The WildSide Systems TipiTent shelters are of the single center pole tipi style and are designed to be used with the ultralight titanium Seek Outside wood stoves if customers desire. These stoves are very well designed and make your TipiTent experience much more comfortabel. However, due to the excellent venting qualities of these tents, year around use without a stove is at least as comfortable as any other shelter on the market. These WildSide Systems TipiTent shelters do well in most any condition but really shine in colder conditions, when the use of the wood stove (see below for more info) is desired. The dry heat from a wood stove is wonderful even in the summer on a cool evening at the ocean or in the mountains, but when it's truly cold and/or snowy and wet, these shelters allow you to have a truly unique and comfortable experience in a lightweight tent. At that point, they become shelters that, combined with the wonderful attributes of dry heat from a wood stove, allow you to warm up, dry off and cook all at once. And, all this from a low weight/bulk shelter with bugproof design, integral floor, adjustable top venting and low bulk center pole. These features are unique to this WildSide Systems™ design. We have not found a truly lightweight, backpackable, horse/goat/lama packable tipi style shelter with a true floor, true bug proofing, wood stove and truly adjustable venting anywhere else on the planet--so we decided to make the product ourselves. Years of design and testing have gone into these products, and although the impetus for the design has come from mid to late season, true wilderness backcountry backpack hunting, the design works very well in a myriad of other settings.
Fabrics: These shelters use the lightweight, but exceptionally strong, 30 denier, 1.1 oz. silicone impregnated ripstop 6,6 high strength nylon fabric (aka--silnylon) for the exterior walls. In 2016, we transitioned to a fabric that is considerably more watertight than what is typically used in the industry. Suter machine testing of this new fabric shows a new fabric minimum hydrostatic head pressure of 3000 mm. In other words, the pressure created by a water column 3000mm (9.84 feet) high pressing down on the fabric is the point at which a bead or two of water starts to come through the fabric when the fabric is new. This rating does degrade over time, but this is the best 1.1 oz silicone coated nylon fabric made. Period. It also has an unusually high tear resistance due to the silicone impregnation process and the high strength nylon 6,6 nylon used. At the moment we are using the 'coyote brown' color exclusively...this is subject to change based on availability. As a small company, we don't have the luxury of offering many different colors of this expensive material. This is the strongest and most waterproof 1.1 oz silnylon money can buy at the moment, to our knowledge. The very steep sidewalls of these TipiTents (52.6 deg) also shed rain and snow very well and help make these shelters more weatherproof.
Inner walls are made of either 1.1 oz. ripstop nylon, (white only) if shelter is likely to be used often in very windy or very cold conditions, or .9 oz noseeum for best breathability. Floors are made of a 40d/1.6 oz. Hyper D PU4000 nylon in black color. This is a lightweight but durable floor. But, DO NOT set it up on rocks! Rocks will puncture the floor. Also, DO NOT allow the Seek Outside stove doors to fall out of the 'channel' they are in and land on the black nylon floor! When hot, the door will melt right through the floor nylon. (Black Gorilla duct tape is a quick and durable fix for this.) In fact, do not allow your shelter to contact rocks in any way. We have heard horror stories of folks piling rocks on the edges of other manufacturers tipis to help hold them down in--very bad idea. In wind, the damage done by rock contact would be severe and may 'total' your TipiTent and damage of this kind is clearly not covered under warranty!
