Winter Shelter: DIY tipi and wood burning stove setup

I’ve read a couple of resources on how to build a wood burning stove and tipi set-up. I thought I’d share my experience, since I have not seen anyone with my particular set-up.

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Seeing as I am a pretty thrifty guy, the products I found were on the lower price range. For a 4-man tipi (that really fits about 2 comfortably with the stove), and a small/medium sized titanium stove, the total cost of the set-up was about $550. 5lb 3oz

I started with a Black Diamond Floorless Mega Light TentBlack Diamond Floorless Mega Light Tent (tipi). It is a floorless design, and can be pitched with a trekking pole, or the collapsible carbon-fiber pole that comes with it. (Warning- if you use a trekking pole, test it first to make sure it is long enough).

Step one:

As illustrated, from the front entrance, pick a spot on the opposite end of the tent, either in the grey or blue fabric areas between the seems, and cut out a tapered square into the fabric, near the top. Make sure to only make cuts on the side, and bottom of the square, but leave the flap hanging.

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Step two:

Take a piece of Silicon Fiberglass material (I bought mine from Lite Outdoors) , and cut a patch slightly larger than the square you cut out of the tipi. You can leave the top of the Silicon Fiberglass slightly long, so it can hang over the stove jack hole later.

Sew the Silicon Fiberglass patch over the hole cut into the tent. Make sure the bottoms and sides line up with the cut-out of the tent, and just barely hang over. Then, sew the top flap of the tent material, over the top of the Silicon Fiberglass material (this way, the tent will retain its water shedding properties, and any water dripping down the tent run down the flap, and not into the hole for the stove). If you left the top of the Silicon longer, sew the flaps together.

Step three: 

Seam seal the stitches with SilNet Silicone Seam Sealer. Then, cut a hole for the stove pipe- I used a star-like design. Here are photos of the finished process.

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Stove: 

Fore the stove setup, I went with Lite Outdoors 18in Titanium stove with a 9foot pipe. There are a number of companies that make similar stoves, but in the end, I chose Lite Outdoors because it is a small company, dedicated to customer service. They were extremely quick in responding to questions, and even rush delivered me the product- as I had an expedition approaching quickly.

In total, the setup weighed around 5lbs, 5oz, with the entire tent, pole, and stove setup.

Conclusion: 

As for testing the winter shelter…. I had the opportunity to use the set-up in two separate, week-long outings in the backcountry of Montana. The Lee Metcalf Wilderness, to be exact. And it snowed hard many of those days. I also have used the tent set-up by itself during the summer and early fall on numerous backcountry excursions.I stayed dry and warm, as expected- even with only a 15 degree rated bag, with temperatures in the single digits. And with proper seam-sealing, never did the tent leak. The only suggestion I would have, is to stay far from the tent walls, as they quickly became wet with condensation whenever it snowed. Keeping the tent ventilated by raising the bottom off the ground in some spots will alleviate this as well. Make no mistake though, the stove will need constant feeding of fuel if one is to stay dry with it the entire night. So fire-making skills are a must. (Stay tuned for a future post where I will get into the finer details of making fire- even in damp settings.)

winter camping, tipi, winter shelter

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