Wedge Tent

Sylvie's Wedge Tent

This was the second tent I ever built (also the third, fourth and fifth. I built two of these and helped on another). The first tent was my huge round Taj Pavillion. I wanted something more reasonable for my second attempt. I also wanted something I could take to Estrella XX. It took 2 weeks from cutting the fabric to completing the last niggly bit.

The final tent is 8 feet tall by 10 feet wide by 11.5 feet deep. It's big enough for a 20-inch tall queen size bed with plenty of room to spare for storage and moving about. The bed takes up about 1/2 the floor space in the tent.


For the fabric portion:
45 yards of 36" wide sunforger
2 spools of poly-core cotton thread (I use handquilting thread)
2 large grommets (large enought to accomodate 3/8" steel pins below)
10 nail-and-washer stakes (12" long nails with washers on them)
Some webbing (I think I used about 5 feet)
Some rope (I think I used about 1 foot per stake loop)

4 more stakes
Some more rope for two high wind ropes(66 feet)

I recommend oak or some other hardwood. That said, I used pine uprights and a redwood ridge for a year and a half with little problem.

2 8' upright poles (min. 2x2)
1 12' ridge pole (min. 2x4)
2 8" eyebolts
2 3/8" x 9" steel pins
Finish (paint, verthane etc)

For the fabric portion:


Measure out 4 pieces of sunforger that are each 259 inches long. From the end of each of the wall pieces, measure up 12 inches and mark it all the way across. Make another mark 4 inches above that. Sew these two marks together to make a flap for the bottom of the walls. Hem the bottom of the mud flap with a simple double-fold(Picture at right). The flap defines the bottoms of the walls.. and the double-fold hems the mudflaps so they don't ravel.


Measure out 4 pieces of sunforger that are 120 inches long.
Use flat-felled seams and connect every two of the four door pieces. Cut each rectangle into two triangular-ish doors as in the diagram to the right. The grey rectangle in the bottom right-hand corner will be discarded.

Put at least a single-fold hem along the selvege edge of the door pieces. Put a double-fold hem along the bottom of the door pieces, the edge of the door mudflap and the top of the wide door.


Use flat-fell seams to connect all four of the wall pieces along their long edge (I didn't connect the flap at the bottom of the walls or the mudflaps. I suppose you could. If you do you'll need to come up with a different way to attach the stake loops).

Attach the webbing along each side between each flap. I took a 4" long piece of webbing, inserted it into the flap on either side of a seam, and sewed it in. (need a picture here)
Attach the stake loops. There should be 5 on each side. Cut a piece of rope and tie it in a circle just big enough to go over the washer of the stakes. Tie this onto the webbing at the bottom of the walls. (-really- need a picture here)

Add triangular reinforcements to all 4 of the outer corners of the tent. Those corners are under a lot of stress and it really sucks when they rip.

Attach cut edge of door triangles to tent using a french seam (the flappy part of the seam should be on the outside of the tent). Make sure each end of the tent has one wide door and one narrow door (so that they can overlap).

Place triangular reinforcements at the apex of the tent. Make it thick. Add a grommet. Ideally you'd also button hole over the grommet for additional strength.

Add ties to the doors. I have six evenly spaced with two every two feet up the front of the tent. One on the each side of the overlap.

It's also nice to have door tie backs at the outside of the doors about 2-3 foot up from the bottom. (need a picture here)

The Woodwork

Cut the ridge pole to the correct length. It should be around 11.5 feet long but cut the board so that it fits your canvas. It should be slightly shorter (ie 1 inch less) than the distance between the ridge grommets.

Drill the ends of the ridge pole and set the eyebolts.

Drill the ends of the uprights. Set the pins at least 3" deep in the poles.

Wrap or reinforce around the outside of all of the poles to help prevent break-out. I use some hemp twine that's then soaked in verethane.

Finish the poles(paint, verthane, etc). Very important. Unfinished poles are more prone to crack, warp and break.

(Optional, but recommended)Make the high wind ropes. Each high wind rope is 33 feet long. Fold rope in half and put an overhand loop (or figure 8 loop) on the end. Measure down each leg of the rope and put another overhand loop(or figure 8 loop) in the rope about 3 foot down from the center loop. Be sure to add flags to each leg of your rope. I use about a foot of white (or yellow) gros-grain ribbon tied on each leg above the outer loops.

Setting up your new tent

So many right ways to do it.

My favorite requires that you have a ground cloth that's 10'x11.5'. I have a heavy duty tarp that I cut down to that size.

Lay the canvas out on the ground cloth with the ridge pole under the canvas.
Stake out all four corners of the canvas at the corners of the ground cloth.
Run the pins of the uprights through the eyebolt of the ridge and then through the grommet at the top of the tent. Add optional high-wind ropes and then flags.

Get a willing assistant to help you to raise the tent. You need to make sure that you both raise your ends at the same time or you could end up breaking the pin out of the top of the upright.

If you've measured your ground cloth right the tent should now stand on its own and be fairly taut. If it's not taut, fidget with it until it is. If it's loose at this point and you don't fix it -now- it'll be loose the whole time. A taut tent is a happy tent.

Stake down each side starting with the middle stake and then doing the outer two.

If you have high wind (or if you think there will be high wind), drive stakes about 3-4 feet out from the front of the tent at 45 degree angle to the tent. Run the rope around the stake and then through the lower loop. Finish it off with a half-hitch and then chain up the rest of the rope.

Copyright © 2004-2010 Monica Kroger.

Home | Timeline | Research Dumping Ground | House Blog

Contact me: