Several bitter cold hunts finally pushed me over the edge to put together this Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi review. Not sure if it is worth the price? You’ve come to the right place to get some honest feedback. I’d had my eye on a Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi for several years, and after dealing with temperatures as low as -16 in second rifle season in Colorado in 2020, I was finally convinced I needed to bite the bullet and get a hot tent for the 2021 season.
Admittedly, there is a lot to think about when it comes to deciding if a hot tent is worth the expensive price tag. If you decide that it is, then the challenge is trying to filter through all of the options on the market today to get just the right shelter for your needs. I went from knowing next to nothing about hot tents a year ago, to being well-educated about them and becoming a huge fan. Let’s dive into the details of the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi and how I landed on this particular shelter.
Picking the Right Tipi: Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi Review
I spent several months mulling over all of the options Seek Outside and other competitors offer. After doing research, scrubbing hunting forums, discussing options with other hunters, adding up shelter weights, and deliberating on which brand to go with, I finally landed on Seek Outside due to their reputation for building a high-quality shelter that can withstand whatever mother nature decides to throw at you.
After a few more weeks of looking at all of their offerings, I opted to go with the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi. Deciding on this tipi took some process of elimination along with factoring in my personal needs for it. I expect to be using this hot tent with my hunting buddies for years to come, and hopefully still when my kids who are very young get old enough to come hunting. I knew I wanted space to sleep at least 3 with a stove.
Like most hunters these days, I prefer to go as light as possible throughout September archery season and as far into October as I can manage for rifle season. But there comes a point where it just gets too cold and isn’t that much fun for a 6’4”, 215 pound man to be huddled in a tiny ultralight tent for hours on end, having to stay in a sleeping bag to keep warm.
After a few of those experiences, my intent with the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi was primarily for late season hunts when the temperature drops and the nights are long. After finally placing my order, I couldn’t wait to get started on the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi review and truly put it to the test.
The Specs: Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi Review
Before we dive deep into this Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi review and it’s performance out in the field, here are the basic specs of the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi: (No Door Screens)
- Height 8′ 6″
- Diameter 16′
- 195 sq ft
- Sitting room (area taller than 36″) – 84 square feet
- Standing room (area taller than 6 ft) – 27 square feet
I was also curious if the advertised weights were accurate vs the actual weights, so here is a rundown of the listed weight vs actual weight per my scale. For comparison, I weighed all of the pieces individually on two different scales at home and recorded my findings which you can find below.
Details On these Specs
8 Person Full Liner – 16 oz/each (Seek Outside sells these in “half liners,” so I ordered two)
- With the two liners attached to the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi, the stuff sack and lineloc tensioners for the liners, the shelter weighed in at 104 oz. This is 4 oz heavier than advertised on the Seek Outside specs. My assumption is that this is purely due to the tensioners, seam sealer, and stuff sack not being accounted for in the listed weights on the website.
8 Person Tipi Carbon Center Pole
- 6 total sections that are 18” to 18.5″ long
- Two sections nest together easily for packing and will be a 20-22″ packed size
- Minimum height of 91.4”, maximum height of 108”
8 Person Half Floor
- Made from HyperD PU 4000 40D which is a 40 Denier (D) nylon ripstop fabric. (Denier is the unit measuring the weight and thickness of the individual threads used in the fabric)
XL Titanium Wood Stove
- Burn Chamber 10.25″ Tall / 10.25″ Wide / 14″ long
- Height with legs ~15 inches
All in, this put my total cost to purchase right at $2,193.50 before taxes, with a total weight of 233.6 oz or 14.6 pounds. Purely looking at the listed weights on Seek Outside’s website, I came in right at 9 ounces heavier than advertised with 7 of the 9 ounces being accounted for in the weight listed for the twisted stakes. Everything else was extremely close.
The Ordering Process: Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi Review
I ordered the shelter for the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi review in mid-May knowing that there would likely be a long wait for my shelter to arrive. Seek Outside listed a wait time of 6-8 weeks from the order date to delivery date, and this held true with my shelter arriving right at 8 weeks after ordering.
