Flags are a symbol of identity and it is a practice to have a flag raised during a camp. Flagpoles are not always available at campsites, so it is necessary for instructors and cadets to improvise one from the available materials at the campsite if necessary.
2. Equipment needed for a Flagstaff
- 2 x 3.0m Spars
- 2 x 3.0m Manila Hemp
- 3 x 5.5m Manila Hemp
- 1 x 1.0m Twine/Bootlace
- 1 x 10m Nylon Rope
- 3 x Pegs
- 1 x Mallet/Extra Peg
- 1 x Flag
- 1 x Pulley (optional)
3. Recommended Erection Procedures
- Using the two pieces of 3.0m manila hemp, bind the two 3m spars together with round lashings. The thicker spar [if any] will act as the bottom spar. The recommended length of the overlapping portion is ½ to ⅓ of each spar. Round lashings should be one palm width away from the end of the overlapping portion.
- Secure three pieces of 5.5m manila hemp to the middle of the overlapping region, between the two round lashings, using clove hitches. All of the clove hitches should be of downward force nature, with one tied in an opposite direction from the other two.
- Adjust the clove hitches such that the crosses of all 3 clove hitches are on the lower spar, with the standing ends at about 120° to one another, leaving no gaps between each hitch.
- When pulled tangentially, the standing ends of the clove hitches will be extending in the “12 o’clock”, “4 o’clock” and the “8 o’clock” directions.
- If there is a pulley, use the 1.0 m twine to attach it to the top of the flagstaff at the “6 o’clock” position. If there is no pulley, a pulley system can be improvised by tying a manharness knot in the middle of the 1.0m twine to form a pulley. Tie the free ends of the manharness knot tightly to the top of the flagstaff using West Country whipping at the 6 o’clock position.
- Run the nylon main through the pulley, to form the flag line/ halyard.
- Hammer the 3 pegs into their respective positions, 45° to the ground.
- The pegs should be pegged at an angle of 120° to one another, with respect to the base of the flagstaff, forming an equilateral triangle.
- The distance of the pegs from the base of the flagstaff should be equal to the distance of the middle clove hitch to the base of the flagstaff.
- Erect the flagstaff with one person holding to the body of the flagstaff.
- Adjust the flagstaff until it is vertical, then secure the 3 guylines to their pegs simultaneously using tent guy loop.
- Attach and raise the flag, then secure the halyard.
Securing a Flag to the Flagstaff
- A flag has 2 loose ends used for securing it to a flag line/halyard
- Secure the 2 ends of the flag line/halyard to the 2 loose ends of the flag using an appropriate bend.
- Pull one end of the flag line slightly to check if the flag will be raised in the correct orientation.
- To end off, first tie a half hitch using the end of the halyard. Loop back and cut the halyard itself, making a few rounds upwards till a short length is left. Tuck the end underneath the halyard.
Information and images provided by NPCC HQ