Three-Pole Parachute Tepee

If you have a tarp, parachute, or other large, round material, and three poles, you can make a parachute tepee. It is easy and takes very little time to make this tepee. It provides protection from the elements and can act as a signaling device by enhancing a small amount of light or smoke from a fire or candle. It is large enough to hold several people and their equipment and to allow sleeping, cooking, and storing firewood.

Steps to create a Three-Pole parachute tepee shelter

You need three poles 3.5 to 4.5 meters (12 to 15 feet) long and about 5 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter.

To make this tepee:

  1. Lay the poles on the ground and lash them together at one end.
  2. Stand the framework up and spread the poles to form a tripod.
  3. For more support, place additional poles against the tripod. Five or six additional poles work best, but do not lash them to the tripod.
  4. Determine the wind direction and locate the entrance 90 degrees or more from the mean wind direction.
  5. Tie or make a loop over the top of a freestanding pole. Then place the pole back up against the tripod so that the canopy’s apex is at the same height as the lashing on the three poles.
  6. Wrap the canopy around one side of the tripod.
  7. Construct the entrance by wrapping the folded edges of the canopy around two free-standing poles. You can then place the poles side by side to close the tepee’s entrance.
  8. Place all extra canopy underneath the tepee poles and inside to create a floor for the shelter.
  9. Leave a 30- to 50-centimeter (12- to 20-inch) opening at the top for ventilation if you intend to have a fire inside the tepee.
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