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Recent Email Questions and Answers from 5-23-09

Also see: Q&A 3/2011  5/2009  3/2009  11/2008  2008  2007  3/2007  2003  Testimonials

On Sep 29, 2010, at 9:02 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

see below answers


Bob Gillis


Hi Bob,

How's things?

I have a couple of questions regarding the domes:

1. What material is the canvas made out of and what's the weight?

Shelter Systems' coverings are made by taking a special plastic copolymer (a simple compound composed of carbon and hydrogen which is chemically similar to wax) and stretching it until it becomes stiff. At this point, the material is at its maximum tensile (pull) strength. It is then sliced into thin strips and woven into a fabric. This gives it amazing tear resistance. The fabric is then laminated on both sides with some sheets of the same stretch-strengthened material and is thereby stabilized and super strengthened. You cannot tear it with your hands.

Approximately 4 oz for a square yard

2. I'm needing to have a rain catchment areas and was thinking of putting a tarp on top of the dome- raised in 4 corners and have 4 catchment areas in the creases. I read that it was not advisable to have anything over the domes- why is this the case?

Rain Catchment System: The flap of shingling material that circles the dome at about 5' can be tucked into a gutter that can direct rain run off into storage. The gutter could be of metal or fabric and should hang from the 12 clips that circle the dome just under the ring pole at the above mentioned 5'. In most towns there are individuals who are in the business of making custom gutters (look in the yellow pages). I would recommend a narrow gutter of say 2.5" to 3" as you will want to fit the gutter under the pole system of the dome. Each of the 12 gutter joints should be the same 150 degree angle. You will need a down spout and a storage tank for the water.

Another gutter system can be constructed using a long strip of water tight fabric such as a blue tarp material say 18" in width and long enough to go around the dome and then downward into a water storage vessel (this can also be made of a blue tarp by cutting a tarp into a circle with a radius of say 8'. Then gather circumference of the circle tarp around one of your vent tubes and tie it tight with some of the line included with your dome. Tie this upon tube to a clip of your dome at about 5' high so the tube is about a 12" off the ground. You will then need to start to attach your "gutter" to the 2" skirt of your dome at the approximate height of 5' and circle the dome so as to create a gutter of tarp material on both sides of this 2" skirt that starts at with a gutter that is only 3" deep and ends with the gutter being 9" deep once it is all the way around the dome. One way to attach the "gutter" is to use 3" by 1/8" by 1/8" sharpened slivers of wood as pins to pin the tarp cutter to this 2" skirt. The gutter then should be formed into a tube and directed down into your water storage "bag". A length of tubing can be also inserted into the bag thru the tube to syphon water as you need it. Be careful to prevent small rodents from gaining access to you water as they may drown and pollute your water. Filtering and water purifying systems may be relevant. If your needs are small a 55 gallon plastic drum may suffice. For filtering do a search online for ( rain water filter system ) One we found was: http://www.baproducts.com/rainwatr.htm

DO NOT COVER SHELTER WITH A TARP, PARACHUTE OR ANYTHING OTHER THAN A SINGLE LAYER OF OUR SUNSHADES. A tarp can fill with rain and collapse shelter. A tarp will trap heat and cause the poles to deform. Do not cover your dome with anything except a single layer of our SunShade. Do not overlap sunshades.

Cheers for you response!


On Jun 30, 2010, at 2:23 PM, Bob Gillis wrote:

Customers have painted our domes but I do not know how they worked over time for them. The domes covering is smooth and stiff paint could be stressed when the dome is folded up. Can spray paint may work. Permanent markers seem to be a sure bet. Test out to be sure what you use will work for you. You can attach canvas or other material by using Grip Clips to tie them to the clips on the inside or out side of the dome; this would let you remove the paintings when you fold up the dome. Let us know what works for you. Send a photo so we can show others.


Bob Gillis

Hi. This is Mood Me Content and we recently purchased one one of your Bubble domes( 10 ). We would like to know if it is possible to use a certain type of paint ( or something similar) on the the material that is used for bubble dome 10. This will help us a lot. It would be most appreciated if you can get back to us as soon as possible.
Thank you.

On Jun 29, 2010, at 10:28 AM, Dustin wrote:

Gotcha, I will look for another option then.

On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 8:20 AM, Bob Gillis <bob@shelter-systems.com> wrote:
Hi Dustin
We have no feedback on the CC at burning man. I can tell you they are not
nearly as strong as our domes. The reason is that the structure is curved
only in one direction, the poles are terminated to create the doors and the
doors are large flat areas. If you give it a try let us know how it works
out. Bottom line I would not recommend them but am curious how they would


From: Dustin

Subject: crystal caves at burning man?

Hi Eleanor, we recently purchased an 18' playa dome for bm and quite

like it. I'm curious if you know of anybody taking the crystal caves

to the playa as well - are they durable enough? We wouldn't hole up in

there during a storm, but it would be nice if it was strong enough to

leave up outside.

On May 18, 2010, at 8:28 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

answers below


Hi Bob

I have been in touch with Eleanor about the purchase of a dome.

I teach Yoga Teacher Trainings using a camping format. I have a retreat center in Baja and when back in Canada my program is mobile. Since we do get rain and we are outdoors I am looking for something like your yurt /dome to hide in should the weather not be ideal for us.

Sounds like a good use. If you end up using one please send us a photo.

I do like to be with nature as much as possible and use grassy areas. If the weather was raining would I need to have the floor or would the water run under the sides and into the dome area?

Site selection is all important. It would depend on the lay of the land and the type of soil and how hard the rain. if the soil is porous and water soaks in you could be fine; if you are on a hill top water could flow away from your dome; in a flooding condition you need a floor. Being on a site slope with a ditch on the uphill side of the dome is often ideal. It would be prudent to bring a tarp to lay down if you found water flowing under the edge of your dome. If the ground is grassy or damp and you have a cool night you could well have condensation on the inside of the dome. Laying a tarp over the ground for the night can help with this. Having the doors open and sun will help also.

Regarding the colour. I see that you only have white. Since I am in nature and do like to blend into the environment with the products that I use - this colour is a challenge for me. Eleanor said that some people have painted the dome. If this is the case, what kind of paint can be used and how to apply it?

I believe they used spray cans of paint. Test first to make sure it works and stays to your expectations. You could also use a sunshade to help hide the white which will also keep the dome much cooler in the sun.

How long does the material usually last?

In Florida and Arizona it has lasted 3 + years. We guarantee it for 1.5 years (this is to cover very high elevations where there is considerable UV.

I saw in one of your photos that people used the dome for a party and had one side open. Is this possible or was this custom?

This is possible with all our domes. See the online manual. I does weaken the dome a bit in strong wind.

Thank you for your time and consideration

Kind regards


On Apr 30, 2010, at 12:23 PM, Bob Gillis wrote:

We make a "Crystal Cave" : http://www.shelter-systems.com/tunnle-shelters.html Which is the same design as the porch.

As to water running in an open door under the porch: the porch over hangs the door; with the door open the water running down the dome hits the gutter that is created by the open flap and is directed to the side of the door opening.


Bob Gillis


Thank you very much for getting back to me this morning Bob. :)

I've talked over ideals with my husband and we had another question. Tarp vestibules would likely work for three of the four doors as they would be more like windows than actual entry/exit points for us. Our quandary is with the front door. We have to go in and out of the tent a lot for cooking, drinking water, bathroom, etc and having a really low vestibule would be very physically tiring with having to duck so much - especially when carrying things in and out with us.

I again looked over the porch you sell. My question is - can this be specially made in a larger size? Also, does rain water end up between the tent and the porch, making things wet in front of the door?

No worries on rain or snow building up and collapsing anything. After eight years in our current tent we are pretty much pro at dealing with such things. Our current tarp/tent system can not hold much snow at all (about a inch, depends on snow wetness) and we are adept at making sure things drain well with rain. Two years ago we had about 4 feet of snow in two days - that was an adventure I hope to not do again too soon. :)

Thanks again for your time, I really appreciate it. I'm starting to get kind of excited about getting into one of your tents soon - it will be a fair bit larger than our current one and I'm pretty tired of the dingy brown and blue coloring. lol

Have a great day! Lisa

On Apr 28, 2010, at 7:40 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

Answers below:


Bob Gillis


I just received some samples from you and had a couple of questions.

I live up in Olympia, Washington - lots of rain and some snow each winter. My husband and I are under a large maple/alder canopy and our current tent is dying after many years. We have been doing tent life for the last eight years due to a lot of chemical sensitivities making it nearly impossible for us to be indoors someplace affordable yet. Looking at possibly replacing our tent this summer and I ran across your product.

The questions:

Under a tree canopy all year, the only real sun we see here is early spring and very late fall - maybe a few hours a day directly on our site. Approximately how long could we expect the exterior yurt fabric to last?

I would think you could expect a very long life. My family lived in a dome for 9 years in what sounds like a similar shady location in Santa Cruz CA: http://www.goodtimessantacruz.com/santa-cruz-news/good-times-cover-stories/986-from-here-to-haiti.html
This tent was then sold as used. I am not sure how long it lasted for the buyer. Also see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-dome-testimonials.html

I saw that bamboo poles can be used in place of the pvc pipe, are there other options too that will work or is it pretty much only bamboo and pvc?

You could use flexible branches. But by far the easiest is pvc as other poles are not of consistent diameter or stiffness.

