Monday, August 20, 2018

DIY Camping Corral

Over labor day weekend I will be going to the White River Endurance ride. As I chose the cheapest campsites I won't have high line posts to use so I needed a good way to contain Gwyn in an open field.

Hence, this project! I followed another blogger's instructions but found them... lacking. They were not specific into the length of the poles they used and upon further inquiry, their numbers were way off.

I'll have a breakdown of everything I did, including cost. It did come out cheaper than purchasing a kit or buying panels from an online store. It's still not cheap however, so be prepared to spend a couple hundred dollars. But you can get this project done in a weekend, even with kids ;)  Additionally, it would definitely be cheaper to do an electric pen. So keep that in mind if you are pondering which containment method to pick. My highline kit was only $40, but I can't use it this trip.

The nitty gritty!

Materials list:

QuantityItem DescriptionCost per individual itemTotal spentNotes
211 1/4 inch PVC Conduit pipe 10 ft$4.86$102.06Buy 10 or more, get the bulk price, save $11.34, original price was $5.40/pole
481 1/4 inch PVC Ts$1.88$90.24No bulk discount, GRRRR
81 1/4 inch PVC cross$3.26$26.08
161 1/4 inch PVC elbow$1.81$28.96
2PVC cement$8$16You probably only need one if you don't spill it like me
2Spray paint$3.87$7.74Optional, I used leftover cans from a previous project so this was not a cost for me
1Bag of zip ties$9.88$9.88For holding the panels together, you can choose your method
4Wrap it carabiner straps$2.25$9.00I'm using these for transport in the trailer and for attaching to the trailer while camping
2Bungee cord with toggle balls (8pack)$5.98$11.96Also for holding panels together
8Step in t posts$1.99$15.92Already had these for other projects
Total Cost$317.84

So, to cost compare to these portable pens:

Apple Picker Portable Travel Corral   $429 plus $50 shipping fee
Metal pens from Travelncorrals starting at $599 not including shipping
Carrilite  Portable Corral  $869

If we want to compare PVC to PVC, if you buy a kit with everything already measured and you still have to put it together, you go here

For a two rail (mine is three rail) with custom color, it's $319 and does include bungees.  It's $399 to get 8 panels of 3 rail and only comes as a fully assembled package.

I think it's worthwhile, and remember, I didn't spend that total this weekend as I already had the spray paint and tposts.

When you need 48 connectors, you just ask the Home Depot employees to get you the boxes of pvc fittings

First step is spray paint your fittings because color coordination is key

Totally think that you have enough spray paint left over from making poles

Realize that in fact you do not have enough and curse that you have two different purples and then not even enough to make everything purple. Begrudgingly use pink.

Start cutting pvc.
This is the way we broke down the cutting as the plan calls for using the wide end of the conduit for the legs of the fence panels.

Definitely NOT to scale, lol
Also, each panel is 4ft high by 5ft long, so you'd get a 10x10 enclosure with 8 panels.

You need 3 poles to complete one panel. A part of the third pole is used for the next panel. It all ends up working out with the 21 poles and the you end up with about 5ft leftover. If I had enough leftover 16inch pieces I didn't cut the next pole and just went back to doing the 13-16-30-30-30 cuts.

Very easy to cut with one of these

I assembled without glue as I went so that I could keep track of which pieces I needed.  This worked for my brain. 

There were thieves who tried to 'help' me

Gwyn supervised and yelled at me when it got to be dinner time and I was still cutting things.

Those blue spots are where I knocked over the can of pvc cement. 

Once everything was glued together I loaded them into the truck and drove them around to the trailer

They fit with room to spare in the other stall of the trailer but in a pinch I could fit them in front of Gwyn.

I even had room to keep the divider nice and wide for loading Gwyn.

They are strapped down both to each other and to the trailer to minimize movement

I have four of those orange things. They are velcro straps with a carabiner (linked above) 
I figure using the orange velcro straps for attaching the panels to the trailer will make it a quick release in a similar way that my trailer ties are velcro safety release. They'll give under enough pressure. Then I have the bungee with balls to attach the panels to one another and zip ties as a back up to that.

I'm pretty proud I got this all done in a weekend. Now it's less things to think about for the endurance ride in less than two weeks!


  1. How cool! Good job doing all that. I might have missed it but how big of a space will this give you when it is built at camp?

    1. Without using a trailer wall it'll give me a 10x10 pen. Larger if I use the trailer, so plenty of room for Gwyn to get up and down as she seems to like to nap after rides.