For those who want a simple, traditional, communal camping experience in a shelter that can be pitched in 5 minutes (really!) that you can even have a fire inside – a Tentipi® Nordic Tipi is the ideal solution. A favourite of Ray Mears, this kind of shelter has even been used by Will and Kate!
Taunton Leisure have sold these premium quality Nordic tipis for around five years and we’re privileged to be one of only a few selected stockists in the country. This guide is designed to teach you all there is to know about our range of Tentipi products. Enjoy!
Formed in 1989 in Swedish Lapland, Tentipi® manufacture premium Nordic tipis and equipment for outdoor life. Their tipis are manufactured based upon the design principles of The Sami; an indigenous people from North Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia, whose livelihood is spent herding sheep and reindeer. Their semi-nomadic existence required shelter that was both quick and easy to put up, as well as being able to cope with the bitterly cold, snowy winters and the hot summers.
Tentipi® shelters evolved from the Sami practice of creating a cone like structure, known as a ‘Kata’. It uses wooden poles for support, is covered with hides for protection and warmth as well as an opening at the top to let smoke out. Not only was it a shelter, but a communal area which kept the harsh conditions at bay, be it heavy snow, driving rain, wind, or anything else in between. Inside, the fire was a central point to the shelter, providing heat, light and a place for loved ones to gather together.
In addition to their excellent, tried and tested design pedigree, inside a Tentipi® Nordic Tipi you’ll find a comfortable living area with good head room and floor space. There’s something about the combination of simple design principles with complex, technical materials and manufacturing that makes them appealing to many people. It is the connection to the elements, ease of pitching and the focus on the communal that Tentipi® and their users thrive upon.
First off, take a look at this overview of all the features that you’ll get in a Tentipi® product. Unless otherwise stated, you can find all of these features available on every tipi that we stock.
Embracing the Elements
Tentipi® are based in close proximity to a full range of the elements and it is here where the foundation of their knowledge is accumulated. By developing and testing in conditions that vary from +30 degree heat in the summer to -45 in the winter, their products can deal with anything from extreme heat to freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall.
Being in the outdoors is about being amongst, and at times against, the elements. Fire, Earth, Air, Water – without them, humans couldn’t survive. They can bring great happiness and comfort, but at times must be mastered and protected against. A Tentipi® Nordic Tipi enables you to do all of these things.
As it is to the human experience, fire is central to the Tentipi® experience. Since humans first learnt to tame fire it has been linked inextricably with our growth and advancement (plus it’s kinda cool to look at). It provides us with both heat and light, it enables us to cook food for sustenance and it naturally brings people together.
There are few things as synonymous with camping as ‘the campfire’ – hence the name – and one of the unique features of a Tentipi® Nordic Tipi is the ability to have a fire inside the tent. Instead of huddling in the cold around the fire, you can enjoy the benefits of a fire and the comfort of shelter together.
Because of its clever venting system, Tentipi® tents are designed to be used with an open fire or stove. It can transform the atmosphere and make the Nordic Tipi really feel like a home away from home. The Tentipi® ‘In-Tent Vent’ system allows the user to adjust air flow so any smoke and fumes can escape. Tent design features also prevent the fabric from coming in contact with heat sources. We’ll look at this feature in the next section.
The best way to enjoy a fire within your Nordic Tipi is to introduce an Eldfell stove, Hekla fire box, or Heat Pal heater. All of these provide heat and comfort. The ability to prepare a hot drink or meal and to warm up is very welcome after a tough day out in the elements.
Complete with chimney to vent smoke and fumes outside of the tent through the vent cap, the Eldfell is designed so combustion takes place nearer to the ground, ensuring that more heat is created inside the tipi and not just vented out of the top, like on simpler stoves.
