PVC IPad Holder and Mount for Tent Camping




About: I like solving problems.

My wife and I recently went on a camping trip to the beach and I posted an instructable on how to ruggedize and bug-proof a small air conditioner here.  I knew we would be taking our iPad with us to check email and watch movies but I didn't want to have to hold or prop the iPad up the entire time not to mention I didn't want it lying in the bottom of the tent getting sand all over it so I decided to make a cheap, adjustable mount that would be sturdy enough to support the iPad but also easily transported.  The best bang for your buck when it comes to piecing together a relatively sturdy structure for practically nothing is PVC of course.  PVC pipe and connectors are basically tinkertoys for big kids!

Step 1:

The pictures pretty much tell the tale.  I wanted a leg on either side to support a long piece of PVC pipe going across the width of the tent with the iPad holder in the middle.  I used 3/4" PVC pipe.  This is a pup tent so I wanted it just high enough so that it was out of the way but also so that I could just raise my arms to reach the iPad controls and to adjust the tilt angle.  I used PVC cement on only a few of the fittings; mainly just so I could see what piece went where when we arrived at the campsite.

Step 2:

Here is the iPad holder portion of the mount.  I wanted to cut a slot into the pipes at first but that proved to be too difficult and unnecessary.  It was much easier to just draw a straight line on either side of the PVC and then run it along a bench grinder until the wheel reached the line.  Make sure you wear long sleeves, a mask and eye protection when grinding PVC because that white PVC dust coming off the grinder goes everywhere and is probably not good for your lungs.

Step 3:

At first I was going to use a T-connector to attach the iPad holder portion to the cross mount but then decided that since I was going to have power at the campsite that I would just use a 4-way connector and fish the iPad charging cable through the mount itself.  I used a USB extension cable to extend the charging cable all the way to the AC adapter.  I decided that the iPad's built-in speaker probably wasn't going to be heard very well over the sound of the air conditioner so I also ran a headphone extension cable to some little amplified iPod speakers I brought along to also use on the beach.  The portable amplified speakers are iMainGo 2's and I highly recommend them.  That's them pictured on the left (the black one) hanging from our beach umbrella using a little keychain carabiner.  They have a very rich, full sound that sounds better than any small stereo I ever heard and you can zip up your iPhone, iPod or MP3 player inside to protect it while playing music.

Step 4:

One last minute modification I did was to add a little cross support across the back to keep the sloping back of the tent off our heads while we were propped up on the pillows watching a movie.

Step 5:

The whole thing breaks down very easily and fits nicely in a nylon camping chair bag.

Step 6:

Here we were one night watching an episode of "House".  Thanks for looking!



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    17 Discussions


    1 year ago

    how to do this ? i need step procedure for car mount in tent


    2 years ago

    Thanks for the chuckle this morning. I'm all for getting out in the great outdoors as long as I have my creature comforts with me. No, this project isn't for everybody, and it DID make me laugh when I saw the air conditioner in your pup tent...BUT it's very creative and an interesting idea!


    3 years ago

    It is not camping if you bring your ipad with. You might as well just "camp" in your yard. That way your Wi-Fi still works.


    3 years ago

    maybe you could implement batteries hidden in stand and laptop soundbar to make it portable (free of sockets) ;)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. How well does the ipad pivot in the mount? Does the PVC setup as you have it permit pivoting? Thanks,


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Smart idea! We take our touchpad camping solely to watch movies while we're in bed. I love camping but even at 23 years old being outside in the dark with all kinds of animals around still freaks me out so it's comforting. Plus who doesn't like to snuggle up with their loved one and watch a movie? No one, that's who! Haters can take a hike!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Movies & AC! Why even leave the house, Good Idea though.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This would work great for a bed, thinking bunk bed, sailors bunks etc...a floor flange and you could attach to bunk above...

    This is the coolest thing i ever saw! I almost feel sorry for not having an ipad. You should so sell this on kick starter or etsy. Go for it!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    You're right.  This was a cheaper alternative to the beach house we rented last year which was unavailable this year due to the short notice.  Below is a copy and paste of my two bills.

    Here is my bill from last year:
    Rent: $2525.00
    Travel Insurance: $0.00
    Damage Insurance: $45.00
    Total Other Charges: $0.00
    Total Taxes and Fees: $277.75
    Total Vacation Cost: $2847.75
    Damage Deposit: $0.00
    Total Price: $2847.75

    Here is my bill from this year:
    USE FEE: $96.00
    SALES TAX - ST JOSEPH: $6.72
    TOTAL: $106.56
    PAST PAID: $0.00
    MasterCard: $106.56


    6 years ago on Introduction

    An excellent idea and great use of PVC tubing. I can see how your idea could be adapted to make a mount on a microphone stand for musicians who use iPads as lyric/chord charts while performing.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I love PVC too! It's cheap and you can build a lot of stuff with it. The tent was referred to as "The Igloo" during the entire trip so yeah it was very cool and comfortable even while zipped up inside our sleeping bags.