For trips or for storage, tent poles are easier to handle if they are collapsible. A good project for a trip group is to make compact sets from ready-made poles, or from rough-cut saplings. Ridge poles may be treated in similar fashion. This project is best for lightweight poles for small tents. The dimensions given here are for a pole 11/2" in diameter.

Equipment needed: crosscut saw; vise; ruler and pencil; hammer; wood or rawhide mallet; tin shears; lightweight cardboard for pattern; sandpaper.

Materials needed: tent pole, or pole of needed length and diameter; galvanized metal, or tin from cans, to make 2 strips 51/2" wide, long enough to go around pole, plus 1"; tacks.


1. Mark a 70° angle on tent pole. This angle is the diagonal on a 5" space (Fig. XVI-31 a) on a 11/2" pole. (Protractor may be used.)

2. Put pole in a vise, and saw on angle line; sand edges of cut (Fig. XVI-31 a).

3. Make a cardboard pattern of the metal sleeve to go around the pole with 1" overlap for seam. Make sleeve wide, allowing 1/4" to be folded back if using tin from a can; 5" is sufficient for galvanized sheet metal, if edges are smooth.

4. Make a tight joint (Fig. XVI-31 b).

5. Transfer outline of pattern to metal; cut out with tin shears. If tin, turn top and bottom edges and flatten, to strengthen metal and to make edge smooth.

(See Chap. VI on Metal work for techniques in bending edges.)

6. Bend edges for seam (Fig. XVI-31 b); flatten to make good fit.

7. Place on pole, both pieces of pole in place; hammer seam tight.

8. Remove one piece of pole; tack sleeve to other piece with tacks in two places (Fig. XVI-31 c).

Collapsible Ridge Pole

Ridge poles may be made collapsible in the same manner as tent poles, if the ridge is lightweight. For heavier ridges, the pole should be cut and bolted as in Figure XVI-32 a; countersink the holes for the bolts; use wing nuts for the under side of the ridge pole (Fig. XVI-32 b). It is important not to have anything such as the metal sleeve edge or a bolt head rubbing against the ridge of the tent.

Carrier For Poles

A simple device for carrying lightweight poles or sections of poles is the two-ended cloth carrier (Fig. XVI-33). Use lightweight canvas or heavy denim. Make the ends round, and fit as in the ditty bag project in this chapter. Fasten cord to ends, allowing enough cord to wind around the poles and to tie in the middle of the bundle. This is a good device for keeping poles for a specific tent in one package. A bag for pegs, a bag for tent, and pole carriers may be made of similar materials, marked for easy identification.

A Tab Tarp

This is a good beginning step in tent making, especially for a group. A sewing machine is really essential in tent making, although it is conceivable that all stitching might be done by hand. This tarp may be used in a number of ways- as a shelter, a fly, a woodpile cover, etc. Grommets in the corners and on the edges of this tarp make it especially strong; tapes may be used instead of grommets, if desired. See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques.

Equipment needed: sewing machine or needle, thimble, etc.; grommet setting tools; pins; waterproofing equipment; heavy thread.

Materials needed: 91/4 yds. material 39" wide-closely woven, firm material, such as duck, heavy muslin, sheeting, or balloon cloth; 10 yds. cotton twill tape, 1" wide; grommets or rings.


1. Cut material into 3 strips, each 9' 3" long.

2. Overlap center selvage edges 11/2", and stitch flat with two rows of stitching. Turn side selvage edges A-B 11/2", and stitch flat, using two rows of stitching (Fig. XVI-34).

3. Turn ends A -A and B-B 11/2"; pin tape across to bind this hem. (Tape may be used on selvage edges at sides, above, but is not necessary.) Or, turn regular hem across ends, and pin in place.

4. Cut IS patches each 3" square; turn edges in y4, and baste in place as in Figure XVI-34-at the four corners (x), at the middle of the four sides (x) and in the places for the five tapes (y).

5. Stitch side hems of tarp, stitching corner and side patches at the same time. Stitch each row twice, to be sure these are firmly stitched.

6. Stitch tape patches y in place with double rows of stitching.

7. Cut tapes 18" long; baste in place in center of y patches, as in Figure XVI-34 a; stitch through patch and tarp material on edges, and through center, crisscrossing for strength.

8. Set grommets or rings at corners and sides (x patches); or, sew tapes at these patches if preferred.

9. Waterproof as desired (see this chapter).