Strapped for time? Here's the best tents for 2023
Best for: families who want to camp all year round - Onetigris Rock Fortress
Best for: professionals and extreme adventurers - Tentipi Safir 5
Best for: taller campers - Nordisk Thrymheim 3 square teepee tent
Best for: fastpackers and through-hikers - Longeek 1-4 person tepee tent
Best for: festival goers - Easy Camp Moonlight Tipi Tent
Best for: cold weather campers - Robens Klondike Small Tipi Tent
Best for: first time campers - Outsunny 6 person Teepee Camping Tent
Best for: backpackers and hikers - Tentipi Olivin 2
Best for: solo backpackers or bikepackers - Bach WickiUp 3
Best for: serious mountain hikers - Robens Green Cone PRS
Best for: budget-conscious families - Ozark Trail 8 person teepee camping tent
Kicking off your guide to the best teepee tents
Fancy a new tent for those camping trips this summer? If you've not got a particular tent in mind, can we interest you in a teepee tent? A what, we hear you ask? Until you’ve used one you can’t appreciate how great they actually are. Give one a try – we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
A teepee could be the perfect companion for your camping or backpacking adventures. But which one? How do you choose? Well, this is where we come in. We’ve done the hard work for you so relax and read on to find the best tipi tent for you.
Tipi, tepee or even tepee?
There’s some confusion around this but they all mean basically the same thing. The word Tipi originates from the Lakota word ‘thipi’, meaning dwelling. But it’s pronounced Teepee, hence the alternatives. The words tipi and tepee have become interchangeable, but no matter what you call them they’re great pieces of kit.
What is a Teepee tent?
A teepee - or tipi - tent is a cone-shaped tent with a wide base and narrow top. They’re best known for their use by the nomadic indigenous tribes of America’s Great Plains but have been around since at least 10,000BC.
The teepee provided warmth in the winter and protection from the elements, yet could quickly and easily be taken down, transported and set up, making them the ideal home for the tribes following the buffalo migrations.
Humans have been using teepees for tens of thousands of years, so they must have some advantages, right?
How are teepee/ tipi tents made?
Traditionally, stretched buffalo hides were used as a cover, but nowadays modern materials such as polyester are preferred – they’re lighter for a start and are generally more available! Some manufacturers use cotpolmex, a mix of polyester and cotton. This has the advantage of being breathable, but the cotton mix can make the tent weigh more.
Instead of a framework of wooden tent poles that meet at the top, modern teepee-style tents generally have just one central pole with guy ropes providing extra support.
Some of the best teepee tents have a stove hole opening so a fire can be lit inside, making them proper four-season tents. There are usually other features such as ventilation flaps, roof vents and snow skirts, and due to their shape doors can be larger so you don’t have to stoop when going in and out.
What are the advantages of Teepee Tents?
Teepees are built with ventilation in mind. From vents in the walls and the top of the tent to breathable fabrics, they’re all about the airflow. This reduced condensation dramatically - no more waking up feeling like you slept in a bin liner.
They’re also designed to withstand the elements. Many teepees have features like snow skirts, double zipped doors and a vent for a stove pipe, so you can get a stove in there and stay toasty in winter.
The cone-shaped design means they’re roomier than many traditional tents and even the tallest people can stand upright. This tall shape and the centre pole give greater stability in strong winds.
The centre pole also means Teepee tents have an easy set-up – you can pitch one in minutes, even if you're on your own, without having to fiddle with lots of tent poles.
Are there any disadvantages to a teepee tent?
One of the biggest advantages of that generous teepee tent size is also one of its biggest drawbacks. Mainly that central pole; yes it makes setting up a snap, but having a pole slap-bang in the middle of the tent can limit your sleeping and storage options.
Some manufacturers have got around this by designing the pole to be pitched off-centre or slanted, meaning it’s not in the way. We expect to see more manufacturers following suit in the future.
Teepee tents do seem to be heavier than other tents so you may struggle if you’re a solo backpacker unless you’ve got some camping buddies to help spread the weight.
They may be a bit overkill for backpacking as you’re unlikely to be taking a stove with you (unless you’re super strong!)
They’re not so great for wild camping as they’re not designed with stealth in mind. They tend to be larger than a traditional style tent, and of course, taller, which could see you sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb. We wouldn't completely rule it out though. If you've not tried wild camping our Surfing, Coasteering and Wild Camping Trip in beautiful Cornwall will give you a taste and you'll actually have a chance to sleep in a tipi tent!
How to use a stove in your teepee tent
As we’ll see, some of the best teepee tents have a stove jacket or flue opening in the roof so a stove can be used. Using a stove inside a tent is officially known as ‘hot tenting’ and is a fun way of keeping warm when it's chilly. A flat stove surface will easily get hot enough for cooking inside on too! We can help you choose your ideal camping stove or get that brew on with our guide to the best camping kettle.
You can’t put a stove in any old tent though. It has to have the opening for a flue and you’ll need to use a spark arrestor on top of the flue to stop hot sparks falling on the tent (we don’t want it that warm!) You should also have something on hand for putting out the fire if needed.
The stove’s best placed on the ground. Some tents have a removable panel where the stove sits or the groundsheet’ll roll back. If not, you can buy a flame retardant mat to sit the stove on.
These stoves get hot so don’t store anything flammable near them and if you have kids make sure they keep those little fingers well away.
Most of the fumes should be directed out the tent, but for safety’s sake we’d recommend opening all vents when the stove’s on (you won’t be cold, trust us, these things kick out some serious heat) and don’t leave it lit overnight.
It's worth bearing in mind that stoves take up room so there'll be less floor space for sleeping.
Summing it all up
So which is the best teepee tent for you? Well that does depend on how many of you are going and where you’re going. Raving it up at a festival? Something cheap and cheerful like the Outsunny or the Ozark Trail could fit the bill.
Family camping trip? The Nordisk Thynheim or the Robens Klondike might be the right tent for you. Backpacker or bikepacker? Take a gander at the Tentipi Olivin or the Bach Wikiup. Camping in winter or need one with a better waterproof rating? Give the Robens Greencone or the Onetigris Rock Fortress a whirl.
What's a bell tent?
Bell tents are very similar to teepee tents in that they have a supporting central pole and a roomy interior. However they tend to have more of a straight-walled structure rather than the classic pyramid teepee shape. People tend to confuse a bell tent with other tents such as a teepee style tent or a yurt.
How do I clean my teepee tent?
After any outdoor camping trip, it’s a good idea to make sure your tent’s clean before you chuck it back under the stairs, ahem, carefully store it away. The easy way to clean most teepee tents is to pitch them and give them a spray with a hose. If yours is an absolute mudfest, sponge it using a gentle cleaning solution.
Make sure the tent’s completely dry before putting it away. If you’re short of space you can wash most tents in the bath and dry it on an airer or washing line.
Can I fit a camping bed into a teepee tent?
Generally speaking - yes. Teepee tents have a spacious floor area. Bear in mind though that the larger your bed or sleeping mat is, the fewer people will fit in, especially if you're using a stove as well. You'll need to check how much space you'll need before you commit to buying your teepee.
If you're in need of a comfy sleep, check out our best camping bed guide.