The length of the poles should be 4′ to 5′ longer than tipi diameter. Open the cover out flat, right side up (the smoother side of the seam is the right side). Select 3 of the strongest poles for the tripod. One pole is laid on the cover, with the butt end next to the door, even with the bottom hem and the other end extending past the tie between the smoke flaps. The other two are laid on the cover, side by side, approximately one-third of the distance around the bottom of the cover. Once again the butt end is even with the hem and the other end extending past the tie at the top. Tie the three poles together at a point approximately 15″ above the point where the poles cross each other. The poles should be tied together firmly, but not extremely tight. When the tripod is setup, the knot will tighten and if it is too tight, the result could be broken poles. The poles should be tied with a rope long enough to reach the ground plus 4′ or 5′ extra, so that it can be staked down in the center of the tipi in the event of strong winds. The tripod is then set up by walking under the poles. Spread the tripod apart so the ends are spread evenly in the approximate diameter of the tipi. Starting at the front, stack the rest of the poles in the crotch at the top. Save the two longest poles for the smoke flaps and leave one pole out directly opposite the door. Take hold of the rope hanging down from the tripod poles and walk with it to the outside of the frame. Walk the rope around the circumference of the tipi poles three times to wrap all the poles together at the crotch. The remaining length of rope should then be brought back inside the frame and staked to the ground at the center.
The cover should now be rolled up from both sides to the center, having the tie at the top exposed. Slide a pole under the cover, using the tie at the top. The butt of the poles should be even with the bottom of the cover. Have someone hold the butt end to the ground and lift the pole and cover into the open spot left at the back of the frame. Unroll the cover around the frame. Starting at the top put sticks in the holes that hold the front of the cover together. The left side goes over the right side. Stake the bottom out and adjust the poles so the cover lays smooth. Put the ends of the two remaining poles in the pockets (or slits) provided at the top corners of the smoke flaps.
The Crow style tipi is probably the most pleasing design visually. The size of the smoke flaps are beautifully proportioned to the nearly conical shape of the tipi itself. We learned to make this tipi from our close neighbors on the Crow Indian Reservation. Entire families would come into our shop to show us how to make an authentic tipi. We owe a large measure of gratitude to the Real Bird, Sings Good, Old Coyote and other Crow families for their invaluable information and patronage over several generations. Tipi Etiquette is something fun to read and abide by when you have your friends over!!!
The traditional “A” shape door opening is standard on the Crow Tipi. An oval shaped door opening is available at no additional charge for those that specify it in the additional comments box when ordering.