Wall tents are excellent for all kinds of camping, but they’re particularly great for glamping and extended camping trips. You can improve your tent’s beauty, comfort, and functionality even more by adding a custom-made raised tent platform.
A well-built platform will protect your tent from water and other damage, turning your canvas tent into a practical, enduring shelter. Follow our step-by-step guide to build a beautiful tent platform that will last a lifetime.
Making your own tent platform is a fun project you can complete in a weekend with a few basic supplies. Follow our step-by-step instructions to design and build your very own tent platform. The lumber sizes listed here are standard, but you can get custom-cut beams at lumberyards and home improvement stores.
What You’ll need
(22) 10’ 2×6 beam
(1) 10’ 4×4 beam
(2) 14’ 2×6 beams
(2) 20’ 2×6 beams
(44) Joist hangers
(40) Galvanized nails
(1) Spool of nylon string line
(3) 30-lb bags of gravel (optional)
Post-hole digger or shovel
Step 1: Design the platform
Before anything else, you’ll need to design your tent platform and decide where you want to place it. Choose a level spot that has good drainage and excellent views.
- Decide how large you want your platform to be. You should be able to walk around the tent, with extra deck space in front of the door. Your tent platform can be virtually any size. Aim for a foot of platform off each side of the tent, with extra room in the front for a porch.
For our purposes, we’ll be building a platform for the 12’x14’ Alpha Wall Tent, so the dimensions will be 14’ wide (horizontal) by 18’ deep (vertical). These dimensions provide a foot of decking on each side of the tent, a foot of decking at the back of the tent, and three feet of decking for the front porch. We’ll be raising the platform 8” off the ground, but you can decide how tall you want your platform.
- Once you know the dimensions of your platform, choose a flat area and mark the dimensions with nylon string line.
- Clear away any undergrowth, so you have plenty of space to work without distractions.
Step 2: Make the leg posts
The leg posts are the bedrock of your platform. They raise the platform off the ground and allow for proper drainage.
- Grab your 4×4 beam; this beam will be used to create your leg posts—the posts that hold up your platform.
- Using a circular saw, cut your 4×4 beam into nine individual leg posts. Each leg post will be 1’ long.
Note: If you can’t find a 9’ long 4×4 beam (as it’s not a standard length), size up. Get a 10’ long 4×4 beam, cut it into ten equal 1’ long pieces, and discard the extra foot (or save it for another project).
- One of your nine leg posts will be the center leg post which supports the center beam. That leg post needs to be 5 ½” shorter than the rest, making it 6 1/2 “ long (instead of 1’ long). Use your circular saw to make the appropriate cut to the center leg post.
Step 3: Set the leg posts
Your leg posts need to be evenly spaced to hold the distributed weight of your perimeter, center, and decking lumber.
- Place all nine leg posts on the ground throughout the marked-off area. Make sure you place the shorter leg post in the center. You should have three rows of leg posts, evenly spaced with three posts in each row. It can be easiest to start with the center leg post and move out.
- Use a post-hole digger or shovel to dig 4” deep holes where each post will go. Make sure the holes are precisely 4” deep, so they’re all the same height.
- Set the leg posts inside the holes and pack them in. For better drainage, you can fill the holes with landscape gravel.
Step 4: Secure the perimeter
The perimeter consists of your platform’s outer sides and corners, which hold the base together in one cohesive piece.
- Once your leg posts are securely in the ground, you’ll need to attach the perimeter (outside beams) of your platform. For our project, each side of the platform is 18’ long, so you’ll need two 18’ long 2×6 beams. The font and back sides of the platform are 14’ each, so you’ll also need two 14’ long 2×6 beams.
Note: if you can’t find an 18’ long 2×6 beam (as it’s not a standard length), size up. Get a 20’ long 2×6 beam, use your circular saw to cut it down to 18’, and discard the extra two feet. You should be able to find 14’ long 2×6 beams, as it’s a standard size.
- Place one of your 18’ beams adjacent to the three leg posts that run vertically along one side of your platform. Make sure the beam rests on the outside of the leg posts, flush with the top.
- Use a cordless drill and wood screws to attach the perimeter beam to the leg post. Insert two wood screws into each leg post, equalling six screws for that side. Repeat this process for the other 18’ side.
- The 14’ perimeter beams that run perpendicular to your 18’ perimeter beams will need to be 3” shorter to account for the depth of the two 18’ beams. Use your circular saw to cut 3” off each of your 14’ beams so that they’re 165”.
- Place your 13’ ¾” beam adjacent to the three leg posts that run horizontally along one side of your platform. Make sure the beam rests on the outside of the leg posts, flush with the top.
