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Questions and Answers 2003 - 2007

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


Is it possible to exchange some of the sheets of my dome to be translucid ?

It is.

Do I have to unmount the dome ?


How easy is it ?

You can replace a whole panel. 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.




I would print a photo of the dome from our web site and then mark on it which panels you want to replace. Then let us know which you need. Note that most of the panels come in pairs. Examine the ones on your dome. The replacement panels are $65 each.

You will need to remove all of the poles and remove all tension from around the panel you want to replace.

Bob Gillis

The guys have set up the Cave and are figuring out ways to use it.
It took them a bit to get it set up.  Finally got to admit they didn't look at the picture in the instructions.  Were trying to put the poles inside.  Then the lightbulb went off and they got it.
They love it.  So light and so easy to set up.  Have not used on a job yet but I expect that will happen soon.  Again, will send job photos when available.
Tks and Rgds,  WD Smith-DurtWurks

Hi I was wondering if it is possible to print on your material and have you ever done it? I would like to put advertisments on the side of the yurts. Please forward the reply to my e-mail address go_flo47@hotmail.com thanking you in advance Florian Gaudreau

Yes. Be sure to test the ink, dye or paint to see which will hold best for you. You can also have banners printed which you then tie to the clips of the dome.

Bob Gillis

I really admire the technology you folks have put together. Thank you.

I am thinking to purchase one of your 14’ bubble domes to use as a meditation hut. I live in southern Maine and need a small place out of the house to practice my Buddhist meditations away from the chaos of 2 young boys.

I have a question about what the limitations might be around “decorating” the inside of the dome, particularly as regards hanging things. Typically a Tibetan Buddhist retreat hut would have a few hangings of pictures of Buddha on the walls and light brocades around the ceiling edge. I have a few pictures that are printed on vinyl like the signs you see at conventions. The pictures are about 2 X 3.

What are the restrictions to hanging things from the inside of your domes? There must be a weight limit and I imagine balancing the load also comes into questions at some point. Also, do you have any ideas about the best way to attach the hangings? Would your grip clips work?



Hi Ken

There is a clip inside your dome were the poles cross on the outside of the dome. Each inside clip has two holes. You can hang about 4 lb. from each clip on the inside of the 14' dome.


Bob Gillis

Your questions: BubbleDome for Fine Craft Trade Show
> I have a couple of questions about trade-show usage of the BubbleDome.
> First, from the web site I understand the widest part of the
> BubbleDome is 10 feet, and the interior footprint is about a foot
> less. This would allow it to fit into a standard 10' by 10' tradeshow
> booth without bulging into the next-door neighbor's booth, correct?

It should and they have been used at trade-shows with the 10 by 10' standard.
> Would the open format allow the BubbleDome to tuck into a 10-foot
> wide by 5-foot deep booth area? The reason I ask is that I may get
> such a small booth at a special price as a participant in the
> "Emerging Artist" category at the ACRE trade show. I will know by next
> Monday if this is the case.

No, but you could set it up as a 1/2 of the dome rather then the 3/4 open arch form. Both of these configurations require some clip removal.
> Is the material fire retardant or can it be made so? Once you let me
> know, I will check with the Las Vegas Convention Center about the
> rules regarding such material, and particularly whether they would
> permit lights to be hung from the poles, given their proximity to the
> material.
The covering is FR yes.

> Finally, from which poles can lights be clamped, and how much weight
> can the poles bear? I will be purchasing fairly lightweight
> floodlights, probably low-voltage halogen and/or maybe LED lighting,
> and would like it to be clamped along the ceiling if possible.

You can hang lights on the inside at about 5 lb. pre clip (there is a clip on the inside of the dome at each pole crossing. The outside pole crossing can alternatively hold about 5 lb. Both the poles and the covering can melt if they get too hot.


Bob Gillis


Hi I was wondering if it is possible to print on your material and have you ever done it? I would like to put advertisments on the side of the yurts. Please forward the reply to my e-mail address go_flo47@hotmail.com thanking you in advance Florian Gaudreau

Yes. Be sure to test the ink, dye or paint to see which will hold best for you. You can also have banners printed which you then tie to the clips of the dome.


Bob Gillis

On Dec 1, 2006

We are a group of astronomers teaching astronomy in schools and colleges in India. We are looking for portable domes which can be used as mobile planetariums. Is it possible to use your domes for digital projection. Kindly suggest at the earliest.


Yes, they have been used for this.


Bob Gillis

On Dec 3, 2006

Re: Wind Strength // Arctic Conditions

Hi Bob,

My company outfits film crews, divers, photographers and
scientists in the high arctic. It is not uncommon to have one or two
days of the fiercest winds and weather that most people have ever
experienced and we have had both the top of the line Mountain Hardwear
Space Station and the "life time guaranty" Cabela's Alaska Outfitter
Tent humbled by the conditions.

I am intrigued by your design and interested to give it a try but
was wondering whether there are any special enhancements in terms of
extra strength in the poles. If there is any extra strong option for
pole material I'd be interested in what you would suggest. My impression
from the testimonials and generally looking around your web site is that
it will probably hold up under moderate conditions and perhaps brief
intense ones but the standard design (as per your wind/snow warning)
likely would not stand up to days of intense winds. The design is simple
enough, however, that I would think that with stronger poles and
attachments that quite a stable structure could be built (albiet with
more weight).

I think that we'd start with either an 18/20 as a group tent and
an 11/14 as a sleeping tent. If we could get the 18/20 to stand up to
the elements I'd be quite interested then in the 30.

Thanks very much.


Graham Dickson
Arctic Kingdom

Hi Graham

Thanks for your interest in our shelters.

I would recommend our Super Strong 16' Dome $780. This is a special order dome that uses the same diameter poles that the 18 and 20 but since it is smaller in size it is substantially stronger. You can also order a second pole set and connector set to double up the poles for even greater strength. Still in extreme winds it could fail. You may also want to get some 2" sticky back velcro to secure some of the domes shingling. I suggest we talk on the phone so the details of this are clear.


Bob Gillis

Date: December 14

Hi Eleanor,

Just want to tell you that our bubble dome is performing very well in tradeshows and it's actually a problem.. it distracts people from looking at the products, they look at the dome instead and say "woaa, clever!!" :)



Will open the package and get the shelter set up tomorrow, worst case Friday.  Will advise.
Our use is for concrete pours during foul weather.  Additionally the shelter would protect the concrete during the critical first few hours of cure.  Not sure what the best description would be.
Yes, will send you some pics once we have a test application.

Tks and Rgds,  WD

On Oct 1, 2006

hi we are a company doing work at base in IRAQ and would like to buy 3 30 ft domes but have a few questions  how long before they can be shipped also price to AMMAN JORDAN   can a real door be installed  thank hope to hear back soon thanks.  SAM

Hi Sam

You can frame in a standard door on your end. Put up the dome and set your door with frame inside the dome so that it is plumb and the top of the frame touches the dome. Use wood to extend the door frame so that it will butt up to the domes covering on the inside of the dome from the top of the door down. You will need some one who works with wood to do this. With wood lath secure the domes covering to the door frame from the outside. Mark the poles were they extend into the door frame. Cut the poles on these marks and secure them to the door frame with an eye bolt and a connector. Cut and remove the covering that extends over the door frame leaving about 6" of covering to wrap around a lath and secure to the sides inside of the frame. Some weakness is created by attaching the dome to a rigid door in that the dome can not flex at this point in high wind.

Please forward this email along with your complete address to eleanor@shelter-systems.com so we can get you a shipping price.


Bob Gillis

Date: September 25, 2006

I purchased a 14' dome last year and have found that i need a tent fly..You people said to use a tarp which i did but it looks kind of cheesy, I would like a fitted fly. do you have one in a sun proof material or should i just try a local canvas person?

your product stood up to 40mph winds on several occasions while other tents went down, but the rain did come through the seams in those conditions that and the condensation buildup on the inside make a fly necessary

N Cianflone

Hi N Cianflone

We do not recommend that our tents be covered with a tarp as it can cause the poles to heat up and bend excessively which will cause the shingling to be weakened. We do offer several sunshades which stretch to conform to the domes shape: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html These shades will also take some of the punch out of the wind. If you did tarp your dome and if your poles have been excessively warped by the heat I suggest you replace them to maintain the strength of your dome and the shingling. You can sometimes find this size poles at irrigation pipe supply places or we sell individual poles also.


Bob Gillis

Shelter Systems, 224 Walnut St, Menlo Park CA 94025
Orders & Customer Service 866-777-1066 eleanor@shelter-systems.com
http:www.DomeTents.com http:www.GripClips.com http:www.ReliefTents.com
Copyright 2006 Shelter Systems All Rights Reserved.

From: "" <nico47@excite.com>

Avain Huts
I have an unusual request for you. You may have been following the news re avian
flu. It's in Europe and edging ever closer to where I am, in Ireland.
I just got word today that the government is very likely to impose a lock-up for
all poultry in Ireland during the spring migration. I keep chickens and have
been working on breeding good lines of an old utility breed which I don't want
to loose. They are a valuable genetic resource that would be difficult and
costly to replace. So it looks like I have to bite the bullet and house them for
a period and possibly every autumn and spring in the foreseeable future.
As they are in 4 groups in small mobile units and can't be chucked
together in a house without mayhem and probably murder, I am looking for a way
to cover their individual small houses with some space around each house. The
requirement would be that they can't get out, wild birds can't get in and can't
sh** on them from above, i.e. can't infect them. Also, temperatures should not
be too extreme, especially in the high range. Having said that, it does not get
very hot here in Ireland but a polytunnel would be too hot (mine reaches 104+F
at times in spring - they'd snuff it).
I reckon I need about 13-14 ft diameter per group.


August 22/ 06

GripClips saved my life at Burning Man a few years ago by keeping my tarps in place when all the grommets were blown out from the wind! With out the Grip Clips I had got from you I would have had no shad and I be cooked.

-Chad Mccraner


Last year I purchased your 18’ dome for Burning Man 2005 which worked out great! I’m preparing for this year’s event and had just a couple questions:

1 Can you please tell me how many of the long poles and how many of the short poles are used for the dome? I want to make sure I’m not missing either of the lengths I’ll need once I get there this year.

40 long and 12 short.

2 Do you have a recommendation for how to secure a tarp floor to the yurt to minimize wind infiltration into the dome? Last year during the event all the wind seemed to want to blow up the tarp floor. What’s the best way of preventing this?

Fold the dome's skirt under your tarp, then weight down the the edge of the tarp with your stuff to seal it tight to the ground. Alternatively you can weight down the skirt to the out side of the dome. The winds usually come from just one general direction so concentrate your effort on that direction to start with. Wind is tenacious so you will have to be through.

Many thanks!



I am working on an art project which involves projecting images onto various
. I have been trying to figure out how to create essentially what
you have pictured here:


What would be the leadtime/cost involved for something like this with one
missing panel to shine the projector through?

Many thanks!
--Dave Wimsatt
Chicago, IL

Hi David

Three weeks; $500. It would be a special order and as such non-returnable. Please contact Eleanor if you want to place an order and let us know if you want it if white or translucent. I recommend white if you want to project on it (images would be seen inside and out.


Bob Gillis

Date: August 2, 2006

what about putting a rooftop system onto a circular strawbale structure? (16 or 20'). I am mechanically challenged but can stack bales and cover them with stucco. Climate is 4 season fairly mild ( max low ever would be about 0 maybe but it doesn't last for long) here in SW Idaho just above the Snake River. Wind could be a larger concern but I was planning to set the roof top to the inside edge of the bales and put a false edge kind of like a low rim on the outside edge of the bales so the roof itself wouldn't be exposed to direct wind. I am counting on the round shape and wind deflection to work in my favor here.

On Aug 3, 2006


It may work. I like your idea of a wind deflector rim. What about snow? Can you heat it to melt snow or remove it for winter?


Bob Gillis

our snow comes in a few light dustings - haven't seen more than a couple light fluffy inches at most- great improvement over the 3' of wet cement that fell one night when I lived in the Cascades.  I would have it heated to a min of 50 degrees ( with either propane or electric) when I am not home and crank up the woodstove when I am home.

