To know how to make a camping tent from scratch is a very handy skill. While camping one can have many options for accommodation like RVs, huge luxury tents, ultra high tech one-man tents and even making a homemade tent for camping. 

Camping can offer many extremely rewarding activities and making your camping tent at home from scratch can be one of those activities, to sleep in something you have built on your own.

A thunderstorm may strike sometimes and you’ll need some emergency shelter on the campsite or you decide on an impromptu night camping with limited material. Maybe you forgot to buy the tent or you left it at home. Whatever the reason may be, you can still improvise and build a camping tent from scratch for yourself and your camping mates.

You don’t need to be an expert of any sort to make a homemade tent for camping. This may be your first time building it but don’t be alarmed. I’m here to help you, guide you through a step-by-step process of how to make your camping tent from scratch, or in other words, plans for how to make a DIY camping tent at an affordable price.

Materials Needed To Make Camping Tent From Scratch

Let’s talk about materials. You’ll need the following things to make a homemade tent for camping.

You will need:

  1. Wooden Sticks or Poles (x5)
  2. Waterproof Trap sheets (x2)
  3. Long Paracord, Rope (x1)

You must have these items on hand to make your tent. I’ll discuss their applications afterward. If you continue reading you’ll find out how easy it can be to build your camping tent from scratch.

Finding the Perfect Camping Spot

Try to find a camping spot near a tree that will provide you with natural shade. But avoid building the camping tent near a dead tree with weak branches as, during a storm, they’ll be prone to break and fall on your tent. 

You should never pitch your tent in any ditch either, as although this may provide shelter from the wind, with even a little rain, water could pool and flood your tent. Leaving you with wet belongings and really bad memories.

It’s best to build your tent at a lower altitude. Cause higher altitude can increase the tent’s overall exposure which will lead to a colder atmosphere at night time.

Avoid camping on higher grounds close to the hills or mountains because if it rains, there’ll be higher chances of water pouring heavily from the upper areas and flooding your campsite.

A wooded area is always the best place to camp no matter what. Cause even a few trees can do wonders to help keep the elements at bay.

It’s always wise to find a camping spot near a river or lake as they are the source of both food and fresh water and if you like fishing then it’s an added bonus to you. You can catch fish in the daylight and cook them for yourself and camping mates.

Preparing a Flat Surface

Sleeping on uneven ground with uncomfortable bumps can be an unpleasant experience. It can also ruin your body posture and leave you with a sore body. So it’s crucial to find a flat surface that will make your stay worthwhile.

Select a slightly damp ground but. It’ll help the tarp stick to the ground way better. Remove any unnecessary objects like leaves, twigs, small and large stones, and anything that threatens to stick to your back when you’re trying to sleep from the ground before spreading the tarp. Try to make sure that the ground is flattened and your bottom tarp stays relatively smooth on the ground. 

Uses of Your Materials to Make a Camping Tent from Scratch

  1. For forming the walls and holding the tent you’ll need to use wooden sticks or poles.
  2. To tie the ends of poles, rope or a long paracord will be needed.
  3. To build the bottom and upper layer of the tent you’ll need two tarp sheets. One for the roof and the other for laying on the ground.


