How to Build a Camping Platform

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A camping platform gets you up off the ground and on a level surface.
A camping platform gets you up off the ground and on a level surface. (Image: Allen Stoner/Hemera/Getty Images)

Camping can takes its toll. Hard, cold, uneven ground jabs through the sturdiest sleeping bags. A camping platform keeps you away from the critters and ground bugs by raising you up on an artificial surface. Platforms come in all shapes and sizes, from large surfaces that hold up elaborate tents to small, portable platforms made for one person. You can build a small and affordable platform. Build more than one and put them together if you need more surface area.

Things You'll Need

  • Hacksaw
  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Three, 10-foot, 1 1/2-inch PVC pipes
  • Nine, 1 1/2-inch PVC caps
  • Five, 1 1/2-inch PVC five-way connectors
  • Four, 1 1/2-inch PVC three-way connectors
  • One sheet of finished 3/4-inch plywood
  • Sandpaper
  • Four U-brackets
  • Eight 1/2-inch screws
  • Screwdriver

Cut nine 6-inch pieces of 1 1/2-inch PVC pipe to make the legs of the platform. Place a 1 1/2-inch PVC cap on each leg and set them aside. Use a tape measure and marker to measure and score the cut lines.

Cut 12 20-inch pieces of 1 1/2-inch PVC pipe for the platform's frame.

Make a cross for the center of the frame by placing four 20-inch pieces into a 1 1/2-inch PVC five-way connector, leaving the open port facing down for the center leg.

Pop four five-way connectors onto the four 20-inch arms of the cross. Turn the odd-facing open port of each connector down for more legs.

Insert eight 20-inch pieces of PVC into the five-way connectors to form a four-square box with the cross assembly. Complete the connections by installing four three-way connectors onto the corners of the box with the open ports facing down for corner legs.

Insert the nine legs into the open bottom-facing ports on the frame, making sure to keep the caps down.

Cut a 4- by 8-foot piece of finished 3/4-inch plywood in half to make two 4- by 4-foot squares. Sand the cut edge with sandpaper until it is smooth to the touch.

Place one of the plywood squares on the ground. Flip the frame over on top of the plywood -- legs pointing up -- and center the box-frame on the plywood platform. The plywood platform will be slightly larger than the frame with about a 1 3/4-inch overhang on all sides.

Secure the platform to the PVC frame using eight 1/2-inch screws, four U-brackets and a screwdriver. Place the U-brackets over the middle of the PVC piping making up the center cross of the frame.

Flip the assembly over and you have one 4- by 4-foot platform. Repeat Steps 1 through 9 to make more 4- by 4-foot platforms.

Cut short 4-inch pieces of 1 1/2-inch PVC pipe to connect the platforms, using the open outward facing ports on the five-way connectors in the middle of each platform's frame. Place a piece of pipe into one of the frames and then line up another platform, inserting the male end into the corresponding five-way connector on the other platform's frame. Connect as many platforms as you'd like to create a larger surface area.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use PVC cement to make the connections even stronger.
  • Cut the legs to different heights and use a leveler to make a level surface on uneven terrain.
  • Do not run or jump on the platforms as the individual platforms may shift.

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