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baker tent, light weight materials

Is there a company or person who makes baker tents using light weight materials?



  • Yes
    -- Last Updated: Jan-15-14 3:15 PM EST --

    Check out Cooke Custom Sewing. They don't call it a Baker tent, but a "Lean Plus" (the "Plus" differentiates it from a lean shelter that's not an enclosed tent and has no bug screen). I have the one-person model, which is big enough for two. It is very light, but that's because there's no floor (a non-attached floor is optional, or you can use a cheap tarp for that) and no fly. Still, in spite of being so light, the one-person model has about double the area of a standard two-person tent, with much of that space being under the low end of the roof, which is an ideal gear-storage area.


    The instructions on the website show how to set it up among trees with nothing but rope, but you can buy poles (also from CCS) to support the front end, or the awning too if you wish.

    Another name for this style of tent is campfire tent, but be aware that sparks from your fire won't just harmlessly settle on or bounce off modern fabric as was the case with the old cotton tents, so having a fire right in front of the door as was traditionally done in the old days isn't such a good idea.

  • I was looking at these the other day
    and ran across this vendor. http://beckelcanvas.com/products_view.php?products_id=25 They have a drawing of the nylon version with a fire in front of it. Not sure why since as GBG says we all know what a wayward ember will do to it. Tempted to call and ask them about that.
  • This is why:
    -- Last Updated: Jan-15-14 4:58 PM EST --

    They use the same drawing to illustrate this alternate version of that lean-to, ...


    ,...which is made of canvas. It looks like most of their tents are made of canvas, and they simply didn't take the trouble to modify the picture of one model that's also available in nylon. Oh, I see that the description of this one says nylon, but if you compare everything written about the two models, you can see that it's just an editing error. It *is* a canvas lean-to.

    That's a neat company. I love old-fashioned tents, even if many of them are pretty heavy by today's standards. I could possibly tempted to buy something like that Miner's tent though.

  • Are you familiar with them?
    They seem like a cool little company. I've toyed with getting one of their old style Whelens just 'cause. $165 isn't bad.
  • No. I just like that stuff
    -- Last Updated: Jan-15-14 4:05 PM EST --

    My mind became warped when I was a kid. It was from reading too many camping/adventure stories that were written back when such tents were the norm. At that age, I wasn't even aware that the stories were out of date.

    I'm not familiar with the company. Your post is the first I've heard of them.

  • I've always loved sleeping by the fire
    when camping, but of course that's not always an option. Price has prevented me from getting a campfire tent, but............
  • Tentsmith
    You might want to check out Tentsmith's site. They make just about every type of canvas tent imaginable and offer a range of fabrics for any given model as well as accessories like stove flaps. Cool company -- I ordered some specialized fabric from them a couple years ago and the salesperson was very helpful on the phone. They do a lot of custom work but have stock models as well.
  • Another Vote for Cookes
    -- Last Updated: Jan-15-14 7:18 PM EST --

    I have the larger Lean 3 in the 1.1oz fabric. It takes a little time to set up but gives you an amazing array of tie down options. I have used it several times in windy (30+mph) conditions and have been amazed at its strength and usefulness.

    Its a great choice for multi person camping. The huge front opening allows for exit and entry without crawling or having to disturb your tent mates.

    I set mine up Cliff Jacobsen style with rope toggles at the contact points. I always carry a collection of varying length lines separately and can add a tie down easily without the tangled mess of dedicated tarp lines.

  • another option
    I am a 18th century living history participant and have several canvas tents made by Panther Primitives. It is a good family business and I have had good experiences. No mosqueto netting or such,but they make several bakers and whellands in different weight canvas. The also will do custom tents to your plans.
  • hey thanks GBG
    I've been pondering a minimalist tent for awhile now and that looks like the ticket...
  • I have enjoyed sleeping by the fire
    -- Last Updated: Jan-19-14 9:13 AM EST --

    at times as well. I stopped after a solo hiker was found dead on the AT near my home a few years ago. He had been sleeping in front of a fire on a cold night. His bag burned. Tragic.