Steps to Make a Camping Tent from Scratch or Make a Homemade Tent for Camping

Step 1: Setting up the Tarp Sheet
  1. When picking the site for your camping tent, you need to consider getting enough space for both the tent and a campfire.
  2. First of all, spread the tarp on a flat surface, it’ll be your tent footprint.
  3. Now, you’ll need to measure the diameter of every pole.
  4. It’s time to make small holes on each end of the tarp. You can use your outdoor knife or even your multi-tool which is a must-have for every camper. Poles will go through these holes. Keep in mind, the holes need to be smaller than the pole’s diameter so that they can tightly fit around the poles for a well-insulated tent.
  5. When you’re done making these holes, cut the rope into four equal pieces. Now, thread the rope through the holes, but don’t tie them yet. It’ll help you to tie the ends of the tarp and the poles tightly later on.
  6. While setting up the tent it’s important that you have a plain level ground where you can properly install the center pole for the tent. It’s usually the largest of the poles and holds up the tarp in the middle. Dig the pole a little into the ground and make sure it’s secure.
  7. Once you’re sure that your central post is well secured and stable, place the tarp over it. 
Step 2: Secure the Corners of the Tent
  1. At this point, you ought to stretch out the corners of the tarps in such a way that each corner lies diagonally across from the other with the middle pole lying somewhere in the center, in order to secure the tent.
  2. You need to push a stick through the corner holes into the ground to confirm that every tarp corner remains utterly in its position. A proper tent shape is something like an Egyptian pyramid.
Step 3: Building Strong Walls
  1. Here comes the fun part, once you have got created the holes, grab your hammer and pound the poles in the holes slightly. If you don’t have a hammer, no need to panic. Any slightly larger rock will do perfectly fine.
  2. Remove the poles one by one. Check that both tarp holes are perfectly aligned at each corner so you can keep warm while camping.
  3. It’s time to finally drive the poles through the holes. Pound the poles back in the holes. Repeat this step for all sides.
Step 4: Tying the Knots
  1.  Tying the knots is the final step of the process of creating your own camping tent from scratch, conjointly called a homemade camping tent or DIY camping tent at a reasonable price. 
  2. At this point, you’ll simply have to secure each tarp corner to the poles or sticks by properly tying the previously attached ropes to the sticks or poles.
  3. Check whether the tent is robust or not.
  4. You can also place heavy rocks at each corner of the tarp to rainproof your tent and help it stretch better.
  5. Finally, at this point, you can make a snug home for yourself inside the tent and have the much-required rest, with a sense of accomplishment. Trust me, after all the hard work you’ve done to make your own tent that feeling is truly rewarding.

Bonus Advice

If you’re reading this article, you’re super special to me. So, here are some bonus advice to create your own camping tent from scratch for my special readers

  1. Remember, keep your gear covered or inside enclosed bags. Put all your necessary objects around the inner sides of the tent.
  2. Make sure to insulate your tent by reducing free space. During a cold-weather condition, if doable, ask your friends to stay with you in the same tent. Place their sleeping bags close to yours, it’ll cause body-body warming which is supper effective when the weather is cold and facilitate in preventing heat loss.
  3. Remember to always consider getting enough space for both a campfire and a tent. Campfire will help you keep warm on cold nights. 
  4. The campfire must be at least three to five feet far away from the tent to prevent any unnecessary accidents.
  5. Keep in mind that your tent ought to be tightly stretched across each end to the center pole so that it doesn’t cave on you while you’re taking a nap after a long and tiring day.
  6. Once you’re out of the tent and the sun shines bright in the sky, invert it and let the sunshine dry out the wet areas. Sunlight kills the bacteria in the tent.
  7. If you fail once or twice, don’t be disheartened. Simply keep on trying until you’ve built something. Because once you succeed, you’ll feel extremely driven. So just attempt it, at least for once.

In-depth discussion

If you’ve reached this far, that means now you know the basics of how to build your own camping tent from scratch. How about we dive a little deeper into the subject. 

Being able to build your own camping tent at home is a golden skill to have. It can also be a charming trick to yield and impress your camping mates.

Only a little practice is needed and you’ll be able to put up a rudimentary shelter in minutes. So, the next time it starts pouring in the middle of a hike, you’ll have a place to wait out in the storm.

Constructing your own tent can be a nice little fun project and money-saving activity, it also makes for a great team bonding event.

There are lots of different methods you can use to make your camping tent, depending on the materials available to you and the environment you’re in. No matter what kind of tricky environment you find yourself in, one of the posterior camping tents should be viable and suit your needs for the night.

These methods will require limited materials, with the main equipment being one or two good tarpaulins and some rope. So you must bring those two with you. 

