Rawhide Ranch...because a campfire helps you see things in a different light.™  

True Western Cowboy Hotel

Native American lodging structures.

primitive camping structures

The Tipi Village is the only primitive campground in Brown County Indiana that gives you the opportunity to sleep in a real tipi. These 20' lodges are styled after the Sioux design with a few modifications. The lift pole flap is taken from the Blackfoot and the smoke flap extensions are modeled after the Cheyenne. You will be amazed at the amount of space these beautiful structure provide. We even installed the inner lining to provide privacy at night.

Rawhide Ranch currently has 2 of these lodges allowing groups of up to 16 people in a group. These sites are great for the adventurous family, scout group, company outing or youth group.

Two Tipis: available for individual rental

Sumanitu - Sioux word for Wolf (hand painted wolf on North side of tipi)

Mukwa - Sioux word for Bear (hand painted bear on North side of tipi)

Primitive camping in Brown County Indiana

Tipi Rental Price:
$45 a night per tipi
Available (March 15 - November 28)

Maximum: 8 per tipi

private fire pit inside tipi
picnic table
Potable water (short walk)
Public flushing toilets (short walk) (no shower)
Communal firepit outside
Parking for one vehicle at each tipi

What to bring:
This is primitive camping; you need to bring bedding, firewood and anything else that you could use during your stay.

"I have stayed in the tipi numerous nights through the winter. There is something majestic about relaxing in your tipi by a warm fire while the cold wind blows outside. I know that most of you have never stayed in a tipi and asked for a little advice, here you go.....

Ground covering: You will want to have something on the ground under your sleeping bag. A tarp or piece of canvas a little bigger than your sleeping bag is best. You do not want to cover the entire tipi floor with a tarp especially if it rains. If it is winter time, you will want something under you that has some insulation properties. Air mattresses are a terrible idea. The air in the mattress absorbs the ground temp and the outside ambient air. I use a thermarest camping pad with a R3 value then a couple wool blankets. If you don't your body will absorb the cold from the ground

Fire: We require tipi guests to bring their own firewood. You want smaller pieces and the ranch staff does not have enough time to split the wood to keep up with demand. You do not want big logs. The fire needs to have flame and not smolder. If it smolders, your tipi will get smoky. You want the fire burning all night in the winter. The fire will heat the rocks surrounding the pit which helps but will not do it alone. Someone will need to get up periodically to tend the fire. If the fire goes out, you will notice a drastic temperature change as the night goes on.

Smoke Flaps: Taking a few minutes to learn about the smoke flaps and how they work is crucial to your tipi experience. There is no better description of how to operate them than the instruction manual from the company that fabricated ours. Please take a moment to follow this link to a pdf copy of the manual. You will find the instructions for the door and smoke flaps on pages 19 to 22. The entire manual is neat to read through as it gives a lot of great information.
Tipi manual

Camping: This is camping which means you are in nature. The tipis are not a sealed environment. If you have a fire going, the smoke will keep most bugs away. If the tipi has been vacant, you might find a critter hanging out in your temporary home. We have found frogs, turtles and other little guys hanging out inside. This is not an issue during the winter months but you never know. The poles of a tipi are a great place for wasps to build nests. Those are dealt with when a customer makes us aware.

Inner liner: Inside the tipi you will find a second layer of fabric. This is the liner and your best friend. It serves three purposes. The first is privacy. If we did not provide a liner in the tipi you would give your neighbors a shadow show of all your interior activities. The second is the drafting of the fire. This liner helps direct the smoke out of the tipi. The third is an insulator during the winter. The tipi should have about 3 inches off the ground all the way around. This allows enough air flow into the tipi for the drafting of the fire. If the liner is not in place, that 3 inch gap lets one heck of a draft right at ground floor, right where you sleeping. Please leave this liner up, it is not a handy ground tarp.

Sense of adventure: You are sleeping in a real tipi, how cool is that? The tipi can be an amazing experience for you, your family and/or friends. You will be roughing it but that is the point. Step away from your modern day creature comforts and step back into the old days where life was completely different.

One of my items on my bucket list was to stay in a tipi during a snow storm. I could envision stepping out of the door and snow flying as I fling open the flap. I wanted this experience and I knew there would be others. I hope you enjoy the tipi and grow a little appreciation for those who lived in them on the Great Plains."

Have fun!
Derek W Clifford
Ranch Manager

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