Sounds like the snow is not a problem; if you do get snow make sure it is brushed or melted off.


Bob Gillis

Date: July 30, 2006

Dear Shelter Systems,
  I have recently build two 17' radius domes to live in a burning man. I have now reached a point where I need to cover these structures. I have taken note that parachutes are not good as they catch the wind. Contractors tarps are my next idea but I thought I would email and see if you had any suggestions or had material available for purchase that would cover these structures. Your website is very impressive and it is clear you understand the conditions of Black Rock city.
Thank you in advance for all your help.

Hi Alex

I would suggest that you use construction grade tarps which you can get from home depo or even the regular blue tarps. You could also use our material: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

I would then get a bunch (hard to have too many) of our General Purpose (Heavy Duty if you are using the heavy tarps) Grip Clips and Grip Clip Pro.

Then using the clips attach your tarps or our covering from the ground up holding and pulling the materials tight. finish with the top (this way you domes will end up waterproof and wind tight since you have shingled them. You can also use the clips to gather material so it will not flap in the wind.

Send us a photo and have fun.


Bob Gillis

Is there any way to reduce the size of my dome packed up for storage or transport?

Yes; you can use a house vacuum to compress your packed dome to about 1/2 its volume; roll and pack up your dome as in the instruction manual; 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.


I have a 24ft diameter parachute that I made into a dome for Burning Man using 3 pairs of arches. I am not happy with that design and want to do something different. I saw your domes and I am very intrigued. I like the way they are designed. You guys have done a very good job.

I am interested in making my own dome and buying some of the parts from you.

How many Connectors do you need for a 20 Diameter Yurt Dome? They come in pairs?

How many poles do you need for a 20 Diameter Yurt Dome? Are there two sizes of poles?

Mike Brisbin

Hi Mike

We do not offer a kit or plans for our domes as they have proved to complicated for people to build from plans. However, we do offer a kit for our Shelter Frame http://www.shelter-systems.com/shelter-frame2.html/FrameSet.htm for $75 non-returnable which include the needed Grip Clips. If you want to order this kit please place your order with the order desk 866 777 1066

Bob Gillis

I'm heading out to the playa and need to get some general pupose grip clips for some 70% aluminet shade cloth I have. Which would you recommend, and how far apart should I put them on the cloths.
I have two pieces for two separate shelters:
70% Aluminet Shade Curtain
14'wide x18' long
70% Aluminet Shade Curtain
21'wide x36' long
Jeff Wood


I would use the General Purpose and place them about 6' apart along the edges of your shades. For better griping sandwich in a 6" by 6" square of fabric, shade or tarp with each Grip Clip to give extra thickness to the shade were the Grip Clips are clipped. You can also use the Grip Clips to secure your shades in their mid sections to prevent them from lifting up or flapping in the wind.


Bob Gillis

On May 15, 2006

Dear Bob,
I am a a gardening interested doctor from Sweden and have just ordered a green house in glass measuring 371 x 605 cm and 305 cm in hight ( classicum.se )
The problem in Sweden is gardening or protecting plants during winter time.
Most people w greenhouses uses bubble plastic which they hang inside the house to isolate when temp drop. Its quite laborious and not very practical nor effective.
Maybe its possible to use one of your tents inside the greenhouse during winter?
What would you suggest ? Do you have a good isolating cover for such a use or maybe
its possible to complement your cover with just placing bubble plastic over the tent ?
If you could present a good solution there might be a market for this kind of use in nordic countries.
Best greetings
Peter Wersäll
Stockholm, Sweden

Hi Peter

Seems like a good idea to me. There would be several heating advantages to putting one of our smaller greenhouses inside your greenhouse. The most obvious would be that you could heat the space inside the smaller space much easier than your larger house. Come summer you could fold up the dome and use your full house. The other would be the blocking of wind and cold by your outer house would again make it easier to to heat the inner smaller house. We also make liners for our domes that create a 2" dead air space between the liner and outer cover. Dead air is an excellent insulator. Which makes for cost saving in heating.


Bob Gillis

May 14, 200


I was wondering if you could help in my investigations.

We are looking to develop an eco-friendly luxury tented camp in the New Zealand Alps and are looking for potential manufacturers of tents that could be used in the winter. The idea is that we will build wooden decks to put the tents on and then construct a strong tent on top of this platform.

The main criteria will be:-

1. Strength - be able to withstand heavy snowfall and to be used continuously for a number of years
2. Warmth - they will need to be good at retaining heat and fire proof to allow for a wood or oil burning stove to be installed.
3. Spacious - the general idea would be to include a four poster bed, storage, maybe even an armchair.
4. Attractive - the idea is for luxury in a tent whilst skiing, so they would need to sit comfortably in the nature snow bound mountainous setting, a window section to appreciate the views would also be ideal.

In the original stage we would be looking to have between 15 and 30 built, but hopefully this would develop over time - please could you advise if this is something that your company would be interested in helping design & build?


Craig Macara.

Hello Craig

1) Perhaps our best tent for you is our new 14' Yurt Dome with a heavy duty pole set. This is by far our strongest tent. Still there is a limit as to how much snow it can hold. The dome is $620 The HD pole and connector set is $60 extra.

2) They are FR and easy to heat. They like all tents will cool off after you turn off your stove.

3) See for your self if a 14' diameter 7' high dome would be large enough for you: http://www.shelter-systems.com/sizes.html

People often ask how many people can sit, sleep or stand in a certain size Shelter Systems' yurt or dome. Study the drawings below to make size and volume comparisons of our different domes.

You can also mark a full-size circle on the pavement. Have a friend hold to the ground a string equal in length to one half the diameter of the dome you are wondering about. Walk around your friend, keeping the string tight. Use chalk or small rocks to mark a circle "drawn" by the end of the string. After you get your circle marked ,put a sleeping bag, cot, chair, table, etc. inside the circle. You can also draw objects in the circle. Invite some friends over to size up your "dome." Draw some other sizes on the ground and compare.
How to Visualize Interior Space Size

The best way to get an idea of the space inside the dome is to print out a picture of the dome. Then mark a circle on the ground or pavement with chalk or small stones that is the diameter of your Yurt Dome by having a friend hold a cord that is 1/2 the diameter of your Yurt Dome to the ground while you walk around him keeping the cord taught and marking the ground. Next have your friend stand in the circle while you back away from him holding the picture of your Yurt Dome at arms length till the Yurt Dome's diameter in the picture matches the diameter of the the circle you have marked on the ground. Now you can move the picture, keeping it at arms length, over top of your friend and it's base will match the circle. Your photo will be to scale with your friend. You can have him move about inside this "dome" and get a clear idea how much interior space is inside.

4) This is your call but we feel they are beautiful and being white in snow is the best. Our standard 14' dome has 4 clear vinyl windows.

Bob Gillis

On May 12, 2006

Subject: moveable chicken coop

I wonder if amidst all your designs you have one suitable for use as a movable chicken coop?


Any of our domes can serve as a movable chicken coop. I am not sure how well they would work to keep out a raccoon. That would have to be tested.


Bob Gillis

May 4, 2006

Hello again Eleanor,

I don't have time to set up the tent before we head out. But as a precaution
I do need to check to make sure that all I need to set up the tent is in the
package, # of poles, universal connector - if there is one, etc. 

As soon as possible can you send me a list of what is needed for the 20 foot
dome and I will check against actual contents. This is the best I can do at
this last minute.

I appreciate your help,



With your dome you should have received 40 long poles and 12 short, the covering with 16 stakes, a bag of extra parts (clips, cord, binder clips,extra connectors and two vent tubes) and instruction manual. You will need gloves, eye protection and a hammer (you can use a rock) to put up your dome. It is best to have one other person help the first time you put up the dome. If possible print out or at least look over the online manual since it is much more detailed and updated than the manual that ships with the dome: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html


Bob Gillis

On Apr 26, 2006

20' dome...

how much weight can the support poles handle. could i hang from the top one ?

About 10 - 15 lb. at each hub.

(imagine an opening in the canvas, and i can reach the connector there)

No need the clips inner components have holes to hang from.

will the dome start to bow/flex when hanging lightweight items?


how about a lamp? a plant? stereo speakers??

Yes, but I would keep it under 10 lb. or so but you can simply try and find out.


On Apr 26, 2006, at 7:13 PM, Shannon Goolsbee wrote:

I'm looking into your domes for a semi-permanent work space in Fiji. I have a  few questions I would much appreciate if you could answer.
1) I'm curious how your ripstop fabric stacks up against other tent coverings, particularly vinyl tarp coverings.

Each has some advantages:
The vinyl most often will last in the full sun longer. Our covering UV stabilized to last in worst conditions about 3 years (we guarantee it for 1.5 years). Vinyl can last up to 10 depending on the quality. Vinyl out gasses (smells) and is usually more prone to mildew sticking to it. Depending on the thickness is more prone to puncture. The vinyl is stretchy and will not provide the tensile stability we need to make our domes. The vinyl is heavier and more bulky. The vinyl is more expensive. For these and other reasons we are very pleased with our covering.

Have you had it tested for tensile strength and puncture resistance? If so, what numbers did you get back and who tested it for you?

TENSILE STRENGTH 150 Lbs. Warp, 135 Lbs. Fill (ASTM D–1682 Grab)
TEAR STRENGTH 35 Lbs Warp, 33 lbs Fill (ASTM D-751, Tongue)

You can not tear it with your hands even if you start the tear with a knife.
2) Do your domes have a history of withstanding hurricanes?

They do not and we advise that customers take them down to weather most hurricanes.

Do you have customers that you know of who have had domes that survived prolonged high winds?

We do not recommend our domes for prolonged strong winds. Although they are quit strong and resilient in most normal winds.
3) Will the "shingled" approach of the panels prevent rain penetration that is driven sideays or even upwards by gusts of wind?

This would depend on the strength of the wind. The shingling can be glued (silicon rubber) shut.
4) How is the system anchored into the ground?

I comes with 14 1' long DuraPeg stakes see manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html
5) Is the material breathable?

No but the shelter is by the shingling.
6) How does it hold up to mold and mildew?

None of the components will rot or mildew. Dirt that my get on it can and if storied you should make sure it is dry; however even under wet storage the covering will not itself mildew.
7) Is it available in dark green or camoflouge?

No, but you can paint it. Test your paint first.
Thank you for your time.
Shannon Goolsbee

On Apr 20, 2006

are the grip clips "permanently" attached to the shingles?

Yes, but they can be removed by by hand if you were to choose to do so (not recommended except for repair or to modify the dome)

are the connectors "permanently" attached to the grip/clip/tarp,

Yes, but you could remove them if you chose (not recommended).

and when stored?

They stay attached.

i'm just curious how to assemble. do i need to thread the cord through the connector or grip clip (it appears the cord goes right through the connector -- is that how things attach during setup?

No, you bend the poles and insert them into the pre-attached connectors.

or -- if that piece is attached and stored with the tarp then i see how it don't need dissembling. otherwise i'm not sure what needs attaching/removal during setup/strike.

You just add or subtract the poles.

(i'm looking at the shingling.html and manual pages).


On Apr 17, 2006

Which Grip Clips do you recommended for the black rock dessert, and the Burning Man event. I would be using them with heavy duty silver tarps. Are the general purpose ones good enough, or do you recommend the heavy duty because of the high wind? Thanks for the help and can’t wait to use this product.  

Both sizes will grip your silver tarps. The HD is easier to attach and to grip multiple layers, since it is bigger and has a looser fit. As far as the wind: it all depends on how many you use to support a given area. The spacing of the HD can be farther apart say 6' while the GP say 5' apart. Now this spacing is a general idea and will generally work; there are many other considerations: how strong the wind, what type of supports will the Grip Clips be tied to, what angle is the tarp to the wind, will the tarps be under elastic support, etc. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.

On Apr 12, 2006,

OK, the support poles are on the outside, canvas on the inside...

is there a way to "hang" stuff (on the inside) to decorate ?


When you go to tie in the net doors, divider and and the floor a paper clip (large is best) or small bent peice of wire will be helpfull in threading their attaching cords to the inside clip holes on the dome. See manual for photo: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html 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 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 it makes it easier.

