This small camp table can be comprised almost completely of Scout staves. It is 100% functional and provides a convenient raised surface for personal, patrol, or general use. It’s simple design makes it quick and easy to set up, and it is remarkably stable.
Make the table legs. Start by lashing together four Scout staves into two sets of shear legs with 6-foot manila lashing ropes. If you prefer, square lashings can be used instead of shear lashings. (In lieu of Scout staves, straight poles an inch or so in diameter are just fine.)
Lash on the table top supports. Next, with two square lashings, lash a 2-1/2-foot stick to connect each set of shear legs about 30 inches off the ground. (A Scout stave cut in two is ideal.) This will form two A-frames, one for each side of the table. Make sure each of these support sticks are lashed on straight and at the same distance from the bottom end of both sets of legs.
Securely hold up the A-frames. This is surely the best part. Find the midpoint of a 20-foot line. At about two feet away, tie a clove hitch at the top of one of the Scout staves of one of the A-frames. Repeat this process on the other side attaching the line with a clove hitch to one of the Scout staves of the other A-frame.
Secure each end of the 20-foot line to stakes driven into the ground on either side, about 5 feet away, so the line extends out evenly from each end of this table framework. You can use round turns with two half hitches, taut-line hitches, or rope tackles. Here’s the beauty of this configuration: you can manipulate the distance between the A-frames by adjusting the clove hitches, and provide optimum stability to the table by placing a good, reasonable strain on the line at each stake. It will stand up in an impressively rigid fashion.
Lash on the table top. Finally, lay 12 Scout staves, (or similar poles) side by side, on top of the 2-1/2-foot support sticks, and using binder twine, lash them on with floor lashings.
Background and History. Washing mealtime utensils on a camping trip can range from using paper plates (no washing) to “Philmont-style” (lick ’em clean and sanitize in boiling water). Through the years, Scouting has come up with a variety of “dish washing assembly line” configurations. For a wide range of field applications, the three container approach has proven itself tried and true.
Here’s the method featured in the current edition of the Scouts BSA Handbook:
1st container: Wash Pot (hot water with a few drops of biodegradable soap)
2nd container: Cold-Rinse Pot (cold water with a sanitizing tablet or a few drops of bleach to kill bacteria)
3rd container: Hot-Rinse Pot (clean, hot water)
On many overnight camping and backpacking trips, this approach has been adapted, sometimes combining the second and third containers into one 8 quart pot. In all cases, the initial step is to clean or scrape off as much excess food as possible into a designated receptacle, before placing anything into the 1st container. Most often the final step, is to let all washed items air dry on a plastic sheet. Even when wash basins are used on front-country, “car-camping” trips, the whole production frequently takes place right on the ground. This is always the case when there are no picnic tables, limited table space, or when tables are being used for other things. Improving the campsite, making it more comfortable, making kitchen tasks more convenient, being resourceful and using one’s ingenuity is what creating camp gadgets are all about. That’s why the Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack was devised.
Two challenges. 1) Drawings for dish washing rack designs are common. But, until you make one and try it with full containers of water, it’s difficult to realize what the main challenge really is—to keep the containers from crashing down because they’re too heavy! Depending on the containers used, an average wash basin won’t have enough of a lip to hold it in place or is just to flimsy to keep it’s shape when filled with water. That’s why lashing together a framework alone usually won’t suffice. Therefore, in addition to the framework, this design includes a bottom platform made up of two Scout Staves for the basins to rest upon, which solves the weight issue. 2) The next challenge is one that’s common to many a pioneering structure, be it large or small. How do we keep the rack itself from falling over? We overcome this basic concern by bringing into play the same stability solution used in making a simple camp table. It’s exactly the same concept that keeps a Double A-Frame Monkey Bridge erect. Like the table, we connect two upright A-frames with a rope, and using the same rope, we anchor them securely in place on either side. Here’s what you’ll need:
ten 5-foot Scout Staves
fourteen 6-foot x 1/4-inch lashing ropes
one 20-foot x 1/4-inch lashing rope
two narrow pioneering stakes
three wash basins (For convenience, the wash basins we used were very inexpensive and easy to find. Purchased were three 18-quart Sterilite basins from Walmart.)
Make the A-frames. Because the rack will be holding around nine gallons of water, approximately 72 pounds, the lashings for this project need to be especially tight. An easy way to assure you’ll have well-lashed A-frames is to first square lash the tops at 90º and then the ledger to one leg, also at 90º. This will create some strain on the lashings when the other leg and the other end of the ledger are lashed together, yielding a nice tight A-frame. (Careful it’s not too tight, and of course you can always start with a shear lashing at the top.) With these Sterilite wash basins, lash the ledger in place about 28 inches from the top of the legs. Since all we’re using are Scout Staves, in this design one side of the ledger will purposely extend out much farther than the other on each A-frame—a place to hang some towels (or whatever).
Connect and stand up the A-frames. Tightly lash two staves to the outside of the legs of each A-frame, about 20 inches from the top. The front and back edges of the wash basins will rest on these staves. Hammer in two stakes about 12 feet apart where you want the rack to be located, and position the connected A-frames between. Halve the 20-foot lashing rope and approximating the midpoint between the A-frames, secure the rope to the top of one leg with a clove hitch, and pulling the rope to the other A-frame, repeat the process on the top of a leg on the other side. Tie the ends of the rope to the stakes on either side, securing the ends tightly with tautl-line hitches. (If preferred use roundturns with two half hitches.)
Add the two-stave basin supports. The A-frame ledgers will now serve to do something more than keep the A-frames’ legs from shifting. They’ll now also support the two remaining staves that assure the basins stay put! Lash these two staves parallel to one another on top of the ledgers, on either side of the rack.
Place the basins on the rack. Once you check to see all the lashings are tight, and the central rope is secure and stabilizing the structure, then you’re ready to bring on the basins. Position them side by side and fill them about 3/4 of the way up.
You’ve got to love this design. It’s compact, it’s sturdy, and it’s ingenious!
This drying rack is based on suspending two concentric, equilateral triangles to make six cross sections for hanging wet clothing or towels during a long term encampment, and there’s no reason you can’t put it up on an overnighter if there’s a practical need. All that’s been said before regarding the advantages of this kind of campsite improvement apply to this simple camp gadget:
It takes up less space while drying more wet things.
It eliminates the clutter of clothing and towels haphazardly strewn around on tables, tree branches, tent platforms, or overcrowded on a disorganized array of drooping clothes lines.
It can be set up in a location where there is the most sunshine.
It’s especially useful when camping in an open area with few trees.
Materials (adapt these as you like)
three 4-foot x 1-inch sticks
three 5-foot x 1-inch sticks (Scout staves are ideal)
one 6-foot x 1-1/2 to 2-1/2-inch straight pole for the upright (or an additional 5-foot Scout stave)
one 30-inch pioneering stake
eight camp gadget lashing ropes (6 to 10-foot)
three 15-foot lashing ropes
three small stakes
Lash the triangles. Start by lashing together two equilateral triangles, one smaller for the top (three 4-foot sticks), and the larger one for the bottom (three 5-foot staves). Use square lashings. One easy way is to lash two at 90° and then bend them in and tie the third square lashing to make the triangle. This yields a nice, tightly-lashed triangle, (but be careful you’re not putting too much stress on the ropes and poles when preparing to apply the third lashing).
Erect the upright. Pound in a pioneering stake and lash the 6-foot pole to it securely with two tight strop lashings or round lashings. Making this upright stand up vertically without moving or wobbling at all is a key to a good and sturdy clothing dryer. So, solidly pound in the stake and make sure it’s as straight as possible. Also, make sure the lashings are well-tied and tight.
—> ALTERNATIVE APPROACH: A clothes drying rack can be erected without having to either pound in a stake or sink the center pole, by using the same principle as when erecting a flagpole. The key is using the support ropes as guylines. SEE PHOTO.
Attach the triangles. Lay the triangles on the ground over the upright, first the larger triangle, and then the smaller one on top.
Tie each corner of the smaller triangle to a support rope so it will be suspended about 5 feet above the ground. Use clove hitches which can be adjusted as necessary to assure the triangle hangs evenly and the 4-foot sticks are horizontal. Continuing with each of the three support ropes, repeat this process for the larger triangle so that it will hang about 4 feet above the ground.
