FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

check out these frequently asked questions to start learning about the magic of having a teepee in your life

Teepee Use

Can you leave a tipi up all year around?

Any tipi out of 13oz or 15oz material can handle wind, rain and snow build-up over the winter months. Continuous moisture and heavy snow on the canvas will reduce the life expectancy of your outer cover significantly, though. The 13oz might last you 2 years in harsh weather, the 15oz might last 3-4 years if you leave your tipi mostly unattended and uncared for.
Tipis, such as any outdoor furniture or structure out of natural materials, will deteriorate faster if you do not renew the protective treatment of the outer canvas. The Sunforger treatment of our canvases is a treatment that renders the organic cotton of the tipi covers water repellent and slightly mold resistant. If you do not renew this treatment, it will wear off and leave the canvas unprotected. Please go to CARE OF YOUR TEEPEE
To protect your canvas further against the elements, we recommend fully painting your tipi, either as part of the design or with a neutral background color. Also choose our 15oz poly/cotton canvas vs. 15oz 100% cotton canvas if you live in wet and humid areas (dry snow is fine for 100% cotton).

Can you make a fire in a tipi?

Yes, for sure, that is the beauty of the teepee, they are made to have an open fire in it. To avoid being completely smoked out with a fire going inside, you need to create the proper air flow, though. A tipi cover should be 3-4 inch off the ground, the liner should be connected to the ground. This creates a space between the cover and the liner where air is sucked in from outside – be aware that a critter guard sewn onto the bottom of the cover might impede this function to a certain extend. Air from outside then raises up along the inside cover wall and out through the smoke flaps, carrying the smoke with it. Our set-up instruction booklet is showing you the proper handling of the smoke flaps during wind and rain, and with a little practice, you will learn how to keep it cozy warm and smoke free in your tipi, no matter what the weather is like outside.

How do you heat a tipi?

A tipi has a lot of extra space above your head, which is wonderful to look at and which gives a sense of openness, but it is also extra space to heat, especially as heat rises. The larger your tipi, the more difficult will it be to heat it, so opt on the smaller diameter when considering the use of your tipi through the winter months.
If you make an open fire in a 16ft or 18ft tipi, soon you will be sitting in your T-shirt around the fire, and it will stay warm as long as you keep the fire going. A Solo Stove fire pit (www.solostove.com) will keep your tipi floor cleaner than an open fire pit, as you will have less amber flying. To make it cozy warm in a large tipi, you will need a 9ft liner, or even a custom made 12ft liner for double insulation, and a fairly large open fire or a double barrel stove with a pipe going through the pinning. All these solutions require stocking the fire or the stove with wood.
As an alternative, Big Buddy from Mr.Heater (www.mrheater.com) is a good propane heater, but it might need two units per tipi. An ozan is an interior ceiling that traps heat under the area where the bed is. You can also attach a circle out of clear plastic onto the poles at 10ft height, which would serve as a see-through ceiling. If you have electricity, heated blankets or at least a warm water bottle placed inside the bed in the evening will help you stay cozy through the night.

How do you cool a tipi?

The beauty of a tipi is that it has a natural airflow, created by the liner (the cover is off the ground, the liner is on the ground, so it creates an air space which sucks air into the tipi). A tipi also has the large smoke flap opening in the top and a large door opening, plus a spacious interior (heat rises)…So the theory is that a tipi keeps naturally cool. – So they say !! The reality is different… Often the tipi cover starts to stretch onto the ground in your second year, closing off the gap. If you have opted for the critter guard, it will reduce the airflow and if you have painted your cover to protect it from mold -then it can get really hot in a tipi.. often as hot as outside.
To cool a tipi, you can install a split unit – or two – so you basically bring air conditioning into your space. To keep the cool air down and flowing, you can also install a ceiling fan. If you want to cool a tipi the natural way, dig 3 – 4 ft into the ground, secure it with a stem wall and put your cover over it, at ground level. This way you are stepping down into your tipi, which gives you more space and the cooling effect of the earth.

How do I prevent rain from coming in my tipi?

Can it rain in a tipi? Sure it can, because a tipi has an opening at the top where the poles stick out and where the smoke flaps are. A tipi traditionally has a door flap that is not secured to the canvas, so rain can get in there as well…. – BUT… there are many solutions to it, and we can make a tipi totally dry.
A rain cap properly installed will keep the rain out. A rain cap is a canvas circle that gets draped over your poles. It will work better, the shorter your poles are, so be sure to cut your poles to a maximum of 2.5 ft. longer than the diameter of your tipi. Once your tipi is set up and the rain cap draped over the poles, close your smoke flaps tightly and correctly, so the little hole just above the pinning is covered by fabric.
If you do not like the look or only have occasional rain, we also offer interior rain catchers, which work to about 80% – some rain might still run down the poles. Our Zipper Doors are velcroed onto the canvas, with rain channels above the velcro and next to the zipper, so no rain can get through the door. If you have a tipi with a traditional door flap, we recommend that you make a gravel area inside the door opening, which will catch the rain and also the dirt of the initial step into the tipi.

