Tarp tipis are relatively quick to erect, are spacious, thermally efficient with a fire and can be good for all seasons – including deep winter.
Just to prove how quick, simple (and cheap) they can be to do I used a large square tarpaulin (£12 B&Q), cut in half to make two long rectangles. That’s all it cost. It will be good for some time in the woods and will put up with gales and rain with ease. This particular shelter will sleep 4 with plenty of kit, space to sit around the campfire and a place to prepare and cook. It measures about 13 foot across with plenty of headroom.
The first step is to source some straight pieces of wood. Sned them and if possible de-bark them. This will ensure the poles don’t damage the tarp and remain fairly rot free.
Next simply lash the three poles together. You don’t have to do this but next you should loop a long cord from this axis and as you add more poles you should weave the dangling cord between the new poles at this point thereby securing them.
Once you have added poles – more in winter than in summer – to ensure that its robust against the wind, snow or rain then add the tarps with the long edge going along the base of the poles. Because tarps aren’t shaped into a crescent (ie they are square or rectangular) they leave gaps at along the ground at various points. This can be useful to help draw the air for the fire or to provide circulation in warm weather.
Or you can stop these gaps up with soil or brush.
You can drape a small tarp for the door
Or erect a small tarp as a wind cowl for the smoke hole
Both these add greatly to the comfort of the tipi but are optional in finer weather.