The Monster Pack

We have been preparing for the last show of the season taking Wild Canvas to new heights with a whole new range of canvas and leather Packs.

This post will be dedicated to the biggest of them all: The Monster Pack.

canvas backpack

The lovely Angelika loaded down

big mama

Photo by Olly Jelley

canvas back pack

Side tightening system

This one pushed all the stops out: truly enormous at 100 litre capacity in the main section, plus large side pockets, even larger front pocket and overload possibility, but also can be closed small with the side tightening system, for those milder adventures.

Photo by Olly Jelley

Photo by Olly Jelley

canvas backpack

Back view

Look here to see how much you can stuff in there…and get change from a pound.

The Monster Pack with its friends and relations, will be on display at the Adventure Overland Show this weekend. Look out for the yellow Merc. 814 4×4
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Open Fire Yurt II: Flames Within, Flames Without

 

Our open fire yurt, based on a yurt of the Firuzkhui from northern Afghanistan, finally went to its rightful/leftful keeper. So we moved it to let it go on…

The bottom picture shows the yurt in its new home and the one above it is a true yurt. *The word ‘yurt’ comes from a Turkic word which means the imprint left on the ground by a moved ‘yurt’ (the round tent with vertical trellis walls and conical roof), and extends to meaning  a person’s homeland.  In modern Turkish the word “yurt” is used for a homeland or a dormitory. It has become used in many other languages as the tent-like dwelling which we all know and love.

open fire yurt

 

 

 

open fire in a yurt

Canvas roof and felt walls

 

yurt felt

Just the under clothes

 

A little lizard living under the canvas

A little lizard living on the felt under the canvas

 

yurt felt

Felt coming off

 

afghan yurt

 

afghan yurt frame

 

 

yurt frame

 

 

a yurt

 

 

fire in a yurt

 

Yurt Canvas Doors

We have developed a new style of yurt canvas door: this one with a zip.  It gets fixed to the door frame either side, sharing turn buttons with the walls, then opens with a strong zip, tying up when you want to leave it open. (The cover is one we made for a 26′ yurt, made by Alistair at Underwood Crafts).

yurt canvas doors

A door in the door

yurt canvas door

inside

yurt canvas doors

outside

One of our other styles of yurt canvas door, our original one, has 2 overlapping doors, one fixed to each door post, which then run on 2 curtain-type wires under the door lintel. This means that they can be swapped around with where the winds are a-blowing.

yurt canvas door

Klil, The Galilee, Israel

yurt canvas doors

Tuscany, Italy

yurt canvas door3

Another one in The Galilee

afghan yurt

Our first Afghan yurt in the Orseg, Hungary

Wood or canvas? A lot of people like the wooden door,  as it feels a bit housey and more secure and can be locked, which can be an advantage when you go out dancing, but the truth is that it is a tent after all,  and if anyone wants to break in and the coast is clear, they can just cut through the canvas and wooden frame. (Burglars: don’t get any naughty ideas…)

Yurt wooden door

Wooden door on Yurt in Snowdonia, Wales

For transporting, a wooden door in its frame is a bit cumbersome, which is why most of the wooden doors on native trellis tents have collapsible door frames, and leaved doors, for easier packing onto camels or horses. (See our different yurt types for pictures). Some traditional yurts, like the wondrous Karalkalpak yurt below, have a felt flap which rolls down from the lintel.

Karalkalpak yurt

Karalkalpak yurt (photo from David Richardson)

 

Baker Tents: the Ultimate Open Fire Tents

Here is a long overdue entry about the latest Baker Tent development we made together with Wild Canvas. So far we had made two versions: a small one person Baker Tent which we called the Mini Campfire tent, and the large one we called the Land-rover tent. We have been asked by a customer of Wild Canvas to make a family size of the smaller version (mini campfire tent), one that has a larger “bedroom” to sleep the whole family. We would like to show case it here, because in reality it seems to us the ideal Bushcrafty outdoors size tent.

land rover tent

Land Rover Tent

Above you can see the Landrover tent which was made to mate with a Defender, height wise. It is of course the same stand-alone campfire tent, but this time you can tie it into the back of your Defender to create an outside kitchen space with an open fire, together with a small family sized bedroom. If people are happy to sleep by the fireside (who isn’t?) it can sleep 5-6 people. This larger Baker tent (Land Rover tent) also features zipped sides, so either side can act as the door for the back sleeping area, or both sides can act simply as …. sides.

Zipped Sides

Zipped Sides

The one man Baker Tent is a small enough for one person to be very comfortable: it is 4ft high, the bedroom is 4ft deep, and is 7ft wide like all the other versions. This is a very sweet size, and also very portable but it to weighs too much to be carried for too long, but great for a one man expedition with a canoe or 4×4.

