Make your own Portable Stool

Whenever, I go on an expedition I give packing and kit lists a great deal of thought but never more so than when it’s going to be a first for me.  So far I’ve been on the survival course in the Sahara, Massai experience in Kenya and tracking in South Africa so I’m happy with my hot weather setup but Sweden last year was a real departure from what had come before.  I’m obviously very used to a woodland environment but the canoe and journey element of this expedition added a new twist that needed to be planned for – and I decided to start with comfort.

This blog will take you through the process of making a stool that is small enough to fit in your hand but, with the addition of a few resources collected on arrival at camp, you’ll have a rudimentary stool perfect for using while cooking round the fire.  Far more civilised and with oodles more bushcraft street cred than a foam sit mat.

First off we need a template to use and it’s worth putting in the time to make this right as it will keep the end product symmetrical and easier to assemble.  The measurements I used are as follows:

  • The large triangle measures 57cm along each edge.
  • The three smaller triangles that sit either side and inside of the point of the large triangle measure 10cm along each edge.

Cut out your template and select some sturdy material – I’ve used some canvas from an old tent that I’ve been making other projects from.  Remember this has got to take your body weight so select accordingly.  Use your template to then transfer the outline onto your material and if you have a pet don’t turn your back for too long (Willow the dog decided now was a good time to get my attention to play ball).

I then used a piece of card to make a 1.5cm hem template.  The cut out from the card helps to run along the outline and still cut without hitting the card guide but obviously you can use whatever method works for you.  Once the seat has been cut out we need to get sewing.

I started with sewing up along the points of the large triangle and along the bases of the two small triangles that sit either side and repeated this on each of the remaining two points.  This tab then needs to be folded inwards to join up under the seat pad and continue with the hem.  I made sure that stitching was reinforced and done at different angles to help spread the tension points a little.

That’s the seat pad itself finished but whenever I arrive at camp I’ll need to source some straight poles of about an arms-length to make the legs which will also require some paracord.  To help protect the material it’s worth rounding of the ends of the poles before assembling.

Lay each pole down next to each other and secure the paracord round the first with a clove hitch or a secure knot of your choice.  Then wrap around all three poles five or so times before then wrapping between the poles three or so times to tighten the grip of the cord around each pole before tying off securely.  Open the poles into a tripod shape and slot the pocket of the seat over the poles and there you have it – a seat that fits in the hand.

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