Yes, they really want to live in a teepee!
January 11, 2011 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Friends want to live in a teepee. They want advice on how and where to get the very best teepeee ever. Any suggestions?

Asking for a friend. They have researched the options as much as possible, and we've read this post. They are looking for specific recommendations as to the best type, quality, source, and any other first-hand information available. Have you ever purchased or created your own teepee? Do you have any other information as to what they might need, and what's possible for year-round living in the Kentucky area? These are peace corps, wwoofer-type veterans, so they really don't need advice on whether this is a good idea, and "see a lawyer" is not what we are looking for. We just want practical information. Yurts seem to be too expensive, but yurt information may also be helpful.
posted by raisingsand to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
They could check out Panther Primitives. We got our 13' x 18' oval marquee (7' walls!) from them . . . maybe fifteen years ago. We camp in it at least three weeks a year, which is getting on a full year of use, now that I do the math. It's holding up pretty well. I would STRONGLY encourage going with the fire-retardant Sun Forger canvas option--well worth the price of admission. Panther will, at least for SCAdians, often help break up payments a bit. We were actually going to live in our pavilion if we had gone with the "build our own house out in the sticks" option. Good luck to your friends!
posted by miss patrish at 4:32 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and no, Panther isn't cheap, but if this is a person's primary abode--well, for the price of a couple months rent on a decent apartment, they'll have probably several years' worth of roof over their heads. The other excellent aspect of buying from them is that they have excellent customer service--we have personally observed it--very conscientious, bend over backwards to make things right as quickly as possible. And no, I don't have any vested interest in the company. Except to keep them in business so when eventually this oval marquee wears out, we'll be able to procure another from them!
posted by miss patrish at 4:37 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I helped make a tipi for a Boy Scout Jamboree, about 20 years ago, about 3/4 scale of this plan. My help was solicited because I can sew (by hand and by machine). We used heavy duck canvas we got in 8' width from a boat yard, and wound up seaming a half-overlap of it, to get a 12' width of goods. We used green cut ash, linden and cedar poles, and nylon lashings, and most of our lashing holes were reinforced with pop grommets.

Looks were far more important than weather tight living, for our project. Accordingly, we painted and decorated the tipi with white latex exterior paint, and then latex exterior trim paint, after it was erected. We made functional smoke flaps, but never built a fire inside the thing. It rained 1 day and one morning of our Jamboree, and the tipi did get wet inside, through the smoke flaps, but we didn't try the strings-to-tin-can pole drip trap mentioned in the above linked article; I think enough rain worked its way into the thing, that it would have been a miserable primary shelter, far inferior to any 4 person 4 season modern tent you could buy, even with such a rain collecting device. A carefully made and tended fire built inside the thing might have ameliorated the misery somewhat, but the going in and out for firewood (or buffalo chip) fuel would have been a great way to spread a lot of mud around the thing, too.

We only got about 10 miles an hour worth of wind, while the thing was up. It made a lot of interesting whistling noises, and worked its lashings hard enough to cause some abrasion that we noted at take down, after Jamboree week. Long term, heavier poles and better lashings would definitely have been needed.
posted by paulsc at 4:55 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Check out both yurts and tipis here:
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:58 PM on January 11, 2011

We were travelling in Northern Ontario and came across a beautiful white canvas tipi in a forest clearing. It was clearly made with great skill and solid materials. The company that made it is the Sumac Creek Tipi Company in the Serpent Creek First Nation - (705) 844-1940.
posted by scruss at 4:59 PM on January 11, 2011

I don't have any recommendations on where to get a tipi, but I used to babysit for a family that lived in a tipi. Their set up used the tipi as the main living/sleeping area and had a small separate building that had a kitchen and bathroom in it. The tipi was amazingly comfortable and warm, with a woodstove in the middle, but it was still nice to have a real bathroom and kitchen. It might be worth thinking about if they are planning to do this long term.
posted by squid in a people suit at 8:15 PM on January 11, 2011

It is a bit out of date, but The Indian Tipi is one of the classic books out there.
posted by gudrun at 9:52 PM on January 11, 2011

All marked as best answer because each one was helpful. Thank you.
posted by raisingsand at 7:03 AM on January 14, 2011

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