Handmade Lightweight Camping Tent Chandelier

This isn’t exactly rocket science but I’ve found this little trick incredibly valuable while backpacking or camping.

Andrea picked up a stash of umbrellas from the local .99 store. It wasn’t until she stripped them of their fabric for pillows (see post here) that I realized what a neat collapsible lightweight frame they had. I immediately thought back to some of my most recent backpacking trips and the need for something that would allow me to hang stuff, dry stuff and cook stuff. Well little umbrella frame, fear not, for you are about to save the day.

FYI– go to the bottom to see videos.


  1. Umbrella frame – can use an old one ( We love recycling)  or pick one up at the local discount store
  2. Zipties, about 20, the smaller the better, because their lighter.
  3. Battery powered LED lights
  4. Wire cutters

wire cutters, zipties,lLed lights and umbrella frame









Directions (scroll down for a video if you aren’t into reading directions)

1. Strip the fabric off of your umbrella

2. Using medium/heavy duty wire cutters, snip off the outer most extension arms  at the joint.

Here you can see where the extension arms were removed









3. Run your lights around the frame with it in the extended position but do not zip tie yet. You are checking to make sure you have enough wire so that the battery pack can be mounted on the handle.

Test to make sure the battery box is not in the way by opening and closing the frame a few times











4. Now ziptie the lights as far out as possible so that the cabling and zipties do not get in the way of the hinges while the unit is closed ( or it won’t close all the way )

I used the smallest possible zipties I could find to keep the bulk and weight down










5. Flip it on and give it a test spin. Also, I added an aluminum hinged loop at the bottom to make it easy to attach to a tent or backpack.

Turned on.. Duh.









Carabiner on wrist strap










The Video How To:

And see it in action:





  1. Umbrella Pillows - [...] Throw in a wee bit of sewing and a few buttons for an indoor pillow. Either way I think …

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