Picture of Pitch A Tent Without Poles
Picture this: It's your long awaited vacation. You've arrived at a beautiful campsite. You go to set up your tent only to discover that you've forgotten the tent poles at home! Don't panic, all is not lost! Here's one way to tap into your inner MacGyver and pitch the tent without poles.

(I may or may not have found this out the hard way... : ) A big thanks to my fella Mark for making my forgetfulness fun!)

The first thing to do is look around your campsite 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.

A fair amount of tents come with a "Guy-Up" system which allows you to pitch your tent without poles. I would suggest familiarizing yourself with the Guy-Up system in your tent before relying on this method, although it is a good fix for a tight situation.
BARKing1 year ago


You will find this is a better knot to use in this case than the half hitches. I always keep the tent poles in the same bag as the tent ;)

Slasher5771 year ago
i have also hit this rough spot before and you could use less rope in figure 1 if you got 4 sticks all about 4ft tall and put one on each corner at about a 65 degree angle you could use a shorter length of rope to attach it to the middle pole hook thing on each corner and tie that to the stick and adjust it till the tent is taunt