Pioneering Program Curriculum VI: Tripod Lashing

Tripod Lashing With Plain Turns
Tripod Lashing With Plain Turns

This is the sixth post in a series that will eventually comprise an activity-based, unit pioneering program curriculum.

SUPPORTING VIDEO: How to Tie a Tripod Lashing

VI. The tripod is the most simple and most easy to erect self-standing pioneering structure. It frequently comes into play in the construction of simple campsite improvements as in providing a stand to hang a lantern or water bag, and in our favorite First Class Camp Gadget: the Wash Station. In larger projects, two tripods can support a crossbar as in a swing set, or support two parallel lateral spars for a platform as in the Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen.

The Tripod Lashing with Plain Turns is a simple and quick way to lash together three spars into a tripod. For many projects, the wraps can be made with simple plain turns in lieu of racking turns, (as in what’s often referred to as the Figure of Eight Lashing). Here’s an illustration from the 1967 printing of the Boy Scout Field Book.

Two Half Hitches = a Clove Hitch!


A. Scouts will demonstrate they can tie a tripod lashing by:

  1. laying the poles parallel to one another with the butt ends even
  2. starting off the lashing with a clove hitch around one outside pole about 6 inches from the tips
  3. wrapping the lashing rope six to eight times around all three poles (How stiff the tripod legs will be when they’re separated depends on the number and tightness of these wrapping turns.)
  4. taking two frapping turns between the middle pole and the one with the clove hitch
  5. taking two additional frapping turns between the middle pole and the other outside pole *
  6. completing the lashing by applying two half hitches (clove hitch) around the opposite outside pole

B. Scouts will demonstrate they can erect their tripod by:

  1.  crossing the outside legs under the middle pole
  2. standing up their tripod by forming an equilateral triangle with the butt ends of the poles

C. Scouts will stabilize their tripod by:

  1. lashing a horizontal brace between between each of the tripod’s legs with two square lashings


  • three Scout Staves for each Scout
  • one 12-1/2-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing rope for each Scout
  • six 6-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes for each Scout
  • three 3-foot  x 1-inch straight sticks for each Scout
  • one Pot or No.10 can with a bail for each Scout
  • one 3-foot cord for each Scout


1) The instructor demonstrates how to tie a tripod lashing narrating each step as he proceeds.

2) With the assistance of the instructor(s), using three Scout Staves and a 12-1/2-foot lashing rope, each Scout lashes the staves together as per the demonstration.


1) Once their lashing is adequately completed, each Scout crosses the two outside legs underneath the middle leg to stand up his tripod.

Horizontal Braces
Building a Chippewa Kitchen: horizontal braces are lashed between the tripod’s legs.

2) Once their tripod is erect, each Scout connects the tripod legs with three 3-foot sticks with square lashings, using six 6-foot lashing ropes.

3) When their legs of their tripod are stabilized with with the three cross braces, each Scout suspends a pot or No. 10 can filled half way up with water, by hanging it on the tripod with a 3-foot cord attached to the bail.

* A Note About Frapping: When finishing the wraps, if the running end is carried between the end and middle pole without completing a full wrap around all three poles, the rope will be carried over the middle pole to start the second set of fraps (as pictured above).

If a full wrap is completed around all three poles, after the frapping turns are made, the rope will be carried under the middle pole to start the second set of fraps. In either case, the first and second set of frapping turns proceed in opposite directions! (This note applies to Tripod Lashings with both plain turns and racking turns.)



Simple Tripod Lashing

VIEW VIDEO: How to Tie a Tripod Lashing with Plain Turns

This is a simple and quick way to tie a tripod lashing. The wraps are not woven in and out between the spars. The running end is simply wrapped around all three, snugly but not too tight. In Rope Works Plus, Gerald Findley refers to this lashing as a Tripod Lashing with Plain Turns. Here’s a page right out of the 1967 printing of the BSA Fieldbook:

Tripod Lashing: Place three timbers next to each other, butt ends at the bottom, and attach a lashing rope to an outside leg with a clove hitch at the proper position. Bind the spars together with seven or eight loose wrapping turns and two frapping turns between the poles to form the hinge pivots. Finish off the lashing with a clove hitch on the other outside leg. Spread the legs to their proper positions for use.
Tripod Lashing

Notice how the outside legs cross under the middle leg. In that way, the strength of the tripod is not entirely dependent on the strength of the lashing rope, but also on the support given by the wood of the outside legs.

racking turns
Racking Turns

Note: This lashing works very well for most Scout Pioneering applications, but for a heavy tripod, or a large one that will be supporting a lot of weight for a longer period of time, using racking turns (Figure of Eight Tripod Lashing) provides more contact between the rope and the spars.

Pioneering Program Curriculum VI: Tripod Lashing With Plain Turns