Camping Tripod for Cooking Over Fire




This is a step by step guide to making a sturdy tripod you can use to hang a cook pot, dutch oven, coffee pot, or anything else you want to hold over a campfire.

There are very nice commercially produced tripods available, including expensive wrought-iron ones. This one can be made for $20-$25 if you buy everything brand new, and will be nearly as durable, and certainly lighter. It could be made cheaper, even free if you can scavenge the parts from scrap. (Update - I just saw a wrought-iron one at Joe's sporting goods for $45. I think I'll stick with my conduit one.)

Credit for this concept goes to Junior Doughty of His tripod can be found at:

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

You will need:

3 sections of 1/2" conduit 4' long or longer
3 sturdy eye bolts
2 S-hooks
4' of chain - the kind with the wire links is great.

Tubing cutter or hacksaw
Wire cutter

Step 2: Cut the Legs

First, cut the conduit to the desired length. I made mine 4'8", but you can make them any length you like.

The tubing cutter has little rollers and a cutting wheel on a clamp. Tighten the clamp onto the conduit where you want the cut then tighten it down, turn, and repeat until the conduit is cut all the way through.

A hacksaw may also be used to do the job.

If you don't have a way to cut the conduit, the hardware store may cut it for you when you buy it.

Step 3: Open One Eye Bolt

Open one eye of one eye bolt using pliers, or lever it open with pliers and a scrap of tubing. This is the hardest part if you bought beefy eye bolts like these. It was probably overkill.

Step 4: Assemble the Eye Bolts and Chain

Now put the other two eyes and one end of the chain onto the open eye bolt. Use the hammer to reclose the open eye securely so it all stays together.

Step 5: Connect the Legs

Put the shafts of the eye bolts into the ends of the legs and stand it up with the legs equidistant, like it will look over a campfire. Put one of the S-hooks on the chain near the top and use the pliers to close it tight. This will be the adjuster for the cookpot height.

Step 6: Cut the Chain to Length

Cut the chain to the desired length, using your cookware to measure the longest possible chain length desired.

It is long enough if the pot can sit on the ground and remain on the chain.

Put another S-hook onto the end of the chain and close with pliers.

Step 7: Hang Cookware

Hang your dutch oven, coffee pot, or whatever on the chain and make sure it will support its weight. Ensure the adjuster hook will get the cookware to the level you want.

Step 8: Fold It Up

The beauty of this design is that it can collapse easily for storage and transport.

Step 9: Customize and Enjoy

You can add lost of different useful features to this basic design. Add an extra hook to hang utensils, paint it with stove paint, make a mechanism to permanently connect the legs to the head, whatever you want.

Later on I am going to drill holes in two legs and add eye bolts to hold an additional piece of conduit from which I can hang more chains and hooks for more pots, or to hang boots for drying. (My brother-in-law has burned up two pairs of boots in as many hunting seasons because he puts them too close to the fire.)

The lower ends of the tripod should remain cool enough that you can pick up one leg at a time bare-handed to move it around a little bit. If you want to raise or lower the chain while it is hot, you might need oven mitts or a dutch oven lid lifter.

2 People Made This Project!


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47 Discussions


4 years ago

I made this! well OK my husband did...

6' 1/2 " poles and those big eyehooks.

He left the bolt on the eye hooks, screwed the bolts on the eye bolts as far as they could go, and pounded the eye hooks into the poles (not hard to do).

But opening that one third eye hook was a doozy. I recommend opening it using a vise before you pound it into the pole and then hammering it closed.

A carabinier hangs from one of the eye hooks and the chain hangs from that. In picture #3 you can see the doodad that holds the dutch oven. He did not cut the chain, the length can be adjusted by another eyehook at the end of the chain.

This is going to make for some fun backyard cooking! thank you so much for this great Instructable!

3 replies

Reply 10 months ago

I've made Awning Poles that way. The Nuts are for a Much Larger Diameter bolt than the ones used for this project. These Eye Bolts are a "Slip Fit" not the "Friction Fit" that your husband used.

BLACK HOLE BBQingriddayton

Reply 3 years ago

I like the way you modified yours....gonna build me one. Take a look on my BBQ page on FB...Black Hole BBQ. Might do build tomorrow....wanna do some recipes camp fire style.


10 months ago on Step 3

Don't open up the Eye Bolt. Bend it to one side just enough to hook through the other 2 Eye Bolts and it is much easier to bend it back in place than Re-close the now open Eye Bolt.


2 years ago

great build. i was going to make one out of rebar or solid round stock at work. I was gonna bend the stock at the top with a torch, but conduit sounds like it will be way lighter for transport. good job.


2 years ago

Very nice project! I'd like to reprint this in Wood-Fired Magazine. Please contact me at


2 years ago

*fire, not filre... No "edit" feature, Instructables?


9 years ago on Introduction

Can you make the legs telescoping, since they're pipe i think you should be able to use another eyebolt to make them stay put.

2 replies

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Yes, but to keep it simple you could also add in-line conduit connectors and cut the legs in the middle. Gravity would hold the connectors in place.


Reply 2 years ago

get some tubes that are a size up. so your legs can slide inside the bigger ones.

get a nut that fits inside the bigger tube, and pound it inside. pretty easy to do with a hammer.

poke it in an inch or two deeper (either screw in the eye bolt and hammer the top in then unscrew. or put your small pole inside and hammer the top)

the bolt should be pretty immovable. when you set it up, it won't be telescopic, but you can assembled to add length.


3 years ago

I'm making this to hang the waterer for our pastured turkeys. This is SO Cool - Thanks


5 years ago on Introduction

This is a great idea!! I was thinking of using black pipe for a little more strength so I can make it a bit taller. Where I go camping the fire pits are a bit oversized. Making it taller will help me get around that. Thanks a lot!!


9 years ago on Introduction

Man... I feel so silly for over-thinking this. Thank you SO much for this. I think you just saved my party  this weekend, and improved my whole summer.

1 reply

9 years ago on Introduction

I was looking for a suitable tripod design when I ran across yours. I was making a "crane" for our Geology team to take sediment samples form the bottom of a 100' deep glacial lake. They have to portage in the equipment to the lakes, so light and simple was a premium. 2' long legs, 2"x4" cedar frame bridging two kayaks, with pulleys and a winch. I added aluminum plugs in the ends of the conduit, to make it a little more rigid, but it's your concept. Thanks! Ken Tried to add a picture, but it doesn't show up. :(

S-KayakCrane 2.JPG
1 reply

8 years ago on Step 3

using two pair of pliers you can twist the half of the eyelet to the side. it can be twisted back in the same manner. wish i could explain this better. it's easier than prying it up and trying to close it again.

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Yes, you are right. It can be closed more securely this way. The eye bolts I used were too beefy for the pliers I had to open sideways, but I was able to pry them open the long way and they were thick enough that it didn't matter.


7 years ago on Introduction

This is a great idea and design! I've been wanting a dutch oven tripod for awhile now, I already have a tripod that I picked up for $15 with a grate and small chain, but when I put a dutch oven on, the weigh of it started to bend the plate on top that holds the legs together. With your instuctable I was able to have a two in one tripod set up that has collapsible legs. A grill grate, AND a dutch oven! You can pick up a pretty nice tripod at a farm and fleet either at the beginning, or the end of the year for cheap, that's when I found mine. Or just buy a round grill grate and put three small chains and a small s-hook together and hang it from yours.