Anchor the support ropes. Hammer in a small stake a foot or so out, in line with each corner of the bottom triangle. Using the remaining length of the support ropes, attach them to the stakes with a simple taut-line hitch. This will further stabilize the clothing dryer and enable you to make fine-tune adjustments to the way the triangles lay. (You can also just make them fast to the stakes with a roundturn with two half hitches, or another clove hitch.)
Please refer to the “sales pitch” provided in the Tool Rack post spelling out all the advantages inherent in building one of these simple camp gadgets. It is a good-looking campsite improvement project, but mainly, it’s got major functionality.
The main difference between this version and the other is with the first tool rack, all the tools are hung, suspended by a cord from the upper cross piece and are supported by resting against the lower cross piece. In this tool rack, the tools’ handles are slipped in between two parallel cross pieces. This way, they’re held very nicely in place, and any shifting or wobbling around, often experienced in the first rack, is eliminated.
The two racks are also constructed in like manner, again refer back to the Tool Rack post. No need repeating it here. However, in this version, the diameter of the two 6-foot uprights need to be a little larger than the diameter of the thickest handle of any tool you’ll be hanging.
When you’re ready to lash on the cross pieces, lash on the first higher than the longest tool. It needs to be at a height easy enough to comfortably place the tools on and take the tools off the rack, without needing to reach up too high or bend over. Secure the first cross piece in front of the uprights with a couple of tight square lashings, and then secure the second cross piece to the uprights in exactly the same position, but on the other side of the uprights. You’ll be tying a tight square lashing here too, and there’s plenty of room to wrap and frap. That’s all there is to it.
By the way, if you’d like to erect a cover over the tool rack, lash another cross piece to the very top, and rig up a tarp, using this third cross piece as a ridge pole.
This wash station is the ideal First Class Camp Gadget! It’s sturdy, portable, and very useful when camping away from washroom facilities. Inherent in its design is a sound approach to a variety of pioneering concepts and skills. When this project’s built with all the lashings tight and all the legs, cross bar, and support pieces properly positioned, it’s a fine example of a well-engineered, highly functional camp gadget. Each of the three legs making up the tripod gets a lashed on support piece, and the wash station’s stability stems from the fact the design contains three triangles.
To start, you’ll need six good, straight sticks as follows:
two 2-foot x 3/4 to 1-inch for the leg braces
two 4-foot x 3/4 to 1-inch for the back leg and crossbar
two 5-foot x 3/4 to 1-inch for the front legs
For the lashings, you’ll need:
one 10-foot x 1/4-inch manila rope for the tripod lashing
six 6-foot x 1/4-inch manila ropes for the square lashings
NOTE: This and several types of camp gadgets can be happily lashed together simply using binder twine!
You’ll also need
bar of soap in a sock with a 3-foot cord
small to medium-sized towel with a 3-foot cord
No. 10 can with a bail or 4-quart cooking pot with a bail.
Here’s the assembly procedure:
Make the tripod. Using the 10-foot rope, lash the two 5-foot sticks and one 4-foot stick together with a tight tripod lashing. The 4-foot stick should be in the middle. Make sure the “butt” ends of all three these sticks are even. Separate the legs and set the tripod up. The success of this project relies on a well-tied, tight tripod lashing.
Lash on the braces. Using four tight square lashings, with the 6-foot ropes lash one end of the 2-foot sticks to the 5-foot legs and the other end of the 2-foot sticks to the four-foot leg.
Lash on the crossbar. Using two more square lashings, tightly lash the other 4-foot stick to the top extended sections of the two 5-foot sticks to make a cross bar for the towel and soap-in-a-sock.
Add the soap, water, and towel. Tie the end of one 3-foot cord to the soap-in-a-sock and the end of the other 3-foot cord to the towel, and hang them on either side of the 4-foot crossbar.
Hang the can filled with water to the end of the 4-foot stick extending from the front of the tripod.
During the camping trip, change the water as necessary. See that the soap-in-a-sock is not left in the can after use as it will melt.
One of the beauties of using metal containers is that in cold weather, the can of water can be heated in the fire.