Nothing rejuvenates your spirit like getting outdoors. In fact, numerous studies have shown that spending time in nature can help with stress, anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other health issues. But you don’t need to be suffering from these conditions to enjoy time out in the wild. Contact with nature is a proven method to improve well-being and have some fun.
Getting outdoors can be as simple as going for a short walk in your local park. But if you really want to maximize your nature time and get back to basics, camping is a great way to do it. After all, humans didn’t evolve in offices and air-conditioned buildings. We are made for the outdoors, and spending a night or two living like our ancestors is a great way to decompress from the stresses and strains of modern living.
But if you’re going out into the wilderness, you need the right equipment. You need to be comfortable. You need to be prepared. And that means having the right tent.
No other type of tent can be as better as Teepee (or tipi) if you are looking for something lightweight, durable and roomy that too being available at a wallet-friendly price point. There’s a reason these tents have been in use all over the world by a variety of different cultures for hundreds of years. They can stand up to storms, stay cool in the summers and allow for a lit fire to keep you warm in even the coldest winters, and are easier to set up and take down than many more modern designs.
With all the space a teepee offers compared to a regular tent, You’ll feel like you’re camping in an actual house rather than a flimsy tent. Also, because the design of a teepee makes it so tall, you’ll have room to stand up fully, which is great when you’re changing clothes or just want to stretch.
So next time you go into the wild, consider relying on this time-tested piece of equipment to keep you comfortable.
Why Trust US?
We live in cynical times. If you’re looking for the best teepee tent, you’ve come to the right place. But how do you know that? After all, anyone can set up a website and start dishing out consumer advice.
However, we’ve done our research. We spent a full 96 hours – though not all at once! – combing through manufacturer’s specifications and consumer reviews, including hundreds of professional reviews on serious camping websites and countless amateur reviews on shopping sites to learn more about this unique style of tent. The more we learned about, the more curious we got.
We take our testing process very seriously (more on that in a minute), but we like to get human input before we start into the scientific stuff. For this, we corresponded with a number of people, but a young and intrepid backcountry camping enthusiast named Allison Grove really opened up the world of teepees for us and her expertise was really invaluable in writing this article.
Allison is a self-described gearhead who has been camping and backpacking all over the world, from the steppes of Central Asia to the Glastonbury Music Festival and who has become a serious devotee of teepee-style tents. “It hardly weighs a thing, I can pop it up myself on solo trips, and it’s great for all-weather.” she gushed, then began describing some of the places she’d taken some of her teepees. We were intrigued! We had to know more!
Based on the massive amount of data we collected, we selected 30 teepee tents from 18 different manufacturers. After that, it was time for the fun part —the field tests.
How We Tested?
The best way to test a tent is to use it. So our researchers spent multiple nights in the shortlisted teepee tents to see which ones were the best. We used the tents in a variety of different conditions and environments, testing each one to see how it stood up to the elements, how easy it was to set up, and other essential factors. Here are the attributes we looked at most closely:
When choosing a tent, comfort isn’t the only thing that matters. But it is probably the most important single factor, as when you’re out in the wilderness, the tent becomes your home.
We tested the tents to see how comfortable each was to spend a night or two in. We looked at everything from how much standing room was available to how easy it was to keep bugs out and cataloged everything. After all, if your tent is uncomfortable, it doesn’t matter how durable it might be.
Something that puts a lot of people off camping is the hassle of setting up a tent. Modern tents are a lot easier to set up than the old canvas monstrosities of years gone by, but those assembly instructions can still be daunting. Luckily, teepees are generally very easy to set up. The last thing you want after a long day of hiking in the great outdoors is to have to do a lot of work with a stubborn tent that doesn’t want to stand up.
How long a tent takes to set up will depend on your individual skill level as well as the conditions. It’s a lot harder to set up a tent in the wind by yourself than it is to do it on a calm, sunny day with three friends to help. But we based our assembly score on one person setting up the tent in relatively calm conditions. Keep in mind that time can vary depending upon experience, weather conditions and the number of people to help.
