The tipi originated with the plains cultures of the vast, open, dry grasslands of the upper regions of the great plains area. If you are planning to use your tipi in moderately wet climates for extended periods of time you may want to consider using a Tipi Rain Cap. I first saw this years ago in the book Two Little Savages, written by Ernest Thompson Seton, later founder of the Boy Scouts of America. He had drawn a sketch of what he called a "Missouri Rain Cap" since he first saw it while living with the Missouri Indians. In essence the rain cap is simply a round piece of canvas that is draped over the top of your tipi poles to prevent rain from hitting the poles. Your order also includes all the rope you will need and 1ft long plastic stakes.
Since the Native American tipi dwellers sat on the floor rather than our conventional chairs, they made "back-rests" to lean against. Made of many short, straight pieces of willow, they were very comfortable and easily moved about the tipi.
We have an excellent "backrest chair" available. It has an internal aluminum frame, a 2-1/4" thick contoured foam sitting pad and is covered with a heavy duty cotton duck canvas. The canvas is a light tan in color. The back support is designed to cradle the shape of your back when you lean back against it. This very practical interpretation of the Native American back-rest is very comfortable. We use them in our own tipis. They are also ideal seating for large numbers of people in meetings or council gatherings in the tipi. $39 each.
Many folks have asked us about tarps and floor coverings. We do have tipi floor coverings available. They are made from tough, water proof 20 oz. wt. vinyl impregnated nylon. They are cut in a circle that covers the entire floor area of the tipi. Once the tipi is up and the floor cover is filled with the tipi interior you simply cut a 3 ft. diameter hole in the floor for your fire pit.
To create a soft and cozy floor we recommend using the water proof ground tarp as your first layer directly on the ground. Then put down a single fitted carpet or a group of fitted carpet pieces. As the finishing touch, use native style rugs. The rugs we have available are shown in color on this page below.
These tightly woven wool rugs are 4 ft. x 6 ft. and are 1/4" thick. Specify your choice using the corresponding letters below: A - I. $92 each.
For permanent living or for living in wet climates, you may want to put your tipi on a raised wooden platform. It is best if the platform is made larger than the diameter of the tipi, and extends beyond the tipi at least 2ft around. We offer very complete design and construction plans for building a tipi deck. You can view them on the last two pages of our set-up instructions. Also have a look at our Photo Gallery 4, which shows some deck solutions from our customer. Feel free to call us at 1-541-389.3980 if you have additional questions.
The Indian tipi was originally designed for a ground level open fire near the center of the tipi floor. This fire provided for heating and cooking. If you plan to put a wood stove or a wood heater in your tipi, you must make certain changes.
The heat that reaches the smoke flap area of the tipi cover from a ground level open fire has greatly dissipated and the temperature of the heated air and smoke is much lower than the temperature at fire level. However, the temperature of the heated air that would be radiating from a hot wood stove smoke stack would be much, much hotter at any given height above the heat source.
Therefore, if you want to run a smoke stack up through the smoke flap hole, you must use insulated pipe. If you do not, the intense heat from the smoke stack will cause the tipi canvas to dry out, become weak, brittle, or even ignite.