Per their website, the wait is due to extremely high demand and the fact that Seek Outside is a family-owned business with their High Tenacity Cordura Nylon Canopy shelters being built right here in the USA in my home state of Colorado. For me, I was proud to support a company that builds their products here on American soil. While writing this review and checking back on the Seek Outside website, it looks like lead times have been reduced down to 1-3 weeks, depending on the exact product.
The Setup: Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi Review
As I previously mentioned, after freezing my tail off for two years straight, the thought of having a place to get warm and dry every night was what pushed me over the edge to purchase this Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi. After the shelter arrived, I read and re-read the different methods for setting up the shelter and watched several “how to” videos. Once I got a solid idea of what it should look like and the steps to follow, I set up the shelter in my backyard several different times to practice and make sure I could set up the shelter in the backcountry without any problems.
As expected, it takes a bit of trial and error to get the tipi set up efficiently and without too much of a “bell” shape. I opted to use the “radius” method for setup and found that marking a spot on my center pole with tape (7’11” for the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi) was extremely helpful to get the pitch just right in staking out the four corners from the center point of the shelter.
There are multiple videos on Seek Outside’s website or YouTube showing the different methods for setup that I found very helpful. The half floor also comes in very handy for assisting with being able to stake down 3 of the 4 “corners” to speed up the process a bit. I found that I was able to get the tipi pitched in around 20 minutes. It isn’t rocket science, but I would absolutely recommend multiple practice runs setting up the shelter to get a good feel for it before venturing into the woods.
Next, be sure to do the “burn in” for the stove. This MUST be done before using it in the backcountry to get the stove and pipe in form to be able to handle it in the field.
NOTE: The ultra-thin Titanium that Seek Outside builds their stoves from is VERY sharp. I would highly recommend wearing gloves when rolling the stove pipe before burning in. It has a tendency to want to roll up on you very quickly and could easily slice a finger or hand. Having a buddy or two to help with getting the stove pipe rolled would be ideal.
Another option is to utilize a long PVC pipe to help create the correct form of the pipe before sliding on the rings to hold it in place. Also, you want to make sure not to over-tighten the wingnuts on the stove to prevent warping. If you want your stove to look nice and clean, wipe it down after assembling, but before burning in to get off any fingerprints. Once you do the burn in, any marks or fingerprints are there to stay.
Which titanium Stove Would You Choose?
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The Testing: Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi Review
Fast forward a few months to November, after some hunting buddies who had planned to come canceled at the last minute, it ended up being just me and one other buddy testing this for this Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi review. We hunted for 5 days in early November during the Colorado second rifle season on a mule deer/elk combo hunt. In true Colorado fashion, we got to experience the whole gamut of what Colorado high country weather can offer.
The first 3 days of the hunt, it did not stop raining/snowing/sleeting/hailing for more than a few minutes. Highs were in the 30s at camp – just warm enough not to snow, making everything soaking wet. Low temps were in the low to mid-teens and of course caused everything that was wet to freeze at night.
After getting to the planned camp location, I immediately was reminded that finding 16 square feet of “flat” ground in the mountains is extremely difficult. With the help of moving logs and kicking out a few high spots, I managed to find an area I was happy with to get the Seek Outside 8 Man tipi set up. Using tools like OnX maps topo layer was invaluable to be able to identify potential camping areas.
As I expected, the tipi setup and getting the pitch just right was much trickier on slightly sloped ground than back at home. With a big front moving in, I had to move quickly and didn’t adjust the layout as much as I otherwise would have.
Note that in the photo above, I guyed out points as best as I was able to, given what I had to work with. I purchased some extra ultralight cordage and extra Seek Outside stakes to do this. (Seek Outside does not provide extra guy line or stakes for the extra guy out points. Considering the price point of the shelter, I wish this was something they would include.) To help with preventing the “bell” shape, I found “Y” shaped sticks or used adjacent trees in the area where we camped to help with getting the guy out points elevated a bit. This helped create as much usable space within the shelter as possible.
In a one sentence summary, this hunt absolutely would not have happened as planned without the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi. It performed amazingly well. Despite wearing rain gear all day, we still needed to get our gear dried out after each day’s hunt. The combination of snow and rain had nearly everything soaked, even if it was waterproof, so it was a huge relief to have a place to dry everything out.
