The look and feel of canvas is like nothing else, especially on a tent. It exudes robustness and resilience and when you are far away from home it creates a comforting shelter in which to spend the night. Enjoy reading our Tentipi Review on the Safir and Onyx.
On a multi day wild camping canoe trip we used two different Tentipi’s and without foreseeing it, tested both of them to their limits. We had both the Tentipi Safir and Onyx to review.
Tentipi use a blend of cotton and polyester. Coming in various levels of toughness and depending on how extreme your trip is you can select an appropriate one. For this trip we were testing a top of the range Safir 9CP and an entry level Onyx 5 CP.
Tentipi’s have one pole, which sits in the middle of the tipi, and via the use of elasticated drawstrings that run down the length of it allow the user to adjust the air vent at the top of tipi. The fabric is waterproof and highly breathable so condensation is rarely an issue. Tent Tipi do make models with an internal PU coating to keep you dry in prolonged bad weather but breathability will take a hit. At each peg point there is a solid bit of webbing and a strong buckle to allow adjustment and allow the user to tighten the fly.
Our trip took us down long lochs, rivers and out into the sea, it was a trip that would require solid kit and each afternoon as we would get ready to select a campsite and pitch our tipis gave us a new challenge that ourselves and our kit had to overcome.
Our first night was in a pub campsite, yes how extreme. However it was during the drive up to Scotland and we had to find a place to camp, this campsite provided a free pitch (I refuse to pay for the idea of camping but anyway) and easy access to some horrible tasty local ale.
This showed us how easy both the Tentipi Safir and Onyx are to pitch. Once you get the method in your memory. For the both of us it was our first time with a tent tipi and it does take a little bit of practise. Once you have the method it becomes a lot easier. This is true of any tent but with the tent tipis, especially when you consider how large they are, the pitching is very easy and quick and becomes more efficient the more you practice.
The Tentipi Safir and Onyx have a little wooden disk that helps you get the pegs in the proper orientation around the perimeter of the tipi. After the initial pitch I did not use this as pitching the tipi became so natural it simply wasn’t needed.
Our second pitch was completely different; we were running late in picking up the canoes and had to pitch on a grassy path by our put in to the loch. The grassy path was covering compacted gravel and sand. This allowed us to only get a few pegs in, to pitch the tent tipi completely we had to use a heavy dry bag to weigh down one side and tie some of the guy lines to the canoe. It wasn’t a pretty pitch by any stretch of the imagination, however it worked. Not many shelters on the market, apart from a tarp maybe have this versatility.
Canoeing down Loch Shiel was a tough paddle; we covered the whole loch in a day. By the time we were looking at camp spots we were looking forward to getting some rest. Scotland is known for many things, ticks are one of them. The Tentipis we were using did not have a sewn in groundsheet. As a result you do have to do some careful rolling of the groundsheet in order to keep the insects and other critters out. I would suggest purchasing the bug net add on for some added protection. However neither of us got bitten inside our tents it certainly makes for a more relaxed sleep knowing you are protected. This would be a consideration to make if you have snakes or poisonous insects in your destination.
In the wind the Tentipi design allows the wind to travel around the tent as the shape lends itself to give a low wind drag. Its very strong and even with its height, which is enough to stand up in, it doesn’t blow around. It feels very bomb proof indeed.
One of our nights was pitched on a beach. Consequently adding a tricky element of wet sand. This clung to everything and refused to leave. Luckily the moving components on the Tentipi’s are very strong, for example the zips are sturdy and even when clogged with sand carry on working, albeit with some strong tugs.
Overall the issues with the Tentipi only revealed themselves in very subtle ways. After a night the tent fly gets pretty wet and does saturate somewhat. This increases the pack size after consecutive nights. The groundsheet not being sewn in does mean you do get some visitors during the night but you can always buy the inner.
Living in the Tentipi Safir and Onyx was a pleasurable experience. We felt protected from the elements and comfortable at night too. The trip we used the Tentipis on was one of the most challenging kit wise we had done up to this point, I think the one outstanding feature of the Tentipis was the fact that it could be tweaked and adapted to fit the environment or situation as it came up.
The Tentipi Safir and Onyx lend themselves to canoe trips and sledging or perhaps when you are in a vehicle. The size and weight of them does not suit hiking trips when you are carrying your kit on your back.