Since tents are designed to be packed up and moved easily, they don’t have the structural stability of a building that’s made to stay in one place. Teepees are remarkably stable, which is why they were used for centuries by Plains Indians, who knew a thing or two about wind. But it’s important when buying a tent to know how it will stand up to a storm.
As well as testing the tents in real-world conditions, we also set up each tent in our testing facility where high-speed fans were used at varying angles to simulate blustery conditions. Tents that ended up with damaged poles or rips and tears anywhere in the fabric were immediately disqualified.
When camping, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. A wet trip can quickly become a miserable one. You want a tent that will keep out the rain, even in the worst storms.
The dirty and muddy conditions during the wind test made the tents too messy to drag around the office any further (at least that’s what our boss told us). We let those tents stay where they were and threw some blankets on their floor inside. After this, we used the same fans we used for the wind test, combined with a hose with a large spray head and poured several gallons of water onto them from different angles to see how the tents stood up to both wind and rain.
Then we inspected the tents to see how wet the blankets inside got. Those that kept the water out entirely scored 100%, while those that let a little water in scored lower.
Ease of carrying
A sturdy tent is great for keeping the weather away, but a bulky tent on your back can quickly turn a pleasant hike into a grueling ordeal. The whole point of a tent is its portability, so we looked at how easily they were to pack up, how much they weigh, and what the size of the packed-up tent was.
On that basis, we divided tents into different categories: suitable for car camping (these teepees are a bit bulkier but good on other tests), suitable for backpacking (these teepees are portable for a strong backpacker), and suitable for ultralight backpacking (these teepees are super-lightweight and ideal for serious treks, like backpacking trips that include climbs).
After all these tests, we selected the best performing teepee tents on the market. The tests were quite grueling; of the 30 tents we started with, only 12 passed every test we threw at them. Of those 12, we used the test scores to pick out the best five.
Below you can see a comprehensive review of each tent to help you make the best-informed purchasing decision. Read on, and happy camping!
Best Teepee Tents – Our Top Recommendations
1. Tahoe Gear Bighorn XL 18′ x 18′ – 12 Person Teepee Tent
Want to take the whole fam out to the woods for a good ol’ back-to-nature extravaganza? Whether you’re a serious camper or you’re getting into tent camping for the first time, this might just be the tent for you.
We’re in love with this easy to set up, big, comfy, durable, and a surprisingly affordable teepee that goes from season to season in style. It definitely isn’t designed to draw attention. The grey fabric with black accents at the top along the sides is classic but unobtrusive. But more important than it looks are its features.
The 18 feet by 18 feet of floor space makes this whopper of a tent big enough for 12 sleeping people if there’s no gear involved. Of course, a group that size will generate plenty of humidity, so it’s a good thing this tent has 4 air vents in addition to its 2 doors, 4 PVC windows, and, definitely, the standard teepee top vent. All of this ventilation helps to keep the tent to cool in the heat of summer, but in cold weather, the vents can be closed to keep the heat in.
The sewn-in floor of this Tahoe Gear teepee is great for keeping out dirt, bugs, and weather. In fact, at a height of 9.75 feet, this teepee is not only tall enough to stand up but offers plenty of room for even tall adults to walk around, and the windows are flap-style and work from the inside, providing privacy for changing clothes.
In terms of durability, this teepee tent is built to stand up to adverse weather conditions (between the 1000 mm polyester material and the conical shape, it’s unlikely to leak unless you’re in a full monsoon). And the central pole that supports the structure is made of steel, which makes it extremely strong and unlikely to bend even under strong wind.
Although, just like most other teepees in this world, the Bighorn XL by Tahoe Gear is not freestanding — the base must be staked before the steel pole can be raised, and then the outer guylines are staked (Staking is half the fun — bring an extra dollar-store mallet for each kid and let them do the not-that-hard work of pounding them in!). This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s just a 15-minute process for a single person and gets exponentially faster the more people you have.
The tent arrives already packed in a package roughly 33 x 11 x 9 inches in size. The kit contains everything you’ll need including a carry bag, the interior steel pole, stakes, guy ropes as well as the tent itself. At a weight of a bit over 25 pounds, this package isn’t light, but that’s to be expected with a tent of this size.