How do I prevent critters from coming in?

We offer a critter guard that is sewn onto the bottom of your tipi cover. It is about 14” long and can be buried into the ground or weighted down with strips of horse mats, bricks, stoned or sand snakes in between the poles. It also can be nailed or tuckered onto a deck. Properly installed, this critter guard will fend off bunnies, squirrels, golfers, chipmunks and other small animals. Please realize, though, that a tipi is not a cabin or a house that you can close off securely. Snakes, mice and little crawlies can come into your tipi through the door opening, even if you have a Zipper/mosquito Door. The critter guard and the mosquito guard at the smoke flap opening on the top are great help to keep most of the critters, birds and mosquitos out, but not all of them.

Can I lock a tipi?

Can it rain in a tipi? Sure it can, because a tipi has an opening at the top where the poles stick out and where the smoke flaps are. A tipi traditionally has a door flap that is not secured to the canvas, so rain can get in there as well…. – BUT… there are many solutions to it, and we can make a tipi totally dry.
A rain cap properly installed will keep the rain out. A rain cap is a canvas circle that gets draped over your poles. It will work better, the shorter your poles are, so be sure to cut your poles to a maximum of 2.5 ft. longer than the diameter of your tipi. Once your tipi is set up and the rain cap draped over the poles, close your smoke flaps tightly and correctly, so the little hole just above the pinning is covered by fabric.
If you do not like the look or only have occasional rain, we also offer interior rain catchers, which work to about 80% – some rain might still run down the poles. Our Zipper Doors are velcroed onto the canvas, with rain channels above the velcro and next to the zipper, so no rain can get through the door. If you have a tipi with a traditional door flap, we recommend that you make a gravel area inside the door opening, which will catch the rain and also the dirt of the initial step into the tipi.

Teepee Choices

What is the best size for me?

This is about the most commonly asked question and we therefore have dedicated a whole page to helping you finding the answer. Start with our Purchasing Guide to reflect on some questions, then go to our Size Page, where we provide a graphic and pictures of every size that we sell.

What is the best fabric for my environment?

We offer 100% organic cotton as well as a poly/cotton blend that performs better in wet or humid environments. Please visit our Fabric Page to learn about the various fabrics and their suitability for your climate. In general, choose the 15oz white for dry and moderate climates, the 15oz poly/cotton for the Pacific Northwest and rainy East Coast as well as hot and humid South or Hawaii weather. Also consider painting your cover with a background color to give the fabric an extra layer of protection.

What is the Sunforger protective finish?

All our 100% organic base cotton fabric is treated with a mold, mildew and water resistant finish called Sunforger®. Unfortunately, untreated cotton, organic or not, does have little resistance against mold and mildew. Our tests outside our shop, located in the high desert ‘dry’ climate of Central Oregon, show that untreated cotton molded after going through two winters with rain and snow, while Sunforger® treated cotton did not mold. After the raw, 100% organic cotton arrives from India, the finishing plant washes the cotton to pre-shrink it, then runs it through a bath of the Sunforger® non-toxic solution. In addition to this treatment, microcrystalline paraffin (wax) is added to help the fabric shed rain and snow. A third treatment is used to make some of our canvas flame resistant. All our flame resistant fabrics meet CPAI-84, a recognized specification for flame-resistant materials. Please note that Sunforger® does not have a specific UV inhibitor in it.

Do I need flame resistant fabrics?

There are local and country regulations that might require you to have any structure out of a flame resistant material. Then there are insurance requirements that might apply for rental and overnight accommodation structures. Please be sure to consider all this when making your fabric choice. If you plan to have an open fire in your tipi, sparks can fly high and can wedge themselves between the poles and the canvas or land on the canvas once they flew through the smoke flap opening. In our 50 years, we have heard of 3 tipis that burned down, so it can happen and a flame resistant fabric will greatly reduce the risk of it.
But also consider that the flame resistant fabric is more expensive, is treated with harmful chemicals known in the State of California to cause cancer, and might break down earlier in areas of high UV radiation. Consider if the combination of a non-flame resistant cover and a flame resistant liner might be a good compromise – but ultimately, the choice is yours.

