View Full Version : Tipi vs Tent

01-05-2005, 11:25 AM
Outside of the obvious "stove in the tipi issue", what might be considerations in deciding on the paratipi/4man vs lightweight traditional backpacking tents. I know this is a partisan crowd, but a lot of people are using tents.

Plainly speaking, I plan to get an 8 man with a large stove but I think I might like a Hilleberg Nallo also. However, I then think perhaps a 4man or paratipi might be better. It would give me stove options.
What to do what to do......

01-05-2005, 11:38 AM
The big difference is the BP tents have floors and a lot less "wiggle room" for the weight. A traditional double-walled design will also have minimal condensation issues compared to a single-wall tent.

If I intend to live in a tent I prefer a tipi; if I am only sleeping in it there are benefits to a trad BP tent.

01-05-2005, 01:15 PM
I think you'll find a lot of folks here who still use both but not necessarily for the same reasons. Although I'm a big fan of Kifaru stuff and own plenty of it, there are situations and seasons when I'll take the tent. Weather, mobility, bugs and bears all can play a role in what I decide to take. I really only use the tipi stove for heat since (and I'm aware that I'm in a minority here /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif ) I don't subscribe to the idea of cooking other than heating water in any tent or tipi in bear country. For me, there are times when a lightweight double-walled tent and a single-burner stove combo best meets my needs.

01-05-2005, 01:25 PM
My buddy picked up a brand new Hilleberg this year, it is a sweet tent. But he never even used it, we used my 6-man and small stove all year. He likes his tent, but he has said he could not imagine the difference in comfort level between the tent and tipi.

That stove is the sweetest thing since sliced bread. However, I'm up in the Rockies all year. If you are somewhere that is humid and has very bad bugs, unfortunately for you, a tent might be the better option. I grew up in Illinois, tipi and stove wouldn't be the best se-up except in winter and late fall.

01-06-2005, 05:01 AM
You guys ar killing me.Pretty much set that these are sweet then i read the bug thing and condensation issue and start to once again ponder.I don,t think i have seen anything that has grabbed my attention more than these tents have.Friend of mine tell me it,s a disease and i got it bad.If i get a 12 man with mosq.netting and liner how will i stand on both bugs and condensation.I will be using this for more than just hunting.bugs here in southern Ontario can be nasty and the humidity is high.Rob

01-06-2005, 05:03 AM
Is there any manufacturers that make something else like this tipi maybe in a breathable material maybe a little heavier.

01-06-2005, 06:02 AM
NW Ontario eh?

I use my 6man in NW Montana and condensation is really not a big deal to me. The tipis are highly specialized and yes, there will be condensation when you wake up in the morning. It is somewhat of a give and take. I got removable bug netting, it just velcro's in, and it is nice. Didn't have to use it except for twice this year. Those bug coils do a great job with MT skeeters.

I'd say skip the liner if you are up that far. The condensation will freeze at night and wont be dropping on you. Fire that stove up in the AM and it will get rid of most of the drips. I've also learned to open the doors at night to allow ventilation as much as possible.

There is no comparison between the tipi and a tent. Being able to walk into your shelter with boots on, dripping with water mud whatever, it won't muck up your tent. It is incredible the amount of comfort that comes along with the tipi/stove system. Spending time in a tent sucks, tipi does not.

01-06-2005, 07:01 AM

I consider the condensation a non-issue--while it bothers some folks, I accept moisture as simply being a part of nature and seldom give it a second thought. But if you expect the tipi to be as dry as a house you will be disappointed.

Bugs will get into any tent if you are going in and out. While I have not had the tipi in a truly 'buggy' area, it would seem to have more avenues of entry for the little buzzers than a trad BP tent. I have yet to try the bug coils but if they work in people's homes in tropical regions I have no reason to expect they wouldn't work here.

As with all things, there is a trade-off--the tipi can't be ultra light & roomy while being as resistant to bugs & condensation as a trad BP tent.

Just my thoughts.

