Light, Modular, Portable Worksurfaces

A key to working in the wild is finding a decent surface to work on. A worksurface has many qualities that can be hard to find in the wild: flat, stiff, clean, elevated, sturdy, resistance against the forces of the tools (heat, weight, pressure). It also needs to be lightweight, and for our purposes in hiking hacks we need them to be quite lightweight. Over the years we have worked on many different designs which tackle some aspects of this ongoing project.

A full rundown of the parameters guiding this project follow


Durable when out and durable when packed (not gonna get broken in my backpack)

Compact – can go multiple in backpack easily such as flat packing or rolling up

Rigid and sturdy – stuff can sit on it without wobbling or falling over

Strong – can support my laptop and big rolls of solder


Weather proof (I’m worried about trying steel bands rusting for instance).

Modular / scalable – a single hiking hacker can use it themselves , or a group could gather around in a different configuration. This is important and what makes this design tricky.

Standalone or mountable – can use it in places without trees or other uprights, or in places where you can make use of terrain features.

Rapidly deployable- if it takes as long as to set up as Ikea furniture, I’ll never use it. If it’s like a tent , I’ll use it maybe once every day or two . What I want it something you almost don’t have to think about setting up , do you can toss it out on quick 10 minute breaks on the hiking trail.

DIY – I or you or we can build this all by ourselves without too much cost. Like carbon fiber would be awesome but it s pricey and hard to work with. I try to steer away from too many exotic materials or tools.



Laser cut standing tree desk- kinda heavy, awkward to carry, longish setup


Aluminum perforation: Light and flat, but kinda hard to setup, not very sturdy, and the edges snag on things

Image may contain: plant, grass, table, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: grass and outdoor

built into a leg



Coming out from one’s hips


Double layered large group


Spring loaded rapid deployment

Could be useful: vacuum-formed plastic woven fiber (from material connexion). Super light and sturdy. Tegris Stiff thermoplastic composite that is fully recyclable. This 100% polypropylene (PP) woven textile has good impact resistance and stiffness.

Milliken and Company MC # 6600 MC # 5641