The weight of this gigantic tent makes it impractical for most backpackers but just fine for families taking the minivan to the local state park. For additional peace of mind, it comes with a two-year warranty so you can be confident about getting many seasons of use from it.
The weight of this tent can be reduced by ⅕ to ¼ if you swap out the steel pole with an aluminum pole, and if you’re camping in a forest, you may even be able to ditch the pole altogether and cut a correctly-sized pole from a tree branch. The included guy lines are quite heavy-weight and you may also be able to save a pound or so by swapping them out for a lighter-weight cord.
One last tip: Even though this tent is rated as waterproof, it wouldn’t hurt to apply a water repellent coating to the entirety of the tent fabric before going out on your first outing. This is true not just of this tent, but of any tent you might buy.
What’s Not So Good
When you look at all of its features, it’s no wonder that this tent is at the top of our list. However, there is one drawback. While the doors zip shut on the side, the zipper doesn’t extend to the bottom of the door flap. If you’re camping in a particularly bug-infested area, this makes it possible for insects to get inside.
For a temporary fix, you can seal the gap with two-sided tape. For a more permanent solution, you could use a tarp zipper kit from a home improvement store to close this gap.
- Great bounce for your ounce.
- Excellent build quality.
- Easy to assemble and disassemble.
- Ginormous, can easily sleep up to 12 people.
- Very tall – peak height of 9.75 feet.
- Pretty good warranty coverage.
- No zipper on door bottom.
- No door mesh.
There’s a reason this tent is at the top of our list. Its size, attractiveness, comfort, durability, waterproofing, and ease of setup all make it one of the best teepees out there. The only issue, besides the weight, is the gap at the bottom of the door. That’s an easy fix on what is otherwise a very good tent.
If you are looking for a nice big tent on a budget, this is really the best option which could easily make a family with several kids fall in love with camping again!.
2. Guide Gear Deluxe 18′ x 18′ – 12 Person Teepee Tent
This is another huge tent with an 18′ x 18′ footprint that makes it ideal for large groups. What mainly sets this teepee tent apart from other teepees is the awning above the door.
The Guide Gear Deluxe offers a little “porch,” a covered entryway that gives you a place to leave dirty boots and other gear where they’ll stay dry but not track crud into the tent and make your sleeping area dirty. (It’s not a bad spot to keep accessories out of the sun on a sunny day, either!).
These types of covered entryways are often found on higher-quality traditional poled tents but the Guide Gear Deluxe is the first model to offer one quite this advanced on a teepee-style tent, and our team really adored it.
In olive green with black accents, this tent has a utilitarian, almost military appearance, which is great if you’re into that kind of thing. The green color means it doesn’t stand out against a forested backdrop, but its height and size make up for that.
With an 18′ x 18′ footprint, this tent is rated to accommodate up to 12 people. However, if you’re carrying a lot of gear, eight or nine people might be closer to the true figure. If that seems too big for you, this tent also comes in a 14′ x 14′ version to help reduce its weight if you don’t need the additional space.
The sewn-in floor helps keep out bugs and other critters and provides an additional barrier against the cold or wet ground. Two doors make it easy to get in and out of the tent, and these doors also come with a mesh panel (unlike the Tahoe) so the door can be left open, but bugs can be screened out. This dramatically adds to ventilation and helps keep the tent cool in the summer, especially if you have a lot of people staying in it. There are also four plastic windows and four air vents that allow for good airflow in warm weather but can be closed to keep heat in during colder periods.
Like any teepee, it also has additional ventilation at the top. At 9.1 feet tall, this teepee isn’t as tall as some others, but it’s more than big enough to stand up in, and the extra headroom gives a real feeling of internal space.
This Guide Gear Deluxe also has an internal privacy divider. It’s a nice enough feature, but honestly, don’t get too excited: it’s basically a white sheet that clips to hooks onto the tent, sequestering a small area along one side, apart from the doors. It can make a good space for changing clothes or just separating out space a bit, but the reality is that if you want actual privacy, get separate tents.