01-06-2005, 09:15 AM
Rob, I didn't mean to suggest that the bug, condensation or other issues can't be overcome with the tipi, it's just as Shu said: there are trade-offs. And, your packload will vary to address those issues. You'll need to carry coils and/or a bug net (http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000& productId=4009992&parent_category_rn=40003488&vcat =REI_SEARCH) of some sort to deal with winged critters. One sweet option to lighten the tipi at other times of the year is to request that Kifaru install the mosquito netting panels so they're removable. If you don't invest in or want to carry a tipi liner, you'll likely need to start a fire even on a warm summer night to help dry out the tipi. Having grown up in northern MN and WI, and paddled in the BWCA quite a bit, I know how sticky and buggy it can be there from June to August. For long paddles with a lot of portages at that time of year, I've just found it to be simpler and lighter to use a tent. That doesn't mean I'm willing to give up my tipis! They get far more use than my tents.

01-06-2005, 10:52 AM

Are you going solo? What about a hammock system?

01-06-2005, 11:42 AM

I'm really not going solo. At least one son and I always go together. But its wild you should mention the hammock because I started out thinking each of us might get a hammock. ( I have researched the Hennessy and the Clark and the Speer) However, after much discussion between us we got back to the tipi's...at first the 4 man then it kept escalating.

We have been pushing carts into the Cranberry for years and staying 7-8 days. WE use a Cabelas Big Horn II and it has been just great for base camp. But I've just been looking for a little lighter backpacking set up to scout more areas of the Monongahela national Forest. I know I'll get an 8 man and large stove but I'm torn between a Hilleberg Nallo 3GT vs a smaller tipi set up.

Have you tried a hammock? I really don't like to be wet. The Cranberry can have many kinds of weather in the same day. I confess. I'm a gear junkie.

What 's your thinking on this?

01-07-2005, 02:47 AM
Rooster how do you like the big horn 2.That kinda got my interest as well.

01-07-2005, 05:22 AM

I love the BIG Horn II. But its a horse or truck camping tent. We have a unique situation in my area where I can take it in a relatively flat river road anywhere from 2-16 miles in backcountry where no vehicles are allowed. We modified some game carts with special wheels just for this purpose. Spoked wheels will not hold up.We sleep in cots from 4-5 people. It is great in wind, rain, and snow. I purchased the vestibule for it this year and it was awesome. Almost added a third as much room it seemed. This provides great versatility. It is well vented and has great visibility and bug protection. Its single wall and has had some condensation but has never really been a significant problem.
Its still a very "light" durable tent when compared to the canvas wall tents. It goes up in about 20-30 minutes and is very comfortable. I think it is reasonably priced for the value.

01-07-2005, 05:41 AM
Yea it is a pretty reasonable price on it but never knew anyone with one.Do you use a wood stove in it?

01-07-2005, 05:47 AM
If you KNOW you're going to get an 8 man, I would definitely go with the 4-man over the Hill...

I know it would be too much stove for the 4, but you could use the same stove in both to save $$$.

I'm in the same boat, saving the scratch to buy the tipi(s) I want.

I think I have settled on the 12, 6, and paratarp. The ability for me to completely stand up in the 6 is worth the psychological boost to carry the extra weight. I go stir crazy when socked in a normal tent, but just being able to stand up makes a world of difference. Besides, it is still the same weight as my 3 man BP tent.

01-07-2005, 06:26 AM

I struggle some with the larger oval footprint and no floor. Its pretty tight in the deep big woods.

I have not used a wood stove. It actually is set up great for it though. We actually used the Big Buddy with propane for heat this year. It was fine. In past years I have used a round 23,000 BTu kerosene heater. It gets real cozy and drys out the clothes real well.

01-07-2005, 06:33 AM

I was thinking 8 then 4 but you got me thinking 12 and 6. What pushed you to the 12 and 6 decision?

01-07-2005, 06:55 AM
rob and others,

Originally posted by rob,

"Pretty much set that these are sweet then i read the bug thing and condensation issue and start to once again ponder."

One thing to remember...there is NO piece of "perfect" equipment. That goes for everything you use in the backcountry, including firearms (and tents). It's always a matter of compromise. There is equipment that is nearly perfect, and I think that's the stuff we're all searching for. I think the trade-off with the tipis is worth it. I'm definitely headed for one myself (ParaTipi).

01-07-2005, 07:12 AM

I know Cranberry well, been going in there for years. Usually go up to the red and black from three forks of Williams. Overnighters are handled by the hennesy.For more than two or three days i'll opt for the akto. My buddy has a Nallo 4 Gt that we use during rifle season. All great setups, just no heat option. We have gotten used to being cold in that place, and in any season.