Please keep in mind, these methods rely on you being able to find sticks and poles on location, so it’s better to be prepared depending on the campsite of your choice. Take poles with you if needed before you set off.

These tents are ideal for backpacking and trekking as they don’t take up a lot of space on your pack and are quite lightweight.


Needed materials are mostly the same for each method and we already know them. Can you remember? Let me assist you with that,

You will need: 

  1. At least one waterproof tarp or tarpaulin but it’s best to have two
  2. Posts, poles, or sticks to use as stakes
  3. Rope, clothesline or wire, heavy-duty string or cord

We’ve already discussed the basic method of how to make a camping tent from scratch. Now, let’s talk about the alternative ones to make a homemade tent for camping.

Make Homemade Tent For Camping Alternative Method 1

This method is ideal if you discover yourself in a forest with limited materials.  

You’ll mostly see this sort of tent in film, classic triangular cross-section a-frame tent. Although it’s fun to create and can offer you some much-needed protection in a pinch however this style doesn’t provide much protection from critters that may come crawling.

This design provides the foremost spacious shelter. However, you do need to be in a reasonably well-wooded area for this method to be a choice.

Building the tent

  1. For this tent, you will need to find a spot between two trees, around 10 feet apart, and a piece of rope, long enough to tie between the two.
  2. Here you have to worry about the elevation angle. If you tie the rope too high, the walls of the tarpaulin wouldn’t even reach the floor. Tie it too low; the rope would be loose, making it at risk of falling through rough winds.
  3. The distance from the ground depends on the size of your tarpaulin, you’ll need to lay it over the top later and pull it out to make a triangle shape. If you’re doubtful, a height that’s around a third of the length of your tarp should be ideal.
  4. Tie the ropes to the two trees at a medium height. The distance from the ground depends on the dimensions or the size of your tarpaulin. 
  5. Wrap around the trees a couple of times. Create multiple knots so the rope doesn’t open.
  6. When tying the rope or cord, make sure your knots are secure and the length of the rope should be parallel to the ground.
  7. The rope should be as tough and the knots as tight as possible, to ensure your shelter won’t fall down in the night.
  8. The knots you tie should be similar to hammock knots.
  9. Once you’re sure it’s securely tied, throw the tarp over the rope, with it falling equally on each side.
  10. If you have more than one tarpaulin, use your largest for this part of your tent.
  11. Pull out the corners of the tarp and cut a hole in each using a backpacking knife or outdoor knife or a multi-tool.
  12. Now it’s time to secure them to the ground using sticks as stakes. You’ll be able to use rocks conjointly to lay on top of the edges or use a rope to tie them off if you’ve got any left.
  13. If you have a second tarpaulin, you can lay it on the ground like a tent floor.
  14. For your floor tarp, I recommend using one that’s thick and durable, as it takes a lot of stress being between you and the ground. The last thing any camper needs is a hole in their floor.

Make Homemade Tent For Camping Alternative Method 2

If you fail to find two trees the correct distance apart, you can use one tree to make a tent of a different shape. 

This method is the simplest and requires the smallest amount of materials. However, in this design, the tent is only really good for sleeping or an emergency shelter as there’s not much room in it. 

If you have got a long enough tarpaulin, you’ll be able to actually cover the ground with the same material, but be careful putting too much strain on it, especially if it’s not as heavy-duty as you’d like.

Building the tent

  1. To create this tent, first you’ve to tie one end of your rope around the tree, at a medium height once again.
  2. Next, pull the rope tight and stake the other end into the ground, away from the tree.
  3. Then, throw your waterproof tarp over the rope and you have your rudimentary shelter ready.
  4. It’s helpful at this point to use some bungee cord or some string or even a peg to secure the tarp at its high point. This will help prevent the tarp from sliding down the diagonal rope, so you get the maximum amount coverage.
  5. If your tarp is large enough, you can wrap it around so it covers the floor and both sides of the tent or if you have a second one, you can use this as a bottom sheet.
  6. Now, secure the lower end of the tent first, a few heavy rocks will work perfectly to pin it to the ground.
  7. Then either stake the bottom of the sides or use rocks again, to hold them outwards.
  8. Once everything is secure, you will have a waterproof shelter to sleep in. It should just about fit inside your sleeping bag and pack.

