In this section I will discuss
what type of primitive shelter may be best for your particular
needs. I will write the facts along with the pros and cons of
each, then you can decide which is best for you. Some areas to
consider will be price, purpose or use intended, portability and
set-up, weather protection and authenticity.
Price ranges and makers are
similar to buying an automobile. You can purchase a Chevy or a
Caddy all depending on maker and price. I am not endorsing any
given tent manufacturer, just going on fact and personal satisfaction.
or Wedge Shelter
Price Range:: $107.00 to $2350.00. This is based
on size, manufacturer and types of canvas used. Remember that
a dollar saved now is not necessarily a dollar saved down the
road when it comes to a canvas shelter. Don't be afraid to ask
someone questions about their shelter and do not be afraid to
buy a used shelter. Take someone with you that knows quality workmanship
and canvas condition.
Purpose:: These types of shelters are used
where a very fast set and simple shelter is needed. Generally
used for short weekend outings or camps less that three days in
length. It is a quick setup shelter with room for no more than
two persons with very little gear. Sizes may very from a small
10'X10' to a large 16'X16'. The cost is generally inexpensive
compared to other shelters.
Set-up: The plow point or diamond configuration
requires only two poles and a minimum of five tent stakes in the
open. If camped in a wooded area, all that is required, some rope
and stakes since to front can be tied to a low tree limb. If set-up
in the open wedge configuration, you will need at least two up
right end poles and six stakes. Any number of set-up configurations
Weather protection: With the front of this shelter
open, weather protection is extremely pour. You are subject to
getting wet in a driving rain with swirling winds. If you like
being wet and cold, this is the shelter for you for winter camps.
During summers months you will have plenty of ventilation and
shade. If there is just a small breeze blowing, mosquitoes will
less likely to bother you than if you were in an enclosed shelter.
Authenticity: The wedge configuration dates back
to antiquity. It was the most popular shelter of all time due
to its simple design and easy of setting up. Army's have used
it for thousands of years and was in use up thru the Second World
These are fairly inexpensive to purchase, easy to transport and
easy to set up. They offer good air circulation in the summer
along with shade, and moderate protection from light rains. From
this shelter you can form a plow point, an open-end wedge, a windbreak,
dinning fly and a lean-to.
The open -end plow point or wedge is open to the elements. You
cannot heat this type of shelter effectively with a campfire.
You must be content with working in a bent over position, or crawling
around on your hands and knees when looking for your gear.
The Baker Tent
Price Range: $225.00 to $316.00. This again
is based on size, manufacture and types of canvas used. With this
style tent, the cost of poles must also be considered. The Baker
tent will require some 14 to 16 poles to set up. Poles can be
of pine or cedar and cut from local forest if permission given
by the landowner to help cut cost of ordering from a supplier.
Purpose: This style of tent will provide
good shelter for a weekend or extended camp. Depending on the
size, the Baker tent can sleep as few as two and up to as many
as six people with gear. The privacy curtain can be raised during
the day to provide shade and lowered at night for protection from
Set-up: Be prepared for a workout to set
this tent up and make sure you have friends in camp. In my experience,
it usually takes three people to set up the Baker tent. First
a skeletal frame must be erected to support the canvas. Marking
the poles where they are to be located and at the point where
they will intersect each other will speed up the process. After
the frame is in place, the canvas must be tie in numerous locations
to make it taught. Other poles must be added to the frame to support
the roof and the privacy curtain when it is raised to the awning
position. One must also consider the transportation of these poles.
Either a trailer will be required or a sturdy car top rack must
be considered for transport.
Weather Protection: The Baker provides reasonable protection
from the weather. With all of the curtains closed, heating for
a good nights sleep it not hard to do. With the curtains extended,
shade is provided for those hot Texas days.
Authenticity: Sad to say but the Baker is not
authentic to the pre-1840 era. It is basically a wall tent
cut down the middle with an awning attached. Do not be discouraged
as the Baker is widely accepted at just about every type of historic
Pros: The Baker provides good weather
protection against rain and wind if properly staked down. If heated
with a stove or a modern heating device, cold evenings can be
This would be my last choice in a shelter. The number of poles
required for setup, transportation of poles, canvas tie points
and stake points make this a less than favorable tent. The prices
are near the same for a small wall tent.
Price Range: $200.00 to 475.00 for the original
sizes. This increases dramatically for custom larger tents. Price
range as always is based on manufacturer, size and type of canvas
used. Savings comes from the fact this tent can be set up with
one pole or if a tree limb is near, with no poles at all.
Purpose: Used where easy set up, good weather
protection and able room is desired. One person can set up this
tent in less than fifteen minutes.
Set-up: Set up is as easy as it can get.
You stake down the four corners and push the peak up with the
inside center pole. If the pole tends to get in the way, the tent
can be erected using two poles crossed in the middle and tied
to the peak on the outside. A tree limb at a long piece of rope
tied to the peak makes set-up a breeze if poles are not available.
Weather Protection: Excellent! With the sides
sloping down at an angle, heat is reflected toward the center
if some form of heating is used inside. Because of the pyramid
shape, winds to not affect this style of tent and rain and debris
tend to run or slide right off.
Authenticity: The pyramid tent was originally
called range tepees and date back to the early 1820's. Documented
in his personal journal, Rufas Sage used one in 1841 while camped
on the Laramie River on his way to Fort Platte.
Pros: Quick and easy set-up with ample room inside. Excellent
weather protection. One or no poles required for set up.
For about $100.00 less a large wedge tent could be purchased allowing
for more headroom. A tall person can only move about in the middle
of the pyramid tent before his head contacts the canvas sides.
Although more floor space than a large wedge, headroom is a factor
Price Range: The basic 8' X 10' wall tent will
cost around $300.00 and a larger 12' X 12' will cost $470.00.
If you wish to purchase a set up package consisting of poles,
ropes and stakes you can expect to spend between $110 to $230.00
depending on the size of tent purchased.
Purpose: You will find the wall tent space
efficient, excellent for weather protection and a good choice
for short or long term camping.
Set-up: The wall tent requires several
ropes, side poles and tent pegs for resisting being blown down
in high winds high winds. The wall tent is fairly easy to set
up using two uprights and a ridgepole. By setting the sides up
first, then raising the ridge, two people can have their tent
set up in under twenty minutes.
Weather Protection: Not as rugged in high winds as the
tipi, the wall tent is as comfortable as one could expect in a
primitive shelter. With a door in each end, the wall tent can
be a great choice for summer camps, allowing a breeze to pass
thru. Adding an awning can provide additional shade.
Authenticity: The use of wall tents dates to before
the American Revolution. Absolutely authentic to every type of
The wall tent would be an excellent choice for a family or trader.
With the sidewalls being vertical, you have more usable space
for cots, tables and storage boxes. Excellent weather protection
and set-up is not too hard.
Takes two people to set-up. If you support the sidewalls more
poles will be required to travel with.
Creating a Character
Is That Gun
What's in the Bag?
You need an Edge
up the Night
Keeping an Eye
on the Sky
What type of Primitive Shelter is
best for you?
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