I'm leaning toward the 4 man tipi, because comfort is starting to be a bigger issue. The stove will be nice to dry out clothes. You always get at least one day of rain it seems.

Haven't seen the bighorn in action. Where do you camp? Did you see any deer in there this year? We were shut out again, but keep making the trip for other reasons.

01-07-2005, 07:51 AM
I can tell you know the Cranberry. We come in from upper gate at the Glades.

Those mountain deer are hard to find. We were shut out this year but the Cranberry is all about the experience isn't it? My dad used to take mule and wagons in their so its been a family tradition.

We have camped with Big Horn in several places. Last year South Fork Shelter, before that North Fork Shelter area, before that Birch Log Run etc etc.

As you know it is always wet, is the floorless part of tipi or the larger footprint a concern to you say if you camped along Little Run, Red & Black, Tumbling Rock Trail etc.?

The idea of a stove really is pushing me more and more to the tipi's. You guys are really tough staying in rifle season with no heat. Just how cold do you really get? What kind of sleeping bags do you use? How cold is it in the Hennessy and do you mind bottom entry?

PS:I have taken a nice 10 point out of North Fork.

01-07-2005, 07:57 AM
6 instead of 4 because: 1)being able to stand up and 2) family camping for me is 4 people--the extra weight of the 6 is offset because I don't have to carry a tarp to cover the extra gear that doesn't fit in the tent. It is a very minor weight difference between the 4 and 6.

12 instead of 8, cause if I get the 6, no need for the 8. The 12 will work instead of a cabin tent and has enough headroom to have a large circle where we can stand up.

Rooster is right about it may be TOO big of footprint for some areas. I usually don't have that issue.

I am thinking a single large stove for both. The sharing of a stove will offset a lot of the cost difference.

01-07-2005, 08:10 AM
The Paratarp is about perfect for 3-season solo (and in the pack for 'just in case'), the 12 will fit 3-4 folks and tons of gear/firewood/etc or just sleep 6 easily; and the 6 weighs less than a traditional 4-season tent while allowing you to stand up and move around a bit... the extra room over the 4-man is well worth the 1.5# in my mind.

01-07-2005, 10:45 AM
Rooster & Lightfoot,

Glad to see some other folks on the board from WV. I also backpack and hunt and have been to Cranberry several times backpacking and fishing (no hunting). Went to Dolly Sods north this year - fantastic. I have a Moss Superfly IV which I bought used to test out the tipi concept and have used it 2 years and it's great - a little heavier than Kifaru or some others like Golite. I've been really interested in the Kifaru's but for the price I want to see them first. The closest I found were many hours away in PA so I decided to wait for a possible CO trip this year but it sounds like there may be one in WV soon /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/laugh.gif

I may lighten down with a Golite Hex 3 in the meantime till I can afford a Kifaru. Good luck on the decisions.

01-07-2005, 11:21 AM
Another minor point...the clothes line. How much weight in terms of clothes will it hold up. 3-4 guys with wool etc could be a heavy load. Just how substantial are these clothes lines in the tipi?

Vernon, likewise, good to hear from WV guys.

01-07-2005, 01:38 PM
Regarding the stoves...

Once you start the fire, how long does it take to "knock the chill off"? Is it longer on the larger tipi's?

How significant is the performance between the different sizes? Does anyone have more than one size?

Kevin B
01-07-2005, 08:08 PM
Yep rooster, despite the ribings I take.. this is why I like a one or two inch chunk of presto in really wet conditions. Tent can be nasty an in just a couple minutes, even on a small fire, you are gold. Oh yeah, while you stay in your bag waiting for it to come round.

01-08-2005, 07:28 AM
That stove option is sounding hard to beat. You guys are tipi evangelists. I must drink "the kool aid."

01-08-2005, 10:33 AM
As the others have suggested, zero to oven in a few minutes if you have good dry wood. You'll strip so fast Chippendales wouldn't hire you.

Not telling you anything you don't know here, but one consideration is the amount of space you need to heat. I use a medium in both my 4- and 8-man tipis. It certainly takes more (although not twice as much) effort to fill the 8-man with warmth top to bottom than it does for the four 4-man. The top two-thirds (I've heard that heat rises) remains pretty toasty, but extra wood and stoking is necessary to keep the chill off of the bottom. I think Patrick's rating of a medium stove being the smallest you'd want for an 8-man in cold weather to be pretty accurate.

