Sometimes tipis are left alone for months on a remote piece of property. When the owners come back for their weekend get-away, surprises can await them. It is not uncommon for tree branches to fall onto the canvas and rip it. With some foresight, this can be prevented by choosing the tipi location carefully and cutting branches that are dangerously close. Another surprise comes with roaming animals. We have heard of deer poking their antlers into the cover or stepping on it, bears ripping tipis apart because they smelled some food leftovers, or coyotes making their way through the door in pursuit of small rodents.
Aged canvas can rip along the poles or wherever rope pushes on the canvas when it is wedged between a pole and the canvas. We have shifted from using rough sisal rope to smoother synthetic rope for the liner rope in order to mitigate this issue. We also recommend using small eye shape screw hooks for the liner rope, instead of wrapping it around the poles.
If you have rips in your tipi cover, send a picture and call us to discuss the damage; we are happy to give advice or send you a repair kit. Canvas repairs on tipis that are set up are best done with a piece of fabric and Tear Mender, a fabric glue. (www.tearmender.com)
Extreme weather is another cause for concern if tipis are left unattended. Rivers can swell and meadows can become swamps or ponds and temporarily flood your tipi. Wind can shift the poles when the tipi is set up on a wooden deck or concrete pad. The whole structure can lean or collapse when the smoke flaps are left open or the door entrance is not covered and wind gets inside the tipi. Continuous strong winds can also cause the canvas to rub thin on the poles or it can cause the stakes to loosen and to pull out of the ground, which could lead to the collapse of the whole structure.
Leaving your tipi up over the winter without tending to it can allow snow to build up on the canvas. The snow can get heavy and will eventually stretch the canvas and might permanently bow your tipi poles. To get snow off your tipi cover, use a broom instead of a shovel once you come close to the canvas, to avoid poking holes into it. Constant exposure to moisture will also cause the tipi to mold. As much as possible, give the canvas the chance to dry out by making frequent fires in your tipi, especially in the winter. If you know you cannot tend to your tipi much during the wet season, the best would be to take it down. If you cannot take it down, we suggest having your cover fully painted, or be diligent about renewing the canvas protective finish every fall.

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