What is an A-Frame Tent?

A quick guide to the iconic tent and how to make your own

Flickr/Jeff DaPuzzo

An A-Frame tent is the classic, triangular tent that looks like an ‘A’ with a rectangular floor, hence the ‘A-Frame’. Frame tents that you buy in stores are usually double-skin tents. There is one skin that goes over the frame and protects the tent from the elements. The inner skin has a window or extra air vents.

The A-frame is free-standing and most often has quick-clips for an easier setup. Most A-frames are quite small, with enough space to comfortably sleep two people. There are usually five poles. Two in the front and back to create that ‘A’ shape, and one across the top to connect the two ‘A’s and keep the tent secure. Because these tents are very small and lightweight, they are great for the minimalist.

Related: How to Pitch a Tent

If you are making your own tent, this is the style that is the easiest to achieve with very few items.
Here’s how to make your own A-frame Tent.

1. Make sure you have everything you need:

  • A plastic tarp or sheet over 25 feet. The plastic tarp will be much better for resisting inclement weather.
  • Rope
  • 5 Long Sticks
  • Stakes (heavy rocks will do the trick)

2. Take two of the sticks and make a triangular shape (like an ‘A’). Let them cross and tie them together at the top. They should be tied so that there is an upside triangular at the top after they are tied. This will hold the stick that lies across. Repeat this step with two more of the sticks. Now you have the front and back of the tent.

3. Place the triangles you formed at a comfortable distance apart. You want the ability to lay down and be covered by the tent, so the placement depends on your height.

4. Lay the final stick on the top across the grouped sticks. Now you have your frame.

5. Put the tarp over the frame.

6. Use the rocks to weigh down the corners and end of the tarp.

This tent is open and serves more as a comfortable resting spot than an overnight stay, depending on your desire. I would recommend buying an A-Frame tent which offers more protection than this DIY version.

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