MYOG Circus Tent

My pyramid tent is my go-to hiking shelter. It’s an elegant and efficient design, but sometimes feels a little bit cramped. This ‘Circus tent’ builds upon the idea of the pyramid but offers a bit more room.

I call it a circus tent because the two peaks resemble the big pavilions in a storybook circus. If you happen to run across some red and yellow striped silpoly fabric, let me know!

This tent is held aloft by two 110cm hiking poles and has a large opening at the front to reduce condensation. It’ll keep you dry in strong rains but in an insane storm you may want to use a bivy as well. I’ve designed the pattern to have no wasted fabric. This makes it an excellent myog project.

The main shape combines a lean-to with some pyramid-style ends.

The front is capped with an open awning. This provides plenty of shelter but also maintains enough ventilation to limit condensation. Obviously you’re going to want to point the door away from the wind.

The design uses 5m of waterproof fabric. I like silpoly for the compromise it provides between weight, stretch, durability and cost. If you’re made of money and make one out of cuban fibre, I’d love to see a picture!

Measure the pattern by marking the distances along the top and bottom edges. Cut along the orange lines to get the six panels.

Since this is a shaped tarp it’s a good idea to add cat cuts to the seam. This will keep the finished tent nice and taught. I’d suggest sewing everything together with a straight stitch first, then setting the half made tent up to determine how large your cat cuts should be.

First join the back panel to the awning flap.

Then connect up the panels to make the tent shape.

At this stage you’ll want to set the tent up and decide experimentally where to join the awning to the two front panels. It should connect something like this.

After the shape of the tent is finalised, finish off the joins with a felled seam. Then even out the bottom and roll the edge. If you’d like to add reinforcement patches to the corners along the bottom, simply cut appropriately shaped triangles and sew them on before rolling the hem.

Add some webbing tie-outs around the bottom edge and at the two corners of the awning.