This is my primary shelter during the colder months. I have extensive experience with this shelter system. The following is from the Kifaru web site:
“Specifically designed for those who really like to go lean and mean, the 2 Person ParaTipi weighs in at only 3 1/2 pounds! It is exceptionally light for its square footage, and best of all, it is the only small tent we know of that accepts our wood burning stove. You get ample room for two people and their gear. Ideal for the backpacking outdoorsman who wants to extend his reach. Outstanding windproofness! You get many of the same great features and function of our larger traditional Tipis. Floorless design and space age paraglider fabric bring this roomy tent into featherweight class! “
Features & Construction
- Ultralight Cloth for durability and weight savings.
- Waterproof - outlasts UV coating two to one!
- Beefy #8 Zippers: won't jam and open easily even in the coldest weather
- A-frame: provides a big footprint and weight savings
- Single Door
- Mosquito Netting is standard, but removable for weight savings
- Clothes Line: hang gear and dry out clothing
- Stuff Sack: included
- Colors: white or Coyote Brown
- Stovepipe port: fiberglass patch with rain flap
break down into 6 pieces
Complete set of Dura Pegs
Dimensions: 12 feet, 6 in. X 7 feet 6 in. assembled
Packed Dimensions: 5.5 in. diameter X 16 inches
Height: 56 inches
Weight: 3 1/2 lbs. (add 4 oz. with Mosquito Netting in place)
The Paratipi comes packed with 3 stuff sacks that contain the canopy, poles and Dura pegs. The system packs down very small and can fit inside a 650 ci long pocket.
Here is a Kifaru long pocket containing a Paratipi.
The shelter packed.
Setup is fairly simple but does require some practice to master. Kifaru does a good job explaining the setup so I will attach a link to their site. I will add that the peg setbacks are more guidelines rather than rules as non level ground will change the distances. But this is not all that hard to work out once the first pole is raised. If there is not enough room to extend the pole than the front setback must be increased.
This is what the shelter looks like before the poles are in place. There are a total of 14 tie-offs to ensure the shelter can withstand the harshest winds.
The front pole is raised first. The cone is heavily reinforced. After that the back pole is raised. I place the adjustable poles on the lowest setting and raise each one until the proper pitch is set. There is some leeway in the setup. It is possible to make the shelter a bit wider and lower or a little narrower and higher depending on how it is staked.
The primary tie-offs are marked with orange paracord loops for easy identification during setup. There is a brown paracord clothesline that runs down the middle of the shelter. The Paratipi has draw string cords to allow for a window to be opened in the front for ventilation. I find the clothesline useful for lighter items like socks and shirts. The draw string window works well to vent the excess heat of the stove but is not protected from rain or snow. If the window is open some water can get in. However this draw string opening system is foolproof and very UL.
The clothesline being used for the intended purpose.
The bug net attaches to the front using Velcro.
A door can made by opening the front zipper and either staking out the flap or pushing it aside. The bug net than covers the opening. I have only used the net on a few outings. I tend to use other shelters during bug season. When pitched over grass the gaps in the floor are mostly covered. The system was good enough for mosquitoes in my neck of the woods. Maybe there would be issues with black flies but don’t know.
The Velcro net is less user friendly than a zippered screen door but offers the advantage of removal during the colder months.
The stove jack is positioned about 1/3rd of the way into the shelter. It is placed in a central location. The position of the stove and poles takes up some internal room. The advantages seem to be more efficient heating and stronger support for the shelter. The jack has a Velcro flap for use without the stove.
The opening is for a 3-inch stove pipe. The jack is made of flame resistant fiber glass.
The pipe gets pushed though the jack. Care must be taken not to cut the fiberglass with the sharp ends of the roll-up pipe if one is used. Also the wing nut holding the end of the roll-up pipe must be turned in. Sometimes I forgo the wing nut all together if in a hurry or my hands are cold.
The pipe vents the smoke and toxic gasses outside the shelter. Due to the floorless deigned, gaps in the stove jack and a large number 8 zipper there is enough ventilation even during heavy snow to ensure safety. If there was any possibility of CO poisoning etc I would have discovered this long ago. Here is the Paratipi setup with stove running.
For me the best use of space is to put the sleeping bag off to one side. Often I use a small ground cloth to protect my bag. Gear is stored off to the other side. If two people are using the shelter gear can also be stored in front and back.
To hang out I use my sleeping pad and lay across the front. There is not really enough room for a larger guy to sleep comfortably in the front but more than enough to rest and cook.
I place the stove facing the front a bit off to the side of the sleeping bag reducing the risk of damaging my sleeping gear when moving around. So far I have never melted any sleeping bags or pads but seem to have an uncanny ability to melt the sleeves of my jacket liner. The stove can be placed facing the sleeping area if someone wants to start the stove in the morning when still inside a sleeping bag.
1. Shelter is very UL and packs down small.
2. Has a large foot print.
3. Extremely weather proof. I have used my Paratipi for years in nearly every weather condition and it has never failed me.
4. Has a stove jack.
5. Constructed of quality materials.
6. Floorless design. This reduces weight and allows for pitching over rough ground. Fundamental for safe stove operation. I find with proper site location a floorless tent stays drier.
2. Poles and stove takes up lots of floor space.
3. Like most single walled non breathable shelters can develop condensation.
4. Requires careful seam sealing.
5. Setup takes practice to master and more time if using a stove.
6. Floorless design is less bug proof and requires more care in site location.
I really like the Kifaru Paratipi. It has limitations due to the smaller size compared to other heated shelters. But the weight and pack size makes the shelter easy to backpack over a longer distance. Most of all I like the stove for winter. I can do a ton of things inside a floorless heated shelter during winter that would be far more difficult and uncomfortable in other tents. Snow baths when the outside temps are sub zero is just not an option inside other shelters. Burning the stove takes the edge off in the morning. Cooking on a wood stove is a more casual affair than using the pocket rocket under a tent awning. Finally fire is just plain old fun.