Stakes: Sixteen lightweight and very strong, 7075-T6 (7000 series aluminum is the strongest aluminum made and is essentially equal in strength to mild steels) aluminum stakes are provided standard. There is a combination of several manufactures stakes we use/reccommend depending on the TipiTent size. The stakes provided are a great compromise of strength and weight, but are meant for areas with good staking soil. However, they are not cheap--they are 'premium' stakes. These shelters rely completely on being staked correctly. As such, we do not want to compromise on stakes that may not do the job adequately. (Other stake types and sizes are reccomended for other various staking situations such as snow or sand. Or, in the case of the 4+ TipiTent and high winds and normal soil, yet another stake type is reccommended. Contact us for more information or go to #10 on the FAQ.) The stakes provide upwards of 75+ lbs. pounds of downforce directly on the center pole, with a tight pitch. This, coupled with the inherent wind shedding design and the nearly drumtight pitch possible with our new Gen 3 designs, allows these shelters to withstand a true blow. In fact, an older prototype design was tested for 4 days (4+ year old tent, used many times) in constant high winds with many gusts in the 40-60 mph range in temps down to 13F, and was completely unscathed. This 'long-winded' windstorm caused quite a bit of damage in the area, but the TipiTent had no issues whatsoever. We wore a path around the tent everyday checking carefully for any issues from the wind at all and found not one. A recent elk hunting trip had very high winds resulting in healthy looking trees eerily snapping off above the ground all around us, for a couple of nights--no issues at all with the TipiTent. Our nearly round, 16 sided Gen 3 design, has proven itself to shed wind even better than older Gen 1 and Gen 2 designs.
Floor and Bugproofing: WildSide Systems TipiTents incorporate an integral floor design. The floor and truly bugproof design are two unique features of WildSide System TipiTents not found elsewhere. The customer will have to decide if the potential few ounces saved by not having a true floor (if there is a real weight savings, once part of a tarp or tyvek, etc. is brought to put your sleeping bag, pad and gear on) is worth the loss of practicality and comfort in terms of moisture protection and protection from bugs, mice, chipmunks, snakes or other crawling critters. A square yard of our floor material weighs (with urethane coating) 2.6 oz and keeps all the bugs out of your tent and moisture away from you...how well does a partial tarp thrown on the ground do that? Other companies will tell you to bring a tarp, etc. to spread out on the ground in their shelters to put your sleeping bag on, etc. This is truly a 'hidden' weight and 'hidden' bulk that should be added to their shelters.
New 'Gen 3' designs incorporate an optional, zip in inner wall (floor sewn to inner wall) feature, making for a more comfortable, 'double wall' shelter. We offer the inner wall (with attached floor) in noseeum, and for colder or windy conditions, a 2nd inner wall option is breathable ripstop nylon, again, with floor sewn in (this inner wall option still has a noseeum screen door). So, the TipiTent essentially has four options: 1) pitch just the outer wall and have no floor or bugproofing, but still good adjustable ventilation, 2) zip in the no seeum inner wall (floor sewn to inner wall) for milder conditions, 3) zip in the nylon ripstop inner wall (with floor sewn to inner wall), or, 4) use the clip in floor with the outer wall. The outer wall can be purchased and one or both of the inner wall options (with floor sewn into each) can be purchased. Purchasing both inner walls and/or clip in floor in addition to the outer wall will give you great lattitude in the types of conditions you could be comfortable in and give you a very flexible shelter in terms of shelter weight, depending on conditions.
A layer of stovejack material is sewn into the floor under the where the stove sits. We call this the 'floorjack'. This works very well. In addition, in the area directly under the stove, the nylon floor material is removed and only the siliconized fiberglass 'floorjack' remains. The stovejack material is dimensioned such that it will work properly with the correct size of Seek Outside stove.
The floorjack is also sized so that when the door of the stove is opened, the area of the floor under where the door swings opens is covered by a generous layer of floorjack material, essentially functioning as a 'hearth' just like a fireplace or woodstove would have in a building. With some woods that put off alot of sparks, even with the 'enlarged' hearth, just like with a fireplace at home, you may have sparks hit the floor beyond the hearth. Keep an eye out for these and put them out immediately as they will potentially melt a hole through the floor material. If a spark does melt a hole through the material, when you get home, clean both sides of the fabric off with a bit of rubbing alcohol on a kleenex. With the floor at room temp, wait for the rubbing alcohol to dry, then apply a spot of McNett Seam-Grip (pre-warmed to body temp by putting the tube in your pocket for awhile--this product should be stored in the freezer to keep it fresh) to one side of the fabric and then allow it to cure overnight at room temp with no movement. If you wish, you can then put a spot of Seam-Grip on the other side of the fabric and let it cure similarly, but this second spot of Seam-Grip is typically not necessary. Seam-Grip is very tough stuff. A few spark-holes over time are just part of the game, but the Seam-Grip takes care of the issue. Use silicone for same issue with outer wall. Alternatively, black Gorilla duct tape works very well for this purpose as well. Just clean the surface first as described above.
