Build a Rucking Flagpole

How To

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So if you haven’t heard of rucking or GORUCK you may not know that every challenge class has to carry an American Flag. When I registered to do my first Light Challenge I volunteered to construct the flagpole for our class.

I asked fellow ruckers in our facebook group if they had any ideas. I spent a little time researching the topic online (my Google-Fu is strong) and came up with some ideas.

So here’s how I built my first GORUCK flagpole for under $20:

Requirements / Features

Keeping its purpose in mind, I made a list of features I wanted it to have:

  • Lightweight – it would be carried the distance of the ruck.
  • Standalone – it needed to be able to support itself and not let the flag hit the ground (while we did PT).
  • Quick attach / detach of the flag
  • RULE #1

Materials & Tools Used

  • 1 x 8′ stick of 1″ SCH40 PVC
  • 1 x 5′ piece of 3/4″ electrical conduit
  • 2 x 1/4″ – 2″  Eyebolts
  • 2 x 1/4″ – 2.5″ bolts
  • 4 x 1/4″ washers

UPDATED Version!

After I assembled the flagpole, I realized it did not live up to its full potential, so I updated a few pieces to make it more secure. Sorry, no photos!

  • I replaced the flat washers with Locking Washers and put one on each side of the eyebolts and on the thread side of the stake bolts. – Less likely to come apart.
  • I replaced the 4 nuts with Locking Nuts. – Less likely to loosen.
  • I replaced the screw type connector with 10# locking S Carabiners. – Less weight.
  • Impact Drill
  • Reciprocating Saw w/ fine tooth blade
  • Tape Measure
  • 1/4″ Drill Bit
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver

Step 1: PVC

To hold a 3′ x 5′ flag, the pole needs to be at least 7′ tall, so I measured and cut the PVC to 7’3″ (a little extra to make sure it didn’t touch the ground).

Measure 1″ down from the top end of the PVC pole and marked it with my Sharpie. This will be the top mounting point for the flag.

Measure the distance between the center points of the eyelets on your flag.

** UPDATE: make sure to add some to compensate for whatever you use to attach the flag to the eyebolts!

Add 1″ to that measurement and made another mark on the PVC.

I just ‘eye-balled’ the center line of the PVC to make an “X” mark on the two lines.
** NOTE: eyeballing it worked pretty well! Remember, it’s a flagpole not a Swiss watch!

Use a 1/4″ drill bit and drill completely through the PVC at your two marks.

That’s it for the PVC… for now!

Step 2: Electrical Conduit

The electrical conduit serves two purposes:

  1. As a stake to plant the flagpole in the ground
  2. To reinforce the top section of the flagpole to reduce flexing in the PVC

Let’s get started:

Subtract 1/2″ from the distance you drilled your two holes in the PVC in step 1 and mark the conduit.

Using the reciprocating saw cut the conduit on the line.

This is the most difficult part: take the shorter piece and cut one end at an angle. I tried to get close to a 45-degree angle.

From the tip of the point you just cut, measure 18″ and make a mark (this will give you an 18″ stake at the end of your flagpole).

Use your tape and measure from the straight end of the conduit to the line you just made and subtract 1″ from the top (straight end) and make a mark.

Make an “X” mark on the center line of the conduit using the mark you just made.

Drill a hole through the conduit at your “X” mark.

Step 3: Assembly

Get your assembly pieces together:

  • Organize your bolts, washers, and nuts so they are ready to use in pairs and sets.
  • Put a locking washer on the stake bolts

Start Assembling:

Put the top eyebolt in using locking washers and a locking nut and tighten.

Take the long piece of conduit and slide it inside the PVC until it hits the eyebolt.

Put in the lower eyebolt (same way as the first).

Now comes the fun part… putting the stake in! I’m sure there’s an easier way (and if you know it let me know in the comments below) to do this part:

  • Use the measurement from the top hole in the conduit to mark the bottom end of the PVC and drill a hole through it.
  • Place the conduit into the PVC and line up the holes. When you have them lined up put one of the stake bolts in. 
  • Use a locking washer and locking nut and tighten.
  • Now come down 8″ or so and drill another hole through both the PVC and the conduit.
  • Place the other stake bolt through it.
  • Use a locking washer and locking nut and tighten.

Done! (almost)…

Step 4: RULE #1

Well, the flagpole now meets most of our requirements:

  • It’s lightweight – PVC & conduit
  • It’s standalone – You can ram the stake into the ground
  • Quick attach/detach flag – using the eyebolts and S carabiners

The ONLY thing missing is RULE #1!

Rule #1 is completely up to you! It’s purely a personal decision. To resolve my particular Rule #1 issue I used black spray paint, green Duck tape, and black Gorilla tape.

I spray painted the PVC black, leaving the stake natural. After it dried, I wrapped the flag area with the black Gorilla tape and the handle area with green Duck tape.

NOW our flagpole is complete!

  • RULE #1

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