View Full Version : the concept of the tipi

01-23-2003, 03:13 PM
my name is Jan and I have been a regular visitor to the military section of this forum for a while now. I'm trying to get my hands on some of the new military packs Kifaru has just released (let's just say living in Germany makes this task very difficult, as I am looking for a way around horrendous German customs taxes! Pssst, don't tell !!!).
Anyway, I hope you experienced hunters can help me out with this. I'm looking for some answers to questions regarding the Kifaru tipis. Until now I have always camped in one of the regular dome tents that had a completely waterproof bottom section to it. Now, the tipis don't have a floor at all. How do you get comfy in that? I need a tent that is suitable for all climates, possibly also the rainy Northwest of the USA. Of course going light and keeping it simple is always good, and I think the tipis can't be beat in that regard. I don't plan to carry a stove however. So what to do after it rained all day and you're setting up camp someplace where the ground is soaked? Maybe I'm missing something here, please enlighten me.
Thanks a bunch,

01-23-2003, 06:53 PM
Look at the rest of the Kifaru website. Patrick's got an article or two on that. And there have been Tipi posts, but there is a current problem on finding some. Check the archives. Lots of talk on wet tipi use.

01-24-2003, 08:24 PM
Jan, this is a single wall tent and your decision not to use a stove throws a wrench in it for me. From my experience with an 8 man I've turned mine into a green house by camping on saturated ground in warm weather and not fullly ventilating the unit. I had to open the doors fully and raise all the walls to the max to allow the mositure to escape. If I intended to use it alot in those conditions then I would look into the linners. A wet floor with a stove is no big deal since they give off so much heat. What size unit are you thinking about - maybe some others out here can offer their experiences.

01-27-2003, 12:17 PM
Sundles once recommended a cheapo blue tarp for a floor. I've followed suit in dusty situations and it works well in that case. I'd imagine wet ground/no stove would work well too. I think someone mentioned Tyvek as well, Tyde perhaps?

01-27-2003, 02:28 PM
Went camping a couple of weeks ago and brought a long a couple of cheap blue tarps for me and my wife. I cut them so they were 3'wide and 7' long. My postal scale showed that they only weighed 7oz each. Was glad I had them as I believe I made a mistake on preparing my campsite. There was about 18" of powdery snow so I shoveled it all away and then pitched the tipi. Needless to say after burning the stove for a couple hours the ground got pretty muddy where I kept tromping it down while feeding the stove. Next time I think I'll just pitch it right on top of the snow after tromping the area down with the skis. Should stay cleaner that way.


01-28-2003, 02:21 PM
Yes, I was one of the proponets of Tyvek as a ground sheet or even emegency shelter. it is ultra light and cheap to free. Go to residential construction sites and ask for scraps that are atleast as big as your needs. If the krinkle sound bothers you, wash once in washing machine (have a large tub to transfer to get out side or be ready to mop A LOT). Neat stuff.

the secret to a snow base is to Tromp and Wait (30min to hour). This is a temperature dependant system. The colder it is the more tromping and less waiting you will have to do. A couple of things are going on, but the two main parts are compaction and reforming crystaline structure (RCS). Tromping packs (Compaction) the snow and also cause some of the existing structure to melt (RCS) after you have tromped over the footprint you want a few times, you leave it alone. This rest time allows the crystals that are broken apart and the melted snow to refreeze. There is also the process of sintering that is helping out, but all you have to remember is Tromp and Wait. The if the ground below is sufficiently frozen below your tent (Read: Alaska style) the floor will acttually get harder the first couple of times you use the stove. Hope this helps.

Good Luck and Good Hunting

01-29-2003, 08:37 AM
Tyde, thanks for the input. Will definetly be tromping next trip instead of shoveling.


01-30-2003, 07:05 AM
Tyde, one other question...In a compacted down snowbase of 12" or less for example, what tent stakes do you or anybody else on the board recommend? Should I use the regular 10" stakes, or the STS pins? Of course in the deeper snow, I'd use the STS pins, but in shallower snow depths what works the best? That was the main reason I dug out the snow base when I went camping a couple of weeks ago as I wasn't sure what stakes to use. Didn't want to use the wrong stakes and have the tipi blow over in the middle of the night....wife definetly wouldn't have been impressed! Ended up using nails and pounding right into the frozen ground like Patrick described, which worked great.

01-30-2003, 12:41 PM
First let me dispell any myth as I do not own a Kifaru tipi (yet). Longer pins at a 45 angle are beter than the short pins. A foot of packed snow will hold a gread deal. Try it for youself. Go tromp a patch, let sit an hour, drive long pin into tromped patch at a 45 angle and let sit for 30 min. Attach a line to the pin and pull at a 45 to the ground (90 to pin) you will find that it takes quite a bit of force to pull out. I guess that I could write a program to figure the force that it would have to resist for a give size tipi, so you would know for sure if it would work for you. In winter time I would suggest carrying a few small spikes for frozen ground camping. Frozen ground is very strong and the driving of the spike actually causes water to melt and freeze the spike in place some.

By the way we used these techniques for Arctic 10 Man tents, which are about the size of the 12-man tipi.

good luck and good Hunting


01-30-2003, 05:27 PM
No need to write any program Tyde. I'll take your word for it, and will try it out next camping trip. To be honest I never thought about driving the longer STS pins at a 45 degree angle. Thanks again for your help.


02-02-2003, 05:30 PM
I believe Patrick recomends the large nails for frozen ground as well .....

02-03-2003, 05:15 PM
Levi, Tyde, et al--

You can insert SST pins even steeper than 45 degrees if the snow is pretty shallow. Up on Lake Superior I once set a 12 man up on six inches of snow using the SST's at a very steep angle(expected a lot more snow in February and so didn't bring either regular pegs OR nails). Held up to wind too. The SST's are unbeatable for snow, and yes, snow is cleaner than muddy ground. Real easy to scoop up a pot full of snow for producing water too, from right inside the tipi. One last note: insert them at a 45 degree angle no matter what the snow depth--they don't hold as well at a shallower angle.


02-04-2003, 04:07 PM
Tyvek as a ground sheet works great, used it on my AK and western hunts in some crappy conditions, no problem, and ultra lite!

02-13-2003, 11:18 AM
I've found that a bivy sack is better than a floor of any kind. It keeps your sleeping bag on the sleeping pad, keeps the sleeping pad off the ground, and keeps out bugs if you're really worried about them. They're also light, and the lightest, most useful option I've found for floorless tenting is an OR Bug Bivy (13 oz.) with a durable waterproof bottom and full no-see-um netting on top. The netting is fine enough to keep snow, spindrift and frost off the bag in winter, yet breathes beautifully in warm weather. Plus, unlike a regular solid fabric bivy sack, you can actually see the stuff you shove down inside at night, like keys, socks, headlamp, etc. I hope that adds something useful to the discussion. Don't worry about the floor, Kifaru is right, you'll never miss it and you'll never go back.