The biggest advantage of the tipi over other types of tents is the open fire inside. A well-maintained fire makes the tipi warm and cozy in cold and rainy weather. The fire must be maintained carefully, because too small a fire produces too much smoke and too big a waste. The fire is also pleasant in summer, it makes the tipi cozy on cool evenings and in winter it is indispensable. The fire is sacred with the Indians.
«The fire place is the center of our abode, the fire the center of energy. »
THE POSITION OF THE FIREPLACE
The position of the fireplace is determined by the shape of the tent and is located directly below the smoke flap opening, ie approx. 20-30cm outside the center of the tent towards the door. There are two good reasons for this. In the back of the tipi, in the “living area”, this creates more space and the asymmetrical shape of the tent allows smoke to escape more easily with this arrangement of space.
When we prepare a fireplace, we cut the lawn where we want it. The rest of the lawn is kept with the earth outside the tent. With this, if we break off the camp again, we can mend the scar that has formed in the ground. Then we dig a 6-10cm deep pit, the edge of which we cover with flat stones. These prevent the fire from spreading inside the tipi and the stones also store the heat for the night. The fireplace should have a diameter of about 40-50cm. For larger tents, we create a correspondingly larger fireplace.
HEATING WITH FIRE
We can use practically any wood for heating in the tipi. However, wood with a length of approx. 30 cm, which smokes little and does not spray sparks, is best. Beech wood and birch wood are particularly suitable for this, as it has good heating properties. The wood is stored in the tipi south of the door, where it stays dry.
In order not to be disturbed by smoke in the tipi, we have to burn wood that is as dry as possible and adjust the smoke flaps accordingly to the wind. When aligning, the distance between the smoke flaps is approximately 40 cm. In order to achieve optimal smoke extraction, the door should be closed if possible. In winter, the supply air can be interrupted by snowfall. If there is no supply air, the fire can no longer breathe and heavy smoke is the result!
Attention: If the wind blows directly from the east between the smoke flaps, there is a problem that can not be eliminated. Then the fire must be throttled, or even extinguished. East winds are fortunately rare!