Hey there, outdoor adventurers! Today, we are going to teach you how to make your very own homemade camping tent.
This way, whether you need a tent at the last minute or don’t have the funds to buy a new one, you can still enjoy all the fun of camping without spending a lot of money.
Read on for a step-by-step guide to making your own tent and get started today.
Table of Contents
What Materials Do I Need To Make a Tent?
Before we get started with construction, it’s important to know what materials you’ll need.
- Fabric: First, you’ll need to find a large piece of fabric. A tarp or shower curtain will work perfectly. Canvas is a solid solution as well, although it is heavy. You may have these materials lying around your home or can easily purchase them from a hardware store.
- Poles: You’ll also need something to use as tent poles. If you have some old broomsticks or PVC pipes, those would work great. If not, you can purchase these materials from a hardware store as well.
- Rope: Finally, you’ll need some rope to tie everything together. Again, you may have this material around your home or can purchase it from a hardware store.
- Stakes: You’ll also need some stakes to secure the tent to the ground. If you don’t have any stakes, you can purchase these from a hardware store as well. You’ll need between 4 to 8 stakes.
- A Knife or Scissors: You’ll need a sharp object to cut the fabric and rope. A knife or scissors will both work well, and it doesn’t hurt to have both on hand!
Now that you know what materials you need, let’s get started with construction!
How Can I Make My Own Homemade Tent? 5 Simple Steps
1. Choose a Good Spot to Camp
First, you’ll need to find a level spot to set up your tent. This is important because you don’t want your tent to be lopsided. An unlevel tent can lead to a number of problems, like rain seeping in or the tent collapsing.
Once you’ve found a level spot, clear away any debris that might be present. This includes sticks, stones, and leaves. You want to make sure the area is as smooth as possible before you start setting up your tent.
Look for any holes or divots in the ground and fill them with dirt. This will help to further level the area and make it more comfortable to sleep on.
Now that you’ve found the perfect spot and cleared away any debris, you’re ready to start setting up your tent.
2. Spread Out Your Fabric on the Ground
If you have a tarp or shower curtain, lay it out on the ground. This will be your tent’s footprint, which is the base of your tent.
You can either cut or fold your footprint down to size. Cutting will give you a more accurate size, but folding is easier and will still work well.
Keep in mind if you’re camping on a rainy night, the folds and wrinkles from folding your footprint may pool the water inside and cause leaks.
Once you have your footprint cut or folded to size, go ahead and stake it down. The more stakes you use, the better. Make sure to put them in at a 90-degree angle so that the pressure is evenly distributed.
3. Choose Between the Pole or Cord Method
Now that you’ve set up your base, it’s time to choose between the pole or cord method. The pole method is more traditional and will give your tent more stability. However, the cord method is easier, requires fewer supplies, and will work well if you’re in a pinch.
Remaining Steps for the Pole Method
If you’ve chosen the pole method, you’ll need to follow the remaining steps.
4A. Get Your Top Tarp Set Up
Take another sheet of fabric and spread it across the footprint you’ve staked onto the ground. Use the stakes or another weight to keep the fabric in place on one side, preferably on a long side.
This will be the top of your tent and will protect you from the rain. Make sure there are no holes or tears in this piece of fabric, as this could cause water to leak through during a storm.
When you’re finished with this step, you will have two pieces of fabric staked to the ground. The first is your footprint and the second is your top tarp.
5A. Place the Poles in the Tent
Now that you have your top tarp in place, it’s time to add some stability with poles. If you’re using tree branches, make sure they’re strong enough to support the weight of the fabric and any people or animals who may be inside.
If you’re using tent poles, insert them into the corners of your footprint. Then, drape the top tarp over the poles and stake it down.
Make sure that the poles are positioned in a way that makes the fabric taut. Otherwise, the fabric may sag in the middle and cause water to pool.
Remaining Steps for the Cord Method
If you’ve chosen the cord method, you’ll need to follow the remaining steps:
4B. Tie Your Rope to Two Trees
For this method, it’s important that there are two trees or posts that are at least six feet apart. If they’re not, your tent may be too small or too low to the ground. Try to get your rope to about chest height at the lowest.
Tie one end of the rope to each tree, making sure that the rope is tight. The tighter the better, as you don’t want your tent to sag in the middle.
If there is only one tree or post to use, you can use a tent stake in the ground to tie the other end of your rope to. Just make sure that the stake is secure and won’t come out easily.
5B. Put Your Fabric Over the Rope
Now that you have your rope in place, it’s time to add the fabric. Spread your fabric out over the rope and stake it down on all sides.
You can use a sheet, tarp, or shower curtain for this step. Just make sure that there are no holes or tears in the fabric, as this could cause water to leak through during a storm.
Now that you’ve followed all the steps, you should have a homemade tent that’s ready for camping! Whether you used the pole or cord method, your tent will keep you dry and protected from the elements.
6. Bonus Step: Raise Your Sides
If you want to add some extra protection from the rain, you can raise the sides of your tent.
To do this, simply tie a rope or cord to the corners of your tent and stake it down. This will pull the sides up and away from the ground, preventing any water from seeping in.