Make Homemade Tent For Camping Alternative Method 3

Let’s say you’re in such a place where you fail to find an ideal area near a tree to set up your tent. However, due to sudden weather changes or some other reason you’re in desperate need of an emergency shelter in the middle of a hike. This method will be able to help you survive the rough time.

This method is also useful to backpackers as it requires the least amount of materials to carry. For this method you’ll need is a large tarp, some rope or cord, one long post and a few stakes. Post or sticks you may find in nature. All you’ll have to carry, one large durable tarp and some strong rope.

Building the tent

  1. Lay the tarp on a leveled ground.
  2. Fold the tarp over in half by bringing the opposite corners together.
  3. It’ll look like a triangle lying on the ground. Now stake out the corner which has a closed section and the smallest open section.
  4. Take the opposite corner, bring it through the opening, and stake it together with the corner which has both open sides. This point will have three corners of the tent staked together.
  5. You will find a new opening at this point. This will be the entry point of your tent.
  6. It’s time to stand it up by using a post. Make sure to secure the post first so that it doesn’t fall. You’ll know where to suspend it when you’re creating your tent in this style. Because the front will be tight, the left side will be tight and the right side will be tight.
  7. This style provides all the headroom right against the wall. If you’re ok with it, your tent is ready. But if you want the headroom to be in the middle, you can do that with a few adjustments. Untie the tent first.
  8. Bring the ridge somewhere in the middle and secure it by tying it with the post. You may need to move the post a little as well.
  9. One side will be tight, the ridge will be tight but to make the other side tight you’ll have to improvise. 
  10. You’ll have to reach inside the tent, work with it and try to find the perfect point where the wall stands tightest. You’ll have to make sure that both the front and the other side are tight.
  11. Use a marble, pebble, or small stone, put it in the previously marked place of the tent, and create a new tie-out point. 
  12. Tie the marble using rope and create a loop. Pull up the old corner stake and you’ll have a new corner now. 
  13. You can also create a new tie-out point in the middle of the back wall, run it out, and tightened it up for a little extra interior room.
  14. Now fold up all the excess and roll it under and you are done.
  15. In this style, it’s easier if you use the side door instead of the front door.

Bonus tip

A little bonus for my respected readers who love the taste of knowledge and are interested in trekking and backpacking and making a homemade tent for camping.

How to make a camping tent from scratch for backpacking or carry

This method is for backpackers and hikers who love trekking. For backpackers, weight is their first concern. Specialized backpacking tents are created to be ultra-lightweight and sufficiently small to not take up all the space in your pack.

However, mostly these tents have a hefty price tag. So why not attempt building your own homemade tent for camping. With a touch of DIY effort and a little labor, you’ll be able to build your homemade camping tent carry and trekking for a fraction of the price.

First, you need to think about the material you’re using. A decent backpacking tent is sturdy, breathable well protective. 

Most tents are constructed from ripstop nylon which I advocate you to choose for your DIY backpacking tent. You can attempt to economize by using regular nylon. However, if you’re in a hurry and packing away, you might damage the fabric. Therefore it’s worth investing in more sturdy material.

If you’re planning to head out onto the trail, you may want to think carefully about obtaining a mosquito mash layer for the inside of your tent. 

Moreover, as being unbelievably annoying, in some areas mosquitos may carry dangerous diseases. Thus, check before setting off if this can be a thing you’ll like to consider.

If for some reason you end up stitching your tent cloth, bear in mind you’ll have to seam seal as additional consideration. You’ll be able to either use seam seal tape or paint on a sealant. 

