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Hunting Tents

Wall tent vs. Tipi tent – In search of the perfect hunting tent


Hunter entering Tentipi tent after morning huntProfessional guides, outfitters, and experienced outdoorsmen alike have often jumped at any opportunity to pick up a rare canvas tipi from Sweden’s legendary Nordic tent makers. Tentipi Nordic tipis just weren’t seen very often on this side of the ocean.  

Finally, outdoorsmen in search of the ideal canvas hunting tent are seeing what all the fuss is about. These may well be the finest hunting tents in the world.

Tentipi Nordic tipi’s were literally designed and developed on the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden, and the moment you step inside you know they’re made to handle it.

Regularly ranked in the top 1% of tents produced worldwide, these tents are made from the finest canvas available globally. The weight-to-tear strength is much higher than the canvas found in domestic wall tents, which enables a very lightweight canvas fabric that is wonderfully breathable, extremely tough, and highly water resistant. 

Tentipi’s cotton/polyester canvas fabric blends very strong and wear resistant polyester fibers with the longest available cotton fibers.  An extremely tight weave and thread count is achieved.  Each fiber strand is treated with a high quality water repellent and UV protection before it is even woven into its final fabric. 

Equal consideration was also given to design, workmanship, and a number of patented advanced features found in no other tents.  The classic Swedish design and engineering is obvious the moment you step inside, and they come with a lifetime warranty against any material or workmanship flaws.


Compare Tentipi’s size and weight with a similarly sized wall tent

Hunter inside tent enjoying tent stoveTentipi’s Zirkon 15 for example, is an amazing 20 feet in diameter and 12 feet high at its peak.

Compared to a similarly sized wall tent, the differences are many, but lets start with weight and packed size.  The Tentipi Zirkon 15 comes in its own supplied backpack, complete with shoulder straps and waist belt.  At 43 lbs. complete with heavy duty stakes and hardened aluminum alloy break-down center pole, it can easily be handled by one person, and could even be carried for long distances by an adventurer inclined to do so.

Compare that to the typical wall tent, which often weighs well over a hundred pounds including as many as 3 or 4 separate bags for all the poles and assembly pieces, and takes up to half the bed of a pick-up truck.  You can start to appreciate why these canvas tipis have become an outfitters dream tent.

Tentipi’s sizes 9, 7, and 5 pack down even smaller than the large Zirkon 15 and weigh even less.  They’re all much easier to handle and carry when packed volume and weight become important; such as on float planes, on horseback, in canoes/kayaks, on snow machines, or pulled with sleds.

Next, consider the set-up and take down process involved with a large wall tent.  It often takes two people several hours to set up completely and correctly.  By contrast, all Tentipi tents sizes, including the huge Zirkon 15 can easily be set-up in less than ten minutes by one person, even less once you’ve done it once or twice.

Tentipi’s ingenious design enables all stakes to be quickly and easily inserted into the ground in exactly the correct position every time before the tent is even unfurled.  Then, all that’s left is to roll out the tent, decide on the ideal door placement, and simply loop the rings around the stakes, which are already in the ground.  Walk inside, situate the center pole and stand it up.  That’s it.  A quick walk around to tighten the adjustable straps and you’re done.  A 20 ft. diameter, 12 ft. high canvas hunting tent is ready to inhabit.


Heating and ventilation

Hunter inside large tentIf you’ve spent much time in a wall tent, you’ve learned to be in the front of the line when it comes to deciding who gets the best cot placements.  If you're too close to the stove you're likely to find it much too hot. Too far from the stove and you’re likely to be too cold in the deep of the night.  The problem is that it is difficult to position the stove in a spot that works well for everyone.  The rectangular shape of most wall tents, combined with a need to vent the stovepipe out of, or close to, a sidewall, means that a balanced stove position is difficult to find.

In a Tentipi Nordic tipi, the woodstove is its natural heart and is perfectly placed in the center of the tent.  The problem is completely eliminated as the soothing radiant heat is enjoyed equally from all positions.  The hot stovepipe stays inside the tent all the way to the very top enabling a lot more of the stove’s heat to be radiated inside the tent.  In a wall tent, most of the stovepipe is located outside of the tent, which forces the stove to be operated at a hotter temperature to warm the tent.  A tipi is much easier and much more efficient to heat which means much less work gathering and cutting firewood.

And that’s only the start when it comes to a tipi’s shape advantages. 

There are a number of very good reasons why conical or tipi shaped tents have stood the test of time for hundreds of years. One of those reasons is because of the natural chimney effect a tipi’s shape produces. Tentipi has perfected this process with the benefit of today’s high tech materials.