This tent is made to stand up to the worst the weather can throw at it. It comes with a shock-corded steel pole to support the structure, and the 190 Denier polyester shell has a waterproof rating of 1200 mm. As with all tents, it’s still a good idea to apply your own waterproof coating before your first use. Pay special attention to the seams, since this is often an area where water enters a tent.
The tent comes neatly packed into its carry bag, along with its steel pole, guy ropes, and 28 stakes. At 30 pounds in weight, the large version of this tent isn’t exactly lightweight. But if you’re driving up to your campsite, the size and stability of this tent are well worth the weight. If you plan to go backpacking, it might be a good idea to distribute the components of the tent among different people, so that one person carries the steel pole, another carries the tent itself, and so on. Lastly, this deluxe tent by Guide Gear can be seen with a 1- year limited warranty coverage.
What’s Not So Good
All in all, this is an excellent tent for larger groups. However, although it is rated as waterproof, the waterproofing isn’t all that it could be. Some users have found that during rain storms, some water can leak in through the seams. We found a similar issue in our own rain test (Roughly, 4 tablespoons of water inside). For that reason, this tent isn’t at the top of our list.
Still, if the other features of this tent appeal to you, you can address the waterproofing by getting some seam sealer from a nearby store and applying it to the seams of the tent. You can also spray the entire shell with a water repellent. Additionally, as with many tents, you may want to replace the wire stakes it has with nail-type stakes that add additional stability that is particularly important in windy areas.
- Sturdy construction.
- Easy to set up and take down.
- Innovative design – covered entryway is a major plus.
- Big enough for even large groups.
- Quite tall – peak height of 9.1 feet.
- Doors with a mesh for added bug protection.
- Available in 2 different sizes.
- Decent warranty coverage.
- Some models may leak a bit at the seams.
This is a great tent with lots of interesting and unique features. With better waterproofing around the seams, this one might have topped our list. But if the extra features are worth it to you, this is a teepee tent well worth considering for your next camping trip.
Especially, do not forget about the attached “mudroom” entryway that keeps all yucky gear outside and away from your cozy beds.
3. Winterial 12′ x 12′ – 6/7 Person Teepee Tent
If your comfort is paramount and there’s a chance that you might be braving serious weather, the Winterial teepee is the ideal tent model for you. Its name isn’t accidental, this tent is specifically designed to stand up to rough weather. Believe us, it’s a tough beast!.
The mostly gray color scheme is given a little additional flair by a green peak and green base, along with green accents at the air vents. But chances are, you’re not going to buy this tent for its looks.
You’re going to buy it because it allows you to camp in the most challenging conditions. In this way, you can extend your camping season far beyond the summer.
At 12′ x 12′, this isn’t the biggest teepee on the market, but there’s plenty of room for 6 – 7 people to sleep comfortably without gears involved, making it a good choice for a small family — and a fun option for a few kiddos to pop up in the backyard to give winter camping a try for the first time in their lives.
This teepee tent by Winterial has a fully sealed floor that helps to keep out dirt and bugs, and also adds to its weather resistance. The 2 doors provided make it easy to get in and out, and both doors have mesh so that you can leave them open on hot nights but still keep the bugs away. The 4 solid windows let light in, and there are 4 air vents that help with ventilation and reduce humidity. Additionally, like any traditional teepee, there is a vent at the top of the tent. Standing at 8 feet tall, this teepee tent has room for even the tallest people to stand completely upright, which is nice when you’re struggling to get your pants on in the morning.
Like all teepees, Winterial teepee is supported by a central support pole. In this case, the support pole is aluminum, which helps to reduce the weight of the packed tent. But this pole is far from flimsy. The aluminum is thick and sturdy and can stand up to what nature throws at it.
