How to Make a Boat Tent

Updated April 17, 2017

If you are considering a camping trip that includes taking a boat down the river, then you might want to consider a boat tent. A boat tent is a sleeping device that can be added to extend the sleeping space on your boat. This process is a little more involved than just trying to set up a regular tent on your boat. The truth is that would be very dangerous and not recommended. A well designed boat tent can be used on both land and water for overnight trips.

Measure the cockpit of the boat. Start by measuring the width of the cockpit. It is important to remember that your measurement should be more than the actual size. Determine the height you will need as well. This will also come into play as far as how much material you will need to have. On average, one tent pole for every two feet is a good rule of thumb.

Select the right type of material. Normal awning material can work just fine in constructing a quality boat tent. If you are able to afford it, synthetic sail cover material is the most ideal material to use. It is lighter, softer, and yet still waterproof. It is important to avoid using material that is so waterproof that it will sweat.

Add windows and doors to the tent. This boat tent is more than just a portable cave. Visibility is critical especially if you are considering sleeping on the boat while it is in the water. Even the best anchoring system could jar loose and you might find yourself in a scramble to see what is going on. Cut out windows on every side of the tent. After determining where the windows will be, install screens. This will keep the mosquitoes and bugs at bay during the evening hours.

Design your tent to be in one piece if possible. The most successfully designed tents are in one piece. If your tent has more than one piece then you will want to either use ties or Velcro to hold it together. When it comes to tent poles, aluminium ones with identical end fittings are best. It is also important that the exposed end is carefully varnished for waterproofing and loosely fitted onto the other pole.

Sew the material where possible. If you have a reliable sewing machine and a patient helper, it is possible for you to sew the boat tent into one piece. You do not need a special sewing machine to do this right. A typical Singer sewing machine and a simple straight stitch will work just fine. The key to the whole sewing process is to have a helper who can help to gather and feed all of the vinyl material as you move it through the sewing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Awning material
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Velcro
  • Aluminium poles
  • Measuring tape
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About the Author

Jay Mills has a passion for writing and enjoys communicating his teachings in the form of video, article writing, and blogging. He operates several successful blogs and runs a membership site where others can learn from his experiences. He has worked with professionals from privately-held companies to Fortune 500 entities.