What you need to know when building a tent platform
Posted on: May 3, 2022
By: Heather Rae Petersen
Tent platforms are a great if you want to pitch your tent on uneven ground or you just like how they look.
Which tent platform works best for you?
There are many factors that determine what type of platform works best for you like: budget, location and material choice. That's why there's no standardized answer on how to build one, however we can show you how a tent should be pitched on a platform.
Every platform is different and unique, just like every tent owner.
One thing to know about our CanvasCamp tents is that they can be pitched directly on flat ground - they’re built for it. The reason is because they’re fitted with a heavy duty ‘bathtub style’ groundsheet that rises 12cm (4¾ in) up the side wall of the tent, creating a waterproof basin to keep you dry in all but the worst of conditions, even during the winter or a heavy downpour. Read more about our tent groundsheet here.
Looking for inspiration?
Tent Platform Ideas
If your primary goal is to achieve an appearance of permanence - consider a ribbon of river rocks or decorative gravel around the perimeter of the tent. It’s more affordable and less laborious than building a platform. Rock moats also help with drainage, dust, and weed control - and they look stylish.
Platform With Front Porch
When you build a platform for the entire tent, it's raised off the ground. This gives the feeling that you're looking out over the land. This is particularly useful if your terrain is uneven or has steep slopes. A front porch gives you a flat surface to stretch out and relax.
If the land is even, you can also build a lounge deck in the front of the tent (or back of the tent if you have a double door), and pitch the tent on the ground, avoiding the investment in decking under the tent where it isn’t really needed.
Sail away with me
Canvas was also used for sails, right? Build a tent platform raft and turn your tent into a unique mobile home.
A treehouse is made of lumber and dreams. It has a certain intangible magic that takes us back to a time when you can get away from it all, connect with nature and choose your own adventure. In a treehouse, you rise above the world.
How to Pitch a Tent on a Platform
If you have uneven ground or steep slopes, then a platform may be a necessity. Your platform design, size, shape, and material is up to you - or a professional contractor of your choice.
The most important part of pitching a tent on a deck is to achieve the exact same shape and guy line angles as would be achieved by pitching the tent on flat ground.
Use screws to attach the groundsheet to your deck through the grommets - NOT THE ELASTIC RINGS. Add a washer to increase the size of the screw head so it doesn’t slip through the ground sheet grommet.
How to position your guy poles on a platform
Guyline placement is critically important.
You need to position the guylines in line with the seams and proceed out at the same angle as if the tent was pitched on the ground with the guy lines staked 1-2 meters (4-6 ft) away from the tent.
The Right Way
To achieve proper guyline placement you can:
DIY short guy poles
Add guy line posts to your deck
Add guy line posts away from the deck
If the distance between the platform surface and the ground under it is less than the width of your hand you can just stake the tent to the ground normally 1-2 meters (4-6ft) away. Also, you can use a combination of any of these if space is an issue.
You also will need to be able to add tension to the tent as the fabric settles and shifts over time. You may need to shorten your guy lines by untying them from the canvas, cutting them down, and tying them back on. Experiment with this until you have at MINIMUM a 1/2 meter (1-2 feet) of tensionable guy line to work with in the future.
The Wrong Way
Incorrect guy line set-up
Don't use the elastic rings to set-up the tent, as they can't be tensioned and will break.
Don't use the elastic rings instead of the grommets to secure the groundsheet.
The most common mistake we see is folks attaching the guylines to the floor of their deck 1/2 meter (1ft) away from the tent. This will result in saggy canvas panels and it adds pressure on the center pole which can cause it to blow out of the peak, or cause a pole break in a breeze.