In keeping with this sturdiness, the fabric of the tent is 210T polyester material that resists rips and tears. It has a waterproof rating of 1500 mm, which is enough to fend off even relatively severe rainfall. In fact, the tent also stands up quite well even to snow. Although our team wasn’t able to replicate snow in our testing lab, reviewers all over the web reported taking this Winterial tent out in authentic snowy conditions and staying comfy and dry. One reviewer even camped comfortably in an 8-inch snowstorm: “The conical roof didn’t allow for any snow buildup, it simply slid off and ended up on the ground.” he reported.
The tent arrives ready packed in its included carry bag, along with the lightweight aluminum pole, guy ropes, and 30 stakes. When packed up like this, the tent weighs less than 16 pounds. This makes it far lighter than some of the larger tents on this list, and brings it into the range where it can be used for backpacking and carried on foot instead of being limited to car camping.
What’s Not So Good
All in all, this is a great tent for families or groups of similar size who want the space a teepee can offer while still reducing weight. And its ability to stand up to weather is impressive. Where this tent suffered in our evaluation was the top vent. The tent comes with a cover to keep the rain out of the vent at the peak of the roof. However, there is no mesh screen covering this vent. This means if left open, bugs like mosquitoes and even spiders could easily get inside from above, especially in wooded areas. Of course, this is less an issue for winter camping, but still, it should be noted.
If the sturdiness and other features of this tent appeal to you, you can remedy this problem by getting a small piece of bug netting and sewing it to the tent yourself.
- Offers great value for the price.
- Built to last for years to come.
- Easy to set up: takes 10 minutes or less.
- Doors with mesh for keeping bugs away.
- It can easily stand up to harsh weather.
- Suitable for backpacking.
- No mesh on the upper ventilation cap.
One of the downsides of camping is that you can’t do it in the winter. With the right equipment, you can significantly extend your camping season. This tent will help you do that.
There is no product in the market which is almost 100% perfect. So Although it lacks mesh on the top vent, but the sturdiness and weather resistance that it provides makes it worthwhile. If you’re looking for a tent for 3-season camping, this might be the answer.
4. Safacus 12′ x 12′ – 6/7 Person Teepee Tent
A lot of tents these days go for a subdued utilitarian look. That’s not surprising. Camping can be a messy business, and drab colors help to hide the dirt. But some people want their tents to stand out. And this tent certainly does that. With its electric blue fabric, this tent will draw attention wherever you set it up. You’ll certainly have no trouble finding your way home after a long day out in nature. And kids will love its bright color scheme.
But this Safacus tent has more going for it than just its bright looks. It also stands up surprisingly well to challenging weather. And it comes with all the features you need for a successful camping expedition.
At 12′ x 12′, it’s the ideal size for a family or a group of 4 to 5 people. It offers a fully sealed floor to keep bugs and the worst of the weather away. There are 2 doors that can be zipped shut, and also offers a mesh screen to keep bugs out while still letting the air in. Speaking of airflow, it has 4 air vents that help to keep the tent cool in the summer and reduce the humidity that comes from having people sleeping inside. As well as the vents, there are 4 large solid windows made of clear PVC. These let in the light and also let you enjoy the scenery from inside your tent. But for privacy, they have covers that can be closed at night.
Once set up, this tent by Safacus stands at 8.4 feet, which gives plenty of room to stretch. As with all traditional teepees, there is another vent at the peak of the ceiling to help reduce humidity.
The materials used in this tent really shine more than its color. The central pole is made of high-quality steel, making it extremely difficult to damage even with rough handling. And the fabric the tent is made from is similarly rugged. The 190T polyester is not only resistant to damage, but it has a waterproof rating of 2000 mm, which gives it outstanding protection from the rain. Thanks to its solid construction, this tent can even stand up to snow if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t let a little bit of winter weather stop them from camping.
Safacus teepee tent comes complete with a carry bag, guy ropes, and stakes along with its steel pole. All in all, this compact package weighs only 15 pounds. Correctly packed, it’s 25 inches long, and only 8.7 inches wide and 8.7 inches tall. This makes it suited not only for car camping but also for backpacking, where everything needs to be carried in a pack. This tent won’t take up a lot of space, but will still provide excellent protection from the elements.
