If you’ve never camped on a tent platform, we don’t blame you for not wanting to get your own. However, we strongly suggest you try it once and, after you’ve done it, to read this article. Building one takes some time and effort, but it’s absolutely worth it. Read to learn how to build your own tent platform!
What’s a Tent Platform?
A tent platform is an elevated frame that keeps your tent off the ground, not only preventing it from getting wet but also speeding up the drying process of your tent, and keeping the floor even. It’s like car camping without a car.
Materials You’ll Need & Location Is Key
Location, Location, Location: similar to looking at real estate, location is key. So naturally, the first step in your journey to build a tent platform is to choose the best location possible. How should you do it?
Look for a level spot with good ground and better drainage
The site should offer enough space for your tent and a front porch area
Keep an eye on the proximity to trees, as they can provide shade but also pose a risk during storms
After you’ve spent some time researching the available spots and have made a decision, it’s time to gather the materials before you start building. You’ll need things like:
Wood screws and galvanized nails
Joist hangers and post top connectors
Center beam and additional beams
Circular saw and other tools
Hardware for secure construction
Designing Your Platform
If you have all the materials, put on your creative hat and start designing your platform.
You should do it based on the size of your tent, leaving some extra room for a porch or walkway (your platform won’t be too practical without these). A good rule of thumb for canvas or wall tents is to aim for a larger platform than the tent’s footprint.
Never neglect the foundation:
Start by marking the corners of your platform
Dig holes for the posts on each corner and along the center line if you need more support
Finally, use post top connectors to secure your posts firmly in the ground, filling the holes with concrete for a stable base
Constructing the Frame
After and only after your base is solid, you can start laying the frame:
Attach beams to the posts using joist hangers and make sure that they are level-headed
The frame should outline the entire area of the tent platform
If you’re building a wall tent platform, think about the height and ensure that the frame accounts for the wall’s dimensions (i.e. don’t get a frame in place that is smaller that your tent walls)
The center beam: if your platform is large, you’re better off installing a center beam for extra support. The beam will help distribute the weight evenly and provide a solid base for your floor boards.
Building the Deck
Congrats! If you’ve made it to this section, it means that your tent platform is almost ready to go.
Start attaching the deck boards from one end, making sure that they are aligned and straight
Screw the boards to the frame using wood screws, but leave a small gap between each other for water drainage
Creating the porch and walkway:
If you plan to have a front porch or a walkway, you need to extend your decking beyond the main platform area
You can use this extra space to sit and relax or to store your camping gear
Setting Up Your Tent
Whether you choose a canvas tent, a wall tent, or any other type of tent, you need to make sure that it fits the platform.
Once you know that your tent fits (hopefully before you buy it!), you can lay it out and start setting it up over the platform. Use guy lines to secure it to the platform with extra stability.
Once you’re done setting up your tent, you can finalize the process by adding some final touches: accessories like a roof for your porch or railings for safety are normally a great choice.
Finally, think about the position of the sun and the direction of the wind when setting up the door and windows of your tent. You’ll thank us later.
Maintaining Your Platform
Final stop: regularly checking and maintaining your platform.
You should always keep an eye on any loose screws, damaged boards, and any other signs of wear. If you find something, repair it immediately before it gets worse. Assuming you’ll keep it clean and free from debris, your tent platform should last for a while.
Building a tent platform requires some effort on your part, but once you’re done, you’ll find it comfortable, secure, and a great complement to your camping experience. Learning how to build the tent platform is the hardest part.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Tent Platform Kit Worth It?
Yes: the tent platform kit is a great choice for campers that prefer a guided DIY process. It normally includes pre-cut wood, screws, joist hangers, and post top connectors, so pretty much all the materials will be ready to go.
What’s The Ideal Wood for a Wooden Platform?
For a wooden tent platform, we’d recommend using durable and weather-resistant wood such as cedar or pressure-treated pine. These are robust enough to withstand tough weather conditions.
What Deck and Floor Boards Should I Choose?
Choose deck and floor boards that are durable and weather-resistant. In our view, pressure-treated boards or composite materials are the best for longevity and low maintenance.