Heat Source Ideas


One major challenge when living in your tipi year-round is how to heat it safely and effectively. We have gathered a few recommendations of tested heating methods that have worked well for those living in their tipis. 



Fire Pits



Traditional Tipi Fire Pit

The Traditional Tipi Fire Pit

The traditional fire pit provides an effective heat source while maintaining an authentic experience. This type of fire pit is typically constructed from stones of varying sizes to create a tried-and-true method of heating your tipi.



Stone Fire Pit


A variation of the traditional fire pit, the stone fire pit can easily be constructed taller than a normal fire pit for improved safety and less risk for spark damage to your tipi floor or interior.


Brick Fire Pit


The brick fire pit is an excellent idea for a cleanly-designed tipi interior. This beautifully constructed brick fire pit is coupled with a tiled floor for extra protection from spark or hot coal damage.











Wood Stoves and Elevated Heat Sources


Wood Stove


The wood stove is by far the safest and most efficient method of heating your tipi. Wood stoves provide radiant heat for extended periods of time while requiring less maintenance than a fire pit and without the risk of sparks or flames jeopardizing the interior of your tipi.


We are currently working with individuals who have wood stoves in their tipis to create a tutorial on the best method of extending the wood stove chimney through the tipi fabric. Please check back soon for information regarding how to install a wood stove in your tipi.














The Chiminea is an excellent heating option that is similar to the wood stove in safety and efficiency but without the need to extend a chimney through the tipi fabric.











Patio Style Fire Pit

The patio style fire pit is a good option for those who want an elevated heat source with the added safety of a metal grate to reduce the risk of flying sparks.








Fire Bowl

The fire bowl is a good option for those who favor ambiance over heat output. While you will still be able use the fire bowl as a heat source, the size of the fire that you can create will be limited.













Lightweight Heat Sources





The Kni-co woodstove is an extremely versatile and lightweight stove that is perfect for those who plan to move their tipi often. Kni-co offers a number of different stoves to choose from depending on your intended use and the size of your tipi.

More information on Kni-co can be found on their website: https://www.kni-co.com/index.php?route=common/home

To help determine the correct size stove: https://www.kni-co.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=65












A tip from one of our customers!
James, who lives in his tipi in Alaska over the summer, has a 20 gallon propane tank to use his ‘Big Buddy’ Propane heater from www.mrheater.com . The 20 gallon will last a month, if he runs it every night. He also has an open fire in a fire bowl, but once the fire goes out at night, Big Buddy keeps it cozy through the night. Together with his electric blanket, this can even be a winter set-up.

James also remembers a very clever cooling trick for hot climates. In Florida on the beach, they would light a small fire in their tipi  – without a liner – and the draft created a cooling effect. It felt 10-20 degrees cooler inside the tipi compared to outside, even during the day.  



 If you’ve had any experiences with these and what you’ve found that works best please feel free to leave your comments!


  • Denise

    I’ve used fire pit later lined with brick…the brick helps to keep popping wood embers from flying out so much but you have to align them so that it allows air flow to fire otherwise it will be hard to get it going and keep going and lots of smoke…also bricks help to put grate over on top for cooking…tried a small woodstove but it didnt emmit out any heat…could have been due to castiron porcelain coating didnt allow much heat emmission…need to experiment more on woodstove set up…down fall of firepit is you have to deal with getting smoked out if fire isnt hot enough or flaps arent set right…also get buildup from fire smoke on upper part of tipi…if using woodstove with smokepipe going outside, you don’t have to deal with that…the upside is you get lots of light at night with open fire vs woodstove…

    April 7, 2017 at 1:00 am
  • Didymus Houston

    While I was trapping in Arkansas (about seven years), I lived in one of Nomadic tipis 18-footers. Having tried a small cast-iron wood stove, I found its heat wasn’t effective. Doing some historical research, I discovered that the Cheyenne built their fires in a rectangle rather than the often found circular fire pit. Doing it their way, I discovered that I could place a large, flat rock at either end which acted as a reflector. At night and under an ozan, the heat from the open, rectangular fire was far more efficient than the stove. Also, because of its rectangular shape, I placed flat rocks around its perimeter. This not only permitted the stones to be used as warmers for food and drink, but also caused the heat to extend to the rocks and radiate outward and flat across the natural ground flooring. I might add that one early morning I received a phone call (cell phone) from a relative at 4:30AM. He asked, “Are you okay out there?” I responded, ‘Yes, I was asleep.” He said, “Well, the reason I called is because it is 29 degrees outside and I was worried about you.” Needless to say, upon being awakened, I rolled over between my bison robe and 1/4 inch thick wool blankets and noticed that the Cheyenne fire pit still glowed from a bed of red coals. I added more wood. Residing in a tipi with a primitive fire is not for everyone, but as a trapper, I was content and found the Cheyenne rectangular fire pit not only efficient for winter heat, but also convenient in its design as a “wrap-around” kitchen and a fire pit that all visitors can scoot-up to without bumping into other’s elbows.

    June 21, 2017 at 6:56 am
  • Robin Greenawalt

    We had a small wood stove with a short chimney, which didn’t need to extend thru the tipi fabric! It was safer then an open fire, as we had small children at the time. The smoke directed itself up as it does like an open fire thru the poles. It was warm even when it snowed, and it was great with a nice flat surface to cook upon.

    November 17, 2017 at 5:38 am

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