For the floor of the tent, a durable and robust tarp is the most suitable option and waterproof of course to restrain puddles.

This method is for creating an easy, single-wall A-frame tent. It’s absolutely enclosed, the best pick for warm weather camping, and needs solely a number of materials. 

Be aware to waterproof your material and seam seal for the most effective weather protection. This tent can accommodate one person, ideal for ultra-lightweight packers.

You will need:
  1. A lightweight waterproof tarp, ideally silnylon (silicon nylon), dimensions a minimum of 3×3 meters, or 120 x 120 inches
  2. A ground tarp, it’s suggested to use a thick drop fabric or a durable tarp
  3. A spool of skinny nylon rope or a similar cord
  4. 5 pegs or stakes
  5. One hiking pole that’s extendable (this could be a nice feature as has multi-purpose)
  6. Bungee cord or twine

Building the tent

  1. First of all, scout for the best location as mentioned earlier. You must place your tent perpendicular to the wind and on an even surface. Take away any rocks, sticks, and any other debris from the area.
  2. Layout the silnylon tarp, smooth it out showing as neatness as possible.
  3. Use your stakes to peg the corners and center at the back of the tent. The back ought to be wherever the worst of the weather may be directed. The back of the tent is the strongest part. Stake the back so it’s immensely taught.
  4. Next, take the front two corners and bring them together, then wherever they fold within the center, lift. Peg the two corners down together within the middle, making a slit opening in a pyramid form.
  5. Extend your hiking pole completely, place it under the centerfold. It will create a triangle shape. Make sure to push it firmly into the ground.
  6. To confine the pole from sliding out, wrap the bungee cord around covering the tent. Thus it’s firmly attached.
  7. To help protect yourself from the rain and mosquitos, you’ll need to tie some rope around the front flap and connect it to your peg inside. This can stop the rain from coming in through the slit.
  8. Finally, it’s time to lay down your heavier-duty tarpaulin inside, for skimpy protection from any dampness from the grass. 
  9. Try and use the remaining rope, cord, or twine as guy lines to the ground or trees. Hopefully, this can offer some additional support to your structure and facilitate in preventing the tent from falling in. 

This DIY tent bears a ton of advantages. The materials are low-cost, thus for budget backpackers, it will offer a secure and dry place to sleep in at night. That is all you actually would need. It won’t offer the best protection from cold weather or bugs. However, it can be assembled in a jiffy just about anywhere. 

Read another article.

Final Verdict

Hope I’ve helped you to be well versed in how to make a camping tent from scratch. You may also call it a DIY camping tent or homemade camping tent at a low cost.

Now you can have an easy time building a tent all by yourself when you plan on camping. All you’ll need, your tarps, strong poles, and some sturdy ropes or cord to completely set up a perfect little tent. These materials shouldn’t cost you much.

Please keep in mind, none of these tents are perfect for family camping. Unless you have got one extremely giant or several regular-sized tarps.

However, setting up a camping tent can be a fun activity to try to do with your children while teaching them a valuable ability at the same time. On the next camping trip with your family, locate an ideal tree and try setting up a tent together using only string and a tarp.  You will have a pleasant time and a lot of precious memories with your family.

If you are backpacking, knowing the proper way to create a tent like this may prevent money waste. If a bug or two isn’t your problem, these tents can do you no wrong.

I’ll suggest investing in good quality or a durable tarp if you plan to use these strategies for your camping trip, a lightweight one made of silnylon tarp is the best choice.

Making a tent from scratch isn’t as hard as it seems. I’ll gladly recommend everyone gives it a shot, even though it’s simply your backyard. You may already have the materials needed lying somewhere in the house as the vital elements are solely a water-proof tarp and a few ropes.

One must give it a go as it’s an essential survival ability and it is both easy and rewarding. Have a great time camping my lovely readers.


  1. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

Write A Comment