I've read that you suggest not to use tarps over the top of the yurts, is this only because of the trapped heat or is there some other reason preventing this? Its very, very handy here to have some tarps coming out around the tent windows/doors as we tend to leave them open year round and rain/snow blow would be a problem without them. I've seen your small porches you sell, these don't look like they'd work for our kind of weather - due to wind there really needs to be about four feet of shelter in front and to both sides of each window/door at a minimum and it looked like yours don't really cover the sides very far.

It would be fine to have tarp vestibules over doors. Just do not drape tarps over the dome as they can if in direct sun soften and deform your poles. Tarps can also collect water and collapse the dome.

Be sure to read our snow and wind warnings.

I think this covers my initial questions. :)

Thank you very much for your time and I am looking forwards to your reply,


On Apr 13, 2010, at 10:21 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

The answer is shade cloth. We offer sunshades http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html . Open the domes 4 doors and use a sunshade and you will be impressed how comfortable the domes can be. The external poles of the dome keep the shade cloth away from the covering so that the suns heat that they block is carried away by the air between the two and is not conducted to the inside of your dome. It is true however that you cannot expect the inside air temperature of the dome to be less then the outside air temperature, but sitting in the shade with 4 doors makes a huge difference. Most tents the temperature can build and build as there is not effective shade and the heat cannot except.

The shade should also help to make your computer more visible.


Bob Gillis


Hi Bob....

My business provides custom home design and architectural plans for homes in southern baja california sur, mexico.

I live in La Ventana, B.C.S., Mexico about half the year. It is a wind sport meca for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

I have a couple pieces of land that I've set-up camping and office space on for 7 years. My business continues to grow and I am exploring options for upgraded accomadations and office space.

I saw your product highlighted in the Good Times. I live in Santa Cruz when I am not in Mexico.

I read virtually all of your website inlcuding the FAQ pages, but I still had a couple questions.....

Mainly.......Is it going to be possible to keep a dome cool enough to work in during the hot part of a day? It's a desert with no tree shade possible.. It is very warm, sometimes 90+ in the morning until the wind comes up and then things cool off. Has anyone used these domes in southern baja? I've had some tents in the past set-up on my property and they get melting hot in the sun.

And, is a dome too bright inside to work on a computer? Glare and just too bright can be a problem looking at monitors.


Best Regards,

On Mar 17, 2010, at 9:24 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

Hi Erik

Our domes are very strong, drum tight and well supported that shed the wind well. We believe that they are the strongest structure for the materials used. We strive to make a sturdy portable shelter at an affordable price that will out preform all tents but those made of much heavier or very expensive materials.

We do not rate our domes for wind of a certain mph but they have withstood storms that I was told gusted at 60 mph ( http://www.shelter-systems.com/burning-man-wind.html ). This wind storm that lasted about 2 hours. Persistent wind at a much lower level will eventually cause components to wear and fail.

If a well anchored dome fails from extreme wind what usually happens is that a small number of poles fail and the cover collapses. After the storm passes the broken pvc poles can be easily repaired or replaced and the dome put up again. http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Our PlayaDomes is no different that our standard "extra strong" domes.


Bob Gillis

Hey bob,
my name is Erik Oberg and I work for an environmental NGO called Island Conservation. I am wanting to inquire about your shelter-system structures. I want to know primarily what the wind rating is. It gives some very vague indication on your web site, but I need to know specifically what it can with stand, or what it has been known to with stand before collapse. As the name implies we work on islands, and the conditions can be everything from beautiful to down right nasty. The waterproof and light weight factors seem ideal for what we are doing and we would possibly be interested in purchasing several.. Could you please get back to me ASAP as I am trying to get this information and get it to my supervisor for a soon up coming project where we could use one of your structures. my second question is are there any differences between the Playadromes and the domes or the relief shelters?
We would be looking at the 14' or 18' size for any/ all of these. could you please get back to me soon. Thanks.
I've tried your number on the website as well as your cell phone, but i'm working from abroad right now and only have skype internet phone...
hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks very much.
Erik Oberg

On Mar 17, 2010, at 8:12 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

Hi Dmitriy

Here is the manual link: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html and http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-30-31-addition.html

There is in the manual info on wood stove installation and dome repair, You should have got bag with some extra cord and parts with your dome if you need to replace any.

Your dome even with a hole near the top will not draw out enough smoke to make an open fire workable. You could possibly run a stove pipe up near the center of the dome by installing a sheet of thin ply wood. You would need to use insulated pipe and proper stove pipe fittings where you pass through the plywood. If you do this our dome would most likely leak water if it rains.


Bob Gillis


Hello Bob,

We have a 30' dome, which we've been using at Burning Man for several years. I personally wasn't involved with assembling/disassembling it in the past; however, I will need to be doing it this year. Hence, these questions:

- I was told that when our dome was being disassembled last year, some strings that hold connectors were torn. I'm not sure I'm using the right terminology here, but is there anything that can be done to repair that?

- Is the manual on your website the same as the one that came with the dome originaly? If that's not the case, would you be able to send me a copy of the one you typically put into the packages you send out?

- Is it possible to put a fire pit/fireplace inside the dome on a fireproof mat? Can enough ventilation be provided without a pipe (i.e. by maybe opening the top two or three sections during the time the fire is burning)? If a pipe is a must, can it go to the very top instead of getting out of the dome somewhere on a side as suggested in the "Installing a wood stove" section on your website?

Many thanks in advance,

On Mar 4, 2010, at 10:11 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

Hi Vinnie

Your dome poles will take a slight bend over time and this does not effect the function of the dome. You should never cover your dome with a tarp as this can trap heat and melt your poles or collect water and collapse your dome. If you find any are severely bent then you can replace them with 1" class 200 PVC which you should be able to get from an irrigation supply store. We also sell poles: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html


Bob Gillis

Subject: PVC question


First I have to tell you that I was living like a king at my first burn last year. The 18' dome is massive when your inside it and a great shelter in the wind!

It's been up and down 4 time since and quite a bit of the PVC is getting a bit warped. What do you recommend as far as replacing pieces. Nothing is cracked or broken, I just want to be proactive and make sure my home away from home stays in great shape.



On Feb 26, 2010, at 11:25 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

Hi Felipe

At each point where poles cross there is a clip on the inside of the dome. This clip has holes in it that dividers can be attached to.

You can use any type of heater you choose.

Read our online manual for both of these: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html


Bob Gillis


Subject: walls?

Dear Eleanor,

I am interested on a 30 or 31' dome to be used as a summer shellter on the forest besides a lake in the south of Chile.

I would like to know if it is possible to divide the inner space with some kind of "walls"?. What do you advice as a heating system for the dome?

Thank you!


On Dec 12, 2009, at 10:03 AM, Bob Gillis wrote:

Hi Mike

answers below


Bob Gillis


I am considering the 25 ft cover top for my koi pond. I have a few questions:

- Can the dome cover top hold up under most snows? ( I realize the domes cant but wasn't sure about the cover top models?)

no; you would need to melt or otherwise remove snow as it builds up.

- i see the warranty but how many years can the cover top model realistically last if i have it up for 5 months a year only in winter?

my guess would be 6 - 12 years. It is the sun that will eventually wear out the cover; but it will not hold snow; if it collapses in your pond from snow build up; it would be a major hassle but most likely the damage to the dome would amount mostly to the inexpensive PVC pipes and a few panels; panel repair and or replacement is detailed in the online manual and though doable it is best to be avoided by keeping the snow off the cover

- its hard to tell from the pictures but when it comes time to replace the cover is the whole cover replaced or is that what the panel replacement parts are for - replace one panel at a time?

panels can be replaced individually; say if it was damaged; but if your cover is worn out it is best to replace the whole thing

- the website says poles can be made stronger and says to use the link but the link just takes me back to the same page. Is this section referring to adding guy lines? would guy lines help the cover tops hold up under heavy snow?

please refer me to the broken link so I can fix it; the online manual shows some ways to strength the poles but this will not solve the snow loading problem; installing a heater under the cover to turn on when it is snowing may be a way; guy lines will not help; snow can be Very heavy.

-Had one more question in addition to the below. I didn't see a liner made for the cover top models but would a liner help with frame hold up under snow?

No, it would not help.


Mike Keps

Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 7:23 PM

thoughts on the use of plastic

Hi Redwood

I thought I should share a few more thoughts about our use of plastic with you. Our culture uses plastic and being part of the culture we can not avoid it. I do feel it is important to limit its use were possible. This is not easy since it is everywhere: we line our cars and paint our houses with it. For good reason: it has many virtues: strong, light , flexible and water and rot resistant. Most of the domes we make are used for basic shelter and I think we can feel good about this use. If our customer was to say build buy or rent a small wooden shelter I believe the harm to our earth would be greater. Think of all the plastics and other materials used. The shingles are petroleum based, the paint is plastics, the solvents are petroleum based, carpets are plastic, etc. There is also the use of other materials such as wood, etc. Another way is to examining the weight of the shelter and all the materials used. Take this small house I live in, it hugely massive and in constant decay, termites, sun, water and wear and tear. To live in one of our domes my footprint would be much smaller. The waste produced in building one of our 20' domes will fit in 1/2 of a shopping bag. They have been known to last 9 plus years in part shade. When they do finely brake down from the sun they sequestering their carbon in a landfill which is unlike the carbon of gasoline which ends up contributing to global warming.


