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Thread: Tipi Fabrics – Nylon vs Poly Cotton

  1. #1
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    Default Tipi Fabrics – Nylon vs Poly Cotton

    Many tipi users in Northern Europe choose poly-cotton fabrics over nylon fabrics for their tipi outer fabrics.

    These poly-cotton fabrics are in the 5 to 8 oz/yd2 range and are FAR removed from cotton duck tent fabrics.

    Such fabrics are used by top tier European firms who would be considered to be the equal of Kifaru or Seek Outside.

    Yet, here in North America, all ‘lightweight’ tipis (top tier or otherwise) only seem to be made with nylon fabrics.

    Everything I read leads me to believe that poly-cotton is a better fabric for tipis (i.e. more durable, more breathable, higher strength, better UV resistance, longer lifespan, etc.).

    And with many saying that small diameter woodstove flue pipes resemble a ramjet engine at Mach 5 (I’ve seen comments that 2 to 3 foot flames would not be considered out of the ordinary), I’m not too sure that a nylon tipi fabric is the best choice.

    So, other than the slight weight and packed bulk disadvantage, what (if anything) am I missing?

    Winter weather conditions in northern Europe are the equal of conditions in North America (at least regarding wind and snow, but perhaps not rainfall), so I’d say that overall the climatic stresses paced on a tipi in Northern Europe or Alaska in would be a wash.

    Is there something that I’m just not seeing regarding tipi fabric choice?

    Many thanks for any forum member who takes the time to respond.

  2. #2
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Like everything the answer depends on usage and how often you plan to pull up stakes and move. If your tipi stays stationary, the weight of cotton/poly canvas is not an issue. If you moving a lot and backpack your shelter from place to place, the weight of the material is more important. (but it begs the question of how you are transporting the poles)

    If your using the tipi is cold weather you would want the cotton/poly. As for having a fire inside the tipi, again you would want the cotton/poly treated with flame retardant. Both fabrics can be waterproofed so that’s not an issue. A tipi brings about visions of organic and natural living so its off-putting to think of a ripstop nylon tipi. (that’s just personal opinion).

  3. #3

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    Hello Yank132,

    I hadn't seen this post before, so I apologize for the delay in responding. But, while you already seem extremely knowledgeable regarding tipi's and tipi fabrics, I'll try to help where I can. As the North American distributor of Sweden's Tentipi products I can tell you that by far our best sellers are are indeed our cotton/poly fabric tipi's, specifically the Zirkon and Safir series, versus the nylon fabrics. They are just so much more desirable for all the reasons you mentioned.

    The only real downside of the cotton/poly canvas is that once it's been wet it becomes heavier and more difficult to dry out versus a comparable nylon tent. Our canvas is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend so it's certainly much easier than 100% cotton, but still a little more difficult than a nylon tent.

    Please feel free to contact me directly if I can be any more help with fabric or other tipi related questions.
    Quote Originally Posted by yank132 View Post
    Many tipi users in Northern Europe choose poly-cotton fabrics over nylon fabrics for their tipi outer fabrics.

    These poly-cotton fabrics are in the 5 to 8 oz/yd2 range and are FAR removed from cotton duck tent fabrics.

    Such fabrics are used by top tier European firms who would be considered to be the equal of Kifaru or Seek Outside.

    Yet, here in North America, all ‘lightweight’ tipis (top tier or otherwise) only seem to be made with nylon fabrics.

    Everything I read leads me to believe that poly-cotton is a better fabric for tipis (i.e. more durable, more breathable, higher strength, better UV resistance, longer lifespan, etc.).

    And with many saying that small diameter woodstove flue pipes resemble a ramjet engine at Mach 5 (I’ve seen comments that 2 to 3 foot flames would not be considered out of the ordinary), I’m not too sure that a nylon tipi fabric is the best choice.

    So, other than the slight weight and packed bulk disadvantage, what (if anything) am I missing?

    Winter weather conditions in northern Europe are the equal of conditions in North America (at least regarding wind and snow, but perhaps not rainfall), so I’d say that overall the climatic stresses paced on a tipi in Northern Europe or Alaska in would be a wash.

    Is there something that I’m just not seeing regarding tipi fabric choice?

    Many thanks for any forum member who takes the time to respond.
    Tom Mansfield
    Mansfield Outdoors
    Seattle, WA USA
    425-501-7512
    www.MansfieldOutdoors.com

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