Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the warranty on WildSide Systems shelters?
WildSide Systems shelters are absolutely NOT designed as a permanent or semi-permanent shelter. Repairs will not be warrantied if excessive exposure to the sun or improper drying/cleaning/care/use/abuse is determined by WildSide Systems as the cause of a repair issue. These decisions will be made at the sole discretions of WildSide Systems.
WildSide Systems shelters are warrantied for a period of 2 years after initial purchase date, for the original purchaser only, against manufacturing defects. There is no warranty against damage occuring from improper use or abuse, which will be determined solely by WildSide Systems. Warranty returns or repairs should contact WildSide Systems using the 'Contact Us' button above.
Repairs not covered by warranty will be charged a repair rate of $30/hour and materials (subject to change). Sewing in general is and repairs in particular are very time consuming and labor intensive and thus, very expensive. Take great care to not damage your WildSide shelter. For repairs, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. What can I burn in the wood stoves in the TipiTents™?
Seek Outside wood stoves will burn nearly anything organic. However, damage to the stovejack material can be caused if the stove is fired hot enough to make the stovepipe red hot for too long a time. The silicone coating applied to the fiberglass cloth (stovejack material) will disintegrate and separate from the fiberglass cloth resulting in a poorer weather/bug seal around the stovejack. This occurs at temperatures near 500F and should not occur, or occur very rarely in normal use. (This issue is common to all silicone coated fiberglass stovejack material, commonly used in the industry.) In testing, the only way we have been able to consistently damage the stovejack material, has been through the use of pressboard/hardboad type manmade materials, that in certain conditions, can burn extremely hot and essentially cause a chimney fire, perhaps due to their constrution of essentially sawdust and glues. With this in mind, DO NOT BURN ANY MAN MADE MATERIALS IN ANY STOVE IN WILDSIDE SYSTEMS SHELTERS. Dimensional lumber (solid wood only modified by sawing) is fine to use, obviously. In fact, we often pack a small supply of such wood, dry and compactly bundled, as our first days supply of wood on a trip. This gives us some dry fuel and time to forage for wood and dry out the foraged wood. Dry wood fired hotly for long periods can damage the stovejack as well, but manmade materials seem to burn very hot resulting in more damage, more quickly. The 0-ring 'seal' around the stovejack opening can be fairly easily and cheaply replaced, so all is not lost if some damage occurs...and some will occur, typically not that big of a deal. If concerned, take close up pictures, inside and out, and send to email@example.com.
This foraging for wood brings up another point. You will need a real wood saw, not some small 'bone saw' meant for field dressing small big game like deer. We heartily recommend the 'DANDY' saws, with the 'Mini-DANDY' 12" as the smallest recommended size. These saws, though a bit heavier than the small bone saws typically designed for field dressing deer, are a REAL wood and bone saw that you can hold comfortably and do some serious cutting with. Very few wilderness handsaws will match the DANDY saw.
3. These shelters are made with lightweight materials. How durable are they?
WildSide System Shelters are at least as durable as any other backpacking type shelter on the market. Care should always be taken in the setup, take down (especially stove setup and take down due to sharp stove and stovepipe parts) and proper cleaning/drying immediately after a trip. Repairs are expensive. Treat your significant investment wisely and carefully.
4. Seam Sealing:
WildSide Systems shelters do not come seam sealed. This is standard in the lightweight tipi industry. We will supply you with most of the materials needed to complete this very important job, however. It is up to the end user to complete this process as is common in the industry for these types of products. Set up the tent outside in a in a well-ventilated location in at least 65F. Little to no wind is helpful. Avoid skin contact and breathing fumes with any of the products required for seam sealing.
For sealing seams on the black 'top cap' and the seams of the TipiTent™ floor, WildSide Systems recommends McNett Corporation's 'Seam Grip' product. This product can be thinned (applies easier, more precisely and makes this expensive product go much further) with toluene (commonly available at hardware stores). About a 1:1 ratio of SeamGrip to toluene seems to work well...adjust as necessary. It will be necessary to stir the solution for quite some time (takes longer if cold) to get a homogenous mix--same with the solution of silicone and mineral spirits mentioned below. Adjust as needed. We will supply a tube of this Seam-Grip for you. After opening the Seam-Grip, keep in in the freezer for it to keep. This should keep for some time. To reuse, put the SeamGrip in your pocket to warm up the SeamGrip before use.
