

Use Only One Tarp

If you do not have two tarp sheets, you can use one large tarp to make a tent. For this, you need to bind a rope with two trees. Then, lay down the tarp on the floor right beneath the string. After that, secure two corners of the tarp with the help of the rocks. Also, place two stones in the center of the tarp.

Now, you have to throw those two rock-free corners over the rope. After that, secure those corners beside their opposite corners with rocks. Your camping tent will be ready but do ensure its firmness. 

Make Stakes On Your Own

If you have forgotten to bring stakes, do not worry, you can make them. Find four broken tree branches and peel one end of each of them with a knife. Also, try to find those branches that can fit through the holes in the tarp but are strong. You can check their strength by snapping them with your hands. 


I hope that now you know how to make a camping tent from scratch. I have gathered here all the essential information that you would need. Read it, and then practice making your camping tent. I am sure you will be an expert after some practice.

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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