Tipi elements
  • tipi poles set
  • tipi cover
  • tipi door
  • inner lining (optional)
  • ozan ceiling (optional)
  • ozan rain cap (optional)
Tipi advantages
  • durable
  • cool (summer)
  • dry (rainstorms)
  • warm (winter)

A tipi, anglicized as tepee or teepee, is a conical Native American portable tent used by the nomadic Great Plains tribes. Historically, the tipi cover was made of animal skins. After the great slaughter of the buffalo around the turn of the 20th century, tipi covers were made of canvas. The tipi shaped structures made of birch bark and the native's domed structure are known as wigwams. The time to disassemble a tipi is short and packing away quick. Reconstruction of the tipi structure is easy and quick.


The tipi poles, tipi cover, door, and poles are essential parts of a tipi. The cover has smoke flaps. Smoke flaps, and it's opening, allow cooking and heating with an open fire. The inner lining, "ozan" ceiling, and a 'ozan' rain cap are optional. The lining, mainly utilized in the winter, insulates and provides ventilation.

Tipi covers (either canvas or hide) are constructed by sewing pieces together and cutting out a semicircular shape. The door is cut out and the smoke flaps are made from extra material. Linings are composed of rectangular/trapezoidal-shaped pieces of materials, averaging a little more than the hieght of a person, which are sewn together to form a truncated cone. The lining is tied to the tipi poles or a rope ringing around the inside of the tipi.

Tipi poles are several feet longer than the cover radius. The tipi poles, once straight sapling are selected and cut down, are peeled, polished and dried; making them strong structural elements.



The steps to erect a tipi are:

  1. Bind tripod pole base
  2. Erect tripod poles
  3. Anchor tripod to the ground (with rope and ground spike)
  4. Lay in structural tipi poles
  5. Wrap the cover around poles
  6. Close cover (with wooden pins)
  7. Anchor the cover to the ground (with tie ropes and ground spikes)
  8. Attach inner lining
  9. Attach door
  10. Insert smoke flap poles (in smoke flap pockets)


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