For sealing seams binding silicone coated fabrics, we use an inexpensive product: GE Silicone II Clear sealer/adhesive. We will supply a tube of this for you. The amount supplied should be enough to seam seal a couple of TipiTents, so there should be plenty. Mix a 1:1 ration of silicone to mineral spirits (paint thinner-can be used, but won't mix as fast because paint thinner is a 'watered down' version of mineral spirits) and then apply the solution with the 1/2" bristle brush. Add more mineral spirits if the solution gets too thick. You will have to mix silicone and mineral spirits for several minutes with both at least at room temperature to get a homogenous solution. Make sure you have the shelter ready to seam seal before starting this process.
Though a tedious process, seam sealing is vitally important and directly related to the enjoyment of your shelter. Prepare yourself to do it correctly and you will be much happier with the end result in the long term. A shelter that is not properly seam sealed will need to be seam sealed again in the seams that are found to be leaking. A shelter that is sloppily seam sealed will look sloppy. Take a deep breath, think through it, be patient, take your time, and do it right.
This process requires good weather and a significant amount of time to complete and it is a necessary process if you would like to keep moisture from seeping into your shelter. Make sure your shelter is clean and in as new as possible condition when you seam seal.
Occasionally inspect the seam sealing for normal wear and tear and re-seal as necessary throughout the life of the product.
5. A word about 'loose' threads:
NEVER pull on and/or break a 'loose' thread. The threads used in these products are so strong that breaking them by pulling could do damage to your TipiTent. If you find a thread end to be too 'long', trim it carefully with scissors. If you are still concerned, take a focused, close up picture and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org for evaluation. Thank you.
6. TipiTent™ set-up and take-down procedure:
The first and perhaps most important aspect of pitching a TipiTent is to take care to find/make a large (this can take some work) level location, free of any objects that could damage the floor or walls of the TipiTent, in which to pitch your TipiTent. These shelters are not 'free standing' and require good, solid, 'stakeable' soil to be properly pitched. Very rocky areas can be a challenge because of this--avoid them if at all possible. Be cognizant of this as you decide on a place to set up your TipiTent. Be very aware of trees/branches that could fall on your shelter and damage you or the shelter. Also be aware of the potential for lightening. Make sure and do not pitch your shelter in a depression that water will run into if a rainstorm occurs. Set your shelter up far away from any open fires as sparks can melt pinholes in the silicone coated nylon.
Due to the size of these shelters, it can be a challenge on occasion to find a level spot large enough, but doing so is necessary for a good pitch. These shelters are not free standing. As such, they rely more heavily than free standing hiking type tents on secure stake placement. Because of this, proper stake selection, appropriate for the soil type you will be in (or sand/snow) is crucial to your TipiTent operating as intended. WildSide recommends several stake types given knowledge of the area you will be in. See #10 below.
Initially, spread out the TipiTent so that the floor is fairly well laid out on the ground. Stake out the TipiTent at each of the 8 seams, with 8 stakes, pulling each stakeout point outwards from the center until the edge of the TipiTent is somewhat taut back to the last stakeout point. Next, use 8 more stakes to stake out the remainder of the stake out points, pulling outwards from the center until just a bit of resistance is felt and the perimeter of the shelter is showing a little tautness. The guy out point webbing at each staking point should be extended as much as is reasonable to give you the maximum adjustment at each guy out point as is possible--this reduces the need for restaking, although restaking will be required at some point.
These shelters are markedly different than any other shelter. As such, you will need to practice setting up this shelter to understand how the shelter works. If you do not practice this procedure and do not understand the new concepts involved, you are nearly guaranteed a frustrating experience. Take some time and expect some frustration initially until you understand the concepts and can pitch the shelter correctly.
Additionally, please keep in mind that nylon stretches a bit after the initial pitch. An hour or so after pitching, you may need to properly use the concepts outlined below get a taut pitch again.