01-09-2005, 06:42 PM

I'd agree with that. I got a 6man and small stove. After a full year of use, I would definately like to have the med stove in the 6 man for the colder temps. It will do the trick however, have stayed out in the teens in my set-up and been ok.

The stove is hard to beat...

01-10-2005, 02:16 PM
Lightfoot, Here is the camp. Carts are the way we get there.

Kevin B
01-10-2005, 02:25 PM
Rooster... Carts? Man powered I assume? Are those wheeled on or ski's? Are they a home make or commerically produced? I have one location beyond a road that I'd like to use a similar set up, but haven't found anthing that would work yet. What kind of weights can you pull/push and over what kinds of incline?

01-10-2005, 02:42 PM
Man-powered for sure. No vehicles allowed in this area.These are the Cabelas big game magnum that have been modified to accept large amount of weight. The spoke wheels(don't even try them) that come on them have been replaced with a foam filled smooth rib-like wheel barrow wheel.(I forget the brand and looked for months for just the right type)Had to get the axle for the dual kit to accept the new wheel. But its great for this particular situation. I estimate we have level to 3 percent grades along a stream. We probably have at least 200 pounds per cart. We use one cart per person. Good balance is key and if you don't have steep inclines they push rather easy. Also you need pretty firm road bed. This was about a 4.5 mile push to camp.Still some work though.We've pretty much perfected our particular situation but don't recommend carts generally. We're looking to get a tipi set up and lighten our loads as well as go deeper into our hunting areas with some spike camps.

We have a great time...my sons and son in laws.

Kevin B
01-10-2005, 03:03 PM
I'll have to consider it. I have a location where I'd like to take a couple guys. The location is a gated FS road no motorized access. I have a very well maintained road, about a 3 mile distance maybe 4 and about 800 feet give or take elevation gain. Unfortunately a good bit of it in one tough incline. The reason I ask, these guys are... soft. They need more stuff than I do. A couple carts and I could make a Tipi camp 4 miles back with most everything I'd have at a car camp. Pretty inviting and away from almost all hunters. How hard was it to get the wheel situation engineered and were there other significant mods?

01-10-2005, 03:20 PM
No modifications were made to the cart...just needed the longer axle to fit the wheels I found. You simply need to go with a disc type wheel with no need for air or tubes. I'm sure you could find something out there. Spoked wheels get loose and pop with heavy loads. Also the skinny spoked wheels lack flotation.

We hardly see other hunters. The ones we do are usually"the right kind."

We live pretty comfortable with this set up...even cots and kerosene heat... my wife cooks some great meals that we take in a cooler and zip lock bags...so its pretty soft. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/laugh.gif

I should have bought stock in "Rubbermaid". Its great for packing stuff on the carts.

You'll have to make the call on elevation. The picture shows a little grade but pictures tend to flatten grades somewhat.

01-11-2005, 08:04 AM
Rooster, do you have a picture of the wheels? Just curious. I have my cart in the shop this winter making some modifications. It has the solid tires but on spoked wheels. Mine has only been used for antelope and goose decoy hauling, but I'm aiming to broaden the applications. One thing that baffles me is why they use wheels on nearly all carts that are taller than the frame. Consequently, it prevents you from extending anything across the cart over the wheels without having a hole rubbed in the item by the tires. Part of what I'm doing is adding a "lift kit" to eliminate that problem.

01-11-2005, 08:55 AM
Just curious, why aren't you using sleds? We go into the Boundary Waters hauling tons of gear using various sleds. Makes the hauling really easy.


01-11-2005, 09:47 AM
You could use Kifaru's own BackCountry Sleds

01-11-2005, 10:02 AM
Sleds aren't fun if there ISN'T snow, and carts aren't fun if there is more than an inch or two, so it would be a choice based on location and season.

I have also seen locations where NO wheeled vehicles allowed--no bikes, carts--not just no motorized vehicles.

01-11-2005, 10:10 AM
The lift over wheels is not a problem I worried about... given the configuration of my load and rubbermaids. I also thought the load should have a little lower center of gravity.
Much of the time there is no snow. Often we go in with sunshine and come out in a storm or vice versa.