  • Tentsmith
    I think Tentsmith will make their tents in Oiled Egyptian Cotton which drops the weight, but raises the price.
  • Canvas
    All my canvas tents and flys I chose "Sunforger" canvas without the fire retardant treatment. It's lite durable,and they never leak.One is 15 years old and has had much use summer and winter.
  • Baker Tent
    Also know as the Campfire Tent (do a search and there is much info). Seems like only Cooke makes a nylon version. I have always wanted one, perhaps some day... Although not light weight (or cheap)check out:



  • One minor detail
    As long as this discussion is still going, I might as well point out something that many have no doubt noticed but has not been mentioned. The Cooke's Custom Sewing tent being talked about here is not "really" a campfire tent or baker tent. It's similar, but instead of having a short vertical wall at the back end, the roof just keeps sloping all the way to the ground. A true campfire tent also has vertical flaps alongside the entryway, not just an awning. However, for a lightweight alternative to the canvas original, it's close enough in general principle.
  • Whelan style
    The Baker type tent that tapers to the ground without a vertical wall is called a Whelan style. They are simpler to make,easier to set up,lighter,but lack vertical space in the rear. I took my prinitive floorless tent on a summer canoe trip once and bleac flys got in through the gaps.
  • Not the same as a Whelan either
    -- Last Updated: Jan-23-14 1:37 PM EST --

    The Whelan has sides that slope outward, and the top awning usually has a bit of an overlap at each end of its point of attachment. The Lean Plus has vertical sides and a rectangular front entrance of fixed dimensions.

    Compare the Lean Plus to this picture...


    ... and yes, there's some similarity, but they aren't that close to being the same as to share the same name (just as is true for baker/campfire). Actually, you can see some CCS examples among the string of photos following that main photo.

    There's one minor quibble in regard to a Whelen "lacking vertical space in the rear." That statement is not really accurate, or at least misleading in cases where the roof slope of the two models is the same. Changing the roof slope so that the floor-area comparison between the two models is the same would make the statement true. It all depends on slope of the roof, whether one model or the other has more useable space. If the slope of the roof is the same for both tent styles, roof height at the location of the Baker tent's back wall is the same with the Whelen, with the added benefit of additional floor area under the lower roof beyond that point.

  • floor space
    One simple modification I have done on my Whalens and wedge tents,is 2 ties attached to the roof 1-2 feet from the sharp edge. You can then attach 2 lite lines to them to pull up and create a lot more hight with the same tent. You don't have to use them,but if you have or can create a skyhook to tie them to,they are a big improvment.
  • Another canvas option
    is this guy: https://www.strinztipi.com/estore/
    I have one of his wedge tents and it is first class workmanship and quality. I met Don Stinz at the Rocky Mountain College Rendezvous in South Park, CO a number of years ago. He is an honest business man who still knows the value of a man's word. He makes a variety of historically accurate tents and tipis.
  • another option
    I have a small canvas wedge tent with doors on both ends. I sometimes lift one side on up poles to create a wheland type tent. If it's really owly weather,you can close it up snug.
  • Differences
    Having made many true Whelens,Buckley style dryflys Leans and one Campfire tent all of nylon. A huge difference between the Baker and Campfire tent shapes and all the other mentioned ones is the sewn in vertical back wall. All of the others can be set and used as a flat albeit unique edge shaped tarp.
    The Whelen and Lean sides can be set vertical or splayed out. The screen on the lean is two feet wider than the ridgeline' and that makes the floor two feet wider under the ridgeline.
  • Light weight isn't necessarily modern
    -- Last Updated: Feb-03-14 3:40 PM EST --

    I just learned something interesting. Last night I was paging through one of the ancient books about outdoor activities that I used to read when I was a kid. In a section about tents, the author stated that his favorite tent for canoeing was the baker style, with his favorite size being big enough to accommodate three people yet weighing just 6.5 pounds. He was talking about a canvas tent (!), but did imply that it was a special lightweight model. I think I read somewhere else in the book that the groundcloth he used in that tent weighed 2.5 pounds, but I couldn't find that again during a quick re-check just now, so I'm not sure. A modern canvas tent of this kind, with no floor and rated for two people, is likely to weigh about 35 pounds, and I'm sure the same was true for a standard-weight tent of this variety "back in the day".

    I wonder what sort of canvas was used to make lightweight tents in the old days.

    Anyway, I found it interesting that even back in the 1930s, savvy paddlers DID have the option of bringing tents that were every bit as light as the ones we use today (of course, they cut their own poles and stakes each time they set up camp, rather than having permanent poles and stakes as part of the kit).

    Oh, the author also mentioned how nice it is to have the fire right in front of the tent, so apparently even this super-light, waterproofed canvas was immune to sparks (that part didn't surprise me, but I thought I'd mention it anyway).

  • Not lightweight.
    -- Last Updated: Feb-03-14 8:28 AM EST --

    I know you are looking at lightweight versions, but thought this may still be of interest.

    I have a canvas 4 person Duluth Campfire tent that I really enjoy. I searched for years for one of the original style campfire tents. I finally found a used one a good many years ago. It was only used like once or twice and came with the optional stove pipe end wall/cover.

    This is a heavy tent but the quality is incredible. I believe this tent goes under the company name of Frost River now. Here is the link;


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