Longer Term Bug Out Shelters
It's been a while since I've owned a tent preferring to sleep under the stars in either a swag when traveling by vehicle or bivi bag when going light weight. Using these in association with an 8'x10' tarp or hootchie worked well for me at the time of year that I'd like to go camping.
When I started to research bug out bags I decided, I may need to have the availability of a shelter that would provide four season protection and be large enough for long term use if neccessary . I've always been put off tents and all the poles and usually prefer canvas to keep down condensation. Canvas now not being an option, due to weight and bulk considerations when possibly traveling by foot or with reduced space within a vehicle.
I have stayed in traditional Indian tipi's/teepee and found them a great way to camp for long periods of time. You can lift the sides in summer to allow a breeze through or have a fire inside for warmth in winter. I essentially wanted to combine these elements with newer light weight materials that didn't require as many poles. So the search began.
It didn't take me long on the net to find several different options. Tentipi a Swedish manufacturer, Kifaru and Golite being American and Frisport a Norwegian company, all the sites are well worth checking out, particularly Kifaru for setting up procedures and hints. All brands make light weight tipis to suit between 4 to 16 people.
The Golite brand was the only one that made a smaller 3 person version which was more suitable for camping by myself and actually available in Australia. Two weeks later I owned my first tipi/teepee.
The Golite Hex 3 is made from rip stop nylon that has been impregnated with silicon and only weighs 2lbs and stores in a bag smaller than a foot ball. It can be set up with or without the centre pole and comes with optional accessories of floor and interior bug net.(Length 9ft 6in x Width 8ft 2in x Height 5ft 6in). Colours available are sage/green or sun/yellow.
I didn't bother to order any of the accessories as I use my bivi bag in conjunction with the tipi, providing me with a bug free area for sleeping. Having no floor has many advantages.
One of the things that have always annoyed me about tents is the amount of dirt that accumulates just from walking through the door. No problem without a floor. No cleaning up over spilt food or liquid, fire wood can be stored just inside the entrance to keep dry; a bivi bag can be pegged down without putting holes through a floor liner and less condensation.
I generally carry a small tarp or hootchie to lay down as a staging area for my equipment. It's generally a good idea to dig a rain gutter around the shelter when not using a floor for inclement weather. The tent pegs I have started to use for everything from hootchie's, swags, bivi's and now tipi's are called twizzle pegs and essentially a T shape with a threaded end made from heavy duty light weight plastic.
Due to the thread hold firmer in the ground and for easier removal just by reversing the procedure of screwing them in, no more hammers or difficulties pulling pegs.
Essentially hitec tipis offer the same advantages of the originals being aerodynamic in strong winds and providing comfortable living space, but with the additional advantages of modern materials- reductions in weight, in both cover material and poles also ease of assembly.
I've had to live in tents for several weeks on end as opposed to camping for short periods of time, in between housing leases. Having the ability to heat and cook under shelter in inclement weather and just to be able to stand up is a major moral booster.
For one person in a bug out situation, I choose the Golite. This is the only brand that came in a small enough model. However for more permanent accommodation I would opt for one of the other brands, in a larger size.
Kifaru offer 4, 6, 8, 12, and 16 person sizes in either white or coyote brown made from para-glider material.
Tentipi offer 3 versions with slightly different features which are best to research on Song of the Paddle forums. Without being able to see them in person I can't really comment on the differences. Essentially they come in 5, 7, and 9 person sizes. The Varrie is the top of the line model and is made in a choice of heavy duty coptol T4 in beige or lighter HT-62 ripstop in green. This is followed by the Arron made only in the beige T4 and the Vagge made in lightweight Fly 87 polymide ripstop material in green.
The Frisport Lavvu's come in three materials standard (polyester) and extreme (rip stop polyester) which is aluminum coated in a dark olive colour and rip stop cotton that can be set up semi permanently with an additional pole structure. There are choices of five different models depending on size.
In looking for a larger size that would suit more permanent accommodation and be able to house between 6- 8 people if necessary and be within my price range. The Kifaru in a 6 person coyote brown measures 14'10"x13'2" with a height of 7'6". In the Tentipi brand I could only afford one model in the colour I wanted. A Vagge7 measuring 14'9" diameter x 8'10" height. The Frisport Lavvu in an Andersnatten (6-8) measures 8'5" polygonal sides, 13' diameter and 9'8" height. The extreme version in rip stop is only an additional $35 EURO and 100 EURO for shipping.
I found that Tentipi didn't return my enquiries and of the three agents I approached in the UK were either; very expensive, weren't interested in selling overseas or didn't return my emails. Frisport returned my email within a day and supplied an agent (Friluftsshop) who returned all enquiries promptly. Their websites were also much easier to understand at the time.
It came down to a personal choice between Kifaru and Lavvu. The Lavvu's have more tie downs around the sides and the extreme versions are made of rip stop material, which was the clincher. After reading The Real Heroes of the Telemark by Ray Mears I figured if a tent could survive Norwegian conditions then it could survive anywhere. Since that time I am now considering a mid sized Kifaru version in coyote brown to better suit the terrain I now travel through.