On Apr 8, 2006

Dear Shelter Systems:

I am interested in your yurt/dome shelters (either the 14' or 18') for my back yard to use as a place to do healing work (and perhaps some shamanic drumming and dancing).

I know that you recommended putting it on the ground rather than a deck, and that sounds good but I have a question. When it rains we can get up to 2 inches of water in parts of the yard where the yurt-dome would be. Truth be told, that would be ANYWHERE in our yard. We live in the Sacramento Valley at 0 degrees sea level.

Before we put up the shelter, we need some landscaping done in our yard -- i.e. grading and drainage, and we want to do that first.

My question is, would the foot high berm you talked about building up, and then putting the floor on, and then setting up the shelter, work in a place with so much rainfall, or is it impractical to put it on the earth in such conditions? I'm hoping that we don't need to build a deck and insulate it, but I'd like to know if it would be impractical to put it on the earth.


Francesca Reitano


The idea is to build a small hill with it's flat top big enough for the dome to sit on. If you get flooding of only 2" then a 1' high area will work. Water only moves up hill a few inches. You will still need a tarp to keep the ground dampness from entering your dome's space. Your tarp needs to be keep inside the dome and the edge of your mound should be sloped gradually down and away from your dome. This way when it rains water will flow down and away from your dome.


Robert Gillis

I bought some Grip Clips from you about a year ago and took them to
Maui camping for 7 days and used them in a few different ways. Truly a cool gadget.
One picture depicts usages in fairly high winds. They are a life saver when you want to tie it down
in an exact spot.
Thanks once again,

On Mar 14, 2006

I was wondering how long the frame can be expected to last. Your statement,
"Poles can usually be obtained from a building supply or plumbing store. Ask
for class 200, class #125 or schedule 40 will also work." made me wonder.
Here in Los Angeles I've seen 1/2" schedule 40 PVC become brittle after a
little over one year in the sun. Is there an additional treatment that is
used on your frames or recommended treatment to keep the PVC from
deteriorating in the sun?

Can a properly anchored 18' dome assembled correctly and in good condition
handle sustained 60mph wind loads? I would hope that I could avoid that
situation, but when those desert winds kick up they can really be screamers.

Dan Metcalf

The PVC we use is standard. In all cases the poles outlast the coverings. In most conditions they last 3 + years. We guarantee them for 1.5 yeas.

I do not recommend our 18' for sustained 60 mph winds. If your application is Burning Man then our domes have done well at BM for over 8 years and have survived some strong wind storms with gusts in the 50's. But this was not sustained. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/burningman-.html


Robert Gillis

Date: March 11, 2006

I have a question about heating. Would a kerosun heater be safe as long as you have plenty of ventilation?
Hi, I live in the portland,oregon area. I would like to know if a single shelter can be purchased?  If so, how much would the 30' diameter dome cost?  You have a very informative web site.  Thank you and I hope to hear from you.
Portland, OR.


You can heat our domes with kerosene but we are not experts in the use of heaters, so I would carefully follow the instructions given with the heater. It is best if you can get a vented heater so that combustibles are expelled from your dome. When a fuel is burn it produces water vapor which will add to the dampness of your space; and carbon dioxide which can suffocate you if you were in an airtight room. The other reason is the fumes which the heater produces can smell and if burnt incompletely produce carbon monoxide (this not the carbon dioxide we mention above but more dangerous and can kill you. Now there are heaters which claim to be safe with out being vented so be smart and read and follow their directions.

On Mar 11, 2006

Good Day,

See http://www.ghg.net/akelly/gleneagl.htm for how my 10' Bubble Dome is used. You may remember me, since you use a picture of my observatory and an e-mail I sent you in your testimonials section.

I erected this in late summer-early fall 2004 and have kept it in good condition by cleaning it thoroughly with K-400 every 6-10 weeks. I have just noticed that the material is starting to "shred" (for lack of a better term) near a couple of the joints (clips). Is there any method of repair for this?

Kind Regards,

Al Kelly

As to the aging of the covering at clips. The covering is UV stabilized but being thin and translucent the sun works on it over time. The covering will age over time and eventually crumble. Thus do most things. You might consider applying 303 Aerospace Protectant a UV fabric sunscreen. Do a Google search: for "303 Aerospace Protectant Price" and you will find many sources for it. You might also find it at a local marine supply our outdoor furniture store. I have not tested 303 but it seems it should extent the life of the covering. If you do use it let me know how it performs over time. The best protection can be gained by coving the dome or at least the top with a sunshade. We offer some shades: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html or you can buy shades at building supply stores or Home Depot.

Individual panels can be replaced at your end. Let us know what panels you need and we will send them free of charge, since you are just out of warrenty. We normally sell replacement panels (a panel is considered two squairs) for the 10' for $40 each. They come with new larger clips (you brake the old clips off one at a time, put the new panel in and clip it with a new clip; then move on to the next). You protect the dome with a shade cloth that is attached to the clip structure of the dome; this way the shade would stay with the dome when you unhook it to move it. Alternately you could shade just around the clips and glue shade patches to the dome with silicone rubber. I would also suggest using the 303.

Replace a whole panel if a tear is immediately adjacent to a clip. 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.

Date: February 27, 2006

Subject: Yurt Dome Question

What's the best way to anchor a 20' dome when you only have asphalt to set-up on?

Genevieve P. Pastor-Cohen, MS, CEM
SEO Program Manager
Security & Emergency Operations Group
Environment Health & Safety
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

If you can drive steel stakes into the asphalt then use the instructions in the manual ( http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html ) for staking using "foundation stakes" . If you are not allowed to drive stakes into the asphalt then use large water containers ( 55 gal plastic drums) as anchors at each of the domes lower anchor clips (12 drums on the 14', 18' and 20' and 20 drums on the 30' Attach 3' by 3 ' sections of tarps to the bottom Grip Clips of the dome with a heavy duty Grip Clip ( when attaching this Heavy Duty Clip - layer in 3 additional 10" by 10" patch layers of tarp - this added thickness should assure that the Grip Clip you are attaching does not slip on the tarp sections). Check to see that the clip does not slip. Set the empty drums over these attached tarps and then fill the drums with water. Test to see that you can not pull the tarp out from under the drums. Tie these clips securely to the domes anchor clips. The dome may be held down with a sufficient number of sand bags tied to the domes anchor clips and weighting down the domes skirt but this will require a very large number of bags. Do NOT underestimate the strength of the wind. If you can move the anchor clips they are NOT secure and your dome could blow away or cause extreme damage.


Robert Gillis

February 22, 2006


I want to order a customized dome....we live in Hawaii and want to be able to have alot of screens and/or shadecloth. What kind of timeframe does it take to complete a custom dome and ship it to Hawaii? And, is there an additional shipping charge?

Hi Aia

We have a standard line of domes that may work for you. The maximum number of screen doors is 4. We do offer sun shades: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html You can get as many of these as you want. We also sell just the tops of our domes that could be set up on posts so you could put netting all the way around: http://www.shelter-systems.com/roof-shell.html Orders are shipping with in one week of order.

Let us know if we can help you.


Robert Gillis

On Feb 16, 2006

Hello my name is louis costa, I am the manger of an extreme sports company in Lisbon Portugal and I am interested in purchasing a 20´dome but I would like to have the floor sewed to the sides in a waterproof seals, since the dome is to be used in a very wet terrain and also to protect the wind to come in between floor and the walls. Is it possible ? if yes how much would the all thing cost me ?
Thank you very much


We do not sew in our floor as this would create a leakage problem with all the needle holes. We do provide clips that allow you to tie the floor to the walls at 12 places. You could buy an addition 12 Grip Clips (4 for $10) from us to clip the floor to the wall skirt for additional wind sealing. Alternatively you can weight down the domes skirt with rock and or dirt; or use sticky back velcro to seal the floor to the wall. If you are in a high wind area you may also want to use sticky back Velcro to seal some of your wall shingles.


Robert Gillis

I just wanted to let you know how great your Light Fabric Grip Clips work as sheet fasteners. Those little garter sheet things don't hold. The Grip Clips are great! Yours are the best.

On Jan 20, 2006

Last year I purchased a 31 foot dome to be used as a church here in New England.  This past winter has been brutal and even though the dome collapsed 3 times, it popped back into place.  Last week, we had almost 60-65 mph winds and although the dome collapsed and popped back up, there was still damage to the bottom of the dome as it ripped away from its anchors.  I will have to dismantle the dome but am having problems undoing the pipes because of the tension that is on them.  Please advise if there is any way to take them apart without cutting them.  We had many services in the dome along with Thanksgiving dinner and it really glowed at night when it was lit up.
I hope that I can somehow repair the damage to the bottem of the dome and use it again.  I will attempt to take some pictures of it and e-mail them to you.  Sincerely, Jim Jasinski - Pastor

Jim Jasinski

You can cut come of the the clip cords to release the tension on the poles. Protect your eyes with safety glasses and face with a face shield if you decide to do this as the tension on the poles can be great. You can later replace the cord after you have made repairs. Replacement panels are $60 each and or you can repair the panels: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Repairs: Your yurt is designed to be durable and problem free. However, some of our customers use their structures for so many years that eventually they need some maintenance. A broken pole can be repaired with a wooden insert such as a piece of broom handle or a straight stick. Poles can usually be obtained from a building supply or plumbing store. Ask for class 200, class #125 or schedule 40 will also work. Poles may also be ordered from Shelter Systems (send length and size).

Broken connectors can be replaced with class 200 PVC (1-1/4" for the 20' and 18' domes and 1" for the 8', 10', 11', and 14' domes). The simplest way to repair a hole or cut in the covering is to cut a patch from the material the dome came wrapped in. Use 100% silicon rubber to glue your patch on the outside of the tear. If the tear is small you may be able to plug it up with a blob of silicon rubber alone.

If a clip is torn free of the covering or if a tear is immediately adjacent to a clip you can patch the tear with a patch cut from the skirt of your dome or the wrapping material that your yurt came in. Use a patch about 12" square, if this is sufficient to completely encompass the torn section with at least a 2" overlap on good sound material. This will allow you to spread the stress that the Grip Clip generates over a large # of stitches. Make your stitches about 1/8" long using doubled cotton covered polyester button thread. You do not have to remove the torn section of the covering. Preferably, but not absolutely necessary, glue the patch in place first with 100% Silicon Rubber bathroom caulk first, as this will make the sewing somewhat easer and provide a better seal. You will then have to wait while the glue sets which takes about 12 hrs. Make sure the covering is clean and dry before gluing. Press the glued patch between two heavy flat objects such as large books or flat rocks. After you set up the shelter you can apply Silicon Rubber to the now stressed seams to seal them and along the edge of the patch if you did not already glue the patch.

Alternativly you can replace a whole panel if a tear is immediately adjacent to a clip. 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. 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. If your dome is flattened by snow, carefully remove the snow without tearing its covering. You may find it will pop back up or that you have to remove some of the poles and set up again. Replace any broken poles.

We would love to see any photos you have of the dome in use, with people or services etc.


Bob Gillis

January 30, 2006 Subject: Hot Yoga Enthusiast

I am interested in either the Bubble Dome 10 or the YurtDome 8 or 11 to
use as a 1 or 2 person high temperture yoga space. This is going in my back yard and I
would be heating it with an electric heater. I live in OrlandoFlorida and
we get a lot of rain. I have an existing deck where I would most likely
install the dome but can't figure out the instructions to keep the rain
out. Considering the rain, would the YurtDome be a better choice. I would
hope that I could just lay out the floor and set the YurtDome on Top.
Also, do you think I could heat the dome to a temperature of around 100 F.
The moisture is OK.



You say 100 degrees. How cold outside would it be and what size heater? With a big enough heater: yes. You may want to get it with a liner for extra insolation to hold in the warmth.

Dome must be securely fastened to your deck with eye bolts/screws or the like. Floors must be set up inside the dome to make it water tight.

The size domes you mention would be fine for one but I do not think 2 people doing Yoga. I would go for the 11 YD as the other two have higher ceilings and your heat would go up.