Why do you use organic cotton, and is cotton the best tipi fabric?

Cotton is the traditional tipi fabric and offers better breathability and translucency than any synthetic fabric. All synthetics are petroleum based and therefore not very environmentally friendly, especially if you compare them to our GOTS certified 100% organic cotton that we use as base material. Cotton is also much more affordable and it provides a beautiful canvas for our artwork. Our signature wash technique and many custom requests would not be possible on synthetic surfaces. While cotton might not be the longest lasting material of all fabrics, we still consider it the best fabric for your tipi – your sanctuary in Nature.

How long does a tipi last?

A tipi package consists of a tipi cover, tipi liner, accessories and poles. Properly cared for, a set of poles can last you 15 years, a liner can last 10 years and a tipi cover will last anywhere between 2 and 6 years when used year around. There are ways to prolong the lifespan of your tipi covers, such as renewing the protective treatment once a year, painting the canvas with a protective layer of paint, setting the tipi up in the shade in areas with harsh UV, drying the canvas out by making frequent fires in your tipi and repairing little rips the minute they show up. Please visit our Tipi Care Page for tips on how to Care for your tipi.

Why don’t tipis last as long anymore?

Our tipi covers are made out of 100% organic cotton. Cotton is a natural fiber and will deteriorate over time. It also molds quickly in a wet environment. Our cotton fabric is treated with a Sunforger® finish that includes a mold and mildew protector. Due to stricter regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these treatments are not as effective as they were many years ago. Both mercury and copper are chemicals that work well for mold and mildew inhibition, but are not allowed to be used anymore. In addition, UV radiation is much harsher now than a few decades ago (to protect ourselves, we use SPF 50 now instead of SPF 20). With exposure to more intense sun, wind and more rain instead of dry snow, the Sunforger treatment will wear off quicker than in the past. A tipi left out in constant humidity could now start molding within a few months, and mold will weaken the canvas. If the tipi has the chance to dry out in between rains, it might take one to two years until the first signs of mold appear. Tipis in dryer climates may never mold, but then it is the increased UV that makes the canvas bridle.

What comes in a tipi package?

We offer tipi packages for the Traditional Model and the Campground Model. Both packages include the tipi cover, a 6ft liner, sand snakes to weight down the liner and a door snake to cover the gap beneath the door opening. They also include all ropes, pins, stakes and staking rope that you will need to set your tipi up, your poles and an instruction booklet. In addition, we include two posters with Chief Seattle’s and Sitting Bull’s speeches, and a smudge stick as a gift from us. The Traditional Model package includes a door flap, while the Campground Model package includes a zipper/mosquito screen door and critter guard, mosquito guard, velcro and a D-ring that is sewn onto the Campground cover.

Can put together my own tipi package?

For sure you can, the prices in our package price list are for your guidance only. They are the sum of all the items that we feel are absolutely necessary to set up a tip, but they do not include any optional extras. You may want to choose a 9ft liner instead of the 6ft liner, or you can take out the mosquito guard or the mosquito screen netting on the zipper door. You might want to use your own sturdy stakes out of metal, or you might want to add an ozan or a rain cap. Just talk to us and we can adapt your cost estimate so it fits your needs.

Ordering a Teepee

How long does it take to get my tipi once I order?

Our lead time between ordering and shipping can vary between 2 and 12 weeks or even more, depending on the time you order and wether you would like to have artwork on your tipi. Our busiest months are in the spring and many of our customers would like their tipi by Memorial Day weekend, which is end of May. To assure that you will receive your tipi by this date, you will need to get your order in by mid February at the latest. If you order in the fall, we most likely will get a tipi to you within a few weeks. If you have a specific date in mind, please order as soon as you can – at least put a deposit down to get you in the queue, then you can finalize the details a little later.

Can you help me figure out what I need?

This website is very detailed and has a lot of information that will help you make your decision. Start with the purchasing guide to lead you along and always feel free to call us if you feel you need some help. With a few questions we will be able to narrow down the choices and send you a first cost estimate for your to reflect on.

How do you ship the tipi and how much are shipping costs?

Shipping cost depends on the zip code where we ship to. Your tipi will come with UPS Ground from Bend, OR and your poles ship with independent freight carriers from a pole yard in Montana. Shipping cost have increased tremendously during the Covid-19 pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. It is unclear if they will remain high or drop to pre-pandemic levels. As shipping cost vary without much notice, all we can do is give a shipping estimate, which we will check and sometimes need to adjust at the time of shipment. Please acknowledge that all shipping quotes are estimates only and include a $25 packaging and handling fee per tipi.

Can you help me figure out what I need?

