September 01, 2022 4 min read

DIY Projects That Help Get You Off the Beaten Path with Maker Pipe

The dog days of summer are certainly dogging on this year. We hope you’re staying cool under a DIY canopy on the back deck. As temperatures cool off in the coming months, we know you’ll be getting out for fall camping, kayaking, hiking, and all the outdoor sports in between to enjoy the changing foliage and autumn weather. 

At Maker Pipe, we’re asking ourselves how structural pipe fittings can help get you off the beaten path this fall and enjoying the outdoors in style. From firewood racks to solar panel mounts, our community has built all kinds of camping hacks to get them outdoors.

Roof Rack Gear Storage

Heading up to camp for labor day? Sick of loading camp tables and chairs into the back of your SUV or van? A roof rack is a great way to get camping gear stored for travel. If you’ve looked into rooftop storage solutions, you might be asking yourself, can I build my own roof rack instead of spending a fortune? 

Consider building a DIY roof rack with EMT Conduit to get your gear up and out of the way. Not only can a custom roof rack get your gear where you’re going, one built with EMT conduit will be strong, weather resistant, and built exactly to fit your needs. 

We’ve seen quite a few different rooftop rack designs over the years and we’d like to highlight a few for you to consider before heading out this fall. 


DIY Roof Rack Attached To Toyota Tacoma Roof Rack
Custom Canopy Roof Rack Secured To Truck Camper Top


This Tacoma roof rack build adds a sliding canopy frame to the roof rack that tucks away inside the main vehicle rack frame when not in use. Not only is this build versatile in that it offers both storage and protection from the elements, we really like that the builder kept it simple and used T Connectors in a thoughtful way.


Land Cruiser With A Custom Ladder And DIY Roof Rack
DIY Camping Gear Rack Attached To A Trailer Roof Rack


Looking for a bit more protection to store smaller items? This clever builder created a basket style vehicle rack and added wood slats for decking. We also like the added ladder for easy accessibility. Not to mention, the wood slats could make for a great place to lay back and enjoy the night sky. We’ve noticed some builders use cattle panels for the bottom of the roof basket, which we imagine would be less weight, but we’re not sure if you sacrifice any strength by doing so. Maybe it would be strong enough for gear, but walking around? Let us know what you found in your own builds in the community or in the comments.

The basket style roof rack also makes it easy to fit a custom cover to the build like the custom camper rack shown here. The vertical supports make it simple to attach a road shower, or DIY camping shower, with some U-bolts, too. 

If you want to gain more space in a smaller footprint, you canuse the 135 degree connector to extend the top basket rail beyond the bottom rail —like this build featured in Maker Pipe Monday episode #111.

Storing gear on top of your rig is great, but storing kayaks or a canoe? That’s even better.Maker Pipe’s structural pipe fittings make it easy to customize a build that meets your needs. The one below is a simple, but practical storage solution for transporting a couple of kayaks. You could really go the extra mile and combine a boat storage rack to have gear storage too, similar to the one below.


DIY Roof Rack That Holds A Flycraft Raft
Mini Truck With A Custom Kayak Rack & Two Kayaks Secured


Regardless of how you decide to tackle your DIY roof rack project, you’ll be cutting a lot of conduit and you may decide to bend the corners as well. If you're not sure how to cut or bend conduit, check out our blog posts How To Cut EMT Conduit and How To Bend EMT Conduit for more information. These articles will walk you through the entire process, explaining what tools you’ll need and how to use them.

Modular Camping Builds

We have seen a ton of builds posted in the Maker Pipe Camping Community over the last couple years. From canopies to bed systems, builders have thought up some incredible ideas.

The following build by Timothy sparked a lot of interest in the community and showed off some great engineering to maximize space in the camper while still providing a good night's sleep — which we all know is essential while camping. We like the use of PVC and conduit together to make this build work. The galvanized pipe straps are also a clever way to secure this build in a cost effective way.


DIY Slide Out Bed Made With PVC Pipe And EMT Conduit
RV Camper Bed With A Custom Made Mattress And Linens


Another great sleeping and table system that Ronald built in his truck bed shows a great use of the 4-way connector. We like that this system still allows plenty of storage for camping gear below the bed. The table that folds down is a great touch as well and this setup looks perfect for weekend getaways with the dog.


Custom Made Platform Bed Sitting In The Bed Of A Toyota Tacoma
Space Saving Camper Table Built In The Bed Of A Pickup Truck


Mark took his DIY camping build to the next level and created his own canvas roof top tent. We imagine this was a lot cheaper than the average rooftop tent on the market, and certainly unique! We’re betting Mark is the only one in the campground with a rooftop tent that looks like this, too.

Builders have also used our modular pipe fittings for canopies, screen rooms, solar panel stands, and much more. There are so many ways that Maker Pipe can get you out enjoying the outdoors in style. We really enjoyed reviewing these builds and we hope it gives you inspiration to build out that custom roof rack or canopy before heading out on your fall trip.

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions while designing your build and please send in the finished product to share with the community. We love seeing your builds and sharing your ideas within the community to inspire other builders. Thanks for reading and happy building.


Jeep Gladiator Parked With A Custom Canvas Tent For Off Grid Camping