Pitch a Tent Without Poles

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Introduction: Pitch a Tent Without Poles

About: I enjoy the outdoors but I wouldn't call myself an outdoor expert. I do risk management for a living so I tend to think worst case scenario in most cases. It makes me a lot of fun at parties .

Recently we camped with friends and the boys' tent came without poles. I did this out of necessity but it worked like a charm. In fact a small tent with no poles is now part of my hiking gear/ Go Bag (which you can see here), since it weighs very little.
I apologize if this is way too obvious, but when I looked up the subject I saw an Instructable that involved 100 feet of cordage and is an impressive feat of engineering for sure, but it seems like more work than most frustrated campers would want to do.
So here it is. I can add more detail and pics if needed.

Step 1: No Poles No Problem

Find a couple of green sticks (so they are flexible) long enough to extend a foot or so into the sleeves that hold the poles you or your kids forgot.

Step 2: Raise the Roof

With the tent staked to the ground between 2 trees, use a piece of rope (I used a ratchet strap because I had one) and bring it under the 2 "poles" and secure it tightly at the height of the tent. The tighter it is the better since this will be the support of the tent.

Step 3: Sleep

The tent went through a heck of a rain storm that night and stayed dry. Essentially it was no different than if it were set up with the poles.

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    15 Comments

    Thanks! Necessity makes me think now and then.

    I like this. You could do this just using one tree by putting the cord higher up the tree and using tent pegs at the other end in the ground. I use a tarp and a single hiking stick when I go bike camping but I like the idea of something that keeps the bugs out so I might keep my eyes open for an old tent.

    1 reply

    Yes there is another Instructable that uses a cord from a high point (actually a lot of cordage) and I think you could easily combine the ideas using the sticks and a high point.

    The downside to that would be any rain or dew is coming straight down on you.

    This method still allows (with this tent configuration... Not all would work) the rain fly to work.

    Thanks for the comments!

    I like it! I've had to do similar things when I forget mine.
    Now if you have an idea of how to get all the poles and tent back into that damn bag afterwards, I'm all ears.

    2 replies

    If you are interested... I made one.

    Actually I do. Is that something that people would be interested in seeing?

    walking sticks might be a good idea for backpackers who dont live in wooded areas for poles. or makeshift trees for your rope lines.

    I don't really know how all this works but I would appreciate any votes.

    Great solution!

    I'm going to log this away deep in the mental "just in case" file. Thank you!

    1 reply

    No problem! I can rarely remember these ideas when I need them. I suppose I log them very deep (ie forget).

    This would also be a good use for broken poles (in place of the sticks). I like your spartan take on the pole-less tent!

    1 reply

    It definitely would. In my particular case the poles were several hours away. But I have a pair of poles that are from an old tent that I have since thrown in with my gear.