Tipi History

Where the word ‘tipi’ comes from

The English word ‘tipi’ comes from the Lakota word ‘thipi’. Which means a dwelling, primarily used by the nomadic tribes of the Great Plains of America for hundreds of years. Also known as teepees, they provided warmth and comfort in the winter, cool in the heat and dryness during rain. Used in a variety of other cultures and countries too, you may have come across the word ‘kata’, which was used by the Sami people in Scandinavia, the ‘choom’ used by the Nenet people of the Yamal Peninsula in Russia, and the Knanty tribe of Siberia call theirs a ‘chum’.

Essentially, all are of a very similar nature and design and could be disassembled and packed away quickly when a tribe decided to move on and could be reconstructed swiftly upon settling in a new area. This portability was an important factor to the various tribes with their nomadic lifestyle – an element we have retained in our tipi design.

A simple conical structure with adjustable smoke flaps and multiple poles, they were covered with a detachable cover historically made of buffalo skins and a canvas door. Simplicity was the key word: the fire created warmth; the hides kept the heat inside and the flaps extracted the smoke allowing for a well-lit and atmospheric cosy home.

Our Tipis

Today, our tipis, that are made in Britain, are relatively unchanged from their ancestral beginnings. However, we do use the latest materials and techniques to bring them into the 21st Century. The design of our tipis, with a nonagon base, reinforcements and symmetrical design, make them extremely secure in bad weather. This makes them the perfect structure not only for summer events, but for winter events too. They can also be left up all year round if desired.

We manufacture three different sizes of tipis – 6.5m, 8.4m and 10.3m.  Our Big Hat can have its sides raised by lifting the bottom half of the canvas and inserting supportive ‘lifter beams’. This will create a giant structure that resembles a witch’s hat. This allows for the Big Hats to be linked together to form an endless formation to accompany any numbers. Also increasing the size of space available under cover at an event.

Please click for further information about our range of Tipis and Accessories.