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 Post subject: Cheap Kitchen Shelter
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:49 pm 
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Location: Central New Hampshire
In the past we have used "instant" garage canopies as our camping kitchens. However, the one we've been borrowing is now in tatters and is not really up to the task anymore (especially since it rains during ~30% of our camping trips). I looked into buying a new one, but found them to be on the pricey side.

I snagged a free one off Craigslist last year (took it down during a gale when it was 10 degress outside), but that beast was not designed for quick setup/take-down. It's a three hour job. So I decided to engineer something instead.

Using a large tarp (or three) two 10' PVC pipe (1.25"), four 7' PVC pipes (also 1.25"), some rope, six PVC endcaps, washers, nuts, bolts, and 18" stakes, I came up with something that cost me $25 (I already had the rope, tarps, and pipe) I came up with something that appears to be quite usable. We're taking it to Bar Harbor, Maine this weekend, and it's supposed to rain. I'll report back on its performance.

You can see build instructions and a picture of an early attempt on my blog. I will use a larger tarp this weekend and add side walls. Maybe snap another photo or two also.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:26 pm 
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That looks interesting Jim. I don't know how it would do in windy conditions, but it should be fine as long as no great impact occurred.

We haven't had had much trouble with our canopy. Some canopies use aluminum. We are using steel pipes for ours.

I'll be interested to see how this canopy works out.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:31 pm 
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Our old canopy used steel pipes. The canopy part itself is what failed. We could have just used a tarp with the steel frame from the old one, but... it's about 300 lbs. The PVC is pretty light. As long as I can get this thing anchored well, I am convinced that the wind will not be a problem.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:48 am 
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Oh. I gotcha. I guess I have seen a few different methods. We just use a huge tarp with the frame.

I'm interested to hear how this turns out.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:40 am 
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We just got back from our camporee last night. The structure performed admirably. The wind whipped all night on Friday/Saturday, but the canopy stayed firm. I was looking at it late Sunday morning, and it looked just as neat as it did when we put it up.

It took about 10 minutes to set up, and the kids were able to take it down themselves (with the exception of stake removal - that required an adult). We used it as our dining hall rather than as our kitchen, and used an old pavilion sort of thing for the kitchen, so it was easy to compare the two.

One of our Area Coordinators came over and asked about it so I gave him the tour. He really liked it and pointed out that since it was made strictly of commodity parts, replacing broken pieces is simply a matter of going to the local hardware store. Our pavilion has lots of broken pieces to it, so we had to duct tape a few poles together (which worked fine). There's no way we'd be able to find replacement poles for that though. The pavilion also took twice as long to set up and taking it down was an even longer endeavor.

My only complaint is that it was a little too small, but that can be addressed by getting a larger tarp, or maybe by combining tarps in a different way. We used three - one for the roof, and two to form side walls. I will probably experiment with other combinations over the next couple of weeks.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:00 pm 
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I also made the same thing using only 1 pole placed at the center and the 4 tarp corners are tensioned by the straw ropes tied to the ground or around the tree trunk.
You can do a lot with poles and tarp.


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