Over the following posts, we’re going to look much closer at Tentipi – our fabrics, our designs, and our features – to help you better understand our Brand. This information is vital to help you with your purchasing decision.

We’ll start with a closer look at our choice of fabrics – that all-important layer which keeps the outside environment and its variables where it belongs, and allows you to create a managed and comfortable space inside.  We’ll leave aside for the moment the specific design features associated with the use of lightweight fabrics.

The choice of fabric will depend on the mix of characteristics we demand from the manufacturer, and it’s worth bearing in mind that some of these characteristics compete.  (The most durable fabric might not be the lightest, and having the most durable waterproof coating in a UV stabilised fabric will not give a cheap option).  “Best” fabric here means the best balance of all qualities for the job, and how well these fabrics perform over time will also depend upon consistent quality being delivered from fabric manufacturer right through the production line too. At Tentipi, we are uniquely placed to achieve this.  We own the Tentipi manufacturing facility, and the tight control of fabric manufacturing sources we combine with tight production control and extensive in-house testing, to ensure our balanced fabrics are the best for the job.

Waterproofing

Waterproofness of fabrics is normally quoted in terms of a water column height the fabric is able to withstand.  Usually quoted in millimetres, this is a measure of a fabric’s ability to withstand water pressure.  Whilst it’s possible for manufacturers to quote some very high values with new fabrics, this can reduce significantly with use. We insist on measurement after a significant amount of fabric flex has been completed to ensure a realistic measurement of durable waterproofness.

Waterproofing of tent fabrics is achieved through either of two processes.  The first, a coating process is usually applied to finely woven lightweight synthetics such as nylon or polyester.  The resulting fabric is completely waterproof, even in storm driven rain although it doesn’t breathe.  Whilst coated waterproof fabrics keep out the moisture, they keep it in too.  Perspiration; vapour from cooking; moisture from the ground. This will condense where it comes in contact with the cold outer fabric surface, unless you have a heat source.  Long term durability of this waterproofness depends upon fabric quality and manufacturing standards – this is especially important when your fabric is folded and unfolded in use.  Additionally, we use UV stabilised fabrics in our Zirkon Light and Safir Light, to further increase product lifespan.

The second waterproofing process option is an impregnation one, and this has been  applied to natural based fabrics as a means of waterproofing since early days on board sailing ships – the birth of oil skins, when linseed oil or tar was applied to cotton or sailcloth.  Modern impregnation agents are much more sophisticated and are applied to uncoated natural fabrics or mixed natural and synthetic fabrics, where they coat individual fibres in the weave with a highly water repellent agent.  Hydro-carbon based impregnation agents commonly used rapidly degrade under UV light, however.  These are not used in Tentipi tents.  Our own impregnation agent uses a totally different formulation – chosen for its very high repellency combined with an extended lifespan.   Re-proofing will be needed over time.  Whilst not as waterproof as the coated nylons we use, these highly breathable fabrics give a degree of comfort in both hot and cold conditions impossible to achieve with coated synthetic fabrics.  They’re quieter too.

Seams

Tent panel seams can be rendered waterproof through application of a welded seam tape, although the introduction of an internal suspension loop stitched into the seam will lift this tape and act like a wick.  The use of welded seams is often used as an indicator of quality on cheap tents, despite quality of fabrics and construction being on a totally different level.

Our own approach to achieving waterproof seams is different.  Stitch quality combined with high quality materials produces our waterproof seams.  We use extremely well sourced and tightly quality controlled impregnated thread combined with excellent seam stitch quality.  This waterproofing thread is the end point of a lengthy search, and epitomises our focus on quality.  One in every 5 manufactured tents is given a thorough “Rain” test with 1000 litres of water for complete peace of mind.

Our own fabrics

Firstly, a word about sunlight and fabrics.  Eventually, all fabrics will lose strength in sunlight – even the heaviest grade ones, and continuous extended exposure to high intensity UV will weaken a lightweight fabric more than a heavier one.  Bearing this in mind, we choose our high quality fabrics carefully, knowing that they will need to balance a wide range of characteristics including UV performance. This is reflected in the price of our product.

Our three Adventure Tent models are available in either PU coated fabrics (Model Onyx Light), Silicone coated (Models Zirkon Light and Safir Light), or in a weave of cotton and polyester – our Cotpolmex fabric, found in all models.  We offer these two broad types of fabric to meet two very different needs.

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Zirkon Light and Safir Light fabrics

 

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Onyx, Zirkon and Safir CP fabrics

 

Our Lightweight Fabrics

The first, the “Light” group of fabrics are non-breathable.  “Light” refers only to their weight – of between 65 and 100g/m2.  They combine very high tear strength with high durability, and they provide optimum durability over the lifespan of the tipi, combined with long-lasting waterproofness – characteristics not found in cheaper fabrics.  Our Onyx Light uses a single PU coated ripstop nylon fabric (Traillix B), whilst Zirkon and Safir Light both use double silicone coatings with an additional UV protection on a light, tough ripstop base. (Traillix C and P). This fabric group will be chosen when your priorities are maximum waterproofness and toughness combined with low weight, and we believe these are the strongest and finest lightweight fabrics available on the tent market in these price categories.  Some condensation can be expected to form on the fabric in cold weather (unless you are using a fire), and the tent overall will be warmer in the sunshine than our Cotpolmex tents.

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Cotpolmex Fabric

Cotpolmex fabric is one of the finest cotton/polyester fabrics in this (275g/m2) weight category.  The use of long staple cotton combined with polyester in the weave produces the optimum combination of breathability and durability combined with extremely high tensile strength.  This high breathability creates a uniquely comfortable feel within the tent – even in strong sunlight.  The fabric is impregnated with a long lasting and highly water repellent agent too.  This kind of fabric will be the one you choose when you need to balance maximum breathability to cope with hot summers and cold winters against good water repellency.  Under storm conditions with prolonged heavy driving rain an inner tent is recommended.  If money is a minor consideration, the higher specification Cotpolmex P fabric will be the logical choice.  Drape, feel and colourfastness are excellent.

Tent Pole

We’ll turn our attention now to the single central pole – the one item connecting the sky to the earth, and creating so much space within your home.  It’s a 5-piece, shock-corded pole, and this single pole construction means you can create a shelter in only a few minutes.  Manufacturing to very high standards throughout our tipi range meant that we have spent quite some time in finding the right kind of aluminium alloy for the job too.  In this case, it’s a 6061-T6 alloy tube, which is cold-drawn to obtain the correct metallic crystal structure we need, it then undergoes a very precise temperature controlled treatment, to give us very high tensile strength and toughness without brittleness.  Just perfect for the demands you’ll be placing upon it during your extended trips.

For full model specifications, click here

http://www.tentipi.com/en-gb/adventure-tipis

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We have finally had a chance to dust off the snow, catch up on email and reflect on our 30th Birthday celebrations with the Event tent customers, which were held in Arvidsjaur, Swedish Lapland, last month.

30 years crafting Nordic tipis

Wednesday 16th January 2019

2019 marks our 30th Birthday, a whole three decades since our founder and CEO, Bengt Grahn, started to make the prototype tents that now form the backbone of our global brand.

 

We call our Nordic tipis “A home from home”. A development of the traditional Sami “kåta”, it has been used as a home, not a shelter, by generation after generation. And it continues to be so. In this episode of the Tentipiblog, we meet Gina and Koen who made the quite unorthodox decision to move out into a Safir 9 cp, still keeping their regular day-to-day at their offices.

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