Since Nordic Outdoor first stepped onto the scene back in 2005 Tentipi has been a core part of our business and over this time we have helped hundreds of people discover a new way of camping. Being locked down through the late Spring of 2020 has got the whole Nordic Outdoor team desperate to get back out and explore nature whenever we can and being unable to use them we have had the opportunity to remember what it is we truly love about Tentipi!

In this blog we have taken a closer look at how a tent which is a market leader for quality and durability is also a tent that, thanks to its simplistic beauty, is one of the best options for those looking to rediscover their love of camping. With a pitching method easy enough for anyone and providing an interior space roomy enough for the whole family we think that Tentipi could be just the brand to help shake off the stuffy image of camping in the UK!

The Tentipi Story

While the company was founded in 1989 the story of Tentipi can be traced all the way back to the 17th century and the indigenous Sami people of Sweden. The Sami people survived through the herding and farming of Reindeer and when camping overnight would pitch a cone shaped frame of wooden poles, cover this with animal hides and leave a small hole at the top to let smoke escape. These lightweight and simple constructions were perfect to sleep in as they provided protection from the wind and an interior fire would heat the space while the hides helped to retain the heat.

Fast forward around 400 years and Bengt Grahn found himself in a predicament that puts a lot of people off camping altogether. After a long day kayaking and enjoying the outdoors Bengt found himself stuck inside a small tunnel tent unable to fully enjoy the camping experience;

 “What I really wanted to do was socialise with my friends while eating dinner and chatting around a fire. But there were six of us sharing two tunnel tents, we were cooking outside, and the mosquitoes were horrendous. There wasn’t much cosiness nor relaxed togetherness on that occasion”

This idea, where the vision of camping doesn’t match with the reality, is something which a lot of people will argue puts them off the experience all together. The idea of being out in nature, spending 40 minutes trying to pitch a tent and then being stuck inside while the rain pours down or the midges swarm is something which a lot of people simply don’t find appealing. After this experience Bengt spent the next thirty years creating and adapting a concept which in 1989 would become ‘Tentipi’.

Tentipi tents change the way we camp all together, they create a home from home with ample space for socialising, plenty of room to stand up, outstanding ventilation and even the possibility of having an open fire within the tent. The Tentipi range is offered in three levels of performance which will suit any requirement from backyard camping to Antarctic expeditions.

The Tentipi Design

In simple terms not too much has changed when it comes to the design of a Tentipi from those original Sami Tipi’s. With a pyramid style structure the Tipi is just as strong as a traditional dome and tunnel tent and thanks to the symmetrical design the load on the tent does not change when the direction of the wind changes.  The height of a Tentipi has also been designed for functionality – the height to width ration gives enough volume for activities and also creates a chimney effect to draw out the warm fumes from an interior fire.

One of the key things that makes the Tentipi so long lasting and durable is the fabric which they use to create this. From highly breathable polycotton blends to lightweight nylon Tentipi have created a range of fabrics perfect for any requirement and budget. Tentipi look at the construction of a tent in a unique way where it is understood that it is not hard to make an ultralight tent but it is hard to create a strong and light tent.  The most recognisable fabric in the Tentipi range is their Cotpolmex fabric which is a tightly woven cotton polyester blend which has been impregnated to provide a high level of water repellancy and provides the Tentipi with their recognisable sandy yellow hue.

While the Tentipi is incredibly simple at first glance it is when you take a look ‘under the bonnet’ that the true design considerations can be understood. From the mosquito net detailing behind the door to the adjustable vent caps which create a natural flu there are small details throughout the Tentipi which help set these apart from any other tent design.

Eight Poles, One Peg – The Simplicity of Tentipi

When you see a Tentipi pitched for the first time and step inside you are instantly impressed by the living space inside. Our most popular model is the Safir 9 which offers an incredible floor space of 15.6m² and a height of 3.1m – even with a stove inside this is a generous amount of space for a family of four.

As many people will recognise from a previous camping trip is that tents are in general quite small and often uncomfortable for family camping. A family of four being camped out in a ‘traditional’ dome or tunnel tent will find it hard to play games, relax, sleep and store kit without the space feeling cramped and uncomfortable. With a Tentipi however you can comfortably stand up and walk around in the size 7,9 and 15 and this provides a space which almost revolutionises the traditional camping experience.  

“A tent this spacious must weigh a tonne and take hours to construct, right?”

Amazingly the Tentipi thanks to its ingenious design is one of the simplest tents to erect on the market and even a novice camper could have a size 9 pitched within 15 minutes. The weight is also relatively light in comparison to any other tent of this size with the Safir 9 weighing in at only 15kg while the light version is an incredible 7.7kg.

Many of us will have memories of Dad spending 2 hours trying to pitch a small dome tent in a scene reminiscent of a carry-on film. To pitch the Tentipi requires one pole and eight pegs and this makes it a simple five step process from arriving at your campsite to having a fully fledged basecamp. Another incredible feature of the Tentipi is that the strength is mainly provided through the tension created on the centre pole and due to this you won’t even need to use the guylines for the majority of your camping trips unless the weather takes a turn.

The Tentipi Experience

If you have made it this far then you can probably recognise we love the Tentipi camping experience. With a stove set up inside and the smoke billowing out the chimney it truly is an escape like none other. Being able to cook, play, sleep and relax inside the Tentipi without feeling cramped or restricted opens up the joys of camping to many people who would otherwise find a weekend in a field somewhat unbearable.

For the most rugged of campers the Tentipi provides the opportunity to have an open fire around the centre pole while those of us who prefer creature comforts can fit an air mattress comfortably in the floorspace. This adaptability for your needs is what makes the Tentipi range a true all rounder and means the same tent could be the perfect choice for a family weekend in the lakes or a ski trip across Greenland.

The main takeaway we want to leave you with is that the camping experience should truly be an experience. Nature is there to be enjoyed by everyone from the avid bushcrafter to those who would not usually stray more than 3 miles from the nearest Costa. Even during the COVID lockdown of 2020 we have seen families pitching a Tipi in the back garden and creating a ‘trip’ that they will not forget. When you can enjoy the pleasures of camping with some additional comfort, space and general cool factor that a Tipi provides then you might find yourself converting some friends to the campout experience.

You can shop the full range of Tentipi here and should you have any questions about finding the right model for your needs don’t hesitate to contact us via email at [email protected] or give us a call on 0131 552 3000. For now we’ll leave you with a selection of our favourite Tentipi images below.