Robert Gillis

On Jan 31, 2006 Extra height

I am using my14' yurt dome tent for meditation (a zendo). I have done
all day sits (starting at 7am and going till 7pm) in
it. It is GREAT! I only wish I had gotten the 18 or 20
foot one so it's door was higher. I
will also use it for three and seven day retreats as

I have the 14 foot dome. I would like to raise it
about 1 1/2 feet to 2 feet off the ground. Is there a good way to
do this?

I have come up with a few ideas but figured ya'all
would know best. thanks

Rev KC DaiKai

The strongest way to add a 2 feet to the bottom of the dome is to first:
Tie pairs of pole connectors to 20 new HD clips.
Unclip the 20 plug clips with the single pole plugs at the base of your dome.
Add and shingle a skirt of material to the bottom that is wide enough for the height you need + 1.5' using the 20 clips with connectors you have just assembled.
Clip the plug clips along the base of the added material allowing 11" for a skirt 2' directly below the connector clips.
Cut and insert 20 new full length poles to create the ring around what was the base but soon will be 2' above the ground.
Cut and insert 20 new short poles to your added extension. Choose a length so that the tension on the covering is the same as the tension on the main part of the dome. These short poles are difficult to install because you can not bend them. It will be easier to install them if you first remove the vertical pole above it; insert the short pole then reinsert the long pole; or use a pulley system to tension the base clip cords with extra long cords after adding the poles to clips .
Stake out.

This will maintain the integrity of the structure and only weaken it slightly. The skirt stabilizes the added poles. With out the skirt the dome will be blown over in the wind.


Robert Gillis

On Jan 24, 2006

Robert hello, Ann Morrison here again (from Brisbane, Australia)

I trust you are well. I have question about installing the yurt onto a flat wooden floor and securing the pole ends.

The 20 foot dome will be installed inside an exhibition space onto a flat floor. I can drill into the floor.

I would love to simply sit it on the floor (there will be no wind etc) but I guess it needs some kind of guying so it is stretched out properly?

Recommendations gratefully received as always. I will let you know the url for the documentation of the exhibition and happy you link there/ use pics as always

best regards

Ann Morrison


The dome does not need to be staked or guyed except to hold it in place. If you set it up in the open arch form you need to hold the opening into is place by securing the domes' clip cord to the deck or run a cord between the arch to hold its shape. Note also that at the base of the door there is a tension strip that holds the sides of the door in place. If possible do not cut these. If you need to cut the door strip you will have to secure the base at the door sides to hold the door opening in it proper place. You could rather leave the strip and cover the door tension strip with carpet to prevent people from tripping on the tension strip when passing through the door.

Thanks in advance for the URL, the link and phtos you have offered.


Bob Gillis

Date: January 19, 2006
Subject: Burning Man

We purchased a 20' dome tent in 2000 and have used it every year at Burningman. It goes up for seven days every year and has been great. We have done minor repairs over the years on the structure. One thing that we did was very helpful. At Bman, we have to use rebar to secure the base of the dome to the playa. We'll the small pieces of rope eventually tear due to rubbing back and forth on the rebar. We fixed this by replacing all of the rope and using good, solid, key rings - problem solved!
However, after five years in the desert (and many, many wind storms) the dome has been damaged beyond our ability (to repair it). I was wondering if your wonderful company can rebuild the section that ripped. We tried to fix it in the desert, but I think we made it worse. Do you offer any kind of repair service that can help us get our dome back into action for the 2006 Bman event?
You have a picture of our dome tent from 2000 (http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-domes-burning-man.html/pages/DSCN0431.htm)  - we are Sloth Camp.



I like your idea of rings to avoid wear on re-bar. We have found that our stakes seem to hold fine if driven below the surface. They also do not create the hazards that re-bar can.

We do not repair used domes here because it gets our clear room dirty and ends up costing too much. We do offer replacement panels which the user can replace themselves at a reasonable cost of $60 per double panel. These panels come with 4 replacement Heavy Duty Grip Clips. Place your order on line or by calling 866 777 1066. Let us know which panels you need to replace. If you have questions about doing this call 650 323 6202.


Repairs: Your yurt is designed to be durable and problem free. However, some of our customers use their structures for so many years that eventually they need some maintenance. A broken pole can be repaired with a wooden insert such as a piece of broom handle or a straight stick. Poles can usually be obtained from a building supply or plumbing store. Ask for class 200, class #125 or schedule 40 will also work. Poles may also be ordered from Shelter Systems (send length and size).

Broken connectors can be replaced with class 200 PVC (1-1/4" for the 20' and 18' domes and 1" for the 8', 10', 11', and 14' domes). The simplest way to repair a hole or cut in the covering is to cut a patch from the material the dome came wrapped in. Use 100% silicon rubber to glue your patch on the outside of the tear. If the tear is small you may be able to plug it up with a blob of silicon rubber alone.

If a clip is torn free of the covering or if a tear is immediately adjacent to a clip you can patch the tear with a patch cut from the skirt of your dome or the wrapping material that your yurt came in. Use a patch about 12" square, if this is sufficient to completely encompass the torn section with at least a 2" overlap on good sound material. This will allow you to spread the stress that the Grip Clip generates over a large # of stitches. Make your stitches about 1/8" long using doubled cotton covered polyester button thread. You do not have to remove the torn section of the covering. Preferably, but not absolutely necessary, glue the patch in place first with 100% Silicon Rubber bathroom caulk first, as this will make the sewing somewhat easer and provide a better seal. You will then have to wait while the glue sets which takes about 12 hrs. Make sure the covering is clean and dry before gluing. Press the glued patch between two heavy flat objects such as large books or flat rocks. After you set up the shelter you can apply Silicon Rubber to the now stressed seams to seal them and along the edge of the patch if you did not already glue the patch.

Alternativly you can replace a whole panel if a tear is immediately adjacent to a clip. 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. 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. If your dome is flattened by snow, carefully remove the snow without tearing its covering. You may find it will pop back up or that you have to remove some of the poles and set up again. Replace any broken poles.


Bob Gillis

On Jan 8, 2006

Hi, I came across your site on the 2nd or 3rd page of a Google search. The idea of a dome for a GH is appealing. I have some questions.

Q How exactly does the door close? Does it just clip shut?

They clip on the lower edge.

Q On a sunny day, how does one open up a vent?

You can open the doors and insert a vent tub up high. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/shingling.html

Q How long will the plastic covering last?

In FL and AZ it lasts 3+ years.

How does one insulate this GH for use in colder weather?

We make a full liner. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

A full liner will increase the winter comfort of your dome. A liner reduces heat loss from radiation, conduction and convection by creating an insulating dead air (i.e., the liner's air does not circulate with the dome air) space of 2"-3". It also helps prevents condensation which may occur in very cold situations. The full liner is constructed of a white fire-retardant ripstop film with clear vinyl windows for a wonderfully bright and warm space. We also make liners for our greenhouses out of the translucent greenhouse covering. To install, you tie it in place at each intersection point on the dome, pulling it tight. Installation is simple and takes about one hour. You can order a liner with your dome and install it right away, or decide to add one later. If you plan on spending a winter in your dome, a liner will produce a more evenly heated space and you will use less fuel. Be sure to tell us if you want a white or greenhouse liner.
Price: 30' liner-$1800 Shipping $160; 20'-$750, Shipping $65; 18'-$660, Shipping $55; 14'-$540, Shipping $45;

Q Any downside to your design compared to the traditional rectangle GH?

I do not know specily which GH you are comparing with. There are advantges and disadvantages to all designs.

Q What exactly am I buying for $800 or $900 besides PVC pipe and plastic?

It is put together so you get a greenhouse in about 1 hour of setting it up.

Q Do you have a catalog showing more details?

Our catalog is only online now. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/greenhouses.html

Let me know.

Lance D. Reedy
Lewiston, ID

On Jan 8, 2006, at 3:44 PM, L & C Reedy wrote:

Hi, I sent you an email a little while ago. I just read your testimonials. I have some
additional questions.
Q If people are living in the domes, and the sun is shining, ow do they keep from cooking to death? I have not
seen any noticeable vents that open up.

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

Q You had one photo of a party that had made a base ring with irrigation PVC. If not using that, how is the dome secured to the ground?
and how does one keep it from blowing away?

Staking or if on concrete then set eye bolts. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Q For greenhouse purposes, what is the light transmission percent?

Shelter Systems' Translucent: Lets 90% of sunlight through (more than glass). UV transmission is over 75%. Designed for greenhouse and solar use.


Hi Robert.
  My husband and I received your information from Tim Quicke at Ricochet Productions in London, England.  We are moving with our three children (currently 5, 3, and 15 months) to the Western part of the Upper Peninusla.  We are going to be building a cordwood home off-grid.  Ricochet is producing a documentry of our family as part of a Discovery Channel series. 
  We are currently looking into temporary shelter.  We will have about three feet of snow on the ground when we arrive in mid March.  We need something that we can use in the woods, that we can set up with just four adults and that will house our family of five for three or so months.  We are going to set up in the woods, so we aren't too concerned about snow load.  Could you please let me know if you have a Yurt/Dome that would fit our needs and some pricing information.  Thanks!  Tiffany Appell

Dear Tiffany

What are the ages of your family? I think one of our domes may work for you. How it the wind were you will be set up? Will you be able to get to other shelter if your dome is compromised in a huge storm? I might recommend 2 or 3 of our Yurt Domes. These could be a 20' for living room/ bedroom. An 18' for kitchen and a 18 for a bedroom. You would have to deal with snow as it builds up.


Bob Gillis

Dear Robert Gillis Hi

Thanks for your reply. We donot have lots of wind in kashmir but snowfall. Do both have the same effect overall on the duration of life of your tent. Secondly the village people there donot stop buring small fires inside their homes and they would do it inside our tents too. How much is the fear of the tent catching fire easily. Lastly in comparison with prefab houses how would you rate the tents. This question is for my own knowledge only. Thanking you I look forward to your reply.

with best regards


Dear Maqbool,

Thank you for your inquiry.

The tents hold a small amount of snow which must be melted or shaken off periodically and it will not adversely effect the life of the tent.

The tents are made fire retardant material. The covering can melt if it comes in contact with a flame but will not sustain fire if the heat sources is removed.

The tents are light weight, affordable and portable. Prefab homes can be more durable but they are large, more expensive and difficult to move and install.



I would like to use one of your shelters to enclose a wood fired hot tub during the colder 6 months of the year.

Is there someway to get a stove vent pipe out through your roofing material?


John Wallace

Dear John,

Thank you for your inquiry.

The simplest way to install a stove pipe in your tent is to roll up one of the doors and shingle in a sheet of plywood slightly bigger than the door covering. Then run your stove pipe through standard stove pipe fittings through the plywood. Please see our web manual for directions: Instruction Manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

I hope this is helpful.


How much weight and wind can your frame system take?

We have an application where we have an air inflated Teflon/Kevlar laminated fabric Radome containing a delicate antenna that is 18’ diameter. The total weight of the radome fabric is less than 150 lbs when deflated. We are looking for a non-conductive frame system to install inside to take the weight of the dome with some wind in the event we loose inflation pressure.

Craig Dawson

Dear Craig,

Thank you for your inquiry.

Our frame system is dependent upon our covering for support, so the frame alone would not sufficiently support your structure.

You could however put the entire dome inside your inflatable Radome and thereby support it if deflated.

Sincerely, Robert Gillis


Maintenance/repair on an older dome?

I have a 20' dome that I purchased from you quite a while ago for use at Burning Man -- I'm not sure whether its first year on the playa was '98 or '99, but it was one of the two. It has ONLY been used at Burning Man (and set up once a year in a park beforehand to make sure we have all of the parts), but the harsh environment and, frankly, lack of care and maintenance after use (and the fact that it's been passed around among various grateful groups of users) has taken its toll on the structure. I don't think it went out to the playa this year, but in '04 it suffered some blowouts in a big windstorm due to worn-through elastic cord on some of the connectors, etc.

