Hot or cold tenting? Each style of winter camping has it’s proponents.
Hot tenting usually involves packing a wood stove along with a more substantial tent – since one is spending time in the heated tent and it is not just a sleeping berth. Hot tenting may entail bringing your gear on a sled, toboggan or pulk. Advantages include lounging in comfort, the ability to dry out clothes and cook in the shelter. Disadvantages include an increased weight, set up time and the need to cut fuel. Hot tenters often establish multi-day base camps.
Cold tenting usually involves a lighter load that can be easily backpacked, permitting more mobility. Cold tent-ers rarely stay in the same place more than one night. The disadvantage being that it gets tough to dry out gear on trips of long duration.
A nice compromise is the lightweight Kirafu Tent. We love the Kirafu Tipi for winter camping. It is light and easy to set up. It accomodates 4-5 campers with a wood stove and wood. If you want to be warm – it can get very warm.
The Kifaru 8 Man Ultralight Tipi weighs12 lbs for an 8 man tent with the large packable wood stove. The Tipi is made of an ultralight fabric which resembles parachute material. The tipi material itself is very light and easily stuffs into a small sack. It has one aluminum center pole and several stakes.
Set up is easy. If there is a lot of snow, however, we recommend digging or stamping out the area first for easier set up, especially if you don’t have the longer tent stakes. Taking the time to clear out the snow saves a lot of time and trouble in the end.
We have several campers that average between 6’4” and 6’6” tall. What is touted as an eight person tent will comfortably fit five with the wood stove and a supply of wood. Without the stove the tent will fit six persons.
The wood stove is stainless steel and weighs in at just over 4lbs. When folded up it is roughly the size of a laptop and comes in its own carrying case. We recommend rolling the stove pipe a few times at home first in order to loosen it up a bit and to get the hang of it. We did not do this the first trip but hindsight is always 20/20. Once set up it is time to build yourmattfire-1.jpg fire.
The firebox is 8×9×20 so you will have to keep the wood small since the door only allows wood of approximately 3.5 inches in diameter. Burn time is about an hour, however, you can easily warm the inside of the tipi up into the 70s. The sides of the stove and stovepipe do become red hot so you will want to make sure that the sleeping bags, packs, bare skin, etc. stay well away. If you wish to have a fire going all night it is important to position a light sleeper near the stove. Burn time is roughly an hour so unless you just plan on re-lighting it in the morning you need someone to who sleeps lightly to keep waking up and throwing a few pieces of wood on every hour or so. We have found the stove to be an adequate cooking stove. The stove is sturdy enough to hold pots of boiling water, frying pans etc. All in all we highly recommend the Tipi by Kifaru. Read our full review here or check out the Kirafu web site.