This website is very detailed and has a lot of information that will help you make your decision. Start with the purchasing guide to lead you along and always feel free to call us if you feel you need some help. With a few questions we will be able to narrow down the choices and send you a first cost estimate for your to reflect on.

Set-up and Furnishings

Do you have somebody who can help me set up my tipi?

Most of our customers take on the challenge to set up their tipi by themselves. We have very detailed set up instruction videos on our website, which will help you step by step. If something does not look right, you can also send us pictures via email and we often can troubleshoot over the phone. Most mistakes happen because the set up instructions were not followed exactly, or the door pole slipped out of its position as the tripod is raised.
If you rather have a professional set up your tipi, we can recommend Brian Ryals from LaPine, OR. He has travelled extensively throughout the USA and even to Korea to set up our Nomadics tipis. You will need to contract him directly and pay for his travel expenses and daily fees. We also know folks in California and New York State who we can recommend.

How do I transport poles?

Shipping cost depends on the zip code where we ship to. Your tipi will come with UPS Ground from Bend, OR and your poles ship with independent freight carriers from a pole yard in Montana. Shipping cost have increased tremendously during the Covid-19 pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. It is unclear if they will remain high or drop to pre-pandemic levels. As shipping cost vary without much notice, all we can do is give a shipping estimate, which we will check and sometimes need to adjust at the time of shipment. Please acknowledge that all shipping quotes are estimates only and include a $25 packaging and handling fee per tipi.

What do I need to do to prepare for the set up?

Please watch our videos and read our instructions before set-up day. This way you will gain an understanding of the sequence of all the steps and what tips and tricks to apply. If you are putting the tipi onto the ground, be sure that it is leveled. You can also prepare your poles ahead of time, ideally you sand them and treat them with a preservative – and you cut the smoke flap poles to a length of 2 ft. longer than the diameter of the tipi. Cut your staking cords, widen the button holes on the cover’s pinning face and open up the smoke flap pockets, maybe even put a little stick in there so they stay open.  Have all your tools ready, some drinks and snacks and have fun with your friends and family.

 

What shall I do for flooring for my tipi?

Decide if your tipi should be on the ground (suitable in dry climates, less expensive, but brings more dirt in) or off the ground (better for wet, humid climates, more expensive, but a cleaner solution).
To place a tipi onto the ground, dig a shallow pit and fill with 3/4 – gravel, around 3″ deep, 2ft wider than the diameter of the tipi. Then cover this with a sturdy, thick plastic tarp, then carpet padding, then wall to wall carpet from recycling stores, then rugs. Some manufacturers offer canvas floors as well. You can also do interior stone tiles or pavers, but be aware that you will need to do the finishing touches only once the poles are moved into place, after the cover is up.
Ideally, if budget allows, you put your tipi off the ground. You can pour a 3″ concrete slap or install a wooden deck. If you live in a rainy area, be sure to carve water channels into the wet concrete around the perimeter of the floor plan of the tipi, or build the deck with a 1/8″ per linear foot slope so that water runs away from the edge of the tipi cover. We at Nomadics provide deck building plans as part of our set-up instructions.

How do I build a deck for my tipi?

There a many ways to build a deck and Youtube offers many videos. One example is “How to build a deck”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkvKO8GchyE which also refers to the Lowe’s deck design tool, which you can use for free. To build a tipi deck, create a shape that is at least 3 ft. larger than the diameter of the tipi with additional room in the front. For example, for our 24 ft. tipi, we build a deck that is 28 ft. wide and 32 ft. long, so we have room in the front to put some chairs and a table.

 

Artwork on Teepees

How much does artwork add to the cost of the tipi?

Our minimum artwork cost is $90, and you can get two pictograph animals for that. Adding a top and a bottom will add between $150-$500, depending on the size and design you choose. If you embellish your design with a pinning, a top band and a few more animals, the average price for a nice design on a mid-size tipi ranges between $650 – $850. We also offer full tipi designs in our price list, with a cost of $630 – $1,150 for a 20 ft. or 22 ft. tipi. In general, the more detailed the chosen artwork is, the more expensive your design choices will be.

 

Can you paint my own personal design?

Our artwork builder offers so many design combinations with the designs, the color palettes and paint styles, that you can certainly create a design combination that we have not painted before. You can also be your own designer, with a complete custom creation. We have a consultant fee that is added on to the cost of your artwork if you would like to assist you with translating your creative ideas into tipi art. If you have everything figured out already, please send us a mock-up of your design via email and we will respond with a quote. In any case, we have very talented artists on staff who can recreate about anything you would like them to do.

What paint do you use to paint your tipi?