Now, my boyfriend is about to spend a winter living up at Harbin, and is considering taking the dome with him as his primary residence while he's there (he also has a VW van, but the dome would be much more comfy!). My question is: If we brought the poor, neglected dome to your offices, could we pay someone who works with these structures all the time to take a look at its components and replace everything that's in danger of imminent failure? (Of course I'd pay for parts and labor...) In other words: do you provide a 100,000 mile servicing option?

thank you for your consideration,
Berkeley, CA

We do not work on dirty domes here as it makes our space dirty. So I suggest you fix it up yourselves: Replace all the worn cords. Put it up. Replace poles if needed. Hose it down in and out using a sponge mop and soap to clean it; rinse it well. Let it dry out compleatly. Patch any holes with silicon rubber 100%. and if needed strips of the wrap material cut to make patches. You should be good to go. One last thing: Never store the dome damp as bits of dirt will rot and stink up your dome.

Dr Dome


I have one of your 20 footer domes that got some wind damage tears at some of the panel connector points and also was vandalized while folded up with a knife creating several inches to feet cuts generally in mid-panel areas. In all there are maybe 12 panels that need repair or replacement. I was wondering if you did dome fixing and how to figure out about how much it would cost. Or, if not and I must give it a go, is there a kind of perfect repair tape in black and in white (maybe an iron on?) that could be used for some of the shorter cuts. And, would you recommend replacing the woven ripstop panels where they've torn loose at the connector clips or can those areas sometimes be repaired to as-good/strong-as-new. like what's in the "repair kit"?

thanks a much,

Davis, CA

You can use the skirt of the dome or the wrapper it came in to create patches; glue them with silicone rubber 100%. Were the clips have been torn out you will need to sew a patch as the glue will not hold. The repair kit has scraps of material and silicone rubber. Tape does not last in the sun.

Dear Shelter Sytems:

I was interested in making window awnings. I saw your picture, but have no idea how you can use 4 grip clips to make these awnings. I actually would want to make 4 to 8 window awnings.

Do you have an instruction guide for the awnings? Would finished awnings made this way be sturdy?

Thanks for your help,

Jeff Kirby

It is fairly easy.

You need 4 GP Grip Clips per awning, 10 "eye"screws, two 1" wooden "prop" dowels, one "spreader" dowel slightly longer than the width of your awning and your awning cloth of choice. For awing cloth, you can use our covering if you want: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Cut your awing cloth to fit your window and so when pulled out will make good shade (see photo). Attach the 4 grip clips to the corners of your awning cloth. Screw 2 of your eye screws into the frame above your window and 2 to the sides of your window. Screw the other 6 eye screws into the ends of your wooden dowels.

Now tie the Grip Clips on one edge of your cloth to the eye screws above your window. Move your Grip Clips so that they tension your cloth tight. then tie the other Grip Clips to the prop and spreader dowels. Tie the lower ends of the two prop poles to the eye screws at the sides of your window.

If you are in a area with wind you should run a cord or dowel from each of lower edge Grip Clips that are attached to your awning to the bottom of your window frame with two additional eye screws. This will keep the awning from lifting in strong wind. Wind can cause your awning eye screws to vibrate on your window frames and cause damage. If this is a concern to you then attach your dowels to your house with brackets that allow attachment without the risk of vibration.

If you do not have wooden frames or siding use other fixtures that will allow you to attach your awning to your windows.


I am looking for something to overwinter my plants. They are philodendrons, peace lilies, etc. Would this unit need to be heated? We are located in Southern Ohio.

I do not know your climate but my guess is you would need to heat it at least some. The unit will absorb a lot of warmth when the sun is shinning and hold some of this into the night, but when the weather is cloudy or when it has not absorbed enough heat to hold it at a temperature you would need during the night, you would need to heat it. You also need to take care that snow does not build up on it. This can be done by shaking it off with a broom or using heat to melt the snow. Read:

Snow and Wind Warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html

Hi Robert,
Thanks for the info! I have one more question. Can the material of the shelter get mildewed if it's 'put away' and wet? We are planning to use these for a Sunday School classroom and during the winter if it's raining, the material will be wet. This would be set up outside at an Elementary school, so it would need to be taken down after at a certain time regardless of whether it's wet or dry. The concern is that if it's put away while it's wet and stays like that until the next week, that it might get a mildew smell. Would this be the case?
Tami Norris

The covering itself will not mildew but any dirt that gets on the covering will. If the dome is put away wet, when you open it up later, it is may smell. I suggest taking it dome into a room that is dry and warm with at least one big fan blowing and unrolling it. Drying can happen with out the heat or fan but is delayed. Crack a window to let the warm most air out and leave the door ajar if possible. Go into the room several times a day and move the covering about so that other parts of the wet covering are exposed to the moving warm air. If possible pull the dome's covering over chairs or tables so that the air can get under it. You can also hang the dome's cover from the top Grip Clip that is at the top of the dome and pull this clip up to a height so that the cover is not touching the ground but you will need a high ceiling to do this. You should dry it out completely before storage unless you plan to put it up the next day. It is better to leave it up in the rain then put it away wet.

I purchased a 32 ft dome last year and would like to know how to clean the outside. What can I use as it is black from the trees? What do you recommend and how should I go about cleaning it?

I suggest using a sponge mop with a strong cleaner and a handle extension so you can reach the top of the dome. Rinse with a hose.

I've been using it as a church and am very pleased with it so far. When it rains hard there are some puddles inside. I haven't figured out where it is coming in from yet.

Perhaps while you are cleaning you can locate the leak by shooting a fine rain like spray up and have it fall back down on the top of your dome. Have some one inside at the same time to locate the leak.

Do you have any suggestions on how to stop the rain from coming in? Some of the overlapping flaps seem loose, is this normal?

No loose shingling is not normal. Some times in assembly one of the layers may be twisted and cause this.

How do I tighten them?

The best way: is to remove the poles from one of the clips that is on one side of the loose flaps. Take up the slack and re clip it. This will require some practice at "clipping".

Another simpler way is clean and dry the area were there is leakage and then apply a bead of 100% "Silicon Rubber" caulking between the two shingles at their overlap; along the overlaps full length and then press them together. This should glue the shingling in place. After the silicon cures test again for leakage with your hose as described above.

Would love a photo of your church with members inside and or outside.

Thank you for your help. Pastor Jim - j.h.jasinski

I have an 18 foot and a 20 foot dome.  I recently took both domes to Burning Man and had the unfortunate experience of both domes collapsing in a major wind event on Monday of Burning Man week.  The domes were totally exposed to the wind since they were located in the walk-in camping area and no structures were located around them.  One pole basically shatered in one of the domes and a number of poles got bent in both domes.  Both domes where correctly staked (rebar around the domes and guy ropes to the pole connectors on the first level from the ground.  I replaced all damaged poles and the domes held up the rest of the week. I have a few questions regarding this event.
1 In guying the domes, is it bettter to tie the guy rope around the pole connectors (I know you are not suppossed to tie it to the poles) or is it better to tie to the rope that is attached to the pole connectors?  Is there a particular way to put these guy ropes (distance from dome, angles, anything else) that would put less stress on the domes, specially the vertical poles taht are closest to the ground surface?

It should not matter if you tie the guy lines to the connectors or the clip cords. And you are quite right about Not tying to the poles as this will pull the pole out of the connectors.

In setting a guy Always include a strong section of "bun-gee" (the black strong type) into the line so that there is some give and take. Domes have failed due to the fact that the guy lines are too stiff and this prevents the dome from flexing with the wind. (my guess is this is why your domes lower poles failed)

Set guy lines as long as possible since a short line put more downward compression stress on the poles.

Always set as many guy lines as possible.

It is often best not to set guy lines as dome clips have be ripped out by guy lines and guy lines can prevent a dome from responding flexibly to wind loads.

2 It seems like the row of poles that are closest to the ground surface and are vertical receive the most tension in heavy wind conditions.  Are these the most likely to give way first in heavy wind conditions?  If so, would heavier poles (Schedule 40) help in heavy wind conditions?

Where you able to watch the dome in the wind? Do you have photos of the dome in wind or after the wind damage? If so please send them. Did you notice any difference between the performance of the two domes? I have not tried Schedule 40 side-wall poles on the dome and am unsure if it would strengthen the dome. If you try it let me know if it helps.

3 Do you have any suggestions to customized the domes to make them more resistant to heavier wind conditions?

You can put a second set of (slightly longer) poles on the dome by tying a second set of connectors on the out side of the existing connectors.
Thanks and I appreciate any information that you can give me on this.  Carlos

I need a portable tent that can seat 85 people.  Can the 30’ do that or is there another size that can.

Bob Gale

I think so. How would they be seated?

How to Visualize Interior Space Size

The best way to get an idea of the space inside the dome is to print out a picture of the dome. Then mark a circle on the ground or pavement with chalk or small stones that is the diameter of your Yurt Dome by having a friend hold a cord that is 1/2 the diameter of your Yurt Dome to the ground while you walk around him keeping the cord taught and marking the ground. Next have your friend stand in the circle while you back away from him holding the picture of your Yurt Dome at arms length till the Yurt Dome's diameter in the picture matches the diameter of the the circle you have marked on the ground. Now you can move the picture, keeping it at arms length, over top of your friend and it's base will match the circle. Your photo will be to scale with your friend. You can have him move about inside this "dome" and get a clear idea how much interior space is inside.

Hi there Bob-
Just wanted to let you know how utterly FANTASTIC our yurt worked out for the burn this year!! As you may recall we were a little nervous about collecting it right after we flew in from the UK and then having to erect it on the playa without a training run....well we got to the playa as the sun was going down on Sunday nite, the wind (which picked up to a dull roar the next day was just starting to blow) and my intrepid hubby insists we go ahead and put it up- in the dark!!! Well it took us 45 min to get it up, a bit longer to do the rebar but there it stayed for the remainder of the week. The shadecloth worked great and it never got unbearably hot during the day - it was a beautiful year weather-wise tho!
So just wanted to give you feedback- we loved it and plan on using it every time we manage to get back for the burn- we've stored it in SF.

I have a couple of questions in regards to the Yurt Dome Portable Tent Shelters. We are looking to use these as portable Sunday School classrooms.

1. For 25 teenagers, what size would be recommended? What size for 50 teenagers?

People often ask how many people can sit, sleep or stand in a certain size Shelter Systems' yurt or dome. Study the drawings below ( http://www.shelter-systems.com/sizes.html ) to make size and volume comparisons of our different domes.

You can also mark a full-size circle on the pavement. Have a friend hold to the ground a string equal in length to one half the diameter of the dome you are wondering about. Walk around your friend, keeping the string tight. Use chalk or small rocks to mark a circle "drawn" by the end of the string. After you get your circle marked ,put a sleeping bag, cot, chair, table, etc. inside the circle. You can also draw objects in the circle. Invite some friends over to size up your "dome." Draw some other sizes on the ground and compare.

How to Visualize Interior Space Size

The best way to get an idea of the space inside the dome is to print out a picture of the dome. Then mark a circle on the ground or pavement with chalk or small stones that is the diameter of your Yurt Dome by having a friend hold a cord that is 1/2 the diameter of your Yurt Dome to the ground while you walk around him keeping the cord taught and marking the ground. Next have your friend stand in the circle while you back away from him holding the picture of your Yurt Dome at arms length till the Yurt Dome's diameter in the picture matches the diameter of the the circle you have marked on the ground. Now you can move the picture, keeping it at arms length, over top of your friend and it's base will match the circle. Your photo will be to scale with your friend. You can have him move about inside this "dome" and get a clear idea how much interior space is inside.

My guess is 20' and 30'

2. If this was to be set up on black top, what would be required to keep it from moving since it couldn't be staked into the ground?

Ask if you can drive large nails in the black top. If not, you will have to hold it down and in place with sand bags or large water containers. You may also be able to tie it to cars. Always tie to the clip cords not the poles. A wind will just pull the poles out of their connectors.

3. Would you recommend a carpet flooring or do you primarily recommend your flooring?

Carpet would be more comfortable but it it rains you should have a tarp under the carpet and up on the inside of your dome about 4" to keep the water that could run under the domes edge off your carpet.

4. I am located in Corona, California, would there be anything local to actually see one of these set up? Either a customer of yours or something else that you might have located in Southern California?

