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3/14/2014 2:34 PM
 
All, I'm intrigued by the SO tipis given the competitive cost and quality as well as all the features not found on other tipis. So I'm looking for some reviews on these - long term durability, resistance to high wind, general user experience in different seasons/temperatures, etc. I have had trouble finding too much other than the BCS review and SO vs Kifaru comparison that the Hill Brothers posted. Thanks
 
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3/14/2014 5:39 PM
 

 I bought an SO-6 (full-on version with two doors, no-see-um netting, vents, etc.) last summer around the June timeframe.  I've used it quite a bit since then, most recently during the Winter Gathering.  So far, I love it.  Plenty of space for my uses, pitches fairly quickly, handled the winds we sustained during the Gathering just fine, and is still light enough for me to backpack with.  Paired with an HPG Shepherd Stove, it is just about a perfect combination.  In short, it has converted me over to really enjoying floorless shelter camping.  Three guys with a good bit of gear fit no problem, along with the stove and plenty of wood last week in Colorado.  If we would have needed to, we could have gotten one more guy in there and still be comfortable.  That's pretty good for a winter shelter.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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3/16/2014 1:10 PM
 
Thanks for the reply, Alpendrms. Any issues in terms of durability, usage, etc.? Are the added features of the sod skirt, zipper cover, and vent beneficial?
 
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3/16/2014 3:37 PM
 

 No issues with durability, so far.  That said, I have had to repair a couple very small holes created by errant fire embers....had it a wee bit too close to the communal campfire during my last Bushcraft / Survival event that I ran here in the east.  Otherwise, zero problems with durability.  As for the other features....yes, I do find them beneficial.  The sod skirt and zipper covers helped a lot during winter camping, and the vents certainly help with, well, ventilation.  The bug netting is a must for me to use the tipi during warmer months where i live, to keep 'skeeters, gnats, and the like at bay.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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3/17/2014 1:22 PM
 

stoutside, if you read the comparison on 24hr I wrote, you know that you need either a zipper cover or zipper garage to keep water from leaking into the tipi at the top of the zipper. I don't think a full cover is necessary, but it does do the job. The sod skirt is where it's at. I've added them to a couple of other floorless shelters that didn't have them. Really helps seal that bottom. I saw my first TiGoat in person this past weekend. Turns out that it is such a faithful copy of the Kifaru that they use edge binding for the stake loops as well. Big no go.

I continue to stand by my assertion that the only tipi style shelters I would use without modification out of the box are the SO ones. Add in GoLite ones for the SL5 size. Haven't looked at any of the competitors in the SL5 size range, they may be good to go as well. My biggest concern with the SO shelters long term is the #8 zipper. The zipper on a tipi is a stressed member of the structure and #10 is a heck of a lot stouter than #8. On this point, I think Kifaru wins out. I haven't taken a close look at SO materials since they moved away from the silnylon vendor that I'm familiar with and we still continue to use for our stuff sacks. Can't speak to that point any longer.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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3/17/2014 2:40 PM
 
Evan, I did indeed read it and it is a great post. One of the only useful posts on the subject. With the garage or bead, is there any other issue with water ingress through the zipper? How time consuming or expensive is it to add a skirt? Is there a way to bolster the stake loop attachment without major surgery? Thanks
 
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3/17/2014 3:08 PM
 

I don't know about the bead. I never tried it. Adding a zipper garage at the top of the K tipi zippers ended all water ingress through the zipper. A sod skirt is a very easy addition, but it does have you feeling like you're sewing forever. The Kifaru method of sewing in a cordura round where the stake loop is going to be has held up plenty well. It is the stake loops themselves that rip easily. Also, they are surface bartacked onto the front of the cordura which will tear at ~150lbs based on in-house testing at Eagle back in the day. Maybe tough enough, maybe not. If you're adding new stake loops, might as well use a stronger method than that. So you cut off all of the existing stake loops and then sandwich that cordura round with a loop of thicker webbing and bartack all the way through it. That way from inside out it is webbing - silnylon - cordura - webbing with a bartack holding all those layers together.  The idea of bolstering the edge binding without replacing it is an interesting one. Edge binding itself has a high breaking strength, just poor tear resistance. If you will only be using durapegs, that doesn't matter. You could try to sheath it with something to help with tearing. Maybe you could dip each stake loop into a silicon slurry (silicon mixed with mineral spirits) to increase its tear resistance. Other than a dip of some kind, every sheathing method I can think of would end up being more work than replacing the stake loops.