Bob Gillis


Just bought a 10 foot extra strong dome for personal sleeping quarters at BM. I've already got an 18' dome that works well as communal shelter, but I'm tired of having my cheap sleeping tent blown to pieces.

Hi Cristina

The GroDome cover is not FR. Our Shelters Domes are FR however and we make the same size dome. The dome will handle some wind but not extreme wind. See our wind warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html

I like your photos and hope it works out for you


Bob Gillis

On Oct 29, 2009

I meant to email this to you as well.


Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 4:23 PM

Subject: questions about GroDome

Hi Eleanor,

My name is Cristina Lei Rodriguez. I bought GroDome18 this summer for an art project I made for Athens, Greece.

I am trying to re-install this project in Miami Beach for December and since it is going to be a public project the City of Miami Beach is asking me some questions.

Is the dome cover fire resistant?

Will it support heavy winds?

Do you have a diagram of how it can be anchored to the ground that I can send the City of Miami engineer? I know it came with stakes but I need to send them a drawing to get it approved.

I may have left the stakes in Athens- in which case can I buy more from you if need be?

The engineer is saying that the structure looks very homemade. I know, after seeing it in person, that it is quite sturdy. Do you have any supporting information that I can send him to help with the approval process?

I attached images for you to see my installation. I have pictures of the sculptures inside as well but not on this computer. Will send them to you soon for you to see. I was very happy with the way the GroDome worked.

Thanks for your help,

Hi Gloria

The 31 has an extra ring of panals that add anadditonal 5' of hight; 40 more poles; and a large increase in volume. There is no difference in the materials used. Guylines if any can be added to the 20 clip clip cords at the 5' high ring that circles the dome (see the online manual for info on guying; http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html also see the wind and snow warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html


On Nov 1, 2009

Dear Shelter Systems,
I am interested in your large dome for covering my koi pond( and hopefully allowing me to sit inside and watch them. This is something I will take down and put up every winter. We also get a moderate amount of wind in the location where it will be placed. I am very curious as to why there is $1000 (910 actually) dollars difference in the price of the 31' dome vs the 30' dome with only 14 sq ft difference in the area. Are there any significant other differences in strength or materials? Also if you could indicate attachment points for guylines to anchor against the winds, I would be very grateful. Thanks you for your kind attention to my questions.

Hi Jeff

All that you suggest have been done. To grow vines it is best to attach strips of bird netting to the pole structure with zip ties. Vines cling better to the net than the slippery poles. Lighting is better on the outside of the poles. The idea of plastic is better accepted when you realize that most paints, rugs are plastic.


Bob Gillis

On Oct 28, 2009,

hi, I plan to make the 14 or 18 ft arch dome into a partially open-air bedroom. I'm not that keen to live in plastic. Have there been any creative sucessful ideas to beautiful the structure...such as growing vines on the outside tubes, or lightweight bamboo matting on the interior? How about led xmas lights running along the tubes inside adn out? Please let me know if you know...thanks. Fin Jeff Wayman

Date: October 22, 2009 11:05:52 AM PDT

Hi Holly

Thanks for your interest.

Our Yurt Domes can be made quite comfortable in hot and cold climates. To keep cool our domes have 4 doors and upper vent systems and can be out fitted with external sun shades that are space above the domes covering for a breezy shaded space. To keep warm we offer as an accessory a full liner that creates a dead air insolation space of 2 to 3 inches. Since our shelters are dome shape they are the ideal shape for holding in warmth. Most find it is easy to keep warm in our domes even with out the liner. You can install a vented heater or wood stove, see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html Feel free to call if you want more details.


Bob Gillis

On Oct 23, 2009


I had some questions about your dome tents that I didn't see answered on your site.

What's the temp rating for these tents? I'm very interested in a yurt, too, specifically from Pacific Yurts and they are advertised as being warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I don't see any real ventilation in your tents nor a way to heat it without gassing myself. I'm looking at the dome as a semi-permanent home in Southern California.

Holly M

No metal except 8 "s"hooks at ground level to hold 4 doors closed. You can if you want untie and remove the hooks and then tie the doors closed.


Bob Gillis

Hello Mr. Gillis,

I’m possibly looking for a small (10’ max or smaller) shelter using non-microwave-reflecting materials. Do you offer any waterproof designs using covering materials made from polyester or polypropylene?

Thanks and regards,


Hi Ellen

Thanks for for your feedback about our domes.

The domes we make are a compromise of many factors. We try to create the right mix to produce a dome that functions reasonably well under most conditions and is still affordable and portable. Doors on tents present a tricky problem. Zippers do not work on large tents that have a lot of use. They are a hassle to use and tend to brake and jam. Velcro works but must be installed with the dome up, at times catches on clothing and hair, does not hold up to a lot of storage and may eventually need to be replaced. Large hooks or buckles do not effectively close the gape between the door flap and the dome's side walls. If the dome is not buffed by constant wind the another solution we have found is to install a door pole and secure one side of the door with the hook and let the weight of the pole close the door. This approach is spelled out in the online manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

We chose the maximum outside dimensions to represent our domes as they are big and fitting them into a site is often a problem of size. The liner is sized to produce an insulating layer of air from 2 to 3" will reduce the inside diameter by an additional 6". To achieve a shingled liner it must shingle from bottom to top. Having a complete liner means the door are doubled.


Bob Gillis

On Oct 16, 2009

Dear Eleanor & Bob:

I placed an order for an 18 ft dome on Aug 24, 2009, order number 2732. - I received the dome and other items ordered with one exception:

I notice that now on your website you sell strips of velcro also - 8 yards for $25. Really I wanted strips to begins with, but I only saw coins offered when I ordered. I don't know if that was my oversight, or if the strips are new to your site. Anyway, I really need velcro for the doors especially. I love the dome, but am quite dissatisfied with the way the doors close and supposedly seal or at least fasten with those little s hooks.

Also, along with my 18 foot dome (which really has inner dimensions of about 16 1/2 feet) I ordered a liner. The under and over design of the cover does not match well with the under/over design of the panels of the liner. This is a problem when it comes to the doors - it is awkward, and the overlaps are opposite of what they should be. Also, it would really be helpful to customers to include the INNER DIMENSIONS for your domes because both domes I have ordered from you are quite a bit smaller than I was expecting.

I think velcro strips will solve the problem, but I don't understand why your company doesn't just sell the dome in a form that works well on it's own, or why you don't just include a thorough amount of velcro stripping to fix the problem. I really don't understand how you think a person can securly close the doors from the inside using your system with tiny s hooks. It does not make sense. I willl use velcdro strips to try to remedy this, buy I am giving you this feedback on your product.

I called and did not get a person on the phone, so I am going to order online the velcro stripping I need as it's own order.

I am requesting that you either mail me the velcro coins included in the order from August, outlined below, or refund or credit me for the amount of the velcro coins I did not receive. I know I ordered around burning man time and you guys were really busy at that time. Thank you for your attention, and despite these door, sealing & liner issues I really love my dome.


Date: October 18, 2009 7:19:26 PM PDT
To: Eleanor Hamner <eleanor@shelter-systems.com>
Cc: bob@shelter-systems.com
Subject: Dome damage photos

Sorry for the delay. I am attaching only a few photos to keep the email size
manageable. Let me know if there are specific shots you would like to see.

The snow happened later and did no further damage. A couple gentle taps from
the inside on each panel caused it to slide right off. Heavy sticky snow is an
aberration in this area. Winters generally are cold and dry, resulting in
powdery blowing snow.

There were five grip clips that failed, one already broken upon arrival and
the others due to severed cords. One pole failed, but I cannot ascertain which
one since several were detached during the storm. One panel tore completely
away close to its gripclip. There is a mid-panel tear above the humanure
composter that likely rubbed through during the catastrophic failure on the
north side. There are several other smaller holes that I discovered after
reassembling everything. The aforementioned detached panel is held in place
temporarily using some of the small velcro pads.

Many of the cords failed. I used plastic cable ties to secure some of the
doors that repeatedly unclipped. In retrospect, this caused fraying in some
instances and may not have been prudent.

I have concerns regarding the dome material itself. There seems to be
excessive points of failure, many of them inexplicable. Perhaps it was a bad
batch? My plan is to reevaluate after the winter. The poles squeak and creak
but retain no memory when bent repeatedly. However, I am reticent to test this
once the weather turns frigid. If there is no further damage by spring, life
is good. Otherwise, some replacement panels may be necessary.

One of the photos show the buried shipping containers with southern exposure.
The GroDome will attach to the bale tarp at the rear entrance to facilitate
summer ventilation via a thermal chimney effect and use waste heat from the
masonry heater to extend the growing season in winter. The heavy duty
gripclips ordered for this purpose have arrived. Thank you.


On Mon, 5 Oct 2009 05:30:38 -0700, Eleanor Hamner wrote
Dear Mark,

Thank you for your detailed email. I am going to forward it to the
designer and, yes send photos of the damage and I will forward them
on to the designer as well. I think it is always valuable for him
to see what happens in extreme conditions with our shelters.

Unfortunately we cannot send replacement panels by USPS because our
warehouse is not in a district that the USPS services. I can
certainly send cord to you by USPS though. Cord is 25 cents per foot.

The material is rip-stop meaning that it should not continue to tear
where it was damaged. You can use duct tape to make patches. They
even make white duct tape these days that looks better on the
material than silver. For more info on repairs, please feel free to
email or call the designer. Bob@shelter-systems.com

Your GripClips were mailed by USPS about a week and a half ago. They
should arrive to you any day.

