So I’m working on a fairly heavily researched post right now, and needed a break. Something to distract me, historically speaking, and let me focus on something different for a bit. The KC Sword Guild is having a long weekend Deed event coming up in the next few months, Days of Knights is always looming, and who knows what other event might pop up that I want to go to and look amazing at – asleep or awake.
In that vein I started flipping through tents from various makers of various styles to think about maybe replacing my current tent, the one that stayed up out of sheer pity last time I used it. I find the look of the bell wedge very attractive, and the round pavilion to be very distinctly “medieval.” But I’m also pretty particular about being able to stand up. Being a taller gent, I have to bend over a lot. I can’t just cut veggies at a counter, I have to stoop down to it, that kind of thing. The one great thing about my current tent is that there’s a massive amount of stand up and walk around space.
But it’s hard to just use the floor dimensions of a tent and gauge how much room there is to walk around. The wall slope, there’s poles around, etc. So I took my two favorite styles of tents, the spoke wheel round pavilion and the double bell wedge, and decided to sketch them to scale and find out. In this case, I happened to use Panther Primitives as my guideline. If people ask for it, I’ll do a reprise for tentsmith or midwest tent, or whoever.
The smaller size tents were easier to fit all on one sheet of paper. If you can’t read my handwriting I put the total area, on the floor (not volume) of the tent and I also broke down the “living” area from the “other” area. By that I mean, any place that I can stand up comfortably (marked at the 6′ 6″ mark). All the drawings show the living area marked by a dotted line. in both views. Except for the personal pavilion, the dotted line in the bird’s eye view is just the diameter of the eaves, I forgot to put the smaller circle for walk-around area.. mostly because it’s nearly non-existent in that tent. In my head I refer to the “Personal Pavilion” as the “Sprites and Children-folk” tent. It’s really small. The rest is area that boxes, chests, armor stands, beds, bedrolls, gear, etc can go depending on how tall it is. If you’re 5′ 4″ tall, just imagine that you’ll get more walk around space than the numbers I put here.
As they got bigger I decided not to drop the scale down, so that everything would appear proportional, and they stopped fitting more than one tent to page. You’ll notice that I also show what I approximate the footprint of the tent to be, assuming that any guy lines or ropes you use are roughly at the same angle as the top of the tent. That’s one thing I always forget about when setting up a tent, and though that can inter-mingle with other people’s ropes (especially when you want to create a barrier to creeps slipping between tents) it’s kind of nice to have a ballpark for that measurement.
The largest pavilion they sell is truly massive. You’ll notice I put in the “average bedroom” size as a frame of reference, and while many of the tents have a total square footage in that range, only this gargantuan 18″ spoke wheel pavilion actually has comfortable living space that rivals that of a structural house’s small bedroom.
Now, the pavilions impressed me with their size, but I’m not terribly overwhelmed by the simple “round” shape. Without decoration it’s a bit bland. The bell wedge, even a simple one, has very aesthetic lines to it. What it doesn’t seem to have, is any space. You’ll notice that I have a running price comparison, one for total square footage of tent, and one for how much it costs to buy a square foot of stand-up room. While a bell wedge is very affordable per square foot compared to a spoke round… if you want to hang out inside, you’re not getting much room for your buck.
Anyway, I hope these drawings help you out as much as they did me. They’ve done worlds for settling out my anxiety over the decision and giving me perspective that numbers of pictures fail to do. I even drew out, and cut out, twin, full, queen, and king size beds on pieces of grid paper so I could lay them on top and see where / what size bed would fit in which tent. I suppose you could do that with most any furniture, but a bed is the only one I really 100% have to fit inside the tent. As long as it doesn’t rain, most of the rest of my gear can park it outside under a piece of canvas to disguise its unsightliness.
Were these drawings helpful? Could I make them more useful to others as a tool to help make their decisions? Let me know in the comments. This content is as much an outlet for my madness as it is a resource for reenactors both old and new. Hopefully that next, chunky, armor-y article will be up in the next week or so. This little project was an effective pallet cleanser.