American Plains Indians were originally buffalo hunters, and this required them to be nomadic as they followed the buffalo migrations. This lifestyle required that their homes not only provide them with excellent shelter, but also that they are easily portable.

Thus they invented the Tipi. A tipi is a conical structure made from long poles of wood, covered in brain tanned buffalo skin, making them waterproof and durable. Best of all it could be taken apart in minutes for transportation.

Nowadays, tipis are more commonly found in museums and at music festivals such as Glastonbury in the UK, where an entire field is devoted to these excellent structures. It is also possible to buy a tipi from a tipi dealer. I kid you not. Although the pine lodge poles must be around 3-4 metres long, there are plenty of people who make money selling them at places such as aforementioned Glastonbury Festival. One hopes that they would deliver. Much to my chagrin I have as yet never met anyone who actually owns one. They do look like excellent fun to camp in.

Oh yes, and one last note - a tipi is different to a wigwam, in that a wigwam is a domed structure made from bent tree poles, and covered in either grass or bark and hides.

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