Canvas Tipis & Accessories

Canvas Tipi Covers, Doors & Liners for Cheyenne-Style Native American Tipi

The Plains Indian tipi (tipi [French] also spelled tepee and teepee [English]) is a Lakota word for "dwelling" is one of the most beautiful and practical shelters ever invented. It is easy to put up and take down, and resistant to wind and rain. The tilted cone is steeper at the back, with an adjustable smoke hole extending down the front sloping side, and flaps that can be moved to regulate the draft and be readjusted if bad weather conditions arise. A lodge always faces east to greet the morning sun.

The tipi was durable, provided warmth and comfort in winter, was dry during heavy rains, and was cool in the heat of summer. Tipis could be disassembled and packed away quickly when a tribe decided to move and could be reconstructed quickly when settling at a new location. The portability of the tip was essential Plains Indians with their nomadic lifestyle.

The conical shape of the tipi sheds wind from all sides and the narrow top allows for least resistance at the point where the wind is strongest. Rain and snow is shed easily. Tipis were originally made from animal skins (buffalo being preferred but elk was also used in mountain regions where bison were scarce). A switch to bison to canvas came in the mid to late 1800s as bolts of military canvas became a standard trade item. Canvas also provided several practical benefits as it is lighter in weight, lets in more light in and was much easier to construct than hide tipis.

Crazy Crow Trading Post offers tipi books and videos that describe and depict the history, use and decoration of the Native American tipi. The DVD, "Pointy Side Up" is particularly helpful in the way that only a video can as it shows how one person can setup an 18 foot tipi.