What’s Not So Good
All in all, this is a very versatile tent for small groups and is adequate for both simple weekend trips and more intensive multi-day expeditions. Its ability to stand up to most kinds of weather is especially valuable to backpackers.
Unfortunately, this tent isn’t all perfect just like any other product. Several users have reported issues with the quality of the zippers on the doors – After some use, the zippers can jam. We didn’t encounter this issue during our own tests on this tent, but it is something that a prospective buyer should be aware of.
- Great bang for your buck!
- Very attractive design and overall aesthetic.
- High-quality construction.
- Easy installation.
- Doors with bug screen to keep pests out.
- Can stand up to rough weather.
- Lightweight for backpacking.
- Some consumers reported zipper problems.
It’s nice to see a tent that isn’t afraid to be bold. And this bright blue beauty can stand up to some nasty weather. It’s especially good at keeping you dry during a downpour. The only thing that held us back from giving it a higher rating was the unreliability of the zippers on its doors. Although, we were not able to replicate any zipper problems.
5. Wenzel Outdoors 11.5′ x 10′ Shenanigan – 5 Person Teepee Tent
We all want the best products possible. But in the real world, price is a factor for most of us. This is especially true if you’re just starting out with camping, and aren’t sure that this is going to become a regular hobby of yours. In that case, you might just want to try a few trips without spending too much money on equipment while you decide if it’s for you.
If you’re looking for a beginner’s tent without spending too much money, you can do a lot worse than this product from Wenzel. While it may not compare to some of the more high-quality tents in this list, it offers a great combination of features and price that make it a very attractive option.
It certainly has striking looks. While the top half of the tent is a muted gray color, the bottom has a bold red pattern that makes it stand out from the crowd. In fact, this tent comes in a couple of different color options, with a blue plaid version also available.
As you’d expect from a tent at this price, the Wenzel is on the smaller side. With the footprint of 11.5′ x 10′, it’s suitable for smaller groups of around three to four people. Given its smaller size, bright color scheme, and lower price, it would also make a great kids tent to be set up beside a larger structure for adults.
The floor of this teepee tent is fully sealed, which is ideal for keeping out moisture and bugs. The single door includes an insect mesh, which gives you the option of increasing the ventilation during the summer without letting insects in. Or you can cover the mesh with an opaque panel for privacy. There are three solid PVC windows to let you admire the view and get some light into your dwelling, and there are two large vents built low into the structure of the teepee. There are also three top vents to help with air flow during hot weather and reduce the humidity that can build up inside the tent.
A nice touch is that the inside of the tent has built-in mesh pockets that are ideal for keeping things like smartphones and car keys off the floor and easy to reach. There are four pockets, which is just about perfect for the number of people you’re likely to have in this tent. Everyone gets one of their own.
Although this tent is smaller than a lot of others, it still stands at 7 1/2 feet tall, so even very tall campers can stand up fully inside and stretch out. A telescopic steel pole supports the structure. This allows you to adjust the height of the tent to suit your preferences, but you will need to ensure that you raise the pole high enough to keep some tension on the teepee and give it some shape.
Wenzel tent comes packed along with its telescopic pole, guy ropes and six stakes into a carry bag. The combined weight is only 10.75 pounds. The bag measures 27.5×7.5×7.5 inches, which makes it the smallest and lightest tent on our recommended list. As a result, it can be carried in the car or on foot, even if you’re hiking a long distance. When weight is a factor, this smaller tent may well appeal to you for your next camping trip. And with only six stakes, it’s quicker and easier to set up than a lot of its competitors.
What’s Not So Good
The fabric of this tent by Wenzel is polyester, and the floor material is made from welded polyethylene. This does a great job of keeping out moisture, but it’s interesting to note that the manufacturer does not provide a waterproof rating for the fabric. During our tests, the tent stood up reasonably well to the simulated rainfall. Some amount of water did enter around the windows, which isn’t unusual with tents. Many reviewers do report that it holds up well in real rainfall, though because of the minimal staking, we would not recommend this tent during heavy rain or strong wind, whereas if you’re camping during sunny warm weather, you don’t have to worry!.