Also, nylon will get a bit loose in colder, wetter conditions, then tighten up when it warms up. You could have a 'loose' pitch in the morning when you get up when it's colder and if it warms up much during the day, without doing a thing to the TipiTent, you may notice all of a sudden that the pitch is quite taut. This is just the way nylon works. So, there may be a need to adjust the TipiTent (or any nylon shelter) throughout your stay a bit. This is one reason we exclusively include the adjustable stake out/guy out points in our TipiTent. This makes small adjustments much simpler than restaking.
A VERY IMPORTANT concept with the TipiTent, in order to have a taught pitch, is to understand that a taught pitch is regulated essentially two ways: 1) primarily by extension of the center pole, and secondarily, 2) by adjusting the perimeter of the tent using the adjustment in the adjustable stake out points or restaking as necessary. This is a VERY IMPORTANT concept to understand and utilize while using a TipiTent.
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 pulled too tightly. This will stress the zipper, potentially damaging it, reducing its useful life and making it more difficult to close. 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 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 from peak of TipiTent to ground, the perimeter is likely pulled too tight and needs to be adjusted inward, then the center pole slightly lengthened.
The fix is to slightly reduce the circumference as in '1)' above and extend the center pole upward. This will restore the proper TipiTent geometry and reduce zipper stress. While the YKK #10 coil zipper is among the strongest of zippers, it is always the best policy to treat any zipper very gently and carefully. This is especially true when this is the main zipper keeping weather out of your shelter as is the case in the TipiTents.
Next, extend the pole so that it is (pinned for 4+ pole) to the designed height of the TipiTent you are working with--5' 6" for the 2 Man, 7' 0" for the 3+ Man and 8' 6" for the 4+ Man TipiTent™. Insert the pole making sure to get the tip of the pole in, and keep it in, the peak of the TipiTent while ensuring the pole is going through the middle of the clothesline and not between the clothesline and inner wall (if you have an inner wall). You DO NOT want the pole to slip out of the reinforced peak and damage the TipiTent--this would cause a very extensive and expensive repair. Use your one hand on the exterior to hold the very peak of the TipiTent and your other hand to 'guide' the pole tip into the very peak, which can then be felt by the hand on the exterior of the tent--the pole tip, that is. Make every effort to keep the pole tip in the very middle of the peak of the TipiTent. This is usually not a problem with the smaller two Tipitents, but can be a challenge with the larger TipiTent due to the fact that most folks can't hold onto the tip of the pole 8' 6" up off the ground to guide it. NOTE: For the 4+ TipiTent, unless you have someone that is exceptionally tall with you, you will need to unvelcro, fold, roll and velcro the stovejack cover to the TipiTent peak (black 'cone' at top of TipiTent) velcro to get it out of the way of the stovepipe BEFORE inserting the center pole.
You may decide to adjust the perimeter ladderlock buckled stake out points a little tighter at this point. BUT do not pull the perimeter ladderlock buckles too much or the outer wall perimeter where it meets the ground will extend too much in circumference and the outer wall door zipper will not close or will close (usually an issue at the bottom of the zipper) only with zipper damaging force. If this occurs, it is a sign that the tipi pole needs to be lengthened instead of the perimeter ladderlock buckles tightened against the stakes, as discussed above. An easy way to see if you are pulling the ladderlock buckles too tightly against stakes is to closely observe wall profile of the tipi from a few feet outside of it. If the profile of the TipiTent outer wall curves outward at the bottom, (creating a larger perimeter or circumference at the bottom of the outer wall) this is a sure sign that the zipper will be stressed way too much when zipping the shelter shut. (This will cause specific and clear damage that will not be waranteed.) You will need to reduce the perimeter circumference of the outer wall by loosening the ladderlock buckles and/or restaking an inch or two closer to the center of the TipiTent. Then, raise the center pole the necessary amount to restore taughtness to the tent so that outer wall profile is straight or nearly straight. Some minor adjustments can be made with the perimeter ladderlock buckles, but these should never be pulled too tightly.
