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Pop up tent Answered

I want to try and make a pop up beach tent. What is the metal used that will allow it to pop up and fold down please.




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1 year ago

Depends on the size and requirements in erms of stability.
These tiny cover tents for the kids are often made from spring steel wire, very stiff, hard to kink and always jumping back into the original shape.

One size bigger and you get tents with spring loaded "hinges" for the rods.
Here it is mostly your hard labour popping them while the prings or plstic retainers make sure the final shape is sturdy enough.
A bit like a camping chair that locks in place when popped up if you like.

The expensive and real pop up tents come with custom solutions that are often trade secrets.
For example in the simple form by using two or three flexible rods that act like springs when folded and help it to pop.

I guess the easiest solution for a DIY job would be to go with the lift up solution instead of pop up.
Let me try to make an example of bad looking box shape tent:
You have literally a box frame with roof.
In all corners you have hinges that allow folding.
Where required you also add a hinge system in the middle of a rod.
See just the bottom square you you could push the middle sections on either side in to collapse it to a pack as long as one side of the tent.
The springy parts is provided by hese elastic ropes as used to make the straps for your trailer or luggage.
Long enough to NOT rip when you folded the rods and placed inside them they will provide the springiness.
You biggest problem will be to create suitable "hinges" to make it all move.
Without a good 3D printer or metal workshop the only alternative I can think of is to use leather or strong fabric, like the material for airbags (free from the wreckers ;) ).

In case you want to go with something sturdier have a look at your umbrella to get and idea on how to provide flexible joints that fold a few times but still stay strong.
As with the umbrella the tent would keep its final shape by locking the rods into place with good tension on the fabric.

Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

1 year ago

I forgot to mention the word, "tensegrity."


I think it rhymes with "gritty."

Moreover, I think sleeping in a homemade tent could possibly occasion the use of both of those words.

By the way, there is a proverb, that goes something like:

You can only call it "camping" if you have some place to go home to.

As a corollary to that proverb, "displaced persons" and "homeless persons" and "nomads" are not really "camping" per se. They are doing something else, like, "squatting" or "living free" or "off the grid" or something like that.

I kind of used quotation marks excessively in that last paragraph, but that is because there is a lot to unpack there (no pun intended), and with the help of Wikipedia, or your favorite search engine, you can unpack those phrases in quote marks, and learn more about camping, and those other related subjects.

Edit: I forgot to mention that song, "Wherever I May Roam" by Metallica, which also has a bunch of synonyms for "nomad" all in one line.

♪ Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond. ♪
♪ Call me what you will. ♪


1 year ago

They are mostly made of fibre glass rods, although you do see ones with aluminium tubing as well

Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

Reply 1 year ago

It seems like there was some Zen proverb about the virtue of being flexible like the Reed, rather than rigid like the Oak tree.

Oh, wait! Maybe that was a Western proverb, or allegory, rather than an Eastern one. Wikipedia is telling me, "The Oak and the Reed" is one of Aesop's Fables.


Anyway, I guess where I am going with this, is small modern tents often have structural elements that are like the Reed: stiff but also flexible.

To me it seems fiberglass rods are more like the Reed, and aluminum rods are more like the Oak. By that I mean, I expect aluminum to be more vulnerable to permanent deformation, getting bent or broken, and thus inferior as a part of a tent.

Also I recall seeing some kind of rod, made in sections, with an elastic cord threaded through these, so they could sort of assemble into a long rod, but be packed in the length of a short rod.

Curiously, the Meriam-Webster Thesaurus, the online version, mentions tent rods, in its page for the word "flexible."


[sense] 3 able to bend easily without breaking

the tent was held up by crisscrossing flexible rods threaded through the top