The open fire,  like always, is a winner: it never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t understand the added magic of being in a tent in the weather by an open fire. This is truly the king outdoor experience and why we love these tents so much.

Mini campfire tent

The smallest Baker tent – the mini Campfire Tent

The only Issue with this last one was that sometimes you want to go camping in the forest with a friend or if you are lucky with a wife or husband. This is what brought us to make the double size bedroom, slightly higher at 5ft high, and almost 7ft deep, and like both its predecessors its 7ft wide. This was the winner in our view.

We took ours to a lake we love in the mountains of mid-Wales. It was late afternoon and we made a fire and cooked a lovely dinner by the lake side, a quick jump into the calm water before sorted us out. We were  just relaxing to go to sleep, and got disturbed by a dog walker that decided he needs to confront us for camping there. Apparently the ‘no camping’ sign we drove past disturbed him, and the fact that we jumped in the water was really too much, as it was kept for nature only. Nature ……….and……… his dog.

baker tent

The calm water of the mountain lake

Baker Tent

Late afternoon dinner in Baker Tent

Baker tent sunset

Still view before sunset

We decided to treat it as an omen that we were not welcome after all, and packed the tent down in record time of 5 minutes. It was getting dark so having to let go of a perfect camping spot seemed strange. Yes nature is preserved for dog walkers to enjoy, but we did not feel like fighting, sometimes the universe speaks to one in strange ways.

It seemed like there was no chance of a camping spot, so at the last minute we snuck past a forest gate, and down a little forest road, and viola we were amongst the trees. The tent went up in less than 5 minutes, including the fire and was even better than the last spot. The tent was in its element and we fell asleep to the smell of woodsmoke. Having slept in those amazing tents now in hot weather and in howling storms, I can say for certain you don’t know what you are missing: it’s a different experience to see the sunrise under canvas.

Baker tent

The morning after

Baker tent front view

Front view

And no, it does not need a mosquito net like plastic tents provide (although we have made them with too) because insects avoid the fire, and the smoke smell. I’ll bet you could take it up to Ranoch Moor, where a midge machine (yes they do exist) can fill a 5kg jar in one evening with dead midges, and not get one bite.

baker tent top view

Top view of baker tent

Baker tent side view

Side view showing the depth of the sleeping compartment

Baker tent fire

Water for coffee

Hopefully the customer will get to make a Youtube movie showing this tent one day (he promised) so we can put a link to it here.

Felt like Autumn: Yurt Felt Linings

yurt felt lining inside

inside with felt

There is a bit of a nip in the air,  the nights are drawing in and, as well as other things, we are sewing yurt felt linings: this time a big one for a 32′ yurt we made the canvas for earlier in the year.

Yurt felt lining calculations

Felt like calculations

yurt felt lining

Felt like cutting the Roof

It is surprising how much difference a felt lining can make, both for coolness in the heat of summer and warmth in the freeze of winter. I only appreciated this when living in a yurt with a wool felt lining in a Hungarian winter where it got to -22 degrees C. There was still that moment of hesitancy before braving the distance between bed and stove, with the water frozen solid in the cup next to the bed. But yurts are easy to heat and once the stove was fired up, it was possible to sit naked for the morning cup of tea.

Firuzkhui yurt felt lining

Felt lining on the open fire yurt. (The hole is for the stove chimney.)

It’s kind of funny that the 100% wool felt we use comes from Austria, and we are currently living in a part of Wales where there are about 48 sheep to every human. Wool wool all around. The sheep are mainly farmed for meat and wool is a by-product. Anyway,  making enough felt for a yurt lining is a lot of work.

welsh sheep

Welsh sheep

Traditional yurts, of course, have thick felt outer covers as, in the Central Asian countries where the yurts are used, there are extremes of cold and hot, but not wet. The felt’s natural oils and thickness are enough to keep the moisture out, but when the yurt came to the West, an outer waterproof layer was needed. The American yurts went mainly into vinyl, the European went into cotton canvas.

yurt felt

Kyrgyz Yurt

Felt is believed to be one of the earliest textiles and the traditional process is a huge task, usually done by the women of the group. The Mongolian method involves beating the wool first to clean it, then laying it out with the fibres parallel before rubbing water into it. It is then wrapped around a large pole and fastened securely and this pole dragged behind a horse or camel to bind the fibres together. Only then, when the felt is complete with no holes, is it cut into the shapes for the yurt cover, then sewn together by hand.

So if you want a felt lining for a yurt, let us know, and we can start shearing the 100 or so sheep we will need and harnessing the camels, before threading our sewing needles.