For shipping price quotes for additional parts (cord, etc), please
send me a list of what you need. I think you were just looking for
cord and some general purpose clips, but let me know how much and
how many. We do not save any credit card info on file, so we will
need a new order to be placed. You can do that by phone or online
once I have a shipping price quote for you.

Regards, Eleanor

On Oct 2, 2009,

The dome was raised a week ago, just before 70km/h winds started. I
one broken gripclip cord eyelet and some fabric stains but nothing too
serious. While digging in the buried cindercrete block anchors, the
side kept dimpling in two panels across. I finally realized the broken
gripclip was allowing its vertical strut to shift about 10cm to one
side. The
wind gusts were too strong at that point to replace the gripclip so
I cross
lashed the poles with baler twine and everything held fine.

Later that week during my absence we had an uncommonly severe
windstorm. A
neighbour saw the dome flatten in the storm, but upon inspection
yesterday it
had sprung up again. Not without damage, however. Several poles
detached and
one buckled. Another one had bent during initial installation but
spares were
provided. A couple of the gripclips failed and one panel tore away
from its
gripclip, leaving a shredded void where its corner used to be. There
is also a
right angle tear in the middle of one of the top most panels.

With absolutely no trace of sarcasm, this is a great product. The
allows me to repair/replace almost everything as necessary with a
minimum of
skill/effort. Pvc to your provided specifications can be sourced
locally and
fabric/gripclips ordered from you. The only omission is that
wonderful cord. I
used it all (including the packing string) to wrap the buried
blocks. Since
you do not offer it on the website, can you provide a specification
shopping elsewhere?

My heavy duty gripclips have not arrived yet. If they are not
shipped please
include a package of the general strength gripclips (do you still
have my
credit card information?) so I can fashion a patch out of my packing
fastening it to the damaged panel and the original gripclip. Is this
acceptable solution? The top tear is mid panel so I plan to silicone
it as
recommended. Does that fabric ever run its tears, or can I leave it
for now?

One more question: if I decide to replace the damaged panels later
instead of
patching them, how large can you ship through USPS? Thank you for the
commiseration regarding UPS, by the way.


PS - Let me know if you want some pictures of the damage for your

On Fri, 18 Sep 2009 11:30:14 -0700, Eleanor Hamner wrote
Dear Mark,

Thank you for your feedback about UPS. I too wish we could use the
US Postal Service to Canada for our domes. Our packaged exceed
their size limits and it is very unfortunate. We had used DHL when
they were still around and they were absolutely great for Canadian
shipments. Super cheap and super fast. Unfortunately now that they
are no longer around, we had to go back to UPS. I am constantly
dismayed at all international shipping options. Seems like with
globalization we could have better options. I'm very sorry you had
a bad experience with them.

It looks like I made a mistake and did not tell the warehouse to
ship you the extra clips. I am very sorry for my mistake. I will
ship them ASAP by US Postal Service (it's a small enough package to
use USPS).

Regards, Eleanor

Hi Carol

We have a 10' dome and a 14' dome. Look at: http://www.shelter-systems.com/sizes.html to figure out what might be the right size for you.

It is critical that you insulate the dome in a way that does not cause the poles to heat up as they will bend out of shape. DO NOT COVER the poles with a tarp or blankets. You can insulate with a liner which you could make of blankets etc. We make a liner for the domes and you could stuff straw between the liner and the outer cover.


Bob Gillis

Date: October 8, 2009 8:09:21 AM PDT
To: eleanor@shelter-systems.com
Subject: geo domes

I am looking for a dome that will enable me to teachsweat lodges as i travel a lot i would want somehing that was portable and coudl hold 15 people sitting up ,,

i await your reply

Carol Williams-Duff

Date: October 1, 2009 11:39:22 AM PDT
To: eleanor@shelter-systems.com
Subject: Bubble domes

I first read about your products and Robert Gillis in Design Like you Give a Damn. Great Book, very inspiring.
Most of these are product questions, so please pass those on.

Customer Service questions -
Where are you located and where does product ship from?

Menlo Park CA

Where is product manufactured?

Santa Cruz CA; we also ship from here.

How long does it take from order time to delivery to my door?

For a special order which the BD 14 is it would take about 2 to three weeks, call the order desk for more detailed ship time. Special Orders are not returnable. The BDs other than the 10 are hard to use the height and are more subject to wind. Why not the standard 18' dome.

Product questions -
The Bubble Dome is very beautiful. My use for it would be as temporary outbuilding - up all winter in Portland backyard, for storage and painting projects, probably a 14 footer.

1. I wish you had more photos in your online manual. Drawings are sometimes hard to read, especially the numeric dimensions. Is a hardcopy included with purchase?

We include a printed manual with our domes but there is more and more current info in the online manual.

2. Will material burn if it comes into contact with a fire or sparks or a hot stove or will it just melt?

Our Shelter Covering is FR. It will melt and burn if you supply a flame to it but will go out once the flame is removed.

It will be under deciduous trees. So damp, cold and rainy for 6 months.
3. What is expected life of the material under those conditions?

In Portland under tree shade about 6 years or more.

The white is lovely, but I fear discoloration from moss/mildew. I don't see that other colors are available. I am assuming it is one big piece of material.

We only use white; it will not mildew but dirt on it can if you do not keep your dome dry inside. It can be cleaned with soap and water.

4. If there are no color options, Can the material be painted (with some kind of fabric dye/paint)? Do you know of anyone who has done that or who has made it a more colorful dome? I see pictures of a deep blue and brown on your testimonial pages. How is that done?

I have known people to use can spray paint on the dome. Test first.

5. I see it says no tarps or other material over the dome in the Q and A. Is the warranty voided if they are used?

Tarps can collect material and or rain and collapse the dome. Do so at your one risk. If you created a peaked tarp cover it should shade the rain to the ground and not collect rain or debris.

6. Is the fabric detachable from the frame?


Is it washable?

It is best washed while set up.

7. Can it be put up by one person?

Yes, but strongly recommend two able people at least the first time.

I wish you had a video/dvd showing setup.


8. Once up, can things be hung from walls or roof; from the lightweight - laundry, to heavier items - a wood backed mirror? It looks like the structural elements are on the outside only.

How "hang" liners, net doors, dividers, floors and decorate inside your dome?
When you go to tie in the liners, net doors, divider and and the floor a paper clip (large is best) or small bent piece of wire will be helpful in threading their attaching cords to the inside clip holes on the dome. See photo: the clip on the left is the inner clip of the dome; the clip on the right is the accessory with cord attached. The paper clip is used to pull the accessory's cord through the dome's inner clip hole. The cord is then knotted. Although the threading can be done with out the paper clip tool makes it easier.

9. I see that liners, floors and porches are available. Are windows available for bubble or do I have to make them?

Windows are not standard in the bubble domes. We can put in small trangulare windows at the trangular panles for $35 each. but on the BD they are too high to see out of.

New Subject -
10. Is the Tentporch available or is it just part of a 30 foot dome?

Our Porch is a 5 1/2'x5 1/2' arched square. Porches can be attached in minutes to any of our domes. With a porch you can keep your door open in a warm rain. It gives you space to take off your raincoat or boots before going in. Wet gear can be hung underneath it. The porch covering is made out of our translucent greenhouse woven ripstop film for maximum light transmission. However if you wish, you can special order the porch in white for less light or in white with black for a shade porch. An excellent addition to your Dome.

The website is great. There is a lot of info there, so I may have asked questions that are answered.
And I keep finding new products. Maybe the Bedroom Dome would be better for my use. It comes with windows. Are there other products that would be suitable for my use? What else comes in a 12 - 14 foot size? There are lots of different names and I keep finding new products. A summary page might help comparing 'all' your products of a given size. It would make it easier for me to compare. Then I can go to the specific page for that product. Maybe I should look at a 14' regular dome or Solarium.
Also people should include the exact name and size of their dome with their pictures, which are very helpful. Oh well. Hope to order one soon.

Date: October 5, 2009 2:36:20 PM PDT

Subject: shingle leak problem

Shingling problems has happened in the past and the most common reason is that the outer shingle is twisted; if this happens the outer most shingle does not cover the inner layers and water can run into them and thereby into the dome.. First suggest to the customer that sometimes the poles are causing the clip to twist and deform the shingling, which can be solved by removing the poles from the dysfunctional clipped shingling; straightening out the twisted clip and connectors and then re-inserting the poles.

This twisted shingling can also happen when the dome was clipped up at the shop, but this is rare. It might also be possible that the overlap has been cut too short to protect the inner layers from the weather, but this is also uncommon These two problems can be fixed by unclipping re-arrange the layering and then re-clipping (only an ambitious customer can sometimes fix this themselves. (the easiest way for a customer to do this is:

Remove only one clip from your dome being careful not to disrupt the layering sequence of the panels on your dome. If you can not get the clip off use a pliers and brake the ring part of the clip use the spare Heavy Duty Grip Clip that comes with your dome to replace this clip. 3) Take your time to make sure all layers are flat and in the same layering sequence and orientation (look at and marks on the corners of the layers you are to re-clip and make sure they aline. 4) Now with all layers in the same order and orientation as before; gather these tightly around the male clip and slip over the female clip as described in the manual. When many layers are involved as is the case with the corners of the windows, attaching the female clip can be difficult; practicing on scraps before you do this on your dome. Making the layers warm with the sun or heat lamp (be careful not to melt the covering by getting it to hot) can help.