- Use a cordless drill and wood screws to attach the perimeter beam to the leg post. Insert two wood screws into each leg post, equalling six screws for that side. Repeat this process for the other 14’ side. In the end, you should have used all four 2×6 beams and 24 wood screws.
Step 5: Attach the center beam
The center beam is essential for reinforcing your platform, so it doesn’t bow in the middle. It will run horizontally through the middle of your platform.
- Place one joist hanger on each perimeter of the platform, attaching them to the center leg posts. Secure each joist hanger to the inside of the center leg post, flush with the top of the post. Use a hammer and six galvanized nails to secure each joist hanger to the post. When you’re done, you should have used a joist hanger on each side, equalling two joist hangers and twelve nails.
- Set the post top connector onto the top of the center leg post.
- The center beam will be a little shorter than the perimeter beams to account for the exterior lumber’s thickness. Each perimeter beam is 1 ½” thick, and each leg post is 4” thick (for a total of 11”). Take a 14’ long 2×6 beam and, using a circular saw, cut 11” off the end so that your beam is 157”.
- Place the center beam horizontally across the middle of your platform. Slip the ends of the center beam into the two opposing joist hangers, and secure the middle of the beam into the post top connector. Attach the ends of the beam into the joist hangers using four galvanized nails (two on each side). Repeat this process on the other side. When you’re done, you should have used a total of eight nails.
- Secure the center beam to the post top connector using the hardware that came with the post top connector.
Step 6: Add the joists
Now it’s time to install the remaining 2×6 beams that will hold up your platform’s floor boards (or decking). Each 2×6 beam (or “joist”) will be installed vertically between the center beam and perimeter beams using joist hangers.
- The number of joists you’ll use will depend on how sturdy you want the platform to be. A good rule of thumb is to space your joists 12” to 16” apart on center (center of each beam’s depth). For our 14’x18’ platform, we’ll be using 22 total 2×6 joists (11 on each half), spaced 15” apart on center.
- The two joists that run vertically down the center of the platform will be shorter to account for the perimeter, leg post, and center beam’s depth. The perimeter beam is 1 ½” thick, the leg post is 4” thick, and half of the center beam is 3/4” thick (for a total of 6 ¼”). Take a 9’ long beam and, using a circular saw, cut 6 ¼” off the end so that your beam is 101 ¾”.
Note: if you can’t find a 9’ long beam (as it’s not a standard length), size up. Get a 10’ long 2×6 beam, discard the extra foot of the beam, then make your cuts.
- Attach one end of the center joist to the center leg post with a joist hanger. Attach the other end of the joist to the post top connector. Repeat this process for the other center joist.
- Add the remaining 10 joists to the first half of your platform. You should have 5 joists for each side of the center joist. Use a pencil to mark 15” between each joist (on center). The remaining 10 joists will need to be cut to account for the perimeter and center beam’s thickness. Each perimeter beam is be 1 ½” thick and half of the center beam is ¾” thick, so cut 2 ¼” off the end of each joist. So your remaining 10 joists, should all be 105 ¾” long each.
- Attach one end of the joists to the perimeter beam with joist hangers. Attach the other end of the joists to the center beam with joist hangers. By now you should have 11 total joists covering this half of the platform.
- Repeat this process for the other half of the platform.
Step 7: Top it off with decking
The top exterior layer of your platform can be built using various materials. For a simple solution, use standard pressure-treated decking boards. For something a little fancier, try pre-treated composite deck boards. The decking, or floor boards, will run horizontally across the platform, so they’re perpendicular to the joists.
- Since our platform is 14’, we’ll be using 14’ long 2×4 beams (or boards) for the decking. The number of boards you’ll use will depend on your platform’s measurements. A good rule of thumb is to space your boards ⅛” to ¼ “ apart. Depending on the dimensions, you might not get a precisely round number. If that’s the case, the edges can hang over the perimeters up to ½” on each side.
Note: if you can’t find 14’ long 2×4 boards (as it’s not a standard length), size up. Get 16’ long 2×4 boards, use your circular saw to cut it down to 14’, and discard the extra two feet.
- For our 14’x18’ platform, we’ll be using 51 total 2×4 floor boards, spaced ¼” apart.
- Lay out all 51 decking boards, spaced ¼” apart. It can be easiest to start from the center and move out.
- Use a hammer and nails to attach each board to joists underneath. Use two nails on every third joist for each board. In the end, you should have used 20 total evenly spaced nails on your floor boards. Once your decking is complete, you can start building your wall tent.
Congratulations on your gorgeous new tent platform. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and enjoy the fruits of your labor.