Take-apart Campfire Cooking Tripod

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Cooking TripodOver on the right, check out a take-apart campfire cooking tripod in action. (The cast iron pot contains homemade venison chili. Click here for my recipe.) The tripod legs are made of ½ inch electrical conduit. They are 4 feet long and cut in 2 feet long sections connected together with conduit connections screwed in place on one end and glued in place on the other end.

The light blue object in the right foreground is the carrier. It's made of 3 inch PVC sewer/drain pipe with a cap on one end and a screw–on/screw–off plug on the other end.

Here's a closeup of the carrier which contains the entire taken-apart tripod with room left over for a screwdriver. (The carrier also doubles as the shipping container.) For scale, I stood it on end beside the Bluesmobile's right front tire. It's exactly 27 ½ inches long, or a little over knee high to a tall person. Compare it to the tire and notice how easily it would fit into the trunk of your Bluesmobile.

Store the tripod in the carrier and never worry about getting soot on your other camping gear.

The Carrier

Here's a closeup of a conduit connector holding a leg section together.

Each conduit connector is glued to a 2 feet long leg section
with J & B Weld.® The not-needed set-screw is left in place as a spare.


If you don't need portability, use 4 feet long sections of conduit.

Closeup of connector

The leg connectors

The pot hangs from an "S" hook on the end of a 24 inch chain. You can see a stirring/dipping spoon hanging from an "S" hook at the top of the tripod.The pot
The tripod contains 3 "S" hooks:
  • One at the top to hold the spoon
  • One at the bottom of the chain to hold the pot
  • One near the top of the chain and used to adjust the length of the chain and the height of the pot above the fire

Notice the placement of the chain/pot height adjustment "S" hook, about 2 inches from the top. To adjust the chain, you grasp the "S" hook in one hand, the chain in the other hand, and raise or lower the chain and the pot as you wish.

The S hooks

Notice the three eye bolts at the top and holding everything together. I opened the eye of one bolt with heavy pliers, put the chain end, the spoon "S" hook and the other two eye bolts inside it, then closed it with blows from a hammer.

Closeup of boltsTo erect the tripod, simply insert the treaded ends of the eye bolts into the ends of the connected-together legs. It takes about 45 seconds from the time you unscrew the end of the PVC carrier until you're ready to cook.

If you build your own, make sure you completely close the ends of the "S" hooks where they connect to the chain and to an eye bolt. Also completely close the opened eye bolt.

If you decide to move a tripod leg with a pot in place, grasp the tripod leg at the bottom.

  • The leg will be cool near the ground
  • If you didn't tighten a screw on a conduit connector or a screw became loosened, the leg will remain together if you move it while grasping the bottom section.

It cost me about $30 to build a tripod and its carrier in July, 2007. Your cost to build one may be more or less, depending on local costs and whether or not your brother-in-law is an electrician or a plumber.

A note about campfires: In honor of the spirits of the hundreds of Native Americans who probably built campfires near or on the site of mine, I purify each new campfire by burning a small cedar branch. I then purify new cooking utensils in that rising smoke. My tripod and Dutch oven were thus sanctified.

Tripod cooking requires very little firewood. When the fire you see in the above photos burned down, I placed 4 sticks of firewood in it with the butts touching like an X with the fire in its middle. Move the tripod legs until the pot is centered over the X, the fire. Then raise or lower the pot for the desired level of simmer or boil. Cook with the pot low and over a small fire. When the fire burns down, use the toe of your boot and gently shove the butts closer together.

Look up and find Polaris, the North Star, or use your compass and find north. Then orientate the ends of the sticks of firewood comprising the X so that they point exactly north, south, east and west, the 4 sacred Native American directions.

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