Still, to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to treat the fabric of this tent with a waterproofing spray before you head out on your trip. It’s better to be safe than sorry since nothing ruins a camping trip quicker than a wet tent. This advice holds for any tent you may decide to use.
- Available at a budget-friendly price point.
- Excellent build quality considering the low price.
- Easy to set up and dismantle.
- Provides you with 2 different color options.
- Screened doors to keep bugs out.
- Great for ultralight backpacking.
- No waterproof rating provided.
You can’t expect a tent with such an affordable price to perform as well as more expensive options. If you’re expecting some nasty weather, this may not be the tent for you. But if you restrict your camping to the best days of summer, this tent could be an attractive option. Especially if weight is an issue. Easy to carry and easy to set up, it’s a great teepee tent for beginners.
What is a Teepee Tent?
By definition, a teepee (or tipi) is a style of conical tent that is supported by poles. The cone shape keeps snow from building up on flat surfaces and also acts aerodynamically, with wind simply blowing around the rounded edges, rather than blowing against resistant flat sides. This lack of wind resistance provides stability, keeping the tent from blowing over the way a structure with even sides might.
Teepees generally have a ventilation hole or series of holes at the top center, which allows for a fire to be set up inside and the smoke to safely vent. In large traditional teepees, this fire is generally set directly upon the floor, though in most modern commercially-produced teepees, one must use a small wood-burning or propane stove if they wish to have an indoor fire.
History of the Teepee
Teepees (and similar pole-supported conical tents around the world) have been around for far longer than the written record. The word “teepee” itself — as well as most people’s general familiarity with the dwelling — comes to us from the Lakota (Sioux), who lived on a broad swath of the Northern Great Plains before colonization cruelly confined them to a smaller number of reservations. Other nations used teepees as well, though while some lived in them permanently and used them as migratory homes, others built them only for hunting lodges or similar seasonal shelters.
The design of the traditional teepee was both simple and ingenious, with (despite what one might see in bad film recreations) a slightly oblong shape that maximized standing headroom and a changeable smoke flap that allowed for smoke to be ventilated directly into the wind without drafts.
Traditionally, teepees were made of a patchwork of buffalo hides stretched over a framework of wooden poles leaning against one another at the top. They were usually around 20 feet high and anywhere from 15 to 30 feet in diameter, which made them relatively comfortable places to live in.
Teepees are seldom used as permanent dwellings in modern-day, but they quite popular for everyday camping, ceremonial purposes, and temporary hunting lodges.
Why Buy a Teepee Tent?
Plenty of Space: Because of their simple pole construction, teepees have a ton of floor space compared to the weight of the tent pieces. They tend to have higher ceilings than standard tents, which allows for standing up, changing clothes, and simply stretching out a bit. This is particularly great when you’re stuck inside your tent in bad weather.
Warm During Winters: Most modern teepees are built with a design that makes it safe to keep a small heater inside. Of course, you’ll want to exercise maximum caution, but for wintertime camping, in particular, this feature can’t be beaten.
Cool During Summers: The conical shape of a teepee also makes for improved comfort while camping during the hotter months. Heat rises, and a nice high ceiling gives it plenty of space to get away from you and a vent through which you can escape.
Easy to Set-Up: Most modern teepees can be set up in 15 minutes or less, even the really big ones, and there’s none of that which-pole-goes-where nonsense that comes with the more complicated geodesic tents. You stake the base, pop up your center pole, stake your guy wires, and you’re done!
Cheap: You get a lot of bang for your buck with a modern teepee. Poles are often the most expensive component of a commercial tent, and since most teepees only need one, it saves a bundle for the manufacturer, which gets passed on to you, the consumer.
Lightweight: Again, because of the lack of poles, you’re looking at significantly less overall weight with a teepee. Even the very biggest ones weigh in at under 30 pounds, and some of the 2-people ultra-lightweight models are just a few pounds.
Teepee Tents: Features to Consider
Aside from the basic features we use to evaluate the tents, these are some other factors that you might want to take into consideration, especially if this is your first tent-purchasing experience.
