American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Tipi

I'm thinking about buying a tipi like this one on eBay.

It's no lightweight but should hold up a bit better to a traditional fire pit better than some of the ultralight versions on the market today.

The folks at Briar Patch have a large Lakota style tipi and, having spent some time in it as both rain shelter and classroom I can attest to the comfort afforded by the design. Having the small fire pit in the center allows the heat and smoke to dry out the walls and, set up properly, the smoke rises through the hole at the top rather than billowing around inside choking the occupants.

There is a liner available that improves air flow and ventilation in both summer and winter--an option I'd think seriously about getting.

It'll be a while before I can set aside the money for a larger and heavier shelter (especially after swearing to go smaller and lighter) but I think a well-made tipi could easily last decades.

Thanks for reading,



At 1:14 PM, Blogger viridari said...

So I have a question...

...what keeps you dry inside a tipi when it is pouring rain out?

At 1:15 PM, Blogger sam_acw said...

I really like the look of them - it seems perhaps the best design for a semi-permanent shelter

At 1:23 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...


I believe the tautness of the material and the pitch of the walls are what repel the water.

The vent hole in the top can be opened and closed to allow more smoke out and/or less rain in.

It will get wet in spots inside during a storm but typically you'll sleep along the outside edge and the fire will go under the opening.

Believe me, it rained every day during the class and, while there was a wet spot inside near the fire, the most of the tipi was dry inside and what wasn't would be dried in short order with a fire going in the fire pit.


At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Torjus Gaaren said...

I have a traditional lavvo, which is the Saami equivalent of the tipi. I absolutely love it. Great when it's storming and raining outside. Warm and comfy and with a much better roof hight than ordinary tents. The fire is of course the main attraction.

A small tipi is much better if you are fewer, lighter and you don't need so long poles. The pre-contact tipis were also much smaller than the current tipis, since they didn't have horses to pull the poles and carry the hide.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger BrianA said...

I have a Varrie Tentipi on my list to buy before next spring. They are extremely pricey, but I think they are worth it.


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