Bob Gillis

Hi eleanor this is Johnny. We spoke on the phone about the hole in the floor. Also by saturday or sunday I should have the dome set up so I can take pictures of the specific overlap I was talking about. We took pictures when we first got it (lisa was dismayed at how dirty it was but I told her it was used and thats why it was 10% off) but didnt know enough about it to focus on any one area. I'll take a ruler and try to get detailed shots of it.


Date: October 1, 2009

Subject: Re: Dinner tents

This is best determined by you. Draw a circle using a 10' cord and some caulk or small stones by having a friend hold one end of the cord to the ground and you walk around with the other end marking the ground. Then set some chairs etc in side to see how big it is. Also see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/sizes.html


Bob Gillis

How many persons could be inside having dinner ???


Great option, and the price for 20feet??

How about our 18' or 20': http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-dome-testimonials-06.html


We run trips in Patagonia, Chile

We are looking for dinner tents for 15 travelers, what you can offer???



Date: September 29, 2009 11:12:37 AM PDT

Subject: Re: emergency preparedness dome

Hi Jason

The floor which is not included in the price of the basic dome (see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html ) includes clips to attach it to the wall of the dome in 12 places. The floor is removable for cleaning and replacement. It goes up against the side-walls on the inside of the dome. It can be taped or glued to the wall of the dome: ( http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html ) but this is not usually necessary and does not effect the water tightness of the dome.

Yes, you or least I would be comfortable up to the 20' dome. Not knowing how big a stove you have I am not sure about the 30 or 31. Read our snow and wind warnings.


Bob Gillis

Hello Bob,
couple of questions for you.
1) Is the floor system attached to the walls and can the doors be sealed.
2) You say that shelter is winterized. We will probably have night time temps down to 20 to 30 degrees , we plan on having a large cooking wood stove will I be able to keep it comfortable.

Subject: Re: storage for 20' yurt

thanks very much- worked well.

On Tue, Sep 8, 2009

See online manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Storage: Brush off all the dirt that you can. Make sure the dome is completely dry. If you have to take the dome down wet, plan to hang it indoors from the top clip until it's dry before packing. Remove stakes, vent tubes and poles. The liner may stay attached. We've found the following folding technique to be the easiest. Lay the dome on its own floor. Put one stake in the ground, to use as an anchor during folding. Hook the clip string at the very top center of the dome to the stake. Pull all the dome's edges so that it fans out and lies flat, one half on top of the other half. Then pleat-fold it so that the canopy forms a narrow triangle 4' wide at the base. Try to get each fold as flat as possible. Slip the tip of the triangle off the stake now and begin rolling it tightly down toward the wide end until you've got a nice bundle. Clean and dry both sides of the floor. After the floor is dry, fold it into a 4' wide strip. Lay the tent roll and other small parts at one end and roll the whole thing up tightly. Wrap your dome in the material you received it in and use strings to hold the roll tight.

Now tie the poles into a bundle. To get it nice and tight, wrap string twice around the bundle of poles and use a packer's knot. This is a kind of slip knot that holds tight.

You can use a house vacuum to compress your packed dome to about 1/2 its volume; roll and pack up your dome as above; warp in its wrapper it came with; tape the long seam of the wrapper; tape any holes in the wrapper. twist one end tight and then fold and tape this twisted end to the package; insert your vacuum hose in the other end twist and tape it tight; turn on your vacuum; with the vacuum on push on the package and it will compress to about 1/2 its original size; now tape around and around your package with the vacuum still on (this is to hold the package compressed when you remove the vacuum. now remove the vacuum and tape the end of your package closed.


Bob Gillis

On Sep 8, 2009


We own one of your 20' yurts and have been delighted with it so far. It arrived nicely folded but we have had trouble finding a way returning it to a compact form. Is there an easy way to roll, fold, stuff, or otherwise miniaturize it for storage? If so, is there an appropriate stuff-stack size?

Thanks for your help-

San Mateo, CA

Subject: Re: tape and such

Hi Cindy

I forget, how old is your dome; does it have fabric side walls or is it all white woven plastic? It sounds like you have looked through the online manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html We have been testing the tape for about 4 months but not long enough to tell if it leaves a sticky residue. Clear Silicon Rubber 100% in caulking gun size is an affordable alternative. It takes about 24 hr to cure. I know what you mean about the residue from the Velcro. You might get it off with Goo be Gone which is a citrus based solvent. The white dome cover is not effected by any solvent I have tried. If you have a solvent in mine test it first on the edge of the domes skirt; but my guess is that you would have no problem. Bent poles will not effect the strength of your dome but if you want to replace any or all you can get class 200 PVC at most irrigation supply stores: for example: Ewing Irrigation in SC or Scott Valley Sprinkler. Take an average measurement from 10 of your poles for measurement and a hack saw so you can cut your poles there to fit in your car.


Bob Gillis

On Sep 10, 2009, at 8:05 AM, cynthia wrote:

Hi Bob-
I just spent some time at Sophia's at your old camp grounds . She is now with a very old friend of ours and they sheltered us when we had to evacuate. One of those amazing syncronisities i guess.

Anyway my question is-
My dome has been up and down a few times. I set it up in the woods and there are reasons I want to seal the cracks as much as possible. (bugs and such)
Can the duct tape you recommend be taken off again.
I know some things leave a sticky residue.
Even the velcro left sticky residue. Can that be cleaned off? I figured not, since any solvent would dissolve the plastic, too.

Also- most of my poles are permanently bent now. Do you recommend replacing them? Is there a place in Santa Cruz that has the material?

Thanks much!
Hi to Eleanor...if she remembers me.

Hi Ellen

I plan to be at the shop this sunday and will take measurements off the master dome so I can give you the length to cut your door poles. You can determine the length at your location if you want by the following: They should be a length so that they tension the bottom edge of the door. The way to measure the length is to slip the door pole onto one of the door plugs and hold it next to the other door plug such that the bottom edge of the door is tensioned. Mark the pole where it should be cut. They are easy to cut with a hack saw. After you cut your door poles mark them so they will not get mixed up with your other poles. You will need to bend the door poles to get them on the plugs. We no longer install screens when we make our domes. They are clipped so the user can install them by tying them to the two clips inside at the top of your doors. Velcro is not needed unless you are in a windy or high bug conditions but under these conditions it can be handy. The hooks at the bottom of your doors can be adjusted by removing and re-positioning the clips; note that this can effect the door pole length and is therefore best done before adjusting the pole length. Many tents use zippers but we have found that on any door with high traffic they fail. The domes we make are a compromise of many factors in an attempt to solve the problems associated with providing reasonable shelter at an affordable price. In non-extreme conditions they should perform admirably.


Bob Gillis

Dear Bob - thanks for your reply. I am still confused. The extra 4 poles are the long size - way too long for the bottom of the doors. Also, when I hook the doors closed without the bottom pole the wind (not strong wind at all - just gentle wind) blows it loose - there is air flow through, far from being sealed. It makes me think I need to add more fabric to extend the doors - but really I don't think this should be neccessary. The door are like weak flaps. Also I ordered a screen door but it did not come installed in the dome as the website said it would. So what is wrong? Again I would like to know what exact length to cut the extra pvc poles so that they will be EXACTLY right for the doors.

I want to order another dome (18 foot with a liner) but I really need to resolve this issue first. I need to know the doors can and will be able to close and seal. Am I simply supposed to use velcro all over the edges of the doors???? Why is this so unclear? I saw in the qustions and answers that this question has been asked before. I still don't understand the answer.

Thank you for helping me undertand what to do next - thanks - ellen
Subject: Re: dome door questions

Hi Ellen

The standard length poles should fit the door plugs for some reason the spacing between the plugs on your 14' dome is off. You should not find this problem in our other domes.

A door pole is mostly used just on the one door that is used to enter and exit the dome; the other doors being hooked closed. If you find that the pole is to long for the plugs to fit then remove one or both plugs from the door clips by untying the clip cord, re-attach the cord with the hook back to the clip and then tie the plug back to the clip cord with a seperate length of cord (from your domes parts bag) this will lengthen the distance from the plug to the clip so that you can now insert the door plugs into the pole with out cutting the pole.


Bob Gillis

On Aug 17, 2009

Dear Bob - I ordered a 14 foot dopme a whle back and just put it up. We are confused about the doors and how to do that right. It seems that a pole is supposed to go in the bottom of each door pannetl,k but the 4 extra poloes that came with the dome are too long. JWhat do you suggest? It sounds liek these domes can be weather proof - but how does that work with a flapping door panel - I trust there is a good an swer that I'm not understanding right now. If we need to cut the poles to fit the door, what would be the proper length exactly to make these poles?

Also, I am about to order an 18 foot dome with a liner - I'm wondering about the door situation with that. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond - thanks Ellen



Will grip clips work with shade cloth material?


Yes; I think we talked on the phone? Thickness and stiffness of what your are gripping is critical so you may depending on the thickness of your shade cloth need to double or triple it to get the right grip. You can do this by rolling the button part of the clip with your cloth before clipping or cutting small patches which you then layer and clip.


Bob Gillis

On Aug 4, 2009

Hi, Bob.

We have a 14' Shelter Systems dome that we take out to Burning Man. We
currently use it with a black Sunshade over it, but that doesn't
provide enough shade for us.
We have another black sunshade that we're going to layer over the top
of it...I'd imagine that two would be better than one!