It works like a conventional wood burner. The long combustion chamber can take large pieces of wood, meaning less chopping/sawing, and the adjustable vent helps to regulate the burn time. Even if the chamber is only a third full, it has enough heat output to heat the larger size 15 Nordic Tipi at temperatures below zero. The flat top surface can be used to cook and keep food warm. In order for the stove not to sink down into snow the legs have notches on so they can be stood on poles.
Eldfell stoves is available in Comfort (untreated steel) and Pro (stainless steel) models from Taunton Leisure. Comfort Stoves are available for tipis sized 9 and 15. The Pro stove is available for tipis sized 9.
The Hekla Fire Box is available in two different sizes, the Hekla 30 for tipis sized 7 and above and the Hekla 7, a more portable alternative suitable for smaller tipi sizes. Both produce efficient combustion, meaning minimal levels of smoke and efficient fuel use. Wood fuel use is reduced by 75 percent.
On a ‘loose’ fire, logs can roll to the side and not ignite properly, smouldering away and producing excessive smoke that doesn’t rise easily and can burn the eyes. The metal box structure reflects and distributes heat evenly to the wood logs, ensuring they ignite and burn efficiently with less smoke.
The smaller Hekla 7 will give off good heat and keep you warm in a smaller tipi, even at temperatures into the minus figures. The large Hekla 30, of course, gives you a bigger fire and consequently more heat.
The legs on the bottom can be placed on branches or other supports, utilising the vent holes on the bottom and preventing the fire box from sinking into the snow or ground.
Not only is it light, but it packs down completely flat for minimum bulk and ideal portability and comes with a protective bag. The metal bar running along the centre is ideal for popping a kettle on and boiling water.
With a total weight of 2.1kg and a smaller pack size, the portable Heat Pal heater and cooker is a lightweight, more convenient alternative to an Eldfell stove. Because it runs on methylated spirits, you don’t need to chop or carry any wood with you.
They’re really quite versatile and can be used, not just when camping, but on hunting trips, or stored somewhere safe for emergencies. The base holds the burner and supports pots and pans and on a full tank it’ll burn without supervision for five hours; the heat level can be adjusted via a lid that’s attached the fuel well, like a on a Trangia and it’ll actually cook faster than wood stove, producing 1.5kw of power.
One of the challenges that any camper can face when on location is difficult wind conditions. When the wind gets up it can pose a risk to your camping set up. We’ve heard numerous stories over the years of decimated campsites, especially in exposed or coastal areas.
The design and shape of a Nordic Tipi offers an advantage in windy conditions.
Due to it’s design and shape, most of the area of the tent is situated nearer to the ground, where wind speeds are lower. This means that when the Tipi is under wind pressure, only a relatively small surface area at the top of the design is exposed, helping it to stay sturdy in high winds.
Furthermore, the single pole structure combined with reinforcement, stitching and seam design distributes weight to create a flexible, yet strong framework. Together with guylines, adjustable tension ground straps, storm cord (guyline) holders and hardened aluminium pegs, the tipi structure is suited for all weather use.
For the most extreme conditions, we recommend the Safir range.
Another air-related quandary that campers face, and I think everyone can relate to this, is the issue of temperature.
Anyone who has been camping at some stage in their life knows how uncomfortable the inside of a tent can be in hot weather; it’s more akin to a sauna. The beauty of the Tentipi® ‘Cotpolmex’ fabric is that it’s extremely breathable and durable; but it’s the ventilation system where a Tentipi® Nordic tipi comes into its own.
Named the ‘In-Tent Vent’ system, it utilises the principles of natural ventilation to keep the inside feeling airy and comfortable. Through the combination of air intakes on the skirting and ventilation cap at the top, cool air enters through the intakes as hot air escapes through the ventilation cap, creating an air flow.
The greater the height difference between air intakes and ventilation cap, the better. The Tentipi® tent design and height allows for strong airflow and optimal ventilation as the lighter hot air rises and is exchanged with cooler air, regulating inner temperature.
