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 www.deltablues.net. His tripod can be found at: http://www.deltablues.net/tripod.html
Step 1: Materials and Tools
You will need:
3 sections of 1/2" conduit 4' long or longer
3 sturdy eye bolts
4' of chain - the kind with the wire links is great.
Tubing cutter or hacksaw
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.