I was immediately grateful for the space the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi offers as well. My hunting buddy and I brought ultralight chairs to leave at camp. With sunset in November in Colorado being around 6:00 pm, these were another great addition so we didn’t have have to sit on the ground for several hours before bed. In my opinion, the half floor was absolutely a lifesaver to keep our pads and bags totally dry and added a layer of comfort that is well worth the weight penalty for me.
The Seek Outside half floor may just be a personal preference as I like to keep my sleeping gear as clean as possible. I opted to throw in an ultralight tarp as well to cover a portion of the floorless side of the shelter. This came in very handy to store additional gear off the wet and muddy ground.
Where the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi truly shined was after the hunt each day. We used the hooks that attach the liners to the shelter to loop gear over and this worked amazingly well to get things up high in the shelter where it was the warmest. Gear like my First Lite Alpine Cold Weather Gloves and Cabelas Space Rain gear were the main beneficiaries of this and with the stove cranking, we had almost everything completely dried out in a couple of hours once we got back for the night.
Using the Stove: Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi
With the Seek Outside XL stove, it definitely took me some practice to control the temperature, but I found the Bigfoot Bushcraft Fire Plugs to be AWESOME in getting the fire started. I definitely recommend picking some up if you use a hot tent, or, just as an emergency for your pack. I found that adjusting the damper and intake control takes a bit of trial and error to get “just right.” The first few fires we built, I had the damper and intake control totally open. While this was great for burning a red-hot fire, it caused me to strip down to my base layer in no time and I ran out of wood very quickly.
After a few adjustments, it became much easier to manage the fire and keep the shelter at a comfortable temperature. Another obvious lesson I learned was that with the extremely wet firewood we were dealing with, it was necessary to start adding more wood before the fire started to burn down. Due to not paying close attention, I ended up having to restart the fire a few times and smoked my buddy and myself out in the process. After opening up the doors for a minute and getting the fire re-lit, it was a non-issue. I learned the important lesson of keeping the stove burning.
Lessons Learned: Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi Review
Obviously, 14+ pounds is a lot when it comes to backcountry hunting. For rifle seasons, I typically hunt with at least 1-2 other people. The tradeoff of daily comfort on the hunt vs short term pain to pack this tipi into the high country is well worth it in my opinion. If that’s not you though, check out the Seek Outside Cimarron Tipi for a lot of weight savings, but still plenty of space for two full grown adults and a stove, or 4 with not stove.
If you separate out the pieces of the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi so each guy is carrying between 5 and 7 pounds and it is manageable to get it to base camp with 2-3 other guys. Bring along a 4th hunting partner and everyone carries under 4 pounds. With the space offered, getting even more than 4 people in the tipi would be do-able, although a bit snug with gear.
In doing research to determine which shelter to go with, I read over and over that condensation can be a real challenge depending on the weather conditions. Knowing that inclement weather is often likely on late season hunts, I opted to buy the two half liners. Boy was I glad I did! They are made from white 20d uncoated ripstop nylon with a durable water repellent finish. With the half liners, it creates a double wall shelter and improves heat retention. With three straight days of snow/rain/sleet, we had a small stream running through the corner of the tipi at one point and had to do a bit of digging to get water flowing away from the shelter.
The ripstop nylon worked perfectly and kept the water that did run down the sides of the tipi from getting on our gear and on us. The interior of the shelter was slightly damp to the touch. I hadn’t realized there was so much condensation in-between the liner and the canopy until I put my hand in-between them after a couple of days.
Sod Skirt Adjustment
Sod skirt adjustment is important. When I hurriedly set up the shelter on this hunt, I ended up with the pitch being a bit high on one end which then led to the skirt being draped under the shelter and onto the half floor. After the first day of non-stop rain and snow, I found a nice flow of water had accumulated underneath some of my gear. This was completely user error, and after adjusting the skirt of the tipi to NOT direct water onto the half floor, I did not have any further issues the remaining four days.