The top ventilation cap opening can be adjusted in both size and direction, taking account for the weather, via a pulley system made up of cords that can be operated while inside. On the Safir and Zirkon models the air intakes on the bottom reinforced skirting have a mosquito mesh that prevents the bugs getting in. The Onyx range features a simplified 2 cord version of this system.
One of our biggest foes when camping is water, in the form of condensation or, as is often the case in the UK, rain (or even snow!)
If your tent lets water in it can result in an uncomfortable time away. The Tentipi® ‘Cotpolmex’ fabric, combined with the In-Tent Vent system we looked at earlier, ensures that the living area is appropriately ventilated to prevent excessive condensation building up.
The Tentipi® Cotpolmex fabric is a tightly woven 50/50 cotton to polyester fabric that is impregnated with a water repellent substance, retaining the breathability lost by merely ‘coating’ a fabric, while remaining highly water resistant and keeping rainfall out.
The Zirkon and Onyx models feature Cotpolmex C fabric, whereas the top of the range Safir range uses Cotpolmex P. Tentipi describe the P fabric as “the finest cotton/polyester fly fabric available globally”. What’s the difference between them? Like the Cotpolmex C, the P fabric is both highly breathable and very strong, but the P is said to be stronger, with better shape stability and improved aesthetic appeal.
Available from Taunton Leisure: Comfort floor 5, 7, 9 & 15, Pro Floor 7, 9
The Tentipi® tent floor is perfect if you’re looking to add a layer between yourself and the ground below you. It helps to add a more ‘indoorsy’ feel, while protecting you against unwelcome invaders, such as insects and creepy crawlies.
The pro floor is made of what Tentipi® describe as ‘the best possible material to achieve both low weight and good water protection’ – It’s a lightweight, strong, high tenacity polyamide, stronger than the comfort model is made of a standard material. That’s not to do it a disservice, though. I’ve seen the comfort floor in action at our summer tent show and it is lightweight and highly durable.
The floor toggles to the inside wall of the tipi fabric and can be adjusted via dedicated tension straps on the outside, ensuring no creases as well as improving the seal between the floor and the fabric.
It’s also customisable and can be altered, using the zips, to one of three different configurations with the comfort floor and four with the pro. It can be left in once attached, saving a few minutes when setting up next time out.
- The closed configuration, with all zips closed for maximum coverage.
- The ‘V’ configuration, whereby the longest section is unzipped enabling the floor to be folded back on two sides to create a ‘V’ shape – this enables for the storage of muddy boots, wet gear and any other items that you don’t want to dirty the floor with.
- The ‘O’ configuration, which opens from the centre outward. It looks more like a diamond, but is designed to enable the use of a stove or firebox while the rest of the floor is zipped in.
- The ‘U’ configuration (Pro floor only): As it says, opens in a ‘U’ shape, around the central pole, enabling more space for a fire, wood storage and ground contact.
Inner tents are generally used more on the lightweight nylon Tentipi® tent models, where condensation is more of an issue. That’s not to say they aren’t appropriate for Polycotton versions. Like the floor, the Comfort Inner can be left in place once attached, so no need to detach for setting up and packing down.
While Tentipi® tents can be used without a floor or inner tent, having one does offer some advantages.
Firstly, they offer extra protection against condensation. The doubled fabric of the Teflon treated ripstop polyamide inner plus Cotpolmex outer fabric also helps to distribute and retain heat more efficiently than just the flysheet fabric by itself. Furthermore, the floor of the inner covers the entire ‘footprint’ ground area of the tent, eliminating any dampness on the ground.
The inner also offers more reliable protection against bugs and insects. It has mosquito net meshing on the door, air intakes and roof vent to keep the bugs out. The groundsheet features a zip running away from the door that can be adjusted to stop water a pool of water forming if the door is left open when it rains.
Like the comfort floor, the centre of the groundsheet of the comfort inner also has zip features so it can be pulled back for the use of a Firebox or Heat Pal.