Tentipi’s patented ventilation system is nothing short of a work of design engineering art, and virtually eliminates condensation problems common to single wall tents.  Tentipi has created a simple system of draw cords controlled from inside the tent.  These cords control the opening or closing of the top cap ventilation system.  Pull one cord and the top opens a little.  Pull on three cords and it opens half way.  Pull all six cords and the top of the tent opens completely allowing the chimney effect to work to at maximum draw, the rising hot air exiting while pulling fresh ground level air in behind it.

The ventilation system is equally valuable in winter when using a wood stove.  When it occasionally gets too hot inside the tent someone merely needs to pull a draw cord or two to open the top cap, a lot of heat is vented very quickly.  Each cord is connected to a bungee-like cord on the outside of the tent.  When the toggle is released, the top cap snaps completely shut, closing the top of the tent.  The end result is a natural, internal climate control system that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Another advantage of the tipi shape is that the heat rises and concentrates at the very top of the tent.  This provides the perfect place to dry wet clothes, hats, gloves, boot liners, etc.  Instead of trying to position wet clothes all around the stove, Tentipi’s clever drying rails enable these things to be hung high overhead, out of the way, and safe from getting burned.  The drying rails resemble small shock-corded tent pole sections that snap together to form a hoop.  The hoop is secured to the top of the tent via nylon webbing so that even with a lot of heavy, wet clothes the weight doesn’t pull in and change the shape of the tent.  All the weight is directed to the center pole.  Even a wet, heavy sleeping bag can be dried inside the tent with relative ease.


Wind and rain deflection – no additional tarp or rain fly required

Nearly every time I see a canvas wall tent in use it has a rain fly over the top.  Often it’s just a regular blue tarp.  The intention is to help rain and snow slide off more easily, and to protect the top of the tent from developing rain pockets and excessive snow load. These often improvised fly’s work well, but there is a lot of excessive time and energy involved in creating this protective layer.  By comparison, a tipi’s shape is perfectly suited to shedding rain and snow.  There is simply no need to fashion a tarp or additional rain fly.

Strong winds are another issue wall tent users are used to dealing with. The large rectangle canvas tent panels can act like sails when the wind blows hard. Securing a big wall tent requires the use of many, many heavy-duty rope guy lines, which extend in all directions away from the tent.  Special considerations must also be made to secure the stovepipe in windy conditions because the majority of the stovepipe is outside of the tent. 

Pipe sections often have to be wired together and supported by improvised sticks to ensure safe operation.

A tipi on the other hand, is perfectly suited to windy conditions because its shape doesn’t allow wind a chance to get a hold of it.  There are no flat panels to catch the wind.  The vast majority of a tipi’s structure is low to the ground where there is less wind to begin with, the remaining part of the structure slopes gently upward to a point enabling even strong wind to easily flow over and around.  Stoves and stovepipes are also protected from the wind because the majority of the pipe remains inside the tent.  Only the very top of the chimney pipe extends out of the top and there are no special precautions required.


Which hunting tent should I choose?

hunting equipment outside hunters tentIn reality, there is no such thing as a specific "hunting tent".  A hunting tent after all is merely a tent that is used to hunt out of.  However, in choosing a hunting tent, hunters search for qualities that will meet and exceed the conditions they can expect to face.  A western elk hunt for example, can expose hunters to extremely high temperatures in September, or rainy, wet, and snowy conditions within the same week.  Later in the year, heavy snow and bitter cold temperatures are all but a certainty.  The ideal hunting tent then, is one that can handle any and all conditions that will be encountered.

While high weather resistance, total bug protection, and lots of stand-up room are at the top of the list, there’s more to the perfect hunting tent.  A hunting camp is more than just a place to sleep.  It’s also a social place; the camaraderie around camp every bit as important as the actual hunting.  Particularly in times of inclement weather, a hunting tent is a place to hang out in, socialize in, a place to eat and drink in. Time spent learning about which hunting tent is best for you is time well spent indeed.

Remember that the use of cots inside tents reduces the available floor space considerably versus sleeping on the ground on simple pads.  Like most tent manufacturers, Tentipi lists its tent sizes based on how many sleepers the tent can comfortably accommodate when on the ground.  A size 9 will comfortably sleep 9 people on the ground, but is realistically comfortable with 3 or 4 cots placed around the circumference of the tent.  A size 15 will comfortably accommodate 6 cots, while still leaving room for 6-8 chairs to gather around the stove in.

The tipi shape enables cots to be tucked in around the edge of the tent where standing room isn’t necessary, leaving the taller middle of the tent to stand, walk, and move around in.  Each cot will also have a couple of feet behind it which is perfect “personal space” for each person to place clothes bags, etc.

Tentipi Adventure Products offers a complete line of tipi style tents and accessories designed to meet and exceed the needs of almost any size hunting party.  Most tents are available in either cotton/poly canvas or lightweight nylon fabric.  Choose the size and material that best meets your needs.

To see each tent in more detail, click on specific tents to see full dimensions, weight, etc.