Rope Bed




About: I am a guy who loves making new things, improving other designs and the great outdoors!

In this instructable, I will show you step by step how to make a rope bed and shelter using only

1-Pocket Saw

1- Knife


10 -Pieces of wood

Approximate 40m of cheap rope (got mine for $6)

Step 1: Tripod: Picking the Right Wood

You'll want to grab six pieces of wood which are at least two feet taller than you, they should not easily snap and preferably be hardwood. You'll reduce the size accordingly later.

Note: I say six to save you time as you'll return to this step later

Step 2: Tripod: Putting It Together

You'll want to now evenly lean the three pieces of wood and hold them secure. Bonus if the tripod stands on its own. To test the strength, grab onto the tripod where the sticks meet and see if it can hold your body weight

Step 3: Tripod: Lashing the Three Together

You'll want to attach the three so they're secure. At this point, once you're sure that your tripod is ready, you can cut off the excess wood to make the tripod even.

For additional help, go to:


Step 4: Tripod Crossbars

Tools Needed





You'll want a piece of wood that is strong, can bend a little and exceeds the length between two of the legs of your tripod

To save time, get an extra ready

Step 5: Tripod-Crossbars: Markings

Hold your piece of selected wood about one-two feet above ground and take a knife to mark the diameter of the tripod leg. This will help you know where to make cuts in the next few steps

Do so on both ends of the wood

Step 6: Tripod-Crossbars: the Cuts

Cut with your saw where you made your marks. The cuts should be just under half the diameter of the wood evenly

Step 7: Tripod-Crossbars: More Cuts

Now, make many more evenly within the two initial cuts

Step 8: Tripod-Crossbars: Pulling Out the Pieces

Now, take your chisel and start to carefully pull out the wood. Once you're done, smooth the surface so it's flat (ish)

Step 9: Tripod-Crossbars: Sizing It Up

Size your cuts up to see if they fit to the tripod legs

Return to Step 7 and repeat on other side of wood

Step 7

Step 10: Tripod-Crossbars: Attaching the Crossbar

Put your wood that you'we made cuts on against the tripod, you may want a friend to help hold it secure for you

Start with a simple figure eight knot and then pull the active end through the figure eight.

Step 11: Square Lashing

I made mine a LOT more complex than it needed to be. All you have to do is a simple square lashing over and over again. For visual help on how to do a square lashing, here are some links

Square Lashing Video

Square Lashing Animation

Diagonal Lashing Animation

Do so on both ends of the wood then test by sitting on it and adjust accordingly

Return to step 11

Once you've done this click the link below to make the second tripod, remember to make the two tripods as identical as possible

Step 2

Step 12: Bedframe

Now for the bed frame!

Take two sticks preferably alive and bendable (for comfort). They should be at least one head taller than you.

Tie these using a square lashing or diagonal lashing too the existing two pieces of wood which you've already tied. They should rest on both crossbars and have excess wood hanging off the edge (as seen in the last image)

Step 13: Bedframe: the Notches

Once the frame is ready and secure, time to make the notches to prevent the rope from slipping out of place! Make around 4 notches on each side of the frame. This is where the rope will go

Step 14: Bedframe: Weaving the Net

You'll want the net to not only go from side to side but also down and up

Step 15: Video

Here's a video of the rope bed in action!

Step 16: Notes

Weaving: When weaving, you should do one loop then at the centre of the rope, wrap the loose end around the rope a few times before making the next crossover. Be sure the net is relatively tight and has as few holes as possible. In the process of making the bed, test for strength as often as possible.

Usage: If you're going to sleep on the bed, make sure the bottom is covered as well as the top. The design is far from perfect but it's a start. I slept on my bed and it was comfortable but I was freezing!

I am currently working on a new design which has 16 pieces of wood and will be a box frame with the bed closer too the ground and make covering the structure with a tarp easier!

Please contact me if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!

Be smart, safe,enjoy and good luck!

-Michael Joseph



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    14 Discussions


    2 years ago

    That looks roomier than our usual camp beds. We make two x's out of two inch poles, lay an eight foot pole on top and a ten foot on the bottom, then string a backpack hammock between the x's. A tarp for rain and you're camping lite. Will have to try your method with an inflatable mattress.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Good way to stay dry !

    As it is hard to tell from the pictures, what is the size of the finished bed ?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Depends on your height. I am 5 6 and i made mine 8 by 4 feet


    3 years ago

    I Love these instructibles.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Very neat and simple explanation, I'd already seen the idea and had it explained, but photos and step-by-step is always better :D

    One suggestion (as I was told to do it): put the bedframe sides on the *outside* of the tripod, so any weight on the net will be pushing wood onto wood and not pulling on string and knots, making it more secure

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I see what you mean, I considered doing that yet for some reason, the idea escaped me as I was making it.

    Uncle Kudzu

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Well, ain't that cool! Well done! And thanks for including the lashing illustration links.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool! Nice for siestas. Maybe a roll-up mattress pad made to withstand the elements could be hung from it. On my summer bucket list.


    3 years ago

    Great instructable!

    Just4Fun Media

    3 years ago

    Interesting build! It reminds me of the swamp beds we used to rig up in Boy Scouts.

    Have a great day! :-)


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Rope beds are where the expression 'sleep tight' comes from, pre box springs. The bed ropes are cinched up tight for a firm surface but by morning have often stretched out and sag.