We have no show rooms and do not give out any customer information. You can return the dome if it is not what you expected within 30 days. We only ask that it be in new condition so we can sell it as a new dome.

To receive a full refund, return your dome in its original, clean, dry condition within thirty days of receipt. To keep the dome clean, plan to put it up on a clean, dry tarp larger than the diameter of your dome. If you decide to return, it take it down and pack it up before insects or dew collect in or on it. Ship to 24 Granger Lane, Santa Cruz CA 95060. Special Orders are not returnable (since they are not part of our standard line; we would have trouble reselling them).

Tami Norris
Eastvale Church

I would like to set up a free standing solarium in my back yard so that I would have a warm and sunny place during the winter. I've notice that all of your greenhouse would work to some degree but that the fabric used is translucent. Why not make a clear fabric alternative which would be more conducive for use as a solarium so that one could see out when in it? I'd buy one of your domes if this type of covering were an option. Perhaps the same kind of plastic used for rear windows in convertible tops for cars would work.

Brett Amole

We can put 4 clear vinyl windows in it for you but the vinyl does not work to make the whole dome. It is not strong enough. We have sold these as sun rooms with positive feedback.


Robert Gillis


Thank you for your response. Yes, having a few transparent panels would help a great deal. I would be interested in the 14-foot solarium.

Note that the only place we will install vinyl is the 4 smaller triangles that are above the doors.

Would there be an extra charge to make the adjustment to four transparent panels and if so, how much?

They are $25 each.

My biggest concern aside from not having an outside view with translucent panels would be that the solar heating effect wouldn't be as great as it would with transparent panels. Is that correct?

I am not sure, but do know that the translucent greenhouse covering we use lets in more light than glass and I would think you would be quite warm inside when the sun is shining.

The winters in Colorado are relatively mild, but it does get very cold here. It's on those really cold days that I would most want to use the solarium. I've seen many of your shelters of various sizes in use at Burning Man. How do the solariums differ from the shelters--same structure but different fabric?

That is right there is no difference in structure only the covering.

Thanks again,
Brett Amole

I built a patio cover and am looking for some way to block out the wind and cold during the winter months. I though using a tarp could work but I would like to let some light in as well. Do you sell just the Clear vinyl material? And can you custom cut. Do they have grommets?
Please let me know.

Shelter Systems' Translucent: Lets 90% of sunlight through (more than glass). UV transmission is over 75%. Designed for greenhouse and solar use. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Price: $10 a yard. Minimum of 4 yards. Under 20', add $15 for shipping and handling; over 20', shipping costs increase.

Clear Vinyl: Heavy gauge (10 mils), UV-stabilized. We use this for our windows. The vinyl comes 48" wide, in any length. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Price: $20 a yard, 48" wide, Under 6 yards, add $10 for shipping; over 6 yards, shipping costs increase.

We only cut yardage (non-returnable).

We do not attach grommets here however we do sell the Grip Clip and the Grip Clip Pro both of which can be used to attach vinyl or the woven material to frames. See: http://shelter-systems.com/gripclips/


Robert Gillis

Shelter Systems, 224 Walnut St, Menlo Park CA 94025 Telephone: 650-323-6202
shelter@best.com http:www.YurtDomes.com http:www.GripClips.com
http:www.ReliefTents.com Copyright 2005 Shelter Systems All Rights Reserved

On Sep 15, 2005, at 9:28 PM, Jill wrote:

I built a patio cover and am looking for some way to block out the wind and cold during the winter months. I though using a tarp could work but I would like to let some light in as well. Do you sell just the Clear vinyl material? And can you custom cut. Do they have grommets?
Please let me know.

My name is Brant Bird. I am the head girls soccer coach at Pleasanton High School in Pleasanton Texas. We do not have lockerroom facilities at our field and I am looking for something that could be put up and taken down for games. Do you think one of your yurts would meet this need? I was thinking an 18' dome would do the job. We would need the shelter for halftime mostly. It would need to accommodate around 25 people seated. If you think that one of your other shelters would serve better in this situation please let me know. Money is tight so the biggest structure for the best value is what we are looking for.

Brant Bird
Pleasanton Women's Soccer

Interesting use! Seems like it would work fine. Would they be sitting on the ground? More can sit on the ground since benches take up space. Using a 9' cord; have someone hold one end to the ground while you walk around putting small stones or mark a circle with a marker on the ground. Then get your team to test it out to see how they fit. Also test a 20' dome (10' cord).


Robert Gillis

Shelter Systems, 224 Walnut St, Menlo Park CA 94025 Telephone: 650-323-6202
shelter@best.com http:www.YurtDomes.com http:www.GripClips.com
http:www.ReliefTents.com Copyright 2005 Shelter Systems All Rights Reserved


after taking a look at the faq i learned that your fabric can be sewed. we just order a bunch from you and i was wondering if you have any other additional tips for sewing the fabric together? how do you do it?

looking forward to buying more.

Use cotton covered polyester heavy duty thread. Set your sewing machine at 10 stitches per inch. Sew a fin seam by laying two lengths on top of each other and sew a 1/2" seam along the edge.


Robert Gillis


i'm going to be working in a cave and am looking for a secure structure that i can live in while on site and wondering how your system will hold up over several months. the place will be my home with computer, stove the works.  i'm considering a military tent or your systems what's the major differences?  approx. how many months are they good for with constant use? there will be critters (coons, skunks, mice), fire ants, snakes etc. are there floors? if not how do you secure it from the critters and from catching wind underneath and blowing away? give me the sales pitch. 


Some important questions. There are major differences between our Yurt Domes and a military tent, but first, what kind and size of military tent are we talking about; do you have a photo? My guess the major differences between the military tent and ours will be weight, bulk, shape, structure, color, the amount of light inside and smell. Both have their advantages. What is the cost of the military tent and size and weight? As for constant use: individuals and families have lived continually in our tents for years. What climate will you be in? What elevation? Will you have a safe tree you can shade your shelter with? Coons, skunks, ants and mice will not bother your food if you keep it in sealed chew proof containers. If you leave your home for a week or more mice may move in; so if you do you may want to store away your clothing, bedding etc to prevent them from making a nest out of your yours. What kind of snakes do you expect. I would pick my site carefully so as not to near a fire ants nest or there trails. We make as an accessory floors for our tents (you can also make a decent floor from a blue tarp - cut it to fit up the wall in the inside about 6") but ants find their way in all most any thing. If you cook inside keep if super clean so as not to draw ants. Our Yurt Domes are drum tight in the wind and come with 12" Durapeg stakes for the 12 anchor points around their base. They have preformed excellently in strong winds but are not recommended for extreme winds or areas know for such.

Also see:
Accessories: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html
Testimonials: http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-dome-testimonials.html
Instruction Manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html
Common Questions Answered: http://www.shelter-systems.com/qanda.html
Answers to Email Questions: http://www.shelter-systems.com/email.html
More Email Questions: http://www.shelter-systems.com/email-additional.html
Still more Email Questions http://www.shelter-systems.com/email-stillmore.html
Happy Customers: http://www.shelter-systems.com/what-say.html
Snow and Wind Warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html
High Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html
Dealing with Strong Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/wind-tents.html

Call if you want, so we can talk in more detail about your needs and concerns.


Robert Gillis


HI, I was very interested to see the 'Long Crystal Cave over Pool'. We live
in the Northeast and are putting an 7 x 14 ft. Endless Lap Swimming Pool on
our deck and are looking for a solution that will help retain heat in the
winter, allowing us to use the pool throughout the year. But the solution
must be removable in the warmer months and stored in a basement.

Do you think your Crystal Cave would serve?

It might.

How might it be secured to a

Eye bolts.

Can a handy person/helper put it together?


How does the Cave

You should get approximatly 4 sun years of use. This will be extended by storage.

can repairs be made to the surface material?

Silicon Rubber glue works well but the material is hard to damage.

(You probably have
this in the text of your website but I confess that I just skimmed and
looked at the pictures.)

We just want enough height to permit entry, can be from a seated position.
And of course, how much?

How long?

We are also installing three flagpoles at the edge of our deck for the
purpose of securing something like a triangular sail for shade in the
summer. This 'awning' will then be taken down in the winter. Any possibility
that we could use a single structure for an awning in summer and a cave in

Not unless you wanted to cover it with shad cloth.

If you think there's some possibility, I can scan and send you the
design plan for our deck which would provide you with all the details.

It would be wise to give me an idea of the cost for something more standard
like the Crystal Cave so that I get an idea of pricing before asking you to
investigate a more customized solution.

CrystalCave™ Lap Pool Cover 9: 9'x9'x7' High $550 Shipping $45
For each additonal 4.5' of added length add: $350 Shipping add $35



Last year I purchased a 12ft dome from you. I also have acquired a 20fter from a friend.
I’m trying to purchase aluminet shade for burning man and am not sure how much I need for each
The company selling the uliminet has various widths (7,14,21 and 28 ft sections) that can be cut in any length.
My thought was to purchase I length for each dome, as opposed to having 3 or 4 separate sheets per dome.

We also have some Aluminet for sale: Accessories: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Woven Black or Silver Aluminet Sunshades
We also offer a woven sunshade in Black or Silver that fits the contours of the dome a better than our standard white/black and since it allows some of the wind through its weave handles wind better. These shades block 80% and 70% respectively. They are both made with a loose weave material which allows for cooling air to flow through and rain can not puddle. The Silver Aluminet Sunshade acts like a mirror to reflect unwanted sunlight and radiant heat. These come with cord and snap grips.
Black 80% Shade 12' x 16' $40 Ship $10
Black 80% Shade 20' x 20' $100 Ship $20
Silver Aluninet 70% Shade 14' x 14' $86 Ship $10
Silver Aluninet 70% Shade 21' x 21' $190 Ship $25

Wondering what your thoughts are on that, and what your advice is for how big each length should be, assuming I want to come somewhat close to the ground (I will cut out the doorway).

I would get the largest you can afford and run it over your dome (s) and then attach it to your car rack which you would park 1 to 3 dome widths from your dome. This will keep your dome cool and provide you with a shaded porch area in which to sit, eat and watch the people go by.
Also, some of the string attaching the pole holders is fraying- I would like to replace it, is there a specific kind of string I should purchase.?

1/8" nylon



I have to cover the entire inside of my 18' Shelter-Systems yurt dome. Do you know the area in square feet that I would need to cover for this?

The dome has done me extremely well for the past two years, thanks so much again!


Approximately 508 square feet.


I am getting better at this but am still quite confused. Do you have an online catalog (as opposed to a set of pages)? By that I mean a sequence of pages that leads you thru all products and explains how they differ and how they are similar.

No, but an excellent idea, that we will implement.

Shelters in production:
Tunnel 9x9 and 11x11
Yurt Domes 8,11,14,18,20,30 and 31.5
Bubble Domes 10,14,18,20
Relief Tents inventoried 14,18,30

And the Bubbles are taller, right?


How do the relief tents differ from the Yurt/domes?

You say yurt=dome=yurt/dome, and yet you have 3 different pages. What am I missing here?
What are the differences if any between a yurt, a dome, and a yurt/dome?

There is none.

I am thinking a 20' or 30' relief tent would be best for my application. Does the relief tent come in 20'?

Not at this time.

Can a relief tent be used temporarily on "stilts", vertical pvc legs that would extend from the ground up a couple of feet to provide more ventilation in a benign (moderate temps, no high wind) environment?

It can but we do not provide this as an accessory yet but it is easy for the end user to create. Note that the 30 is standard with 8 doors.

Sorry for so many questions, it's what you get for making such a great and thought-provoking product.

Questions are windows. Thank you.


Hello Shelter Systems:

I'm interested in your bike storage shed. Your website says that it requires an area of 3' x 5.5' x 6' Tall. My tiny little side yard can't take the 3' out from the house; I've only got about 26" to work with (just enough for the width of my bike). Would you be able to modify the system for me to bring it in by 12"?


How much would this cost?

To make it affordable I suggest that you do the modification your self: The arched part of the structure is stiff like a kite but with the poles outside the arch. If you shorten each of the poles by 1/4" it will cause the arch to go flatter and fit your space better. You may have to shorten the poles again to get it how you want it but go at it little by little. When you have it right attach it to the wall and modify its door ( you can remove the clips and re-attach them to get it to fit right) or make a new door out of a section of blue tarp. Note that the poles take up some room so the useable inside space is less then the outside 3' by about 3".

Or, by moving the shed higher along the wall, would that automatically allow the width to pull in?

See above.

Also, the website description calls the shed freestanding. It looks like it would need to be bolted to the side of the house and at the base, though; can you clarify?

The arch is freestanding but you are right you need to attach it to a wall or fence and it should be attached to the ground.

Thanks! Look forward to hearing from you --

Shannon Waldron



Thanks Robert. You would really suggest working at 1/4" intervals for the modifications? That seems miniscule judging by how long the poles look in the website photo. And how long would it take me to receive the structure after ordering? Thanks again --


Each pole is sectioned at their intersections which would take off about an 1" overall.

On Jul 7, 2005, at 3:34 PM, Lesli Wingate wrote:

I am concerned about air quality because I have a 6 yr old daughter. In your experience, have you smelled vinyl during the day inside of one of your 18' domes?

I never have. The only component in the covering that has vinyl in it is the clear windows and they are small. However we do make the some dome with out the clear windows. We call this form of the dome "Extra Strong" because the translucent (transmit more light than glass) windows are also much stronger than the clear vinyl. The ES domes are the same price as the standard domes.

I love your product. I am finding it hard to believe that this is the only thing like this out there. I want something dome shaped, similar to a tent but that will last a long time.
Thank You


I was using some of your Grip Clip Pros Tarp Fasteners yesterday. Those are Awesom! man. Throwing a tarp over a 24' by 22' on top of a roof. would you send us some more. My construction buddy is all fired up on them too.

Jorma, Bellingham WA


Hi there!
We're coming to Burning Man from the UK this year so we can't afford to get this wrong! this is all a little remote from so far away but i saw your domes worked really well last year (my first time!)

Some questions before we place our order....
1. Will the porch work on the 18ft. dome? Which fabric would you reccomend for it?

The porch is mostly used in rain. Not much at BM. But you could order a porch of white out black in covering to provide some shade.
2. What size shade cloth should we get for the 18ft- bearing in mind that this will be our entire camp so we need it to be as cool as possible during the day- we thought we'd just roll up one of the sides to increase airflow during the day (unless it's howling of course)

At least two 6 by 12 or four if you want more coverage. Or the 14 by 14 black woven shade cloth or two so you could pull one out to your car to make a nice shade "porch" that is open on two sides. Nice to sit or cook under during hot part of day and watch the foot and bike traffic.
3. We'll be arriving on the playa 2 days after flying in to San Fran so there'll be no time for a dry run- we're both fairly handy but is it simple enough for two novices to put up first time around?


You say doing it in the heat will help? How long should it take us more or less?

First time give your self an hour. Second time two people 1/2 hr.
4. What length rebar should we take, how many to secure the dome and porch for Black Rock kinda winds?

See our pages on winds and BM:

Snow and Wind Warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html

High Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html

Dealing with Strong Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/wind-tents.html

Burning Man: http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-domes-burning-man.html/index.htm

Burning Man General http://www.shelter-systems.com/

Read our instructions on staking:

Instruction Manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

5. Are the guide ropes provided adequate or should we plan to bring extra rope to tie it all down?

If you plan to use rebar bring some 3/8" nylon rope : http://www.shelter-systems.com/wind-tents.html

Because of the dust and wind I would recommend you get some sticky back Velcro so you can seal any seams you are not using all the time.

Also, It is nice to lay down a tarp inside your dome, fold under the edges so it fits with about 6" up the inside of your dome and then put down an old rug. The rug gives the dust a place to settle out into
Thanks so much,
Look forward to hearing from you
Kim and Nick Lane

On Jul 3, 2005, Kim Lane wrote:

Thanks for all that, we're ordering this afternoon! Just to be clear, if we're getting the 18 should we get the 18 floor or would the 20 be better so that we'll have that overlap you speak of?

I was actually suggesting you use a blue tarp from say Home Depot for a floor (this works fine for a floor and is much cheeper) but if you want to order a floor from us you would order an 18'.

You may want to consider ordering your dome as an "Extra Strong". This just means that the windows are of a translucent material that is much stronger in heat and cold than the clear vinyl which you can see clearly through but is not as tough. The cost is the same either way.

I think we'll make do without the porch in that case, friends are donating a shade awning that we can abuse as required!
thanks so much

James Whitney

You indicate tarp use, but the missing value is in the ultralight materials (silicone impregnated nylon or the less expensive polyurethane nylon) that is very expensive to purchase as a finished tarp, but can be ordered as standard widths and sewn together for a more moderate cost. Sewing straight seems and hems is easy, but attaching secure loops is a more critical design feature. With the Light Fabric Grip Clips, the material can be fastened in any number of positions by the amature. For example, on a 10x10 sheet use 7 sets, three on the "lower" side and 4 sets evenly spaced on the "upper" side. Stake the lower side to the ground and put trekking poles into the holes on the center two upper side Grip Clips. Fasten the other two down to the ground. By adjusting the locations of the Grip Clips, and the pole heights, a floorless tent can be made that will accept a small piece of netting for complete the bug free domocile. Of course, by attaching the netting under the top two Grip Clips, the mesh door will be attached. The perfection of this system is, as you know, that the sides that are formed, can be swung open for more air (and more bugs). The design I'm describing can be adjusted for 4 season use with a campfire and will be a warm shelter. It isn't as tall as what you show and keeps out the wind and rain. A shallow trench is dug inside the back of the shelter to drain water away from the camper(s). Metal grommets tend to be unreliable, but I know the Grip Clips hold up to the forces of tarps in wind.


hello, we have a yurt-dome canopy and it needs repairing. We need to glue
the cover material together. What kind of glue do you recommend?

thank you, Lynn Frazer

100% silicon rubber glue. You can buy it in a tube or caulking gun size. Works for patching but will not hold stress. Sew first then patch sewing if seam is under stress.

Not sure what is the best distance for snow fencing. If you find out let me know so I can let others know. My guess would be 5' high and 8' away from the tent on the windward side with metal poles perhaps with guy-lines.

Some of us will be at BM.


Robert Gillis

Shelter Systems, 224 Walnut St, Menlo Park CA 94025 Telephone: 650-323-6202
Fax: 650-323-1220 shelter@best.com http:www.YurtDomes.com http:www.GripClips.com
http:www.ReliefTents.com Copyright 2005 Shelter Systems All Rights Reserved


OK - looked over the site again and found the answers to the % coverage question.  Also looks like you recommend 2-3 sunshades for the 18 footer.  Thanks for having all that stuff posted.  Now the next issue I'm grappling with is wind protection.  I saw somewhere on the site that you recommended snow fencing as additional protection in high wind conditions.  I'm wondering if the 4ft high stuff is a good size?  Also, how far away from (or close to) the shelter should it be for best protection?  All the way around?  Staggered?  I'll be using my car as a wind-break, as well.

On a side note - will you be at Burning Man 2005?

On May 16, 2005

Thanks Bob-

We got the 18' foot dome in the mail the other day and love it.
Our field season doesn't start until June 13, so I will send you a photo
of the tent after that. Nicole and I set up the tent in our backyard.
It took us about 30 minutes as advertised- a simple, elegant design.


Todd Surovell
Assistant Professor


I’m looking for a sun bathing shelter to be used in a backyard, easily setup, just walls - no roof. Any suggestions?

Look at our Circle Wind Walls: http://www.shelter-systems.com/windwall.html Which are the lower sections of our domes.


Just wanted to tell you that in the last three weeks we have had an ice storme snow and several weeks of heavy rain in northern Washington and the 20' dome is working Great. We're real happy.

Tanya Little

Blue Water Kayaking
We got one of your 18' Yurt Domes and just love it.

It worked great in the winds of costal Baha and want to get another to use as a cook tent for our trips into costal Point reyes

The yurts that make up Dawntree Studio are approaching their second summer now.  Still look good.
Still dry and tight.  Get a bit warm in the afternoons-   so we make sculpture mornings and evenings and do our gardening and nap afternoons.
-Henry Mitchell


Hi! My name is Adam. I bought and 18' dome from you guys for use at Burning Man last year. I am considering going back this year but I need to make a few
improvements and I would like some suggestions.

I do have a question. Am I e-mailing Robert? Whomever this would concern I would like to say thanks for all your help last year.
Everything went fairly well at Burning Man. The dome easily withstood a whole day of a dust storm.

Here's a photo from Burning Man. The person pictured is not me...



I have a question about those thin rip-stop strips at the bottom of each door. What exactly are they for? Is it recommended that it be removed by the owner like a
mattress tag or does it serve a greater purpose that I am not aware of?

The strips at the door bottoms are to maintain the distance between the bottom of the doors . You can cut one or more but before you stake out your dome make sure the door bottom opening distance is what it is with the strip is in place.

I have bent up a couple of my PVC pipes thru wear-and-tear. I've measured the PVC pipes for my 18' dome and they are 56.5". On your web site it says they are 57" which is the correct value that I should use if I I wish to make few more spare PVC pipes and exactly what kind of PVC should I use?

56.5" and it is schedule 200.

I need a floor! I've read about the ordering the floor but I am curious about how and where the grip clips will attach to the inside of the dome walls...

They tie into the 12 clips at the inside base of the dome. You can use a tarp for a floor.

I was curious about adding a porch to the dome but what i'd really like is something more like a vestibule or something that could act more like an airlock
into the dome. The key idea here is to minimize "burning man dust" from getting inside the dome.

You could use a tarp with Grip Clips to do this.

The two main problems that I had with the dome were the amount of dust the got inside over the whole week (possibly unavoidable) and getting cooked in the dome
as the morning sun rose. I would attribute the latter to a lack of ventilation (i did not insert the short tubes into the shingles to allow for hot air to escape, my stupidity)
as well as a lack of a secondary sunshade.

Sun shades and ventilation should help a lot. You can use ours or get sunshade cloth from a building supply store.

Does adding a sunshade inhibit dome ventilation?


How does the sunshade attach to the exterior of the dome?

It is tied to the clips on the dome.

Will it blow off?

It should not. However in extreme wind you may wish to take it down.

You recommended a greenhouse-type shade cloth to be used as a sunshade. I've also read about something known as "Aluminet" which has a highly reflective surface and can also be used as a shade-cloth material. What is your opinion and experience with the later and what would you recommend for burning man?

Both of these make excellent sunshades. If you can get them do.

I started to get cooked in there so early every morning my main goal is to keep the dome a cool as possible this upcoming year!

I would get multiple sunshades and keep your doors open and use vent tubes up high.

Here's a photo of the dome and my wife in Death Valley from last weekend. We must have had about 5 people come up to us and ask us about are dome.
i referred them all to your web site.


thanks for your help and I hope to hear from you soon... I've got a few months more of prep before another week in Black Rock City and I need
to be prepared!



We would like to order a 20' Extra Strong Yurt Dome from you. We purchased and 18 and 30' three months ago and they are working as advertised. We have had a couple of rains and they do not leak. The system works really well. They set up easily. The lighting inside a night is great! We have used the 18'er as a changing room for our sauna and have used them for a partly. We love them and our friends love them.

Thanks Carlos Alvarez FL


I am considering using the 18' yurt in an application in Alaska (summer and winter). The yurt would be put up to temporarily to cover an access hatch to an equipment room which is under ground, while the hatch is open. It would protect the equipment in the equipment room protected from blowing dust, rain, snow while the hatch is open. The yurt would only need to be in place for  a few days at a time. In the winter the temperature can get as cold as -40F. Would the poles still maintain the flexibility and strength at that temperature.

Once up they should be fine. Warm poles in a sleeping bag that has bottles of hot water if you are putting the dome up when it is very cold. Remove poles one at at time.

Same question about the fabric.

Not effected by cold.

I've read other questions about snow accumulations and believe that would not be a problem.

Be sure to read the wind warnings also.

Do the sides of the yurt go all the way to the ground with some extra length to prevent water from coming underneath?