Question, though.... would the black sunshade closest to the dome,
plus an Aluminet sunshade, provide better shade/light reflection
coverage than two black ones? We're trying to get it as cool as
possible inside the dome.



Subject: Re: Black sunshade + Aluminet (question!)

You do not want to layer two sunshades on top of each other. The reason for this is that air flow is greatly restricted which blocks the cooling effect of the air moving through the shade. This can cause your poles to deform and your dome to over heat. Best you is to cover your dome with one layer of sunshade and to open all doors and vents. Do Not Cover Your Dome With Tarps or Multiple Layers of Sunshades.


Bob Gillis

On Jul 29, 2009

I work with a marketing company in the Rockies, and we were looking at your 30'-31' dome/yurts for on snow demos.
The biggest question we have is, what kind of snow and wind loads can they handle?
Do you also provide instruction for take down and packing?
If we were looking to get a couple is there any discount?
After ordered how long does it take to get it?
Do you have the ability to put branding on the fabric?

Thank you,

Subject: Re: 30-31 dome/yurts

Hi Roger

The 30 and 31 will hold a small amount of snow but snow can be very heavy and must be knocked or melted off as it accumulates. A wood stove or heater can be used to melt the snow off. The 30 is stronger in wind since it sticks up less. They both do well in moderate wind but we do not recommend them for extreme wind. See our wind and snow warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html See the online manual for packing and anchoring instructions: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html We have a 10% discount if you get 10. We try hard to keep our pricing down for everybody. You should have your domes in about a week to 10 days. Contact: Orders & Customer Service 866-777-1066 eleanor@shelter-systems.com for accurate timing. Branding is best done by printing on vinyl banners and then tying to the clips on the dome; Kinkos can print out banners for you.


Bob Gillis

On Jul 25, 2009

I live in northern New Jersey and I'm considering your product to extend the season of my swimming pool. What are the insulating properties of your cover? How many BTU's will I need to add at various outside tempteratures assuming I buy the 31 diameter dome?

Subject: Re: Portable Watsu and Swimming Pool cover


Our pool covers slow the cooling of pools by creating a barrier between the air over the pool and outside the dome. They also act as a solar heat collector during the day. I do not know how many BTUs you would need to add at various temperatures. This depends on a lot of factors including the volume of water the, the shape of your pool, the insolation between the water and the ground that surrounds your pool, circulation of the water etc.


Bob Gillis

Subject: Re: micro grip clip question

On Jul 24, 2009

I'm getting married next weekend, and we're going to put together a
wedding canopy (a chuppa, which is used in jewish weddings). We'll be
using bamboo poles for the four corners, and the top will be a
patchwork of scarves and shawls that were my finance's mom's. She died
of cancer, and we are borrowing the scarves from her daughers and
sister, so it's important that they don't get punctured or hurt in the
process. I still haven't seen most of them, but they will be a mix of
light fabrics, from silk to loosely woven wool.
I thought the smallest of your clips might be appropriate, and I was
wondering if you think they could be used to attach silk scarves
together without harming the fabric.

Luckily for me, I noticed you are based in menlo park. Our wedding is
going to be in palo alto, next weekend. We live in colorado, and
rather than order them very quickly online, is there anywhere you sell
them locally, or can we stop by to pick some up?

Lastly, I saw on your website that you only sell the smallest ones
with cords. Is it possible to buy them without cords if I got ~50?


Hi Helen and Luke

My guess is they would work but test them for your self to confirm that they work to your satisfaction before using them. If you find they slip because the scarfs are so shear then include a section of a balloon with the layers to provide additional friction.


Bob Gillis

On Jul 22, 2009

Hi Bob,

I'm interested in purchasing one of your domes and taking it out to buringman this year.

I'm undecided as to whether I should buy the playadome 10 or 14.

Basically, I have to fly into Reno so everything I bring will have to travel with me on an airplane so I'm very concernced about space.

Can you give me a general idea of what the footprint of the these 10 and 14 foot domes when fully packaged would be?

If you could supply dimensions that would be great. I'm leaning towards getting the 14 foot dome but I'm not sure if it's airplane friendly.

Many thanks in advance,

Hi Anthony

Here is a photo of a 14' and 10' domes packed up. You most likely would prefer the 14' as its voloum is 718 cubic feet and the 10' has a volume of 261 cubic feet.

See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/sizes.html

Packed 10'    Packed 10'


Bob Gillis

On Jul 19, 2009


I'm definitely interested in a dome. If you were in your late 50's and
early-retired due to a disability, had a meager income (Social
Security), and got the wild idea to live in a tent indefinitely to
enjoy nature and to make your income stretch, which model of your
products would you use? We are a family of two (my wife and myself
plus a dog). We're in NE Alabama, which has a fair amount of rain and
wind -- we get moderately cold winters. I have never been camping but
my wife has, so I'm operating on her assumption that this idea is
possible. We are thinking about purchasing a small piece of property
(one or two acres) in a rural area for this, but we'd like any
information referrals you can provide so we cover all our bases (we
don't want to run into zoning or other problems). Are the set-up
instructions easy to understand? Can two people with arthritis-type
problems set up a dome easily? Would you say it's possible to live
comfortably in one of your portable domes for up to three to five
years or longer?
(I understand that a new dome would eventually need
to be purchased to replace a worn dome.) Anything you can tell me that
would help us prepare for the "worst case scenario" will be

Subject: Re: Question about shelter systems

Hi Al

It sounds possible to me. I know of many who do. I have lived over 25 years and raised a family in these domes. One 20' dome in part shade lasted over 9 years and was then sold as a used dome. I do not know the laws in your area but if you can make friends with your neighbors then it could work out even if the laws are against you. Often it is OK to put up a tent but some areas frown on living in them. I would recommend a 20' since it has a lot space for the cost. Sounds like wind and snow are not a problem for you. You may want a friend to help you put it up the first time but one person can for sure do it. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html I also suggest reading the Q & A sections: http://www.shelter-systems.com/qanda.html as there is a lot of practical info there. If you do not have shade then get a sunshade with your dome: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html Also look at: http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-dome-testimonials.html

If you do end up living in one of our domes keep us informed how it works for you and send photos.


Bob Gillis

On Jul 22, 2009, at 9:19 AM, Claudia López wrote:

Thank you very much for your response. We are waiting for our client to decide if they'll buy it or not. Do you think it's possible to fit 15 sitting people inside the 20' dome? Can you send me some pictures of this dome? On your testimonial, i just found pictures for the 30' and smaller domes. Thank you

Subject: Re: Information about the Domes

I have seen 49 people sitting on the ground inside a 20' dome when a couple were getting married. It was full but you should fit 15 easy.

here is a photo of our 20' dome


Bob Gillis

Subject: Re: Information about the Dome

On Jul 17, 2009

I wrote to Eleanor and she told me to contact you regarding the air conditioner and lighting system. I live in Central America and the temperature and moisture are a bit high, that's why I need to know if you can add some sort of air conditioning system to the dome. Do they have to be portable? How can I add a lighting system to the dome? They'll be used for marketing events and we expect a lot of people and we don't want any problems with the temperature of the dome and the lighting. Also, do you have any photos -besides the one in your website- with domes with air conditioner and lights? Thank you in advance for your response.

Claudia López

Hi Claudia

It is possible to install air conditioners and lighting in our domes. As to the air conditioner: I suggest you shingle in a thin sheet of plywood cut to be slightly bigger (so it fits tight in the opening) than your door opening by rolling up the door cover and inserting the plywood inside the dome on the top of the sheet and out side below (this will make the plywood rain shedding). Drill two holes in the top of the sheet so you can tie it to the inside clips of the dome. Cut a hole in the plywood to fit your air conditioner as instructed by the manufacture of the air conditioner. You can install lighting using an extension cord and common electrical installation procedures.


Bob Gillis

On May 31, 2009

I am looking online at your 18' and 20' playa domes.
I was wondering how big both of the domes are when they are packed up, for transport & storage.
Thanks so much for your time and help, your domes are great!

Dear Victoria,

Thank you for your interest in our shelters.

The 18 foot dome is two packages:
Covering: 30 pounds, 31 x 14 x 14 inches
Poles: 38 pounds, 56 x 11 x 11 inches

The 20 foot dome is two packages:
Covering: 38 pounds, 36 x 18 x 18 inches
Poles: 48 pounds, 56 x 11 x 11 inches

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Regards, Eleanor

Subject: Re: Size of a packed up dome

Hi Eleanor,
I am looking at your PlayaDome package in the 18' size. I see that the package includes the dome, poles, 1 shade, extra poles & clips & six feet of velcro.
Is this strips of velcro, or is it the velcro circles?


Are stakes included in this as well? How many, if yes?


If no, will the set of 12 Super Stakes, in your opinion be all the I need to secure the dome on the playa?

The stakes we provide seem to work on the playa but our Extra Strong and Super Stakes are more secure. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Would you recommend rebar as well as stakes?

Rebar can be used but is not as good as our Super Stakes: See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

If yes for rebar, could that be replaced with more Super Stakes instead?


For the Sun Shade that is included, is that the black shade?


I am looking to purchase an additional shade for the playa dome. I noticed that the black shade blocks 80% & the silver shade blocks 70%, but the silver shade is notably higher in cost. May I ask why and what the difference is?