Another obvious point when setting up the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi is to be sure to get as much real estate between you and any tree canopy in the vicinity as you can. Call me paranoid, but even with the stove having a spark arrestor I wanted to be ultra-cautious of staying clear of the surrounding trees. It might sound obvious, but being extra cautious when using the wood stove is a must.
Stove Burn Time
I packed a small foldable saw for this hunt and was I glad I did! Throughout the hunt, I would cut to size large pieces of wood that would burn much longer than the stuff I could break with a boot. Before getting in my sleeping bag for the night, I would use the biggest pieces of wood I could fit in the stove. I found that fully packed, the XL stove burned for around an hour, maybe an hour and a half. With that in mind, unless you plan on stoking the fire 4-5 times per night, you need a quality sleep system like the Feathered Friends Ibis to stay warm throughout the night.
We’ve tested a LOT of sleeping bags over the years, so check out those reviews here to find one that fits your needs perfectly! We’ve got you covered for everything from early season quilts to late season winter bags. Finding the right sleeping bag and pad (see our pad reviews here) is a critical piece to getting a good night sleep in the backcountry. Bringing the wrong bag can literally be a nightmare.
Pin-hole repairs from sparks
Upon inspecting my Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi post hunt, I found 3 small holes from embers that made it through the spark arrestor. I called Seek Outside to see what their recommendation was for fixing them. If small enough, they suggested the seam sealer works well. If too big for the liquid seam sealer, Tenacious Tape is their preferred method. Following this hunt, I went ahead and ordered the Seek Outside Rain/Snow Cap. These caps are supposed to help with preventing embers from getting airborne along with keeping moisture from going down the stove pipe. I’ll be interested to see if this solves the issue of getting pin holes from sparks next season.
Half Floor Thoughts
The half floor was awesome – however, I wish Seek Outside offered a three-quarter floor. Obviously, two half floors will not work when using a stove. I could be an outlier here, but when there is a downpour happening outside I want to get fully inside the shelter to get my dirty, wet gear off. I felt like a three quarter floor would solve this and provide extra floored space to use as a clean area if needed.
The half floor allows for this, however a three-quarter floor would be better for keeping dirty boots and packs in the quarter of the “dirty” space while allowing for pads, bags, and other clean items to stay on the three quarter side. If we did have a third and fourth person in the shelter, at least one person would have been sleeping on the dirt. We also ended up tracking a good deal of mud onto the half floor as you can see from the photos.
Be sure to face the stove away from your sleeping area. The first night of the hunt, I had the stove facing my sleeping pad/bag with the intake control wide open. With a rip-roaring fire, we had a few embers come flying out and onto sleeping gear. Had we not noticed quickly, it could have easily resulted in a flat pad or a new hole in an expensive down sleeping bag.
Bring Spare Stove pieces
With the stove, there are a lot of small pieces to keep track of (4 legs, 4 weld nuts- AKA “feet”), 8 wingnuts, 1 damper, and 10 rings to hold the 9’ stove pipe in place). Needless to say, in disassembling it after the hunt I was not paying attention and nearly left a few pieces in the snow and mud that blended right in with the terrain. With this in mind, I decided to purchase a backup set of stove hardware “just in case.” I plan to throw in an extra one or two of each as a precaution before my next extended venture into the backcountry.
As with any tent, I made sure to fully dry out and clean the tipi after my hunt to prevent mildew before packing it away until next season. It is especially important in dealing with the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi as you’re likely always going to be dealing with some moisture post hunt.
Conclusion: Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi Review
It was a truly an eye opener doing this Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi reivew, after a season of field testing for this Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi review, I’ve come to believe that this thing is an absolute backcountry palace. Laying in my sleeping bag at night, listening to snow slide off the tent made me incredibly grateful to NOT be worried about my shelter collapsing like in past years with an ultralight tent. It also withstood significant wind gusts without any issues.
While the Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi is not for everyone due to the cost and weight, it has opened up possibilities for me with late season hunting that I otherwise would not have been nearly as excited about. The Seek Outside 8 Man Tipi, or really any of the Seek Outside hot tent combos, are truly a game changer!
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