Flags engender pride! Flying ’em high is great for Scout spirit, and making a flagpole is really easy. All you need are straight sticks (Scout Staves work great), rope for round lashings, rope for guy lines, and three stakes.

The key to making a simple flagpole out of shorter poles is round lashings and knowing where to tie them. The space where the two poles are joined, gets two tight round lashings—one on either side of the overlap and right near the ends of each pole. The length and thickness of the poles being lashed together will determine how much they need to overlap, and how many tight wraps need to be taken. Using 5-foot Scout Staves, you can simply overlap them about 10 inches with a couple of 6-foot lashing ropes. With practice, a Scout patrol can make a 15-foot flagpole out of four Scout staves in a few short minutes.

The key to lifting and securing a simple flagpole is tying on three guy lines about 3/4 of the way up, and extending them out equidistant from one another. The stakes should form an equilateral triangle, and should ideally be hammered in a distance away from the flagpole of at least twice the height of where they’re tied. So, if the flagpole is 15 feet, and the guy lines are attached 11 feet up, the stakes should be 22 feet from the pole for optimum stability. Under many circumstances, this distance can be much shorter and still provide the support to hold the flag up, even during lengthy periods of use.

While the flagpole is being lashed together, a Scout or Scouts can be putting the stakes in the ground, pacing out the proper distance and hammering them in to form that equilateral triangle.

Before raising the pole, the three guy lines should be tied at about 3/4 the way up using roundturns with two half hitches or rolling hitches. Then when the flagpole is being held erect, three Scouts can each take a guy line and attach it to a stake with a tight taut-line hitch, or for taller, heavier flagpoles, a rope tackle.

If the flag is not to be ceremoniously raised and lowered, or with shorter flagpoles, a halyard is not necessary.

Thanks for your comment. The kind of simple flagpole described in this post is without a halyard. Why I mention this is because, TYPICALLY, raising and lowering a flag consists of attaching the flag to a flagpole that’s already erected. This post addresses raising the flagpole. Of course, the flag would already be attached. Oh, also, to help figure out how long your guy lines should be, the optimum length is twice that of the height where they’d be attached to the pole, measured from the point where the pole meets the ground. (Height x 2 = distance to the anchor point.) Have fun!

My Girl Scout is in the 4th grade, and the girls in her troop are fans of “Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scouts.” They want to learn pioneering. I want to teach them, even though I haven’t learned it yet. I’ve decided that I want this to be our first project. Being able to put up a flagpole will also help me with the work I do with my Cub Scouts. They have to learn how to raise and lower a flag on a pole, and it would be great if I could put one up in the front yard for them to practice with. Anyway, I’m trying to read your article and come up with a shopping list. I see I am going to need 4 scout staves (6’x1″) an assortment of rope and three stakes. It’s the lengths of rope I’m having trouble determining. I’ll need to make six (6) round lashings, and you note that I can do that with 6′ ropes. You make a point of stating where I should tie my guy lines, but you don’t say how long the lines will be in the end. That’s okay. I remembered Pythagoras, and I worked it out: 25′. Thanks!

Thanks for your comment. The kind of simple flagpole described in this post is without a halyard. Why I mention this is because, TYPICALLY, raising and lowering a flag consists of attaching the flag to a flagpole that’s already erected. This post addresses raising the flagpole. Of course, the flag would already be attached. Oh, also, to help figure out how long your guy lines should be, the optimum length is twice that of the height where they’d be attached to the pole, measured from the point where the pole meets the ground. (Height x 2 = distance to the anchor point.) Have fun!

My Girl Scout is in the 4th grade, and the girls in her troop are fans of “Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scouts.” They want to learn pioneering. I want to teach them, even though I haven’t learned it yet. I’ve decided that I want this to be our first project. Being able to put up a flagpole will also help me with the work I do with my Cub Scouts. They have to learn how to raise and lower a flag on a pole, and it would be great if I could put one up in the front yard for them to practice with. Anyway, I’m trying to read your article and come up with a shopping list. I see I am going to need 4 scout staves (6’x1″) an assortment of rope and three stakes. It’s the lengths of rope I’m having trouble determining. I’ll need to make six (6) round lashings, and you note that I can do that with 6′ ropes. You make a point of stating where I should tie my guy lines, but you don’t say how long the lines will be in the end. That’s okay. I remembered Pythagoras, and I worked it out: 25′. Thanks!

By the way, Scout Staves are 5′ long.