The black is less expensive to make. I like the black best but if you plan to lay a shad on say a car or a RV the silver will work better. The reason is with the dome the shade is separate from the dome so that air can pass under and through it while if you just lay it on your car air can not cool it as much so the silver would be better for this use.

I have never secured a structure with guy lines when I have camped before, the stakes were always enough for the dirt and the placement of my tent.
Are guy lines included with the playa package?

Yes. Under most situations you need not guy your dome. Indeed if you do be sure to do it with bungee cords attached; see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Do the instructions detail how best to secure the domes using the guy lines?

Yes, see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

In one picture on your site, it looked like there was a hammock hanging on the outside of the dome. Is the dome strong enough to hold up one side of a hammock with a person sitting in it?

No, would you please send me the URL to the page so I can look at what you are talking about.

For the floor that can be purchased, does it come as a circle or a square? Is it specially cut for the dome?

It is an approximate circle. The dome is 12 sided and the floor is meant to fit inside the dome up against the side walls a little bit. You can just as well use a blue tarp and cut it your self.

For the All-Weather Duct Tape that is mentioned on your site, it is recommended to seal up unused doors, for events like Burning Man for example, to help keep out dust. Does this duct tape leave a sticky film on the plastic or tarp after it is removed?

This tape appears to be much better than the standard duct tape. It is UV stabilized which should greatly extend its useful life. We are testing it in full sun but not enough time has passed to tell if it will leave a sticky film on the dome or floor. It can be very useful at Burning Man.

I live in northern Florida. If I place my order for an 18' dome, plus stakes, sun shade & the floor today or tomorrow, can you estimate for me when it would arrive? I would like to receive the package no later than July 9th, if possible, for another trip I am planning.

We try to keep all our domes in stock but you will still need to get inline with your order since they are shipped in the order received. I would order right away as it takes at least a week to get to you using our standard ground shipping.

Will I need to sign for the package? I work during the day, so I may need to have it delivered to my job so I can sign for it.


With the items I mentioned above, about how big of a package would it be upon delivery?

Approximately three super sized duffle bags.

If I had it delivered to my job, I would need to make sure the size of the delivered package would fit in my car.

My guess is you can fit it all in your car.

When it's time to leave the BRC desert, I will have to catch a plane home. Will the dust left on the outside & probably inside of the dome be okay for a few of days until I get home, decompress & then get to wash it off? (as long as there is no moisture?)

Yes, but do when you can, hose and scrub it off inside and out and let it dry before completely before storing.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I have been reading your website & oogling over all the pictures :o) I am very much looking forward to having a dome in our life. Thank you again for your time & I hope to hear from you soon.
Kind regards,

On Jun 29, 2009

Hi Bob,
I stumbled on the shelter-systems website, this evening 12 midnight (seems a good time for research, kids in bed, all is quiet) We just moved into a new home and need various shelters for the yard. I am looking at the roof shell page and came across this wording... quick sheds by setting them on 8' 4x4's sunk in the ground with plywood walls attached; and other low-arched roofs.

This may just be the thing I have been searching for as an alternative to ugly metal sheds. My question is, do you have directions on how to secure the 5' X 5' PorchShell to a plywood structure?

I also love the domes for a greenhouse, but those are self explanatory so no questions on those, just hoping shelter-systems is a one shop stop for my various needs.

thank you in advance,

Subject: Re: question about the PorchShell

Hi Gabrielle

The PorchShell's poles terminate at it's edges with Grip Clips that have a nylon cords attached to them. One way to secure the shell to a plywood structure would be to attach "eye bolts" near the edge of the structure. Then tie the Grip Clip cords to the eye bolts such that the short "skirts" on the edges of the PorchShell shingle over the plywood to create a rain shedding structure. You could also nail or screw strips of thin wood to the skirts: see BikeShed manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/bikeshed-manual.html


Bob Gillis

On Jun 10, 2009, at 7:18 PM

I'm wondering what the track record is with the 31'er out on the playa. I've seen them out there and noted one as something I'd like to build or buy. Then I got one used this year and wonder about the 200psi irrigation pipe exoskeleton. A lot - most even - of the folks I know, including myself, have built structures out there, albeit less beautiful and drum tight than yours - and used schedule 40. Surely you've heard back from customers and maybe even experimented yourselves out there. Do they really hold up to winds with the 200psi?

I expect we have 200 or more domes on the playa each year

The 31'er too?

So far so good; But the 30 is stronger.

Do you sell playa packages with SCH4o?


Or the 200psi like the one I've got? Can I safely upgrade to SCH40?

Not worth the investment. Would be very hard to put up

Any experience with that? Is it worth it?

I do not think so. If you give it a try I would like to hear about how it works out for you.

I'm just curious what my best option is to make this thing stay up out there. I don't want to change to thicker walled pipe if the fabric won't tolerate the extra tension. Any idea how many guy lines I should use on it and where to best attatch them for wind conditions?

Most people do not set guy lines, But if you want to the 30 and 31 can use up to 20. See the online manual.

Thanks lots for any insight you might be willing to offer on how I might best have success with and longevity from my dome. I also noticed that you sell the 10' 18' and 30' as "one of our strongest" on your website. I have the 31'. is the geometry the same as the 30 from the top down?


I'm wondering if I might do well to simply leave the bottom row of pipe off and have a slightly shorter and smaller diameter dome if I don't really need the extra space.


I'm thinking I could either roll up the extra material around the edges inside or remove the bottom row of shingled material all together. Any thoughts you might have on that?

Both will work fine.

Thanks a ton for your help. Impressive design. I'm excited to try mine out this year. I'd love it if you could copy this email in a reply and then insert answers to the questions right where they are - seems the easiest way for both of us to keep track of what got answered and what I should try to find out on my own or from other shelter-systems dome owners.

Let me know what you hear.

There must be a club, right? joke . . . joke. I'm just trying to be as prepared as possible this time for a change and starting to think about camp infrastructure improvements and disaster preparedness / backup solutions. Thanks for your thoughts and have a stellar day.

On Jun 4, 2009

Hey Bob --

Apologies if you aren't the right person to talk to - if you could redirect me to the right person in that case, it would be great. I am a Program Manager working in Microsoft Research on the WorldWide Telescope project: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/Home.aspx. One of our missions is outreach in the science and ed communities to help kids explore astronomy and physics, and to that end we are trying to think of ways to build small "portable" planetariums. We have built one out of cardboard/clips/fabric/2x4s as a test but are looking for something easier to assemble and found your dome tents and think that might be an alternative.

My odd question is;
* would you consider a custom-version of the 14' dome tent done with fabric that doesn't let light through -- we need to control the light coming through in order to reduce the cost of the projector we would acquire
* in terms of specs, the geometry for projection is ideal if we have a pretty perftect half-dome. We think the 14" dome looks ok, but if you have another recommendation, that would be great

Our goal is to create small planetarium "kits" that we could sponser/send to our intl subsidiarys and to various institutions that we sponsor and would do PR around.

I know the questions are a bit odd, but the project is fun. If you want to see a quick preview of WorldWide Telescope, check out this video:


Subject: Re: Interesed in your Yurt Dome for some research

As a special order this order is: 20% more in cost and non-returnable, we can make you a 14'er out of a white and black covering we have. It is a black out covering. It however is not fire retardant. Our domes are not half spheres but 1/2 of a nearly spherical polyhedron.

On Jun 1, 2009

Hi Elenor,
I plan to use my shelter at burnigman this year, again. I bought the 18ft dome last year and it work well. Several of the tubes broke and needed to be replaced, plus more spares. I also had a small 12X16 shade cloth that was too small so i got a bigger one. The floor will make things more compact and clean. I had a square tarp last year but was too small. The only complaint is that a lot of playa will pass threw the seams when the wind picks up. Is there a better way to seal the top sections of the dome. I got some paper clips in the kit but they dont work too well. I was planning to use a small round dowel to roll the seams together and then use the clips. Any suggestions would be welcome.


Subject: questions

Hi Adrian

Your idea of using a dowel is interesting and may work of the binder clips are strong enough. Let me know how it works out. I will test it here also.

At present we recomend a UV stable white Duct Tape and Velcro: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

also see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Sticky back Velcro "coins" or strips can be used to create a tighter seal between the door of your yurt, dome and the wall or net door and wall or to hold the shingling of your dome tight. For doors make sure the door and wall are clean and dry before applying the Velcro. One way to attach "coins" of Velcro to your doors is to have a helper inside your dome. Secure the door closed with the bottom clip hooks. Cut the coin's backing so as to separate the coins each with their own backing. Then join the coins together hook to loop keeping their backings attached. With you on the outside and your helper on the inside, and taking care that loop part of the velcro is on your side remove the backing on the loop place it between the door cover and the side wall of your dome and stick it to the door cover. Then remove the backing to the hook side and stick it to the domes wall. Have your helper push from the inside with your hand on the outside to secure a good bond of the velcro to the door and wall. Continue to add more coins. Additional coins or strips of sticky back velcro can by purchased locally or from our Accessory page: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

If you are using strips mark with a marking pen where the edges of the door cover or netting contacts the sides of the tent. Lift up the door and get it out of your way. Now measure and cut a length of "hook" Velcro long enough to secure one of the door's edges. You do not need to cover the whole length of the door as this may make it difficult to open or close the door. Remove the protective strip from the sticky back and apply this Velcro to the inside of the mark you have made on the side of the dome. Repeat for other side. Take two lengths of "loop" Velcro and Velcro them to the "hook" Velcro that you have already attached to the sides of your tent. Remove the protective strips from these. Now carefully lower and hook your door to the base of the dome. Press the netting or door to the exposed sticky of the Velcro. Rub well to secure the bonding of the glue to the door and the sides of your Yurt Dome. Try not to stress the Velcro glue bond till it is set as it can take up to 25 hours to reach its maximum holding power. Be sure to attach the "hook" part of the Velcro to the wall of the dome, yurt as this way when you go in and out the hooks will not tend to get caught on your hair or clothing. You can purchase additional Velcro from your fabric or hard where store or you can order more from us.

