by Duncan Gilchrist
The backpacking hunter is always looking for gear that weighs less than what he or she now has and yet still do the job. When Patrick Smith of Kifaru offered to let me use on of their four-man ultra light weight tipis for an extended period, I jumped at the chance. The shelter itself weighs a mere four pounds, eleven ounces. As a bonus, a collapsible wood stove is available. This stove weighs but a few additional pounds. The tipi and stove arrived in late November, 2000 and I immediately put it up in the backyard. I wanted to see how difficult it would be to erect. The first time it was a bit slow in putting up the shelter and assembling the stove. I needed the provided instructions to correctly assemble the tipi and stove. The second time was much easier.
Since I received my Kifaru Tipi and stove, Kifaru has redesigned the stove.
The tipi is constructed of totally waterproof material so condensation will occur. I found that by leaving one of the entrance zippers partly open, along with leaving the stovepipe jack open condensation drops to a minimum. I found that sleeping in the tipi even though there was condensation that I remained nice and dry.
To fully erect this shelter, it takes more time than a conventional tent. I left the tipi up continuously for nine months. There was no apparent fabric deterioration from the sun. It withstood all nature could throw at it including several very strong winds to 75 m.p.h. One high wind did blow down our regular 16 foot Indian tipi.
The biggest plus for the Kifaru Tipi is the great amount of space in such a lightweight shelter.
The Kifaru Tipi has been my shelter on numerous occasions to the bush. The last time was two nights ago, September 15, while on a filming expedition.
If you are going to the FNAWS Convention, stop by and visit Patrick Smith and the Kifaru booth.
1-800-222-6139 or 303-278-9155 for a live person, call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., MST