NOTE: Other tipi designs might have mosquito netting as an option, but if you investigate closely, the netting is not sewn to a floor, the bottom edge of it just rests on the ground and so crawling bugs, mice, snakes, scorpions, etc., can enter the shelter at any time.
Pitching: Because of the integral floor design providing a 'footprint' for the perimeter of the TipiTent, (if purchased with an inner wall or clip in floor) pitching the TipiTent is very simple, much more so than other similar designs. Simply stake out the floor, then insert the center pole. Typically, there is enough adjustment built into the design at this point that you are good to go with a minimum of fuss. There may be a stake reset or two, but with a little practice, this also will be minimized. The VERY IMPORTANT 2-PART CONCEPT TO UNDERSTAND with the TipiTent, in order to have a taught pitch, is to understand that a taught pitch is regulated essentially two ways: 1) extension of the center pole, and 2) adjusting the perimeter of the tent using the built-in adjustable stake out points or restaking as necessary.
1) The key to watch here is that if the door zipper becomes at all difficult to close, especially at the bottom, this means that the perimeter of the tent is too large and tight and this will stress the zipper. You will need to release the stake out point webbing a bit or restake slightly closer to the center of the TipiTent so that the zipper is not being stressed.
2) Another clue that this is happening (potentially damaging the door zipper) is to observe the TipiTent wall profile from a few feet away. If the side profile of the TipiTent suddenly curves or 'flares' outward at the bottom of the tent, instead of remaining a constant angle, the perimeter is likely too tight, potentially damaging the zipper. It needs to be adjusted inward a bit, then the center pole raised a bit to take up the slack.
As with any shelter, there is a period of learning how to properly set it up. Be patient and learn the concepts of adjusting the pole length and/or adjusting the perimeter using the adjustable stakeout points to adjust your shelter properly. You will soon understand and be pleased with the results.
NOTE: Keep in mind that nylon stretches after initial setup and in colder/wet conditions. Nylon 'tightens' in warmer, dry conditions. The point here is that as conditions change, you will be adjusting your shelter a bit here and there. This is normal.
Remember: While the YKK #10 coil zipper is among the strongest of zippers, it is always the best policy to treat ANY zipper very carefully.
See the FAQ for a more complete explanation of pitching a TipiTent.
Poles: There is not an adequate commerically available pole on the market for the TipiTent so WildSide Systems TipiTent telescoping center poles are CNC machined out of 6061-T6 aluminum. It is drawn, seamless, round, structural tube. The 6061-T6 series aluminum center pole design is such that each telescoping section nests down into the next larger diameter section to minimize bulk for backpacking or horse, lama, goat packing. Over the years, destructive testing of pole design has been conducted to arrive at the tubing sizes/configuration that provides plenty of strength.
Spring loaded buttons are not used to join the sections of the WildSide Systems designed center pole, as is common with other designs. While a spring loaded button is more convenient, the simple ruggedness and strength of the entire pole system was the primary concern during the design phase as there is a fair amount of stress placed on the pole, especially if it is snowloaded (with that in mind, carefully and continually brush snow off of the perimeter near the ground of the all TipiTents so that they retain their shape and to allow venting around the perimeter at ground level). Instead of spring loaded buttons, 3/16" inch diameter stainless steel 'fast pins' are used. These go through both sidewalls of each piece of tubing. This allows the pin to support both sidewalls on both pieces of pole tubing at the tubing junctions, creating a stronger, more rugged center pole with less to go wrong. This also allows the design to 'telescope' in and out of the largest diameter pole section such that the entire pole completely nests down into the largest diameter pole section for a very compact packed pole. Use of spring loaded buttons common in other designs does not allow this 'nesting' and subsequent very compact pole when stowed.