This is the entry level inner tent, but it still uses the same fabrics as the comfort and offers protection against insects, bugs and the damp.
There are a few differences between this inner and Comfort inner. The main being a lack of central groundsheet zips that enable for the use of a fire or heat source. This means you cannot have a fire inside the tipi when using a basic inner.
The door is also noticeably different. The zip doesn’t continue down the down into the floor as on the comfort inner, but it still has a mosquito mesh that can be closed or opened independently of the door panel, which is also good for ventilation.
Tentipi® Pole Plate:
The pole plate is a handy little accessory that distributes the force on the pole, spreads the weight preventing it from sinking into the earth. Just sit the bottom of the pole into the indented section before putting the top into the cap.
We stock a large range of Tentipi® Nordic Tipi tents and accessories at Taunton Leisure, from the entry level Onyx range, to the roomy Zirkon and the top of the range Safir collection. To finish off, here’s a quick overview of the ranges.
Available from Taunton Leisure: Safir 9 CP, Safir 7 CP, Safir 5 CP
Featuring our best-seller, The Safir 9, The Safir range is ideal when you want to house a family who want comfort and space or sleep a larger group at base camp.
The top of the tree in terms of performance and useability, Safir tents have all the features that you can see in the overview at the top.
It’s as much at home in a local campsite as it is suited to expedition use on a glacier. With three large air intakes on the base, Safirs are the most optimised for use with a firebox, Heat Pal or Eldfell stove. You’ll have plenty of ventilation to ensure that the fire burns brightly, keeps you warm draws the smoke well.
Safir Tents are the only in the range to use the Cotpolmex P fabric, which is the strongest most durable fabric that Tentipi® use in their tents. The bottom skirt or edging, is made up of a heavy duty material that runs along the bottom of the fabric, helping to reinforce strength where the fabric is at ground level. It provides extra storm-proofing and stability when weighed down with rocks or snow and when folded in is an extra guard against bugs and insects. You’ll also find this feature on the Zirkon models.
One thing’s for sure, you’ll be hard pressed to find another polycotton tent that sleeps 9 people for just 13.6 kilos!
Available from Taunton Leisure: Zirkon 15 CP, Zirkon 9 CP, Zirkon 7 CP
Named after the mineral, Zirkon Tipis are in the middle of the Tentipi® Nordic Tipi range. More feature rich than the Onyx range, but not as battle hardened as the Safir, they’re designed for those who want a compromise between price and performance.
Zirkon tents share the use of the Cotpolmex C fabric with the Onyx range. The fabric is both very strong, durable and breathable. It’s aesthetically pleasing and inside, is a nicer, calmer feel than the lighter weight but less durable nylons.
Featuring the largest tipi that we sell, the Zirkon 15; tents in this range could be used for a variety of activities. Anything from a family trip together with lots of extra space and comfort to a base camp on expeditions – you could even use the Zirkon 15 for educational or commercial events.
You can use an Eldfell, fire box or Heat Pal inside with the of the In Tent Vent system, adjustable from the inside via a pulley system. Be aware though, that the singular air intake on the base means that smoke won’t draw quite as well as the Safir range, where three intakes are included.
Although this is the entry level Tentipi® Nordic Tipi product, that doesn’t mean it’s an inferior quality. Onyx tents use the same Cotpolmex C fabric as their bigger brothers in the Zirkon range with the same strength and durability.
You won’t get all the bells and whistles that there are on the other models; the simplified top vent cap and the lack of air intakes on the base mean it’s less suitable for an open fire or use of a stove inside, but it should be fine with a Heat Pal.
It does however, feature the zipped mosquito net in the door and the same proven design and construction that Tentipi® have built their reputation on. For many years their Scandinavian pedigree and inspiration from the Sami has informed their designs. Their products are used all year round in all conditions and are proven in their ability to handle the most extreme weather.