For our solid paint style, we use exterior water based house paint in a flat sheen from Pittsburg or Miller Paint. It has low VOC and does not smell when you work with it. For the antique Wash style and for the tanning of the background, we use exterior water based wood stain called Woodscape from Sherwin Williams. To achieve the antique or aged look, we use brushes and apply the wood stain with a special technique, so the style resembles the use of natural plant brushes.

 

Can I paint my own tipi?

Sure you can, and we encourage it… Nothing will make you more connected to your tipi than your own creation on the canvas. You can express your vision, your story, your dreams or your relationships on the tipi cover or the tipi liner. Call us to tell you the trick on how to make a straight band at the top of a Sioux style tipi.

Commercial Use of Teepees/h1>

Can I use a teepee as a guest room or airbnb rental?

More and more people are using the tipi in their backyard for an extra guest room which they also rent out on airbnb.com, glampinghub.com, hipcamp.com, farmstayus.com or yonder.com. A night in a tipi is a very unique experience, and the growing glamping trend is catering to those travelers who would like to stay in unique accommodations.
We put together a 40 min presentation on how to use tipis as glamping accommodation, which you can access on youtube via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvSiGpkTb_o

 

How much does a tipi rent for?

The price you can charge for a night in a tipi depends on your location and on how exclusive you are making the experience. Campgrounds who offer the beds but not the linen might charge $120-$150/night, while glamping accommodations with nice furniture, linen, heating or cooling and a private bathroom can charge $250-$350. Please watch our video, where we discuss the question about ADR (average daily rates) and ROI (return on investment) in the second question. Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvSiGpkTb_o and skip forward to 15:00 min.

Can a teepee be used as glamping accommodation?

Since the start of the glamping trend, we have seen more and more interest in the use of tipis as glamping accommodation. We have customer who put up whole tipi villages up with 10, 20 or even 34 tipis. Nomadics is the only company who has engineered a special model for this purpose, and we have consultant packages and presentations to give yo ua detailed overview on how to use tipis as glamping accommodation. Please go to tipi.com/glamping.
To jump right into the presentations, go to :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvSiGpkTb_o

 

I am planning a whole tipi village, can you help?

We can sure help you put together everything you will need for a tipi village. To start, we recommend that you view all our support material on our page www.tipi.com/glamping . You will need to make quite a few decisions. If this is too time consuming or too complicated for you, we can also recommend the service of a Turn-Key Tipi Village Consultant, who will do most of this for you. Let us know if you are interested and we’ll send you the contact.

Can I have a bathroom in a tipi?Can a teepee be used as glamping accommodation?

When we started to offer the tipi size and floor plans to include a toilet/sink or even a shower in a tipi, I was told at the Glamping Show last year that “This is a game changer.” We cooperate a lot with Jason from Conestoga Wagon Co, – many customers order tipis and wagons together – and Jason has engineered this absolutely fabulous turn-key bathhouse. One of his units goes well with 2-4 tipis, it can be installed very close by and no interior toilet is needed. – so we thought.. but tell this a middle aged lady who needs to go potty in the middle of the night.
So now we offer floor plans and construction plans to add your own little toilet into your tipi. One idea is to hide it behind the bed backboard. You can also section off an area on the side of the tipi, with a curtain just for the toilet (compostable or with plumbing), and have a sink with a water holding tank next to it. – The fact is, it can be done, just ask us for the details and we will be happy to advise you.

 

What are other uses of tipis?

If you choose more luxurious and permanent structures for your glamping accommodation, tipis can be used as a wonderful addition to the amenities you offer.
They can be used as bathhouses adjacent to the accommodation, serve as community space for morning yoga or a secluded massage room, or for a farm-to-table group dinner. You can offer nightly gatherings around the fire pit and sell s’mores or hot-dog packages, use it for lectures and presentation about the wildlife, conservation efforts, the Native American heritage or outdoor activities in the area.
When it comes to accommodation, you can plan the fancy safari tent or eco structure for the adults and have a tipi for the kids right next door, as their own little private hide-away.

Can I do off-the-grid glamping?

Off-the-grid glamping might be a challenge, but it also can be seen as a responsibility to support sustainable practices, educate in waste reduction and make the glampers aware that resources on our beautiful planet are finite.
There are several manufacturers who are offering off-the-grid solutions. Solar or wind can produce light and electricity, wood stoves can generate heat and compostable toilets can be fed by the grey water of your wash basin. A compostable toilet can be placed in a tipi, separated by a wall, with a sink that holds its own water. You or your cleaning crew will need to fill the water holding tank once a day, using the water from the river or the well.

 

0

Your Cart