Here at Elite tents, we commonly find ourselves discussing the difference between Nordic Tipis vs English made tipis. There are arguments for both, and which is right for you depends on your situation, and what’s important for you.
Now we will be honest here – at Elite Tents we only hire Nordic Tipis. But the point of this article is not to convince you to hire a Nordic Tipi. We are just going to lay out what we know (which after 13 years in the business is quite a lot!) and try to be as non-biased as possible. At the end of the day any company only wants to work with people who are the right fit for them, and that’s only going to happen if we give you all the information you need to figure out what the right fit is!
Introduction – English Tipis vs Nordic Tipis
Back when we first started hiring out Tipis for events, Elite Tents were only the 6th Tipi Company in the UK, and the first in the Midlands! In those days Nordic Tipis were the only option. When Tentipi’s patent expired, suddenly UK companies could design and manufacture similar products. There is now a much larger selection of companies to choose from. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because competition has naturally made for a better product and better service – but bad because the information is now so diluted and finding the right company has become much more complicated.
Lets clear some of the fog and at least find out whether you are looking for English Tipis or Nordic:
The biggest pro of hiring English tipis is affordability. When comparing quotes you will notice straight away that English made tipis come in a lower cost than the Nordic tipis. This is due to several things, including the delivery costs as a company hiring out Nordic Tipis will have had to ship those tipis all the way from Sweden.
Another positive, depending on your viewpoint, is being able to use British made products. To a lot of people it is really important to support UK businesses and the economy. Of course if you are hiring in the UK, the company you hire from is more than likely going to be British either way, but with an English tipi you are supporting a second British business simultaneously – the manufacturer!
They’re made in Britain. We know that might be confusing 😅 but we are talking about cultural appropriation. This has become quite a hot topic in recent years which you can read more about here. When hiring an English tipi there is usually no connection to the people from whom the design came from. The importance of this will vary from person to person, but you should think about it at least.
The other common downside to English Tipis when compared to their Nordic counterparts is durability. There is more of a range here – some English tipi manufacturers such as The Tipi Company boast very high specs (including poles made from Nordic wood👀). Others naturally are less so. The canvases of many English tipis are not naturally waterproof and so need to be treated regularly to make them water repellent. English tipis are made for English weather, which whilst unpredictable is pretty tame in comparison to the environments of Swedish Lapland.
One of the biggest pros of hiring a Nordic Tipi is authenticity. They are designed, built and tested rigorously in the harsh environments of Swedish Lapland by Tentipi. They remain firmly attached to their roots, the Sami culture from whom the tipi design is based. Tentipi hold the utmost respect for the Sami people and have always been outspoken as such. When you hire an authentic Nordic tipi, you are hiring a tipi built by the person who created the original design.
The other plus is durability. If you are overly concerned about the sturdiness of a structure or it’s exposure to the elements, you don’t have to worry about a Nordic Tipi. The canvas is completely waterproof, as shown in this video:
All the materials used in the tipis are subject to harsh and rigorous testing to put your mind at ease. We know the English weather can get a bit crazy but we don’t get the 6ft of snow these tents are designed and tested for!
Price can sometimes be a big drawback and unfortunately will affect many people’s decisions. Tipi companies will usually make sure you get your money’s worth but as with most industries when you buy the original, authentic product, it comes at a higher cost.
The other downside to Nordic tipis can be the climate impact. Manufacturers Tentipi dedicate themselves to using the most climate-friendly transport options but that doesn’t change the fact that an English made tipi won’t have to travel as far. Take care here as just because a tipi is made in England doesn’t mean it’s parts are. Some English tipis still use slow grown, Scandinavian wood for their poles. If having a ‘green’ wedding is important to you, you can always look for a company that offsets it’s carbon emissions. You can read more about that here.
It isn’t completely fair to compare English tipis vs Nordic tipis. When we speak about Nordic tipis, we are talking about one manufacturer. We know Tentipi offer only the highest standards and go through a lot of effort to ensure their product is of the highest quality. When we discuss English tipis, on the other hand, we are referring to multiple manufacturers with varying degrees of quality. Some will be a quality product that depending on your preferences can be the right option for you. Others may not live up to the quality of the original design.
We hope this has helped separate the tents for you, and that you can move forward with your hire plans. As always please feel free to contact the Elite Tents team if you have any more questions.