MYOG A Frame


IMG_1632(2)As promised, here’s how I made my A frame. It’s really simple and cheap to make. Before starting, you need to do a bit of simple trigonometry to work out the measurements. In my case I wanted a height of 125cm and a base line of 150cm. Dividing the base line by two gives two right angle triangles, so you can solve the length of the remaining side, which is 146cm (the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides).

IMG_1611(2)I used some 20mm rigid plastic plumbing pipe from Homebase and two nozzles from some cheap filler tubes.

1) The first thing to do is to cut a length of pipe. I used 60cm, so each arm measured 30cm. It’s up to you how long this should be. I’d suggest a minimum of 15cm and a maximum of maybe 40cm. Much longer and the pipe will flex too much.

2) You need to bend the pipe. To make it easier you can heat it, but I bent mine gently without heating.

IMG_1612(2) - Copy3) The next step is to check the nozzles fit over the end of your trekking poles. For my Black Diamond poles, they fitted perfectly. For other makes you may need to do some adjusting. Wrap the ends of the nozzles with duck tape. This needs to be thick enough that they fit tightly into the end of the pipe. Check with the walking pole inserted that there is as little play as possible.

IMG_16144) To secure the nozzles wrap some duck tape around the plastic loop of the nozzle and the end of the pipe.

IMG_1620(2)5) Secure two lengths of cord at the end of the tube. These are used to tie to the trekking pole so they don’t slip out when you are positioning the frame in the shelter.


6) At the apex, I’ve used a bit of handle bar micro fibre tape to cushion the A frame against the apex of the shelter. It’s probably not strictly necessary but it does provide some cushioning and grip.

IMG_1621(2)7) To secure the base of the A frame use a length of cord with two loops to go round the handles of the trekking poles.

IMG_1618(2)And that’s all there is to it. Total weight for mine is 71g. Don’t forget to adjust the length of your trekking pole to allow for the tip inserted into the tube (for the Black Diamond poles it’s c.5cm). I was amazed how strong this frame is. In larger mid shelters, I think it’s wise to use strong trekking poles. For instance, in my Duomid, I would use my Leki Sherpa XLs rather than the Black Diamond Trail trekking poles.




19 thoughts on “MYOG A Frame”

  1. Were you a fan of Blue Peter when you were young?
    Apart from the increased stability and ease of access, how does the 71g compare with the weight of the centre pole?

      1. Sorry, I must be missing something. Was the original centre support a trekking pole, too? I was making the assumption you were replacing a conventional tent pole with two trekking poles, so there would be a weight saving of the original pole minus 71g.

      2. Yes. These mid shelters are designed to be supported by trekking poles. In the case of the Tramplite you only need one (a Duomid needs two). However, I always carry two trekking poles anyway, so the extra weight for me is only the A frame.

  2. Amazingly simple technology. It might be worth keeping a regular eye on the sharp bend in the plastic pipe at the apex. Even if it’s been bent whilst warm there must be a risk of a stress fracture.
    The weight of the A-link itself is 71g but shouldn’t you add the differential weight of the upgraded poles, rather than your normal ‘baseweight’ poles ?

    1. It’s worth a try. My only caution with the Duomid is the extra pole length needed. I’ve got some very strong Leki Sherpa XLs which should be fine. I wouldn’t use carbon fibre trekking poles either as the lateral force might cause them to shatter rather than bend like aluminium poles. Hope the new job is going well!

  3. Sorry Robin, forget my comment above about ‘differential pole weight’. That only applies with the Duomid. I only half-read your post whilst watching the athletics !

    1. After my experience in the Lake District earlier this year, I would only use flick lock poles for the Tramplite and the Black Diamond Trails are one of the lightest available. For the Duomid, I would use the heavier duty Leki Sherpa XLs, but I’d use them anyway for a single pole system. I used the Lekis in Wales with the Duomid and liked the extra strength.

    1. I’ve tried that before. It’s not the correct angle. This is fine and folds flat. If it fails, I can always make another one.

  4. Hello Robin, your design inspired me to make an A frame to use with my tarp setup. I initially used some plumbing pipe adaptors instead of filler nozzles. It looked great and worked well in fine weather but recent high winds found it it lacking in enough rigidity, I removed the baskets from my poles and fitted filler tube nozzles to the A frame and found something I’m sure you might be aware of but didn’t mention. The screw threads for the baskets on my Leki poles are almost a perfect fit for the threads in the filler nozzles and make for a very rigid A frame. Plus no need for cords to secure the poles.

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