Pattern Roundup

Tent Upcycling Free Pattern Roundup

In 2016 my friend gave me a tent that would have gone into the landfill. The tent has some damage including missing pole attachments, worn out sections, and holes. There is a lot of material that can be repurposed. This is a tent upcycling free pattern roundup.


Upcycling involves turning something old into something new and useful. Tents can’t be recycled and sometimes the materials can be reused. Keep in mind, that even well maintained tents degrade with time:

  • Ultra-violet light degrades tent fabrics,
  • rain reduces waterproofing,
  • ground conditions and wearing shoes inside a tent can damage the floor,
  • rain, dew and condensation can cause mold,
  • wind and cold temperatures may break poles,
  • zippers, pole attachments and other hardware wear out
The Tent

I don’t know the vintage of the tent I was given. It’s a 2-room, 8-person, non-freestanding CampMate™ tent that weighs ~15kg (33 pounds) including the poles and tent stakes. The tent has sufficient headroom that the average person can comfortably stand up inside of it.

non-freestanding, 2-room green tent setup inside a residential yard
2-room tent
non-freestanding, 2-room green tent setup with a red green rain fly inside a residential yard
Rain fly on 2-room tent

My goal was to salvage as much of the tent material as possible. I knew from upcycling my old raincoat that the fabric within the seams wouldn’t be in good enough condition for re-use. I used my seam ripper and brute force to separate the seams that were bound with webbing. The fabric tore in some places. I used a pair of scissors to cut along the middle of the flat felled seams. The tent’s label was still legible so I didn’t have to do much fabric identification.

  • Walls: 100% flame resistant nylon
  • Roof: 100% flame resistant nylon
  • Floor: 100% flame resistant polyethylene
  • Screening: 100% flame resistant polyester
Piles of fabrics, zippers, & plastic hardware salvaged by disassembling a tent
Materials salvaged from 2-room tent

I compared the nylon to other nylon materials that I know the denier of. The walls, roof and fly are ~70D fabric. The fly panels appear to have a waterproofing or water resistant coating on their inner surface. Polyethylene is a non-woven plastic material similar to Tyvec™. I don’t have any other polyethylene materials so I don’t know if the tent floor is light, medium, or heavy weight.

I don’t know what I’ll be doing with the stainless steel and fibreglass tent poles, but I have a list of potential projects for the fabrics. These projects are hiking, camping, general outdoors and/or travel related.


Fabric from an old tent should be suitable for making a new shelter. In addition to the Jones Tent II and YAMA Mountain Gear Bug Net, there are other options for shelters with free patterns.

1) Phil Jones: Jones Tent

This is the one person version of the Jones Tent II (a tarptent).

2) Stitchback Gear: Half Pyramid Tarp

This a minimalist, half pyramid shelter sleeps one and is intended for those with prior tarp camping experience. A large rectangle of fabric is needed so this project is easy to sew if you have new fabric.

3) BenM: Near Perfect Tent

This project upcycles two old tents into a new, smaller tent. The new 2-4 person, non-freestanding tent features a rectangular floor and triangular cross section in the main section.

4) Kresimir Pregernick: KP teepee

This double-walled teepee features an octagonal floor.


A bivy, bivy bag, bivy sack,or bivouac sack is a cover for your sleeping bag. Traditionally they keep your sleeping bag dry and increase it’s warmth. A bivy may be just big enough for your sleeping bag or it may be large enough to provide a small-tent-like experience. The nylon, polyester and polyethylene from my old tent could be used to make a bivy.

5) Jsawyer: Tyvek Bivy Sack For Camping/Hiking

This bivy is used on clear nights and under a tarp if precipitation is expected. It is meant to maximize breathe-ability and does not provide protection against insects.

6) Stitchback Gear Easy to Make Bug Bivy

This bivy is used on clear nights and under a tarp if precipitation is expected. It provides protections against insects and is designed to fit closely around your sleeping bag and head.

7) Alexandre Barsacq: Building A Bug Bivy

This bivy is used on clear nights and under a tarp if precipitation is expected. It provides protection against insects and is designed to provide lots of ventilation and headroom.


Groundsheets are protective waterproof barriers that are placed directly on the ground. Tent footprints are groundsheets that are sized and shaped to be just smaller than the floor of the matching tent. Common materials for both groundsheets and tent footprints are nylon, polyester, polyethylene and polyolefin film. Groundsheets protect your sleeping pad and tent floor by reducing abrasions, scratches and punctures, preventing water seeping up from the ground, and adding an additional layer of cushioning and insulation. Both the nylon and polyethylene from my old tent could be used to make groundsheets.

8) Stitchback Gear: Make A Tyvek Groundsheet With Footbox

This groundsheet is used with floorless shelters and accommodates the sleeping pad or sleeping mat of one person.

9) Greenbelly: Guide To Tent Footprints

This blog post includes information about how to make a tent footprint for any tent.


Camping hammocks are an alternative to tents and other shelters where you lie on the ground. The nylon from my old tent could be used to make a camping hammock.

10) Lars Loves Peace: DIY Camping Hammock

This one person hammock is made from a single layer of nylon.

11) Mr Balleng: Make A Rip Stop Nylon Hammock

This one person hammock is made from two layers of nylon.


Backpacks fabrics range in denier from ~30D to over 1000D. The nylon and polyethylene from my old tent could be used to make backpacks.

12) Stitchback Gear: Easy To Make Ultralight Backpack

The “Stitchback EZ” backpack is an easy-to-make, minimalist backpack for ultralight loads. It features a separate sewn suspension, a taped polyethylene roll-top bag and an optional frame sheet.

13) Daytripper28: MYOG Backpack for Hiking – Pattern and Instructions

This frameless backpack has a capacity of ~35 litres and features a suspension sewn directly to the bag.


The nylon, polyester and polyethylene from my old tent could be used to make clothing items.

14) Stitchback Gear: Make A Mosquito Head Net

This mosquito head net is used in conjunction with your favourite hiking hat and features an integrated carrying pouch.

15) Bilgy Parcho

The ParCho combines the best features of a parka and and poncho. It keeps you and your pack dry on a rainy day and different sizes will accommodate different body types and pack sizes.

16) Windbreaker

I’ve owned a few windbreakers made from materials similar to the nylon salvaged from my old tent. I could make my own pattern or clone a windbreaker that I already own.

Other Accessories

The nylon and polyester from my old tent could be used to make a variety of other items.

17) Stitchback Gear: Make A Bear Bag System

This bear bag system features a rolled-top food bag and a throw bag.

18) Learn MYOG: Roll Top Stuff Sack Pattern Generator

Generate the pattern for any size of roll top stuff sack.

19) Rachie Hikes: Ultralight Dry Bag

This video tutorial describes how to sew and waterproof a dry bag with a drawstring closure.

20) Melly Sews: Sew And Use Packing Cubes

These packing cubes feature a zippered top with mesh panel.


The materials from old, unused tents may have new life as a variety of objects. The possibilities are only limited by one’s own creativity.

Have you upcycled an old tent? Do you have suggestions for re-using my tent poles or fabrics? Did you enjoy this tent upcycling free pattern roundup? Subscribe so you don’t miss a post. Comment below and/or Pin Me for later.



Sewn By Tanya Pattern Roundup: Tent Upcycling Free Patterns: tent upcycling

Sewn By Tanya Pattern Roundup: Tent Upcycling Free Patterns: 20 free tent upcycling ideas

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