Maybe Patrick is using better stake loops now too. It has been a long time since I checked in on Kifaru, and thicker stake loops would have been a money and weight negligible change.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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3/17/2014 4:23 PM
 
Evan,
I appreciate the clarification and added information. Very helpful.

Do you find the vent to be useful?

Do you know where I could go to have a sod skirt added? Any recommendations?

Thanks again
 
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3/17/2014 8:33 PM
 

I don't know that I've ever had a vent to experiment with. Our Kifaru 12 man doesn't have one and our SO 6 man is the basic model that doesn't have one either. I'm thinking the GoLite SL4 might have one. If so, it is too small to have any effect on condensation. My Utopia 2 which is my most used shelter has HUGE swaths of netting that I covered with uncoated ripstop. Huge as in a third of the surface area of the shelter. With just netting it was downright drafty. With the uncoated ripstop (presumably pretty doggone breathable) the drafts have been stopped but now it seems to get as much condensation as any other single wall silnylon shelter. I was in a serious thunderstom over in the La Sals last spring in the Utopia and the heavy rain on the outside of the shelter combined with the condensation inside created a pretty decent interior drizzle. Throwing the Mountain Serape over my head was the only thing that saved that night. Leaving a door partially open at night on the SL4 doesn't seem to do much with two guys inside of it. Bearing in mind that I haven't done a lot of experimentation specifically with a vented tipi, my subjective judgement is that the small top vents on some of these shelters are pretty much worthless for reducing condensation. I'd love to hear from others who have done some good A/B testing on these vents to see if I'm wrong. You could probably do some calculations on amount of water a person puts off overnight and the size of panel that would be necessary to equalize that much water vapor with the outside humidity. The outside humidity would have to be pretty low.

For a sod skirt, I'd turn to Firecog or Fowler, both guys who post on this forum.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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3/18/2014 7:54 AM
 

 In our testing, venting reduces condensation a lot at times. It really depends on the amount. Our stake loops have never failed to our knowledge. As far as zippers, we offer number 10 on the heavier materials, and you can opt to have on built with heavier as well by just calling. We have had very few zipper problems with the #8, mostly dirt / sand pull issues. 

Adding a sod skirt after the fact is not as effective, for a number of reasons. Basically it inhibitis stretch of the circumferance, which creates a potentially more saggy shelter. If you already have edge binding, that already inhibits the stretch, so the is not harm. We prefer to add sod skirts diring manufacturing, and is one of the reasons we added it as default to the LBO becasue adding it after is just not as good. 

 

Kevin 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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3/27/2014 10:51 AM
 
Thanks for the replies, gentlemen.

Kevin - Do you have guidance in what conditions venting is useful? Do you happen to have any data on what extremes your tipis have gone through? If you prefer, we can discuss offline? Just curious how they lasted in high winds, heavy snow loads, etc.
 
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3/27/2014 12:06 PM
 

stoutside wrote
Thanks for the replies, gentlemen.

Kevin - Do you have guidance in what conditions venting is useful? Do you happen to have any data on what extremes your tipis have gone through? If you prefer, we can discuss offline? Just curious how they lasted in high winds, heavy snow loads, etc.

 

from the HPG youtub channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT7H6uMtuOY

 
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3/28/2014 9:43 AM
 

I can tell you what I know. 

I know we had a 6 man in Alaska, a couple years ago when winds were over 100 MPH and it was fine.  From internet reports, a lot of tents were shredded. I do not know if the tent  was sheltered at all, however, I do know the nearest weather station at delta junction reported 114 MPH winds. 

I have personally been in a 12 man, when sizable trees were falling nearby (within 50 - 75 yards). I know our local weather reporting stations reported winds in the 80's up high. I also know a customer that had a 12 man out that fall, and had a sizable pine fall within 5 ft of the tent. Thank goodness they were safe. 

Last year a customer had an LBO on Kodiak, a place where winds had destroyed two previous tents. The remnants of a typhoon came in, and winds were supposed to be 90 ish. They said they were slightly sheltered, but a good 1000 feet above tree line. They said the LBO handled it very well, with the only damage being sefl inflicted from poor pole placement. For what it is worth, they said the winds were worse than they were when the other tents were destroyed. Dave Chenault, also reported that the LBO did very good in a Montana winter storm this year, in which sizable pines were falling nearby and winds were estimated at 70. 

