Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Winter Camping and Activities
      Silnylon tipi with wood stove-your experiences?     
 Forum Sponsor



distinguished member (287)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/20/2017 10:37AM
Hi: Looking for direct input from someone who actually owns or has spent considerable time in this type of shelter. The good the bad, or any other information you think valuable. If you would rather PM, please do.
Thank you!!
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
12/20/2017 02:06PM
I've used a Seek outside 12 man tipi with their XL stove and liner for a few 2 night trips. They are excellent. I also use it this summer and it was very bugproof and made a rainy trip much more enjoyable.

Pros: Lightweight and warm.

Cons: Tricky to set up the first few times
distinguished member(1794)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/21/2017 03:49PM
They rain ice in the morning, and your stuff does not dry.
distinguished member(2277)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/21/2017 06:35PM
Soledad: "They rain ice in the morning, and your stuff does not dry."

I think this is why some have liners that can come with them. However if you don’t touch the sides a fire and some ventilation should cure the morning ice shower. I imagine even the canvas tents in the morning can rain ice on you until a fire heats things up.
member (20)member
12/21/2017 06:52PM

I currently own a Seek Outside 6 man tipi and a Seek Outside XL titanium stove. I previously owned a Snowtrekker EXP Shortwall 10 X 13 tent and a Four Dog Ultralight II stove. I sold my Snowtrekker and Four Dog for one reason only - to get a lighter and more compact setup. I think the Snowtrekker and the Four Dog are both really awesome and would have loved to have kept them both but I just could not afford to have two hot tent setups (the good news is that it went to a good friend of mine so I still have access to it.)

I will list a few pro's and cons's for each setup - I know you are asking about the Seek Outside in particular but I think the comparison is helpful.

With the Seek Outside it goes without saying but, they are not free standing, at all, in the least. They are not tough to pitch per-se but they are putsy, no matter how skilled you are or how much experience you have setting them up, it just takes a little time and attention to detail. Everything starts with and rely's on the pitch / staking, thus ground conditions and appropriate stakes for those conditions play an important role. They are very fun to pitch in -20F and wind, no tent is, but especially a tipi IMO if you are not finding the ground conditions to your or your stakes liking it can make it really tough. Pitching a Snowtrekker is easier and more forgiving in that they are mostly free-standing, you just have to guy-out the shortwalls, so is easier to pitch in tricky conditions over the tipi. In a perfect world, for me, there would be an ultralight, 100% free standing low-volume (so you can run a small stove and it heats quickly) hot tent, my long term vision is to modify a good, light, four season, free-standing tent.

Others have covered this. Both a sil-nylon and a canvas tent can ice up (usually overnight from your body heat and breath), but the vapour / ice melting back to water only goes one way in a sil-nylon, that is inside, down the walls etc. In a canvas, it will do some of the same but since the cotton canvas is air-permeable, vapour will escape through the fabric as well especially if you fire the stove back up in the AM. Good venting and technique is important in either tent both when running the stove and sleeping.

Sized correctly, the Seek Outside or a Snowtrekker will have ample space for just about any need or group size, that said, I preferred the shape, headroom and usable space in my Snowtrekker over my Seek Outside, this is not to say the tipi is bad, I just do not like it quite as well. With the Snowtrekker or any canvas tent, you really start to pay a weight penalty as soon as you start maximizing tent size for how many you think you "could" have with you on a trip - not as much in the Seek Outside, even a 12 man is a very reasonable weight when you compare how heavy a wall tent is that can fit 8 guys (the most you would ever get in a 12 man tipi with a stove I would think). The other thing to consider is heating the space, do not underestimate how much more fuel you have to burn and how much more wide open you need to run your stove to heat a bigger tent - the most comfortable tent I was ever in was a buddies small two man canvas tent, he had a nice size stove so you could load it and let it burn slow and it would be 70F in there when it was 20 below outside. These larger tipis with the takedown stoves need a lot of attention / reloading etc.

Aesthetic and Overall Comfort:
I would have to give that to the Snowtrekker again, white canvas walls that are generally not as icy or wet v.s. brown or tan walls that do not breathe.

