How to Make a Camping Tent from Scratch: A Helpful Guide

Learning how to make a camping tent from scratch can be a valuable skill. Not only do you save money and have fun from making it, but a tent might also even save your life. It can provide you shelter in thunderstorms or extreme heat when you are hiking or trekking.

Yes, it is true that making your own tent can be a bit laborious, but it is certainly not impossible. With the right knowledge as well as tools, anyone can make a good tent.

How to Make a Camping Tent from Scratch?

Below, we will discuss an easy-to-understand procedure on how you can make a camping tent from scratch.


For a multipurpose and straightforward camping tent, here are the things that you would need:

  • A waterproof tarp (any other waterproof material can do too)
  • Posts or sticks that have short and long lengths
  • Ropes

As you can see, all these materials are easily available online and at hardware stores near you. It is pretty easy to carry these things as well.


For a sturdy and protective camping tent, here are the proper steps to follow:

Phase One: Prepping the Tarp

  1. Lay out the tarp flat on the ground.
  2. Measure the diameter of the poles or sticks.
  3. Using a knife or even a pair of scissors, make holes on each corner of the tarp. These holes are actually for the poles or sticks, so make sure the holes are a little bit smaller than the measured diameter of the posts.
  4. Once you have made the holes, cut the rope into four equal pieces. Now, pass the rope through these holes, but you need not tie them at the moment since they will be used to secure the tent later on.

Phase Two: Placing the Tent

Now comes the part that requires some labor as you will be putting up posts and ultimately the tent.

  1. Once you have located the best spot, place a larger post in what would be the center of your tent (the position should be exactly at the center of the tarp).
  2. Make sure this post is secure and place the tarp over it. Take your time to ensure it is in the right position because this step is pretty crucial.

Phase Three: Securing the Tent

After placing the tarp over the centralized post, move on to the corners of the tarp.

  1. Pull the corner of the tarp out and down, almost like a diagonal. Be careful here as you do not want to push it too hard and change the position.
  2. Now, you can put a stick through the hole that you cut earlier and secure it to the ground. Repeat this with the remaining three corners.
  3. When you are done, your camp tent should look like a pyramid.

Phase Four: Tying the Rope

Finally, it is time to tie the ropes and secure the tent.

  1. Move to each corner and securely tie the ropes to the sticks or posts.
  2. Now check the tent if it is strong enough. If you feel like it could still use some weight on the corners, place some rocks to further hold it down.

Phase Five: Final Touches

If you have another tarp with you, that can be laid on the ground so as to create a tent floor. If you like, you can even secure this tarp with spikes or rocks. Having a tarp at the surface can be nice for the camp as your stuff will stay clean and you can sit comfortably.

Your very own camping tent is all ready for you to move in and start the campfire. You do not even need a lot of tools for this. In fact, all you really need is a tarp and rope since you can find sticks and ropes in your surroundings.

How to Set Up the Tent or Tarp Using Trees?

Instead of a long center post, you can hang the tarp over a rope tied to trees. This is more convenient, especially if you are in a forest. Of course, you must also put holes on the tarp and insert ropes.


  1. Find two trees that have an ample distance between them for you to set up your camping tent. Likewise, you would need to ensure that you have enough rope to tie the ends to these trees.
  2. Tie one end of the rope at an appropriate height (depending on your tarp) of one tree and tie the other end at the same level on the second tree.
  3. Make sure the rope is securely tied and is parallel to the ground.
  4. Throw the tarp over the rope so that the tarp is folded over the rope in two, equal halves. If the tarp ends above the ground, you have tied the rope too high.
  5. Now, move the corners away and secure them to the ground either with sticks or rocks. You can tie these corners using the rope if you have extra left. You can always use heavy rocks as well to secure the tent.
  6. If you have another tarp with you, lay it on the ground to create a tent floor.

How to Find the Ideal Location for the Tarp or Tent?

Knowing how to make a tent using a tarpaulin and other easy-to-find materials is not enough for you to be successful. Where you set up the camping tent is also extremely important because you want to be comfortable. Also, you need to stay away from anything that could potentially harm you and damage the tent.

Hence, find a spot near trees so that you may get some shade. However, make sure to check the leaves and branches. If they look like they could fall easily during a storm, avoid putting the tent there. In addition, never set up at a position that is steep because when it rains, all the water will gather at that spot and enter your tent. Ideally, you should set up on a ground that is slightly damp. This is because when you are setting it up, dust will not blow around you. Also, the materials would stick better into the damp surface.


Now that you already know how to make a camping tent from scratch both with the help of posts and trees, you can utilize this knowledge the next time you are camping. Of course, there are small, portable camping tents as well, but making your own from square one can be an adventure in itself. Plus, this is a basic survival skill that can come in handy in stressful situations.

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