Last year, I had a BCS 2 setup in the yard, I was doing some testing of nest fit , etc. That night, we had bad winds, bad enough to destroy my green house by shredding the steel frame in several places, and bad enough that I had to do some roof repair as well. The BCS was not damaged.  

 

Here is our official stance. I think any of our tents with a decent pitch will do well to 60 MPH. Above that, I think, pitch, location and staking become very imprtant. I know in the case when I was in the 12 man, that some Durapeg stakes (admittedly not great stakes) were sheared off in the ground. 

 

Regarding venting. Venting is great. In our tipi you can use the standard vent, and then unzip either or both zippers as well. Where we live, it is a high mountain valley, and condensation is really bad due to temperature drops. It is often 15 -20 degrees warmer , 150 vertical feet above our house. We are often colder than the real high mountains. Venting reduces condensation a lot. However, it is condition dependent, for instace a decent breeze does wonders for condensation. I have camped in a 12 man , less than a 1/4 mile from the pacific in BC, and not had any condensation issues due to the slight breeze. When there is not breeze, and you have temperature extremes you will get condensation. Wet ground, also makes it worse. Very condition dependant. 

 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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3/28/2014 10:48 AM
 
Excellent post, Kevin. I appreciate it. I will chew on the information you provided for a while.

BTW, I'm looking at the LBO. It seems to be comfortably made for two people, correct? I'm not entirely sure if/how two bases come together. Am I better off purchasing two bases or a base and vestibule (subjective question potentially)? If two bases, can a jack be added to one fairly easily? Can I integrate a nest fairly easily as well?

Thanks
 
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3/28/2014 12:11 PM
 

 Yes we do jacks in 2 base units pretty often. 

We need to redo the LBO and purchasing options soon to add a double base unit option. We should have a new pole for it shortly as well that I think will be very nice. 

We did add vents and sod skirts to the LBO this year, as well as testing some cuben that should be avaialble soon. 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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3/28/2014 2:57 PM
 

Good call on adding the sod cloth, definitely something I was missing on mine.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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3/28/2014 4:31 PM
 
Any idea on pricing for the double base? Is it recommended over the base/vestibule and why?

When will the new pole be out? Cost?

Thanks again
 
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3/29/2014 10:17 PM
 

 Well, we never expected pole demand to be so high, since you can link trekking poles or use an extender. We are currently evaluating some, but I can't give an E.T.A 

 

For one or two, I really prefer the base plus vestibule. The only downside, is it is more difficult to pitch, but once you have the hang, it is still super easy. The reason I prefer base + vestibule, is the venting is better and there is no beak over beak. The double base, is perhaps better for two and a stove plus gear. It's a better cold weather 2 person, while the base + vestibule is a better 3 season 2 person, or 4 season 1 person shelter. 

 


http://www.seekoutside.com | sig added by EH... go check out Kevin's stuff!
 
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3/30/2014 10:11 AM
 

kevin_t wrote Dave Chenault, also reported that the LBO did very good in a Montana winter storm this year, in which sizable pines were falling nearby and winds were estimated at 70.

 

 

That storm was ridiculous.  Heavy rain starting around 2200, turned to snow a few hours later, along with steady winds at 45-50 mph and gusts to 70.  I had all the bottom loops of the LBO staked with sticks drive 1-2 feet into solid snow.  No upper guylines.  I slept fine, shoveled off some snow and restaked a few points (to tighten it up) in the AM, then left for 4 hours to ski around.  A lot of heavy snow had been moved on to the LBO when I got back, but it felt calm inside as I brewed coffee and prepper for the ski out.  A 14-16" diameter healthy pine had been felled by wind ~100 yards back up the trail during the night.

 

I was extremely impressed with the shelter.

 
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3/30/2014 11:30 PM
 
I'm thinking about a connecting tarp down the road if I go with the LBO. Any thoughts on base/vest vs base/base in that context? Looks like the base/vest may be easier to enter and exit from the couple pictures I see. Is that correct?

Will the LBO have a bug net at some point or is the nest the way to go?

Thanks
 
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