I only have two points of comparison - the Seek Outside XL and the Four Dog and for quality, durability, ease of use, burn time, heat etc. there is just no comparison, the Four Dog wins every time - but for weight, the Seek Outside wins by a landslide just like the tipi does over the wall tent and their stove is very capable... downright astonishing for something so light. Takedown stoves are a pain, have sharp edges and do not seal up as tight as a welded stove but, they are amazing in that they are light and if you really want, you can carry them in a backpack. With my Seek Outside, I have it modified a bit so it stays setup all the time since the only way I transport it is in a sled / I just put it in my sled fully setup and am careful not to crush it and tell others the stove is in there so they do not crush it. Setting up one of these stoves at -20 when the sun is going down is not all that fun and that is why I leave mine set up.

So, it may sound like a negative review of the Seek Outside, but to the contrary, I think it is an amazing product / setup. With a 6 man two travelers with a stove will live like kings with rooms for two bedrolls or cots and two compact camp chairs, you can fit 3 guys with the stove if you want to it is just not as plush and 4 would be the limit in my opinion and all of this for under 10LBS, crazy light! My Snowtrekker with the Four Dog weighed in at 37LBS (same deal, fit 2 like kings, 3 worked and 4 would be the absolute max) and while it was a bit more comfortable, that is a 27LB difference! The only way that is acceptable to me is if you have a huge group to haul it, if you are not going in far, if you are going in by machine or dog. Additionally, Kevin and his team at Seek Outside are an awesome group of people, really really nice and super helpful. The overall quality of the tipis and stoves is exceptional.

Finally, even though I own the hot tent, I do not do very many trips with it in a given season. Most of my trips involve traveling, exploring and covering distance v.s. basecamping, fishing, relaxing etc., and the reality of that is that at the end of the day (and some days if safe to do so, we will travel an hour or two after dark) when we are done skiing I am ready to quickly setup my free-standing one man single wall tent, throw on my down pants, extra parka and overboots, make a meal and get in my sleeping bag, visit for a bit and get right to sleep... the extra 1 to 1.5 hours that it takes to setup the tipi, stove, process enough firewood for the evening, get the fire going etc. is not always something I want to do. All of that said, we all know that there is nothing better than sitting in your tent in a short sleeve shirt out in the middle of the BWCA when its -20F outside and its 60F+ inside, you feel like you are getting away with something!

distinguished member (287)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/21/2017 10:22PM
Thank you all for the reviews and information. Wild Dog has it pegged, I have been using Snowtrekker tents for as long as Duane has been in business. But, I would like to be able to do a solo unsupported trip and haul all my gear. In that situation the Snowtrekker is just too heavy and takes up too much toboggan room. Bivvying multiple nights in a row is fine, but if I get in trouble, sick or wet, having the option of a heated space is desirable.

Once again, thank you all for your input!
member (20)member
12/22/2017 08:31AM
You are welcome WhiteCeder. Seems like a large outlay just to get a tent and go out into the wilderness, but I figure any money spent to get out into the wilderness is money well spent! Good luck!
12/22/2017 02:10PM
Rule number 1 in the man book.........A man can't own too many tents (canoes, guitars, saws, etc.)
distinguished member(2477)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/24/2017 09:22AM
I certainly can't add much more than WildDog offered. His description is very thorough.
Over time, I have sewn up 3 pyramid style silnylon hot tents of varying weights and sizes along with a coupe lean styles. My next will be a silnylon cabin style hot tent. The whole thing that I've been after is light weight and small pack size. I haven't winter camped for many years. I use these in spring and fall.
These shelters are light, and small enough that they (and the stove) don't even fill my ruck sack - therefore I can take one on most any trip, same as WildDog with his Seek Outsidetent and foil stove.
Foil stove -
Originally I said that I'd never use a foil stove. They looked too flimsy and unsafe. After making my own, I realized that with care, they can be safe and effective. I've made both take-down ti box stoves and foil stoves. I just copy someone else's and add improvements where needed.
In spring or fall there is much more humidity than in winter so yes, there certainly will be moisture in the tent. Earlier it was said that things don't dry but I haven't had much problem drying things in my shelter, given there is time to do so. For someone who is moving daily this will be more difficult.
'The bad' is mostly about condensation, and 'the good' is mostly about weight and space saving. If hauling a canvas tent isn't an issue, then do that. The one thing that you will find is that a nylon tent will likely get used more, at least on shoulder season trips.
12/24/2017 09:23AM
Disclaimer ; I have not camped in a Snow Trekker canvas tent. I have spent some time in a Wyoming canvas Winter tent that is a canvas and synthetic blend. I decided to make my own winter hot tent from sil nylon.