Sizes and Weights: In the Gen 3 Hybrid series, WildSide Systems makes a '2 Man' version (5' 6" tall by 8' 5" outer wall dia., 8' 2" floor dia., 52.4 sq. ft. floor) - approx. 7lbs. 13 oz. w/ 16 stakes and packed in compression stuffsack ready to go, a '3+ Man' (with new lighter weight pole) version (7' 0" tall by 10' 8 1/2" outer wall dia., 10' 5 1/2" floor dia., 84.8 sq. ft. floor ) - approx. 10 lbs. 8 oz. w/ 16 stakes and packed in compression stuffsack ready to go, and a '4+ Man' version (8' 6" tall by 13' outer wall dia., 12' 7 1/2" floor dia., 125 sq. ft. floor) - approx. 13 lbs. 14 oz. w/ 8 MSR Groundhog stakes and 8 Mountain Hardwear 12" X-stakes packed in compression stuffsack ready to go. A 4+ with the slightly heavier inner wall of breathable nylon and 16 MSR Cyclone stakes (larger than MSR Groundhog stakes) is 14 lbs. 7 oz. These weights are more than other tipi style floorless tents ('glorified' tarps really), but by the time you pack a tarp along for a floor that ends up not working nearly as well as an integral, watertight material, bugproof floor design, you'll often find that you are packing as much or more weight and bulk than you would with our shelters while not being nearly as comforable in wet and/or buggy conditions. There's a reason modern homes have bug screens and floors in them. In addition, other similar shelters have zero weathertight venting. TipiTents have tremendous adjustable top venting allowing for the 'chimney effect' of cool air coming in around the perimeter at ground level and allowing warmer, moist air to escape out the top vents. Or, if it's very cold and dry, shut the vents completely. No other backpackable tipi style shelter offers these advantages.
We offer these TipiTents with just the outer wall in our own version of a 'glorified tarp', if that's what the customer wants. But, that means no floor and noseeum netting to keep the water and bugs out. The large amount of adjustable top venting and the telescoping center pole are still two unique and very helpful features provided even in this very stripped down version. This 'stripped' down version will still be outfitted during original manufacturing with a zipper and clips such that if an inner wall/floor (of either type) is purchased later, it will zip and clip right in. Just send the outer wall back to us and we will custom fit an inner wall/floor of your choice to zip/clip in. Purchasing TipiTents piecemeal like this will reduce initial cost to get into this kind of shelter system.
By '3+ Man', etc., we mean that if you did not need to each bring in a large pack and spread out wet gear to dry and could put your gear outside, you could fit more people in the tent, thus the '+' designation. For 2 people with lots of wet gear, rifles, etc. the 3+ is luxury and recommended for 2 for extended basecamp like situations.
Regarding the 2 Man TipiTent, a tent with a 52.4 sq. ft. floor, it is quite roomy in terms of floor space compared to most all 2 person backpacking/mountain tents on the market. However, most backpacking tents have vestibules to store gear in--TipiTents™ don't have vestibules, so some of that floor space is often used for storing gear that might otherwise be in a vestibule.
Also, in the interest of full disclosure to the potential customer, PLEASE keep in mind that if customers choose to use the optional Seek Outside stoves (see below), though quite small, they are quite hot when a fire is burning in them and when hot, the user needs to keep themselves and gear a very careful and very respectful distance from the stove. This eats up additional floor space. Users will also need a small woodpile inside the tent to keep your wood dry--that takes up more floor space, so things can get tight if you bring much gear inside and wanted to fit two people in the '2 Man' TipiTent™, for instance. More people could obviously fit in the 3+ and 4+ shelters, given the large floorspace, as the name implies. However, after several years using these shelters in wet, winter like conditions while mid to late season elk hunting in backcountry wilderness with the need to bring in rifles and spread out packs and gear a to dry, the numbers of people assigned to the shelters are realistic numbers of people (the 2 Man is very tight for 2, but doable) that could fit with some of their gear spread out to dry in these shelters.
Wood stoves for these shelters are ingenious in terms of their function, especially considering their weight and very small packed size. These titanium stoves are made by Seek Outside (SO) and found at: https://seekoutside.com/titanium-wood-stoves/. We reccomend only the SO Medium with a custom length 7' stovepipe for the '3+ Man' TipiTent. The SO Large stove with custom length stovepipe of 8' 6" is the only choice for our '4+ Man' TipiTent. These are amazing little stoves that pack up to the size of a laptop computer and smaller. Please contact us before ordering any stove OR TipiTent so that we can make sure to make the TipiTent to fit the stove in question. We do not make the TipiTent to fit just any stove. TipiTents are designed to fit only one certain stove.
