How To Pitch a Tent Without Poles?

Pitch a Tent Without Poles

You go to set up your tent only to discover that you’ve forgotten the camping tent poles! Don’t worry, all is not lost! Here’s one way to tap into your inner MacGyver and pitch the tent without poles.

The first thing to do is look around your camping ground and see what you have to work with as far as support trees.

An overhanging tree like the one Mark and I found (pictured above) works great and will go with the ‘One Point Pitch’ instructions in Step #1.

If there’s nothing with a good strong overhang to tie onto, the alternative is to find two trees to string a rope between and that rope will become your ‘overhang’. (NOTE: the trees must be wide enough apart to fit your tent in between) If this is the case, you will follow the ‘Two Point Pitch’ instructions in Step #2.

Now that you have assessed your structural surroundings, you’ll need to find the following items either in your pack or car (lucky duck!) or at a local camp supply or hardware store:

– 80 feet of rope (for the ‘One Point Pitch’) or 100 feet of rope (for the ‘Two Point Pitch’)
– 8 tent stakes or long metal nails/spikes (at least 6″ long)
– a pocket knife (if you don’t already have one)

* You will also want to find a nice big rock to use as a hammer for the stakes.

 

Step 1: The ‘One Point Pitch’

 The 'One Point Pitch'

Pitching your tent using a highlighted tree requires the following steps:

1. Tie one end of your rope around the shaft, far enough so that when suspended, it hits the center of the place you have in mind for your tent. If the shaft is too large to reach or slide and attach one end, lay the rope on the shaft and work at double length instead!
2. Cut the hanging rope to the height of your navel – to make sure you have enough length to work.
3. Place your tent in the place (hopefully flat) you have chosen.
4. Use four stakes to secure the four corners of the tent using the anchor loops.
5. Measure and cut two lengths of rope that pass from each front corner to the top of the upper back corner. (Do not forget to include an extra length for your knots!)
6. Attach the two strings to the corresponding front and rear corners (as shown in Step 2) using a tab, hook, or eyelet (whatever is available on Your tent style). Buckle the suspended rope through the two upper ropes and pull the fabric of the tent is stretched but not stretched. Tie the hanging rope to itself to secure the upper ropes.
7. Measure and cut four pieces of rope 10 to 12 feet.
8. Attach each rope to a tab, hook or eyelet (which is available on your tent style) near the top of the tent (as illustrated above).
9. Tie knots to the other end of the four strings and use your remaining stakes to pull the fabric out of the tent, ‘shape’ your tent.
10. If you are lucky enough to find two sticks that are about the same length as the top edges of your tent, you can use them to give the top of your tent even more shape (= space inside) Stuck in between the two knots of the rope. You can also beat the ends of the sticks on the knots if you have an extra rope.
11. If you camping somewhere that is cold at night and you have to add the fly to the heat, you will need to feed it carefully into the upper ropes and wrap it as best you can around the mesh parts of your attempt. (We were somewhere warm enough not to need the fly).

That’s all! Because most tents will be different shapes and sizes, you may need to offer additional tricks / patches, but I believe in your internal MacGyver! You can do it!

Step 2: The ‘Two Point Pitch’

 The 'Two Point Pitch'

Pitching your tent between two trees requires the following steps:

1. Using two Half Half knots (shown above), attach the ropes between the two shafts you have chosen, at a height of about 2-3 feet above the height of your tent (When thrown with its poles).
2. Place your tent in the (hopefully flat) place between the trees.
3. Use four stakes to secure the four corners of the tent using the loops.
4. Measure and cut two lengths of rope that pass from each upper front corner to the top of the upper back corner. (Do not forget to include an extra length for your knots!)
5. Attach one of the strings to the top of the left front corner using a tongue, hook or eyelet (no matter what is available on your tent style). Throw the corner rope on your support rope and tie the corner rope to the left rear corner – so that the tent fabric is stretched but not stretched on that side.
6. Repeat on the right side.
7. Measure and cut four pieces of rope 10 to 12 feet.
8. Attach each rope to a tab, hook or eyelet (which is available on your tent style) near the top of the tent (as illustrated above).
9. Tie knots to the other end of the four strings and use your remaining stakes to pull the fabric out of the tent, ‘shape’ your tent.
10. If you are lucky enough to find two sticks that are about the same length as the top edges of your tent, you can use them to give the top of your tent even more shape (= space inside) Stuck in between the two knots of the rope. You can also beat the ends of the sticks on the knots if you have an extra rope. (See step 1 for braces images in action)
11. If you camping somewhere that is cold at night and you have to add the fly to the heat, you will need to feed it carefully into the upper ropes and wrap it as best you can around the mesh parts of your attempted. (We were somewhere warm enough not to need the fly).

That’s all! Because most tents will be different shapes and sizes, you may need to offer additional tricks / patches, but I believe in your internal MacGyver! You can do it!

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