Modern tents are typically made of synthetic material, with polyester and polyurethane being the most common. Occasionally, you’ll find tents made of canvas, but while we prefer natural fibers for our clothes when it comes to our tents, our preference is for the price, lightweight, and water-resistance of these synthetic materials. Canvas does have some benefits — it’s super-durable, for one — but it’s bulky, heavy, and expensive, both to purchase new and to maintain. We did not find any canvas teepee tents that suited our criteria for this list.
The pole material for tents also varies in both weight and durability. We consider carbon fiber to be the best choice in general, as it is both extremely durable and very lightweight, but it’s expensive. None of the tents we chose had carbon fiber poles that came standard with their setup, but several of the tent companies offer them separately and you can purchase them from third-party sellers as well. The second-best choice, we think, is aluminum, which is similarly strong to carbon fiber but at a wallet-friendlier price point. Steel is the third most common option, but while it is cheap and sturdy, it can be a bit heavy. Don’t forget that if you’re looking to keep things lightweight, it can sometimes be an option to find your own wooden center pole in the woods!.
Tents tend to be sized as though you’re packing people in like sardines. If you’re not camping with a whole ton of gear, a good rule of thumb is to buy a tent where the recommended number of people is one more than the number of people you have. So if it’s you and three friends, you’ll want a 5-person tent, minimum, or else you’ll all be basically snuggled up together.
If you’re planning on car camping (or camping at a music festival or somewhere that you can tote stuff by wagon or caddy), go ahead and buy the biggest tent you can afford. If you need to fit people as well as suitcases or baby gear or hiking gear, always go bigger. This is especially true with teepees, where just because the tent is gigantic doesn’t mean it’s difficult to set up.
Ventilation is an issue during summer months because you need to be able to create a cross-breeze to remove both heat and humidity so you don’t bake during afternoon naps. Ideally, a tent of any kind needs to have some ventilated windows that open without letting bugs in. If you’re planning on winter camping, and more specifically if you’re planning on using a heater inside your teepee, you also need to make sure that the ventilation system is set up to remove your smoke because smoke in an enclosed space can be lethal.
You’re not going to make anyone jealous on Instagram if your teepee doesn’t look good. Style is a matter of individual preference, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing between a few good tents by selecting the one that best fits your personal aesthetic.
Various tent designs and brands offer different add-ons. There are lots of glasses-wearers on our testing team, so we like having pouches where we can tuck them away safely for the night. We also like having our phones and e-readers up off the ground in pouches. Privacy curtains can be nice, and features like the covered vestibule can help keep mud outside of the tent. Interior hooks for hanging lights and doodads can be nice. Have a look at what features a tent offers and think a bit about how they might fit into your own camping style before making your purchase.
There’s a reason teepees have been around forever. They’re sturdy, reliable, and durable, and they offer surprisingly comfortable shelter when you’re out in the wilds. With all that in mind, it’s no wonder that this style of tent is becoming increasingly popular in modern campsites. Compared to the regular tent, teepees feel incredibly spacious. And they also look a lot cooler than a standard tent.
But as with any purchase decision, it’s important to make sure you’re looking at the right things. Style, size, material, ventilation, and of course, price, will all play a role in your purchase decision. If you’re spending money on a tent, you want to make sure you’re making the best possible use of your funds.
If you’re just looking to dip a toe in the waters of teepee camping, a cheaper option like the Wenzel can be a good way to try this style of the tent out. But if you are already sold on the benefits of a teepee, and you want a tent that’s going to last you many camping trips in all kinds of weather, you may be better off spending the money on Winterial.
Alternatively, if you like to camp with a large group of people, the Tahoe Gear may be a better option for you. Moreover, if you prefer vestibule other than anything else then nothing can be better than Guide Gear. Additionally, if you love bright colors and want something that’s easily identifiable from the crowd, Safacus might be the right choice!.
Whatever teepee tent you choose, you’ll soon come to appreciate the unique features this classic tent design has to offer. On your next camping experience, give a teepee a try and see why people throughout the world have embraced this style of temporary shelter. Who knows? You may never go back to using a regular tent again.