Disclaimer regarding use of stoves in our shelters: Stoves are HOT and DANGEROUS and have SHARP edges. Very serious injury and/or death and property damage can occur. WildSide Systems absolutely takes NO responsibility for injury, death or property damage. Common sense says never leave any fire unattended (or be sleeping with the fire going unattended), so, DO NOT leave these stoves unattended at any time. These tent/stove combinations require highly responsible, aware and alert adults for safe operaton AT ALL TIMES. Absolutely no drugs/alcohol should be used when using these shelters/stoves. Keep children and pets away from hot stoves at all times and always be careful around stoves at all times as stove edges are very sharp. Stoves require great care in set up, installation into tent and take down--this is clearly a responsible, aware, alert adult activity only. If you have ANY questions whatsoever, STOP and contact WildSides Systems for information. Have fun and be safe.
Venting: The new Gen 3 Hybrid designs incorporate a tremendous amount of adjustable top venting--more for their size than any other tents we've seen. These new designs will help tremendously with condensation on the interior of the outer walls to create a dryer environment AND make the TipiTent much more comfortable if you chose to use it without the stove.
Moisture Management: Our Gen 3 Hybrid design incorporates a double wall system with interior wall of noseeum bug netting (or lightweight, breathable nylon ripstop, if desired), as is common in the backpacking tent industry. While this will add some weight and bulk to the design, the level of comfort should be greatly increased in that the user will have less contact with the often moist (due to condensation) exterior wall.
The outer wall (fly) of any tent will condensate in cooler conditions due to the warmer, moist air inside (heat and moisture given off from people inside). Studies indicate that most people give off around quart or more of water each night just from breathing, etc, not to mention gear drying out, etc. This moisture must be transported to the exterior of your shelter. Our Gen 3 Hybrid shelters do very well at this crucial job due to the 'chimney' effect of warm moist air in the tent rising up and out the large, adjustable venting area at the top of the shelter, while pulling in cooler dryer air from around the perimeter of the tent at ground level. No other backpackable shelter on the market does this as well as the TipiTent. The TipiTent remains drier than any other shelter we have been in because of the venting design--even when the stove is not being used.
The addition of a woodstove creates that all important 'dry heat' that only a woodstove can provide. This is a tremendous aid in keeping a dry(er) environment in your shelter.
Seam Sealing: Silicone impregnated nylon must be seam sealed with a seam sealer specific to this type of fabric. Other 'regular' seam sealers will not stick to the very slick silicone surface of this fabric. See our FAQ link (above) for more information on this subject.
Exterior Door Zipper: We use the large and very durable #10 YKK 'Uretek' water resistant coil zippers for the door zippers. These are the largest coil zipper commonly available--most backpacking tents use #5 coil zippers. #10 coil zipper is much stronger than the standard #5 coil zippers used on most backpacking tents. There is a possibility of some water seepage through during heavy rains, but this is unlikely due to the steep (greater than 50 degree) wall angle--rain just runs right down the zipper itself and drips off the bottom.
Stuffsacks: Stuffsacks are of the 'burrito' sack compression style to further reduce the bulk of your shelter when on the trail.
Cost: These shelters are not cheap, nor are any of the lightweight tipi style shelters currently available. The main reason is the high cost of the quality, high hydrostatic head silicone nylon fabric for the outer wall, the (necessarily) CNC machined center pole for the 4+ Man TipiTent and the considerable time of labor involved in construction. Keep in mind also that since these shelters are double wall, it's like making two tipis of other manufactures designs to make one of ours. Very labor intensive and we run over 40 hours of labor on each tent.
Please Note: TipiTents can be ordered without the floor and inner wall. This lightens up the structure substantially, but still incorporates the large amount of adjustable top venting.
As can be seen, these designs incorporate many unique features not seen elsewhere. This creates a more comfortable shelter while adding to the enjoyment of your adventure. This combination of features all brought into one shelter is a 'one of a kind' design among lightweight, woodstove heated, tipi style tents.
Technical Specs on TipiTent Shelters: