Monday, October 5, 2009

Testing, 123, testing

"I'm surprised that thing is still standing, those Indians really knew what they were doing." Those were the words of my neighbor, greeting me as I returned from a weekend away from the tipi. It appears the tipi faced its first major test this weekend, and passed with flying colors. There was trash scattered about, a few inches of water (which was presumably snow at one point) in the pots and pans I had left outside, and my canvas door had been ripped away from the opening of the tipi and twisted multiple times around the wooden dowels, the force of the wind causing the rope to rip right through the canvas.

But the tipi its self looked as if nothing had happened. The bricks had blown off of my tarp where I am storing my bike and kayak, but the tipi remained stoic and strong. Not a single stake was pulled from the ground, not a single pole had been shifted. There was about 2 gallons of water collect in my make shift Ozan waiting to be drained. The design was improvised after having earlier trouble with leakage. I cut out a 6 foot circle from a painters drop cloth and tied it to the poles inside the tipi, about 8 feet in the air, to create a sort of inner roof, that would catch any water that might come through the opening at the top. I wasn't sure if it would hold up in a big storm, sure enough it did.

So the tipi has been test, but I haven't. I'm sitting in the tipi, in my sleeping bag, wearing my winter coat and hat, listening to the snow fall onto the canvas, stumbling to find the right keys as my fingers are half frozen. My test will come soon enough. What's it like to live in a tipi in the Montana winter? I'll let you know.


  1. Hi, I hope to live in a tipi and am learning a lot from your blog. In regard to your dealing with the cold. I was thinking that Indians didn't have to get up in the morning to go to work. They could stay in their shelters at least until later in the morning. Anyway, have you thought about a propane camping heater? And does your tipi have an inner wall (I forget what they're called). Those provide a bit more insulation. Also carpet scraps layered on the ground could insulate from the cold as well. Good luck! Dan

  2. Hey Dan,

    My tipi does have an inner liner. I have a fire pit and may get a wood stove for the winter. I wanted to get carpet to put down but haven't found any yet.

  3. Josh...brrrrrr just thinking about it. I have a small propane heater to donate to the cause if you want it.
    Chuck Snover

  4. I heard from a guy at work that they get very warm once you have a fire going, but that carbon-monoxide is the potential silent killer. I may have told you that already. I guess a wood burning stove would fix the carbon-monoxide problem.

  5. Come on Josh...write more. We need to know if the Carbon Monoxide build up in a Tipi is true or not. : )

  6. Chuck,

    Thanks for the offer! I might take you up on that as the mercury drops!


    Yes, you've told me about the CO...a few times, ha.


    I haven't died yet!

  7. First of all you are me hero.
    me, my boyfriend, and two of my bestfriends
    are wanting to live nomad in a tipi.
    what do you do for plumbing such as taking showers?? we haven't been able to come up with any good ideas yet.
    and also do you keep a generator?
    how expensive is that? or would it be better
    to just go with no electricity?