What Can I Use Instead of a Tent?
Making your own tent isn’t the only way to get around not having a traditional camping tent. If you don’t have the time or supplies to make your own, there are a few other options.
Car camping makes it easy to bring all your camping gear with you, including a tent. You can set up camp anywhere that you can park your car, making it a great option for spur-of-the-moment trips.
Just make sure that you’re not parked in a place where you’re not allowed to camp overnight.
Using a sun shield in the front and back windows is a great way to block out the sun if you plan on sleeping in or are camping in extreme temperatures.
Sleep in a Hammock
Hammocks are a great alternative to tents, especially if you’re camping in an area where there are trees. They’re easy to set up and take down and don’t require any extra gear.
In addition to using regular hammocks, you can purchase hammocks that come with mosquito netting. This will protect you from bugs and insects while you sleep.
Hang a tarp over your hammock so that you can stay dry if it rains.
Use a Cot & Mesh
A cot can get you off of the ground, which will help to keep you warm and dry. You can add a durable sleeping bag for even more heat retention and protection. They won’t protect you from any of the outside elements, so try to use mesh mosquito netting to keep the bugs away.
You can also use a tarp over the top of your cot to create a makeshift tent. Just make sure that you secure the tarp well so that it doesn’t blow away in the middle of the night.
Get a Bivy Sack
A bivy sack is a great alternative to a tent if you’re looking for something that’s small and lightweight. They typically only weigh a few pounds and can fit into a backpack easily.
Bivy sacks are made from waterproof and breathable fabric, which will keep you dry inside. However, they don’t offer much in the way of space for keeping your gear.
You can use a bivy sack on its own or in conjunction with a tarp to create a more sheltered space.
This is a great option for backpackers or those who are looking to save space and weight.
Use a Trailer
If you have the funds, or even a relative who’s willing to let you borrow theirs, using a trailer is a great way to camp without a tent. You can use a popup trailer, fifth-wheel, or even an RV.
Just make sure that you’re familiar with how to operate the trailer and hook it up properly before you hit the road.
Camping in a trailer is a great way to have all the amenities of home while still being able to enjoy the outdoors.
Sleep Under the Stars
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can ditch the tent altogether and sleep under the stars. This is a great option if you’re in an area with little to no light pollution.
Just make sure that you have a comfortable sleeping pad and some warm blankets to keep you cozy through the night.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for wildlife that might be roaming around. Do some research beforehand to find out what kind of animals are in the area and how dangerous they might be.
Choose an area on the ground that is clear of rocks and sticks. You don’t want anything poking you in the middle of the night.
And that’s it! These are just a few of the options available to you if you don’t have a tent. So get out there and start exploring the great outdoors!
Other DIY Camping Items
Did you know that there are other items you can make from scratch for your camping trip? These items can save you money, pique your curiosity, and give you a sense of satisfaction.
One of the most essential camping items is a lantern. You can purchase one before your trip or make your own.
To make a DIY lantern, you’ll need a clean, empty tin can, a nail, hammer, a tea light candle, and some wire.
Start by using the hammer and nail to make holes around the top of the tin can. Make sure that the holes are big enough for the wire to fit through.
Next, cut a length of wire and thread it through the holes. You’ll want to leave enough wire on each end so that you can tie it off.
Now all you need to do is add a tea light candle to the can and light it. The holes will allow the light to escape, and you’ll have a lantern!
DIY Electric Lantern
Using a headlamp, you can easily make a DIY electric lantern. All you need is a clear plastic bottle, headlamp, knife, and duct tape.
Start by using the knife to make a small hole in the bottom of the plastic bottle. The hole should be big enough for the headlamp’s cord to fit through.
Thread the cord through the hole and then turn the headlamp on. The light will shine through the bottle and create a lantern!
If you want, you can use duct tape to secure the headlamp to the bottle. This will keep it from moving around and making the light unstable.
DIY Mosquito Repellent
One of the most annoying things about camping is dealing with mosquitoes. You can purchase mosquito repellent before your trip, or you can make your own.
To make DIY mosquito repellent, you’ll need a clean spray bottle, water, witch hazel, and essential oils.
Start by adding the water and witch hazel to the spray bottle. Then add 20-30 drops of your chosen essential oil. Some good options include citronella, lemongrass, and lavender.
Shake the bottle well to mix everything together and then spray it on your skin whenever you need it.
DIY Camping Toilet
When nature calls, you’ll need something to help out, even if you’re in the wilderness.
To make a DIY camping toilet, you’ll need a five-gallon bucket, garbage bags, and kitty litter.
Start by lining the bucket with a garbage bag. Then add enough kitty litter to cover the bottom of the bucket.
When you need to use the toilet, simply lift up the garbage bag and do your business. Be sure to cover it back up when you’re finished.
You can also use a toilet seat or camping stool to make the experience more comfortable.
Homemade tents are surprisingly easier and cheaper to make than you might think. With a little creativity and some household items, you can have a cozy place to sleep on your next camping trip.
What are some of the other DIY items that you would like to take on your camping trips? Be sure to get in touch and let us know!