PE - Re: the tent poles and risk

Cherie Nolan marguerite at
Sun Feb 20 22:54:36 PST 2000

Gregory Stapleton wrote:
> >
> > I have talked to the man who made this tent and he
> > assures me it is wonderful.
> Checked out his Pavilion last Pennsic.  It is truly awesome.  An extremely
> sturdy and beautiful structure.  He's been perfecting / tweaking the design
> for several years and it's something to see.
> Gawain Kilgore / Gregory Stapleton
> ============================================================================
> Go to to perform mailing list tasks.

	I have seen a very nice example of the wheel spoke roundel.  I am a structural engineer and have built/designed many dozens of tents including roundels among them.  There
are several different ways to achieve that same affect, each of which is perfectly valid.  The main thing is to develop a balance of forces.

	It is absurd to think that, after thousands of years of tent building and input from the greatest cultures this world has ever known, we can stumble upon a basic tent
design which has never been thought of before.  Of course the wheel-spoke design was tried during the middle ages.  So was using bent saplings to form a ring, thus keeping
the sides of the tent round by putting it in tension.  A Yurt is a good example of a "roundel" design developed as a frame vs. a center pole style tent.  Different cultures
(and minds) view a problem differently.  Many pictures depict the use of guy ropes which pull the roof edges tight and round.  I have heard more than enough people assume
that side poles were not period.  Bull!  Just because you don't have a painting of it doesn't mean they weren't used.  Can we honestly believe that something that simple
just didn't occur to anyone until recently?  Have we had some surge of technology that only recently made side poles usable?  Of course they were used in roundels among
other designs.

	The main subject has been building a strong and safe tent.  Experimentation is "period".  If you have a design that you prefer, then stay with it.  I have camped in a tent
with sloped sidewalls instead of side ropes.  The fabric pulled the roof edges round and helped support the tent.  We don't want to see anyone in an unsafe tent.  If in
doubt, ask someone else for their opinion.  The single greatest thing that engineering school (and subsequent job experience) has taught me is that I DON'T KNOW
EVERYTHING.  I am constantly amazed at the good ideas other people have if I simply ask them.  

	Also, don't let anyone tell you that a particular tent design, which works, is not "period".  Tent design wasn't the best documented subject since the dawn of man.  We get
most of our information from artist's pictures, and they left out some of the details or tended to distort images.  They may have also been fairly selective in the types of
tents shown.  I will bet that your design is "period", if it works, only we don't have the pictorial evidence to prove it.  You don't need guy ropes for every style of
tent.  One suggestion I will make, however, is to ALWAYS BRING EXTRA ROPE AND STAKES!  Very rarely do we have a RAGNAROK storm catch us completely unaware at events. 
Usually, there is some warning. I will normally stake the tent down extra well, then use the extra rope to make sure everything stays put.  It can always be removed later,
but better safe than sorry.  Besides, I have often needed to loan out the extra rope or stakes to others for the same reasons.



Spinning Winds Pavilions and Tents:
                 The future web site:
Kingdom of Ansteorra's Tent Guild: tentguild at
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