Clothesline: Be sure and tension the clothesline somewhat using the supplied cordlock at this point, BUT, be sure to leave the clothesline untensioned during setup as this will distort the natural designed geometry of the TipiTent if it is left tensioned at this time, likely resulting in a less than optimum pitch. Tensioning the clothesline after pitching is helpful for two reasons. First, doing so helps pull the inner wall, near where it zips to the outer wall, away from the outer wall a bit, reducing the chance of contact between the inner and outer wall and thus the chance for condensation that might form on the outer wall to transfer to the inner wall. Not allowing moisture (condensation) transfer between these two walls by not letting them touch is a key to you remaining comfortable in the shelter, as it is in any double wall shelter. Secondly, it keeps the clothesline from sagging, making it work as a clothesline better. Please note that in terms of weight supported, the clothes line is not meant to support heavy items like heavy wet pants, jackets and the like. It is meant for socks, lightweight shirts, lightweight long underwear and the like.
7. Pole maintenance:
There is only a few thousandths of an inch clearance between the outside diameter (OD) of one section of the 4+ TipiTent center pole and the next larger section inside diameter (ID). This is good for structural reasons, however, with such a precise fit, it is important to keep the inside and outside surfaces of all the pole sections clean and dry. As such, periodically take all pole sections apart and wash with soap and water, draining and drying them in an upright position for some time (days perhaps--you want to make very sure there is zero moisture in the pole section during storage).
The TipiTent center pole is made of 6061-T6 aluminum, which is a relatively soft metal, so always be careful to not mar or damage the pole in anyway. Striking the pole, or the pole being struck by something hard can leave a small dent with raised edges that can ruin the precise fit of the pole. If this occurs, please take a picture of the pole section damage and send it to: email@example.com. We will take a look at the damage and advise further. It may be that a bit of work with 400-600 grit sandpaper on the part of the customer can smooth out the raised area and restore full functionality.
8. Disclaimer regarding use of woodstoves in our shelters:
First of all, do not even think of using a stove of any kind in our shelters that the shelter was not specifically designed for. At this time, each of these shelters is designed specifically for one size of stove from Seek Outside (Cub, Medium and Large) and ONE SIZE ONLY. TipiTents can burn. Keep any fire or heat sources a long distance away from the TipiTent.
Woodstoves are HOT and DANGEROUS. Very serious injury and/or death and property damage/loss can occur. WildSide Systems absolutely takes NO responsibility for ANY injury of anyone, ANY death of anyone or anything or ANY property damage in any way connected with the use of WildSide Systems shelters or stoves of any kind used in any WildSide Systems shelters. Common sense says never leave any fire unattended (sleeping with the stove going is leaving it unattended), so, DO NOT leave these stoves unattended at any time. These tent/stove combinations require highly responsible, aware and alert adults for safe operation AT ALL TIMES. Absolutely no drugs/alcohol should be used when using these shelters/stoves at any time. 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 and very hot. Stoves require great care (practice) in set up, installation into shelter and take down out of shelter--this is clearly a responsible, aware, critically thinking, alert, adult activity ONLY. If you have ANY questions whatsoever, STOP and contact WildSide Systems for information. WildSide Systems would rather not sell this product than to sell it to someone who will not fully comply with the above and all instructions given by WildSide Systems. WildSide Systems will reserve the right at anytime to not sell these products to any individual it chooses. Have fun and be safe.
9. Stove Set-up Procedure and Very Important Tips:
Most things being mentioned here have been learned the hard way. Learn from them and don’t make the same mistakes.
First of all, if you purchase a TipiTent, YOU MUST PURCHASE a new set of stove legs from us!! The Seek Outside stove legs are too short and allow the bottom of the stovebox to be too close to the floorjack of the TipiTent. Go to the Store tab above and look for stove legs.
Put your stove box together as per Seek Outside directions, being very careful of the sharp edges. It is highly recommended to assembly the stove box and pipe outside and well away from the TipiTent to avoid the possibility of damaging the tent with the sharp edges.
