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How to Lash a Tripod


Tripods in the Scheme of Survival
In the practice of wilderness survival skills, I find there is something innately satisfying about the process of setting up camp. On a physical level, camp is a place where I can establish security, stay warm, hydrate, eat food, and sleep. On a deeper level, setting up camp is very satisfying to my soul because it is a time when I always reflect on how little it really takes to be comfortable and content. One of those things that can bring great comfort and ultimately contentment is the ability to make a tripod with wooden poles and cordage. Tripods have many uses in wilderness survival such as hanging pots over a fire, smoking meat, lift pole traps, back rests, shelters, and anything else that your imagination can create.

Three ideal poles for making a survival tripod
Pole Selection
The length and diameter of the poles depends entirely upon the intended use for the tripod. Consider your needs and choose your poles accordingly. Just be sure to use fallen dead wood so as to leave as much of the forest intact as possible. Ideally the tree poles you select should be close in diameter, but this is not essential.

Jute twine, the perfect thing for a wilderness survival tripod
Cordage, an Essential Element
In this example I am using jute twine, which is one of my favorite types of cordage because it is natural and will biodegrade all by itself. If you are using parachute cord, be certain to remove it from the woods when you are finished unless you are establishing a permanent survival campsite.

The clove hitch knot for starting a tripod lashing
Start the Lashing Process
The tripod lashing begins with making a clove hitch around one of the poles and cinching it tight. A clove hitch is made by forming two loops and passing them over the ends of the pole. A simple way to remember how to tie the clove hitch loops is: “Right over left, right over left, right behind left”. See the video above for the best explanation.

Weave the jute twine over and under the three poles that make the tripod
Over and Under
Now set the short tail from the clove hitch between the poles and begin weaving the long end between each the three poles. The short tail does not have to go anywhere specific: we just want to get it out of the way and hide it by covering it up during the lashing process. Each time you make a pass with the long end it should go “over and under” until you have five or six passes on each of the poles.

Cinch down the tripod with frapping
Tighten it Down with Frapping
Now take the long end and wrap between each of the poles for several passes. By tightly wrapping over your previous rope work, you are cinching the entire rig down and adding a lot of strength to it. This process is called frapping.

finish the tripod lashing with several half hitches
Finishing the Knot
Once the frapping is complete, you should be finishing right next to the clove hitch where you started. Now just take the end you have been working with and finish it off by tying several half hitches around one of the poles. The friction from the half hitches will be more than enough to keep the lashing from unraveling, yet it will also allow you to easily disassemble the entire rig if you need to get your cordage back.

a picture of the completed tripod
The Completed Tripod
Now turn the tree poles upright and spread them apart… and the tripod is complete! From here you can hang a pot, make it part of a shelter, set a trap, or any other task you wish. Enjoy!

  Best always,
Paul Scheiter

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