Been using a several versions of sil nylon hot tents for over 10 years. I did not like a tipi style for all the "lost" space where the shelter is to close to the floor to be of use, and the dead zone of where the zipper opens is susceptible to weather - snow spilling onto anything below that area opened up by the door. A knee wall makes the space usable to the edge of the shelter, and a vertical zipper minimizes the dead zone.
Sil nylon does not allow much moisture out. Venting helps keep that manageable. Using a floor helps tremendously with moisture management. I believe most moisture is not from breathing and cooking but from the melting of the snow on the floor and under the stove. A insulated floor really cuts down on condensation as the temperature is more even in the shelter closer to the floor. In real deep cold -20°F and below. condensation can freeze along the lower walls and you can peel if off in sheets and toss it outside.
I use a Knik Alaska packer Jr. with a 3 " rolled stove pipe, that I pop riveted a baffle into the back 10" of the stove to reduce the likelihood of direct spark path up the stove pipe. I do not use a dampner or spark arrester.
When I pull into a winter camp the 20lbs for stove and tent is something I can manage by myself and it provides space to cook/ eat for 7+ and sleeping for 5 comfortably. The hot tent makes for lazy evenings and good slow cooking time about the stove.

Sil Nylon tents are not for everyone. If there was a perfect winter tent there would only be one tent manufactured for winter hot tent camping. But we all camp in the winter differently, to meet our own desires and expectations.
distinguished member (106)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/24/2017 10:22AM
I have a silnylon tipi and pyramid. The pyramid is easier and faster to setup. Usually under 2 minutes by myself, requires less stakes, and has more usable space. I fish in mine all day.
Condensation isn't a problem unless your in very heavy winds and or your pitch is not taught enough. Sometimes I bring both shelters and sleep in one and fish out of the other. Usually though I just use the pyramid.
Guest Paddler
01/07/2018 08:42AM
Mn Pat: Where did your pyramid come from?
distinguished member (429)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/07/2018 04:12PM
Dan Cooke,

I'm interested in hearing about using the rolled pipe with a knico stove. Is this a stainless/titanium sheet using rings?

Standard stove pipe has a crimped end that fits tight to the stove opening. What keeps the rolled pipe from sliding down into stove or on to the baffle?

01/08/2018 07:34PM
I use rings in the middle and a 3" diameter x 1" tall ring on the inside of the rolled Stainless steel with a over center quick clamp about 1" up from the bottom end. It secures the rolled pipe as a tube and keeps it from dropping into the stove.
distinguished member (106)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/09/2018 06:19AM
: "Mn Pat: Where did your pyramid come from?"
I made both tents.
I have used the pyramid a lot. After changing things over the years I have it just the way I want it. The snow skirting with pockets are a must. It’s 10’ x10’ and can be pitched with a height between 6 1/2 and 9 feet to the peak. Tent, stakes and center pole together are 6 pounds.
distinguished member(2477)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/10/2018 11:09AM
Merlin: "Dan Cooke,

I'm interested in hearing about using the rolled pipe with a knico stove. Is this a stainless/titanium sheet using rings?

Standard stove pipe has a crimped end that fits tight to the stove opening. What keeps the rolled pipe from sliding down into stove or on to the baffle?


I make my own stoves (ti) and incorporate a collar that the foil pipe gets held on by a hose clamp. If you use a damper (close to the bottom) then that will keep it from falling into the stove.
distinguished member (429)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/11/2018 07:02AM
Thank you Dan and PortageKeeper for the information on using foil stove pipe.
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next