It is important to cut/remove organic material down to bare mineral soil in an area the size of the stovebox, beneath where the stovebox will be. This is an issue whether or not there is a floor in the tent beneath the stove in any shelter of this type. In other words, this should be done whether you are in a canvas wall tent with no floor or a TipiTent with a floor or a tent that has a section of the floor that is removable via velcro to accept a stove. This just reduces the chance of organic material under the stove getting hot enough to smolder. The chances of that are remote, but possible, so take reasonable precautions.
Once the TipiTent is fully pitched, carefully insert the stove legs through the floor grommets. DO NOT push downwards on the legs to anchor them in the ground until you are sure that all 4 legs are fully through the grommets. Go ahead and anchor and level the stove in the ground only inserting the legs into the ground enough to stabilize the stove.
Carefully stow the stovejack cover by making sure to fold the stovejack cover in thirds side to side by taking each bottom edge of the stovejack cover and folding past the vertical center. Hold these folds together firmly and roll upwards from the bottom of the stovejack cover until the Velcro sewn to the stovejack cover is exposed. Firmly attach the Velcro from the stovejack cover to the Velcro on the TipiTent black ‘cap’ at the top of the TipiTent. This is a very important step to properly carry out. Obviously, if this stovejack cover comes loose (high winds, etc.) from the cap Velcro, it could be melted when the stove is in operation.
The stovejack opening makes a fairly tight seal around the stovepipe. Anything too large getting forced through the stovejack opening will deform/damage it and reduce its ability to help seal out weather or bugs. (Note: Many design iterations have been tested over the years to arrive at the current configuration, but there is no way to keep the stovejack opening from slowly deteriorating and enlarging somewhat from normal use, so it is incumbent upon the TipiTent user to be extremely careful and gentle as possible when it comes to the dealing with the stovejack opening.) Take great care in slowly advancing the stovepipe, during installation and when taking the stovepipe out, to check that the sharp edge of the stovepipe or the cables do not damage the stovejack opening.
Carefully bring the stovepipe into the tent with the bottom of the stovepipe near the floor and opposite the door. The stovepipe is very sharp and can cut the TipiTent, so be extremely careful and gentle while placing the stovepipe in the TipiTent.
Now, angle the top of the stovepipe up towards the stovejack opening, keeping the bottom of the stovepipe near the floor and opposite the door. Carefully begin inserting the stovepipe through the stovepipe opening keeping the stovepipe at the angle it was initially when first starting to insert in through the stovejack opening (basically the angle of the tent wall. Carefully push the stovepipe through the stovejack opening far enough (keeping the angle) so that it can be pivoted downwards and be just above the stovepipe/stove adapter. Go ahead and pull downwards (should be no more than about 6") and set the stovepipe around the stovepipe/stove adapter and adjust as needed. Once the stove pipe is firmly in place on the stove, hold it there and push up all around the stovepipe on the stovejack around the stovepipe opening with a little force. This helps keep moisture from pooling around the stovepipe and reduces chance of rain coming in. Adjust the stovepipe flap so that each side is equally sticking out on the side of the stovepipe. Do not push this down to the same level as the stovejack. It is placed to hit the upper edge of the stovepipe about 3/8" or so above the level of where the upper opening of the stovejack material hits the stovepipe. confusing...? Use the 'Contact Us' button above. A concerted effort is made with this design to keep weather out, but a hole in the roof of a temporary shelter makes this difficult, however, we have not seen a better design for this yet. In conjunction with the Stovepipe Weather Cap we sell in the store, most rain/snow will stay out of your TipiTent that might otherwise come in through or around the stovepipe.
Note: Setting up the TipiTent on your long, plush lawn may cause the floor to be lifted above the actual mineral soil ground by your tall, nice lawn. First of all, this can cause a bit of trouble because the floor is being lifted up and then won't truly be taut. Because of this the TipiTent's (and any tent with a floor) geometry will not be able to function as designed. Try to stomp the grass down in the area. This is particularly noticeable at the edges of the tent floor and under the stove. Secondly, make sure and push the siliconized fiberglass material under the stove down to the ground and as far away from the bottom of the stove as possible. The area under the stove should be cleared of organic material down to mineral soil.