Dealing with wind blown dust and/or high wind conditions. Get Scotch Heavy Duty Gray All-Weather Duct Tape and or Scotch Transparent Long Lasting Duct Tape 1-800-494-3552 (regular duct tape does not hold up in the sun) both tapes are available at many hardware stores. The Heavy Duty lasts a bit longer in the sun then the Transparent but both hold up well over time. The Transparent looks better. Use for sealing up unused doors, floor to wall or shingleing when in extream dust conditions. Apply tape to dome when it is clean and dry Use only one door for entering and exiting your dome. Seal your other doors with tape. Attach sticky back Velcro on the door you use (apply when clean and dry - it takes about 24 hours for the glue on the velcro to set to full strength). Consider using just one side of your door when conditions are windy. Tuck your dome's skirt under your tarp floor and then tape your floor to your dome's skirt on the inside of your dome. Weight down your floor with all the objects you have (in high wind, wind will blow under your floor and lift it up shaking dust into the air. Seal the horizontal shingles with tape on the windward side of your dome and or any shingle that leaks dust.


Bob Gillis

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the tips. I think i am going to try the duct tape. It might be easier to use. I was thinking to use small dowels to roll the seams together and then use the clip to hold the dowel in place but that will mean more setup time. If i use the tape and prep the seams before i can save time. I got my order today and will setup the dome this weekend in preparasion for the playa. 90 days till the burn! This will be the second time the dome is going to burningman. It was the best investment i made. Thanks again.

Best Regards,

On Jun 1, 2009


I would like to know if the big geodesic yurts (20' to 30') are safe to use in the winter time? Every February we have an outdoor event in Ottawa called Winterlude and we might be interested to use this type of equipment for special animation.

How do they react to wind?
What about the weight of the falling snow?
Are they fire retardant?
Is it possible to have two doors?

The more information you can give me the better.

Thank you!

Benoît Subject: Re: Geodesic yurts

Hi Benoit

Wind: They do will in wind but are still a tent and are not recommended for the strongest of winds. They must be staked will to the ground. See staking in manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Snow: They will only hold a small amount of snow. You would need to knock or melt snow off as it accumulates. Read our wind and snow warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html Also read about set up in cold weather: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

All our shelter domes are fire retarded.

The 20' has four doors, the 30' has eight. The 18' and 30' are stronger than the 20'. The reason for this is that the 18' and 20' use the same diameter poles but the poles of the 20' are longer, making it a bit less stiff. The 30' uses a larger diameter pole then the 18 and 20.

Also see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/qanda.html and http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-dome-testimonials.html


Bob Gillis

Date: May 29, 2009
Subject: A question about your 31' domes

Dear Eleanor,

Can you please tell me if the 31' dome would work if the entrance doorway was made higher by leaving out one horizontal pole? (like you show in your picture of the greenhouse dome?)

We are exploring the use of one of your domes for a temporary meditation temple/classroom space and would like an expansive feeling entrance.

Thank you kindly for your response.


Hi Elizabeth

You can remove the short pole above one of your doors. However this will weaken the dome some what. To create a higher door you will need to remove the fabric under this pole. If you wish to preserve the option of reattaching the dome's cover then you will want to unclip one of the clips that tensioned the pole that you removed. To do this you need to remove the other three poles attached to this clip first. Then with care, slide out the corner or the door flap and corner of the upper panel without mixing up the layering or orientation of the remaining corners. Now reapply the clip that you removed. Reinsert your domes pole less the short one above the door. With another Grip Clip join together the upper triangle corner and the lower door flap corner. Make sure the flap is under the triangle. To close your "new door," attach the upper triangle under the dome's side and lower door flap out side the lower side wall at the ground. Velcro may be of use for this but take care that the "hook" side of the velcro is on the flap and so it does not catch on hair.


Bob Gillis


I am going to be building a small geodesic greenhouse using either 3/4" or 1" EMT conduit. I've attached two 3-d renderings of the design(it's not the usual geometry).

I would like to suspend one cover from the inside of the frame using the Grip Clips and have a second cover over the outside(I'm not sure how I will do this...maybe you have some ideas). This will create an insulating air space between the two covers. This dome is intended be a tropical setting for growing mostly South American plants.

Anyway, uhmmm, my question is: Can the Grip Clip handle two pieces of overlapping/shingled 10.5 mil poly?

Also, it would be awesome if you know of a good way to attach the outside cover to the frame using the Grip Clips. I would like to avoid screws, nails, glue, welded seams, permanent fasteners, attaching wood to tubing to attach poly to wood, etc... I'd like for both of the covers to be easily adjustable.

I look forward to your answer and to any suggestions you might have.

Sincerely, Jimmy

Date: May 29, 2009
Subject: hi again

I was looking around your site some more and realized you sell greenhouse covers as well as other types. It could be that I purchase the covers from you instead of the link provided in the previous email, if the prices are comparable.

Really, as far as cover materials, cover accessories and ways of attaching the covers, everything is "up in the air" and completely re-workable. Whatever fits my needs best.

The only thing that is 99.9% certain is that the frame will be a 12ft. diameter 1V 5/8 rhombicuboctahedron made from EMT conduit sitting on a base of dirt packed cinder blocks.

I apologize if any of what I've said is redundant or unclear. I'm having a great deal of trouble forming and keeping up with what I'm saying due tension and pain. I'm just stressing out because I can't figure this out on my own. I would be grateful for whatever help you can provide.

Sincerely, Jimmy

Clip questions

Hi Jimmy

I am not sure how our Grip Clips would work with the 10.5 material. A lot depends on stiffness and not just the mill. Our GP and Pro will grip 3 layers of our Green House covering which is about 4 mill : http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html Our HD GC will grip more layers. If you send a sample I could test it for you or you could buy a sampler of our clips: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

You could return the clips, if they are in new condition, for a refund or trade.

I would think the 10.5 material is quite stiff and hard to work with. Our covering is 6' wide and is $10 a running yard. You should be able to shape (over lap) and hang with the GP and or HD one or more layers in your frame. You can shape and support on your frame with the pro. You can shape and pull down on a covering draped over your frame.


Bob Gillis

On May 26, 2009

Hi, Bob,

I've got a 1995 twenty footer in the white covering. It's still in reasonably good shape despite its age because it has really only been set up for an average of a week or two per year. Our mild northern Oregon climate also has helped minimize the UV damage.

If I wanted to replace a panel or two with a more greenhouse-oriented film, what would you recommend?

Part of my question involves whether there might be a strength issue if one is joining two dissimilar covering materials with the grip clip fasteners.

Thank you,

Bruce Johnson

Subject: Re: Replace a panel with something different?

Hi Bruce

There is no problem mixing the white with greenhouse covering. The panels are approximately $65 each.

Install: Order the same panel from Shelter Systems. 1) Arrange the replacement panel over top of the damaged panel so that it is in the same orientation.2) Remove only one clip from your dome being careful not to disrupt the layering sequence of the panels on your dome. If you can not get the clip off use a pliers and brake the ring part of the clip (you will receive 4 extra Heavy Duty Grip Clips with each replacement panels). 3) Take your time to carefully slide out the corner of your damaged panel and insert your replacement panel into the same layering sequence as that of the damaged panel. 4) Now with all layers in the same order and orientation as before; gather these tightly around the male clip and slip over the female clip as described below. When many layers are involved as is the case with the corners of the windows, attaching the female clip can be difficult; practicing on scraps and making the layers warm with the sun or heat lamp (be careful not to melt the covering by getting it to hot) can help.


Bob Gillis

On May 23, 2009

Can one (1) person put up a dome/yurt ? say a 30' or what?

Yes, but it requires strength and is not recommended especially the first time. I have put up a 30' by myself (140 lb.) but it was quite a workout and I had put it up with help before. The 30' is our hardest dome to put up (you should have two strong people to help you put it up). The smaller domes are much easier. The 18' is our next toughest dome to put up. The reason these two are hardest is to make them strong against the wind. After a dome has been put up once it is quite a bit easier the next time. The reason for this is that the covering gets stretched out and the poles take a slight set.

Also see: Q&A 3/2011  5/2009  3/2009  11/2008  2008  2007  3/2007  2003  Testimonials

1 1/2-YEAR GUARANTEE. If for any reason you're not completely pleased with your purchase, return it in original, dry and clean condition within 30 days of receipt for a full refund or exchange as you wish. All items in this catalog have a warranty against defects in materials and workmanship for 1 1/2 years. Should any product prove defective we will repair or replace it at no cost to you. Special Orders are not returnable. Read Snow and Wind Warnings.

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Questions?   Orders & Customer Service: Toll Free 866-777-1066 or 831- 464-2002 or Moble 831-588-8794 eleanor@shelter-systems.com Technical: 650-323-6202 bob@shelter-systems.com. Copyright © Shelter Systems 1976 - 2015 All Rights Reserved