Several types of stakes are used depending on conditions. See photo below. The MSR "Groundhog" stake is our standard stake. All of these stakes are premium stakes and are quite expensive. Obviously, the customer can find other stakes that can work well, but these stakes work well while staying relatively lightweight. Most less expensive stakes are made out of steel and, while quite durable, would not typically be something you would want to backpack with if you are concerned about weight at all. So, these are the
stakes WildSide Systems recommends if you are looking for reasonably durable, but lightweight stakes appropriate to anchoring these VERY stake dependent shelters.
If you plan on having your 4+ Man TipiTent in windy conditions, or are in anything but ideal soil staking conditions with the 4+ TipiTent, you will need to use very strong stakes. Consider 16 of MSR Cyclone tent stakes. (This is now the standard compliment of stakes sold with the 4+.) They are fairly expensive, but better than your tent blowing down. They have exceptional holding power and are quite strong for their weight.
The SMC 11 3/4" Perforated Tent Stake is our current recommendation for all your stakes any time you are on snow/sand with the 3+ in winds or the 4+ in snow/sand anytime. These are softer 6061 aluminum and can't take much abuse. The MSR Blizzard stake is 7000 series aluminum and stronger for their weight but not as good of an anchor due to their shorter length. The MSR Blizzard would be a good stake in snow for the 2 Man and 3+ TipiTent. But, even these very long stakes will not work well in newly fallen, powdery, soft snow/sand. Folks often use 2 ft. + mountaineering pickets, skis, trekking poles, etc., in these conditions. No stake made will deal with snow that is soft. There are 'deadman' anchors that may be a good alternative in very soft snow conditions.
Another newer stake that we highly reccommend (not pictured) are the MSR Mountaineering Tent Stake. They are constructed of 7000 series aluminum so are quite strong. The SMC Ultralight stake is a bit small, but the middle and large sizes are big, serious and strong stakes, especially the 14" long large size. Check 'em out.
The 14" long large size are the best stow stakes that have seen that are reasonably sized, minimum bulk (V-stakes nest in each other) and quite strong. But they are not cheap!
11. Stovepipe Cap Use
Damage can easily occur to the stovejack if the stovepipe cap is installed on the stovepipe and then the
stovepipe (and cap) are put through the stovejack. The sharp edges of the stovepipe cap can cut the stovejack opening. The o-rings on the stovejack can be replaced, but replacing the stovejack itself is a difficult and very expensive job, so be very careful with the stovejack. This is a delicate job and requires patience to not damage the stovejack.
Bend the ‘arm’ of the cap so that it and the cap are ‘flat’ or in the same plane. Install the stovepipe cap by putting the ‘arm’ that attaches to the stovepipe into the inside of the stovepipe. Thread the screw from the outside of the stovepipe through the stovepipe and the stovepipe cap arm and tighten the wingnut onto the screw from inside the stovepipe. Swivel the stovepipe cap from side to side to get best access down into the stovepipe top to manipulate wingnut. Tighten wingnut and bend the cap part itself down 90 degrees and in such a way as to cover the end of the stovepipe from weather. Adjust as necessary to get a proper fit, ensuring afterwards again that the wingnut is quite tight. This is a very lightweight stovepipe cap. It will most likely ‘flutter’ in high winds and may move a bit. It provides excellent weather protection for your stove, but there are limitations and there is a learning curve to this system.
Having only the screwhead on the outside of the pipe (not the wingnut) reduces the chance of the stovepipe cap assembly snagging on the stovejack as it goes through the stovejack hole, which may occur on the 4+ TipiTent, due to its height, though with two people pitching this, can and should be avoided. On the two smaller TipiTents, make every effort to attach and detach the stovepipe cap in the manner outlined above BUT on the upper side of the stovejack so that the stovepipe cap does not actually go through the stovejack. This will help avoid damage to the stovejack from the sharp edges of the stovepipe cap.
12. Stovejack stovepipe opening 'o-rings' and 'rainflap' can be replaced fairly easily, so that the stovejack stovepipe opening can be renewed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Comments? Write us, or give us a call.