Yes, but you will still need a site that drains water away. You could also single a strip of material under the skirt to extend it.

If there is extra length (like a skirt) I would probably put sand bags on top of the skirt to give added from rain water coming underneath.

There is a skirt but if you use sand bags also tie them to the clip cords on the dome.

Also, in this application I would need to build up the yurt next to the access hole and then lift it up and over some guard railings that go around the opening. How do you think the yurt would perform under these circumstances?

It is freestanding and light to pick up and move.


We have one of your 18 foot domes (also a 30 foot dome) and are thinking of buying another 18 foot dome.  We will be taking these to Burning Man and putting them within 10 to 15 feet of each other.  Can a tarp or some other sun shade material be attached to both of them so that a shaded area is created between both of the domes? 


How would you suggest creating this shaded area (attachment points on domes, fasteners, materials for shade)? 

The best material is 70 to 90% shade cloth. Which you can get from a building supply. Attach to the Grip Clip Cords on the dome. If you get an extreme wind taking it down. You can use Grip Clips to attach to the Shade Cloth.

Many thanks for your fine product!!

Good afternoon,

Has any testing been done to provide a maximum wind speed rating on your tents or yurts?  We are looking for a semi-permanent way to provide shelter for some exposed equipment we will have.

Thank you in advance.


The simple answer is no. Winds are not always steady but often gust much higher. Our domes do well in strong wind but are not recommended for areas with constant winds or extreme winds. If you are in a area know for it wind then our shelters may not be for you. See our wind warnings.

Snow and Wind Warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html

High Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html

Dealing with Strong Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/wind-tents.html


Robert Gillis


Hi Robert,

This is Ed, owner of one of your domes.

On your website, where you discuss floors, you say:

"There is a good reason that our floors are not sewn in. We have eliminated a critical area for leaks: seams at ground level. "

The floor I received has a long seam in it, and two shorter ones, where pieces of material look sewn together. Can you explain this, in regard to your statement about no seams at ground level?



A sewn in floor puts a seam on your dome at or about ground level. This seam can and almost always leaks water running off the dome and wicks it into and on top of your floor no matter how well the ground drains around your dome. This seam would go all the way around your dome and would create a serious leakage problem. The site you select for you dome should have good drainage so that the water that flows off your dome will flow away from your dome and not flow under your domes walls. If this is the case then you should have no problems with the seams in your floor. If water flows under your walls and puddles under your floor you need to dig a ditch around your dome that will direct water away from your dome. If you are in a low lying area then you will ether have to build up a rise in the earth that your dome sits on or a deck to get your out a saturated area. With good drainage you will not have problems with water. Even if your floor was a boat and you had poor drainage it would be like you were walking on a water bed. Let me know if I have answered your question to your satisfaction.


Robert Gillis

Hi Robert,

Yes, you've answered the question.

I am having drainage problems with my deck, so water has been getting under and seeping through that seam. I'll figure something out. I was a little disappointed because your website calls it a "high grade waterproof floor".

You think a seam sealer product would help? (if I don't solve the drainage problem)


Is there a way to get the deck to drain away from your dome? Even if you sealed the floor which would be difficult you would still have water under your floor which would most likely, in the long run, rot the decking. One fix might be to make a cut in the decking about 1/2" deep, under the skirt of the dome and provide a means for the water which will seek the the low point of this cut to drain to the ground. This could be a space between the decking or a 1/4" hole you drill at one end of the cut. These small drains would need to be kept open. If you made the cut wider and and or the holes larger, say 2/3 or 1/2" then they would not clog as easily. The best may be to cut clear through the decking but not the sub structure. In this case you would need to provide support under the decking with 2 by 4s or 2 by 6s secured to the cut decking.

Let me know if you try this if it works for you as it should.



I'm a graduate student and I'm planning my year-long PhD research project to
study lemurs in southwestern Madagascar. I need a shelter that will last a
year, keep out creepy crawlies (scorpions and centipedes)

This thing with scorpions and centipedes is tricky. I understand they get into houses also so it is hard to keep them out. I have heard that if you build a deck it helps. I would think if you laid a strip of insect repellent along the base of the dome and refreshed it often would help.

and house my 2
year old and myself, and maybe an occasional visitor. Can you recommend one
of your models?

I would recommend the 18'er as a good size for extended living.

They look amazing! I'm so glad I came across your site. I
looked at some of your testimonials and was glad to see that people have
used them in Baja - similar scorpion situation there. Can you put me in
touch with any of your other customers that may have taken there shelter to
Africa? Southwestern Madagascar is primarily a dry forest, but I will be
contending with a rainy season.

Our shelters do not leak.

Thank you in advance for your help!

>Inner city and or convertible is tricky. Why not call so we could
>On Jan 4, 2005,
>>sir, i am interested in emergency shelter. i know what first comes
>>to mine is the disaster in the india ocean area and this could be
>>used there too. what i am after though is a smaller one than your
>>site mentioned( the 5.4).  what i am looking for would be about
>>half that size or smaller. any where from 1 or 2 persons most
>>likely cold weather convertible, up to 8-10 persons for a more
>>family size use.  these are for what would be used in inter-city
>>homeless or such disaster as we had in florida this past year. if
>>you wish you can send info on line here or hard copy to;
>>thanks,robby plunkett

 I agree with you that this is an important problem. I wonder if a shelter was developed if it would be allowed by the larger community to be used in developed areas? Would the shelter need to be taken down and moved each day or could it be set up and left up?

On Jan 5, 2005

mr. gillis,  the term convertible was meant as easily converted from hot and cold weather. as for the inner city,,,that is a tough one no doubt. i would suggest making it as attractive as possible. to blend it into the surroundings. i don't live in a metroplex area but i use to. dallas as many cities has a shelter for the homeless problem. they stated they have a minimum of 6,000 homeless and can at the max house 1,800. they have already had 2 freeze to death. stats show about 70% of the homeless are military veterans. i'm sure that some just couldn't cope with the transition back to the real world and just about every other reason under the sun. when this first came to mine was many year ago, i think during the nixon years. across the street from the white house a veteran froze to death on a park bench. it wasn't just a regular joe but a metal of honor recipient. i guess he was at the only place he felt comfortable or perhaps he was still guarding our presidents home in his own mine.

as you may well know to shelter a person it will take less money to feed and care for them. some may choose to live on the streets and after my disillusion of life i can understand.  there are those that have no choice. they have lost their jobs thus loosing the home,automobile and all their possessions. many of these are whole families. it was for this reason that i chose the sizes i asked about. i believe that all these people still deserve dignity. the loners won't go to shelter usually because of the rules and in some case it still cost $5. to $7. a night. personally i thought that all these were free shelters, apparently not. the loner still would not be willing to share a large tent/yurt/shelter with a family or many other individuals. the family probably wouldn't want to share a shelter with an individual thus the need for a shelter for 1 or 2.

the light is still on the major disasters but we do have a great need still here at home. we have hungry and homeless with no answers to this need, what do we do?? if they were prisoners they would have rights. if they were immigrates they would have rights. if they were in a natural disaster they could receive aid, but just to be out on the streets and to be u.s. citizens there is no help to those that need it most. we, the u.s., will go around the world to help others in need but not feed or shelter our own, that's a disaster itself. i have taken it upon myself to see what can be done for shelter, here at home first and then the world needs. the shelter must be as light as possible for the mobile individual and family needs and it must be able to withstand extremes in weather. this would accomplish a minimum of space and weight for quick transport for air lift and /or air drops. 

i could be next on the homeless list,who really knows. i have been unemployed for 4 yrs and we live on my wife's small check. i do odd jobs when available. thanks for you attention to this, i feel it is very important for our nation to take care of this problem.


On Dec 2, 2004,


I am considering purchasing a Gro-Dome greenhouse as a gift. I have several questions, most of which have been answered on your website but for which I would like more details.

Here are my questions:

1. Why is a 14' or 20' Gro-Dome easier to put up than the 18' model?

The stiffness of the poles.

Somewhere on your site you mentioned that the 18' required more manpower and skill.

It only requires bit more strength and or coordenation (one person bending the poles and the other inserting the pole end into the connector.)

We're avid campers so we know our way around a dome, but it would be nice to be able to do this ourselves without asking for help.

You can. Work together the first time. Wear gloves. No one has failed to get the 18 up. It is just stiffer.

2. We would put up the greenhouse every May and take it down every October. Will repeated put up/take down action and use of the grip-clips stress the fabric?

No. You should be able to put it up and take it down for the sun life of the covering (which should last approximately 6 + years.

3. If plants grow close to the sides of the fabric, will the leaves/moisture/dirt/Agrene be likely to damage the fabric?

No. Not at all.

Do we need to keep the plants from touching the sides?


4. Our backyard (where the greenhouse would go) is sloped slightly. We have lots of trees in the back yard, and we live in the city, so wind would be a minimal problem, but I am not convinced that mere stakes will be enough to steady the Gro-Dome; in addition, pitching it on a slope will look trashy (hello, nice neighbors!). I picture us having to level the ground under the Gro-Dome, then build some kind of frame to attach it to. What do you suggest?

I think you will be surprised how well it sheds and holds wind. But you could also set guy-lines. If you do set guy-lines use the Online Manual:

You must determine this your self by marking a circle of your dome on the ground using a cord 1/2 the diameter; have some one hold the cord and then walk around him marking with stones or marker. Then set up your chairs and tables inside.

On Nov 26, 2004

How many people, tables do you think you can fit in your 20' x 10 dome - 30x11' Wedding Tents?

Our dome shelters would work as shelter for grave digging. However they take two people about 15 min to put up.

On Nov 24, 2004

I am looking for a pop-up type shelter very easily assembled to cover my direct labour force when they are digging graves at our cemetery.
Any details would be gratefully received.

Many thanks
Kathy James
Town Clerk
Bridgnorth Town Council

hey there,

This might be a little quirky, but I just rented an efficiency apartment in New Orleans with a large main room and about 15' high ceilings. Since the main room is going to have to be both a bedroom and a living room, I was thinking of getting a 10' bubble dome to serve as my sleeping quarters, if you will, so that my bed area could be cordoned off from view. I kind of like the bubble dome's Epcot-center-ness, and I can't really afford to get a canopy bed and I hate room dividers... Anyway. My question is, is this a viable idea, and is it possible to get the bubble dome in the white/black covering so that I won't cook to death in the New Orleans summer? If the bubble dome is unavailable in the reflective sun covering, I guess I could order a Yurt, but I like the dimensions of the bubble dome better for my purposes, plus it's so ultra-modern and Bucky Fuller-ish...



Not quirky or the first. Great Idea.

Bob Gillis


hey there,

This might be a little quirky, but I just rented an efficiency apartment in New Orleans with a large main room and about 15' high ceilings. Since the main room is going to have to be both a bedroom and a living room, I was thinking of getting a 10' bubble dome to serve as my sleeping quarters, if you will, so that my bed area could be cordoned off from view. I kind of like the bubble dome's Epcot-center-ness, and I can't really afford to get a canopy bed and I hate room dividers... Anyway. My question is, is this a viable idea, and is it possible to get the bubble dome in the white/black covering so that I won't cook to death in the New Orleans summer? If the bubble dome is unavailable in the reflective sun covering, I guess I could order a Yurt, but I like the dimensions of the bubble dome better for my purposes, plus it's so ultra-modern and Bucky Fuller-ish...





Seems like a great idea.

The white/black would not keep you any cooler. What about fans or air conditioning? It is indoors right?


Robert Gillis

On Nov 17, 2004

The 31.5' dome we bought from you a couple of months ago was delivered to the US Army in Korea along with the specialized satellite trailer we manufactured for them.  This was the first of several units to be completed over the next 24 months for this application.
Some problems on dimensions have arisen, and I am forwarding the E-mail form our Client's field engineer to you.  Not sure what might be possible, but please let me know your thoughts on this after you get a chance to go through the questions below.
I'm also attaching some photos (in an Adobe document) to go along with his E-mail.
Jim Abbott

***************  E-mailed  Questions  *****************

Hey gang,
   Good news and bad news.  We had some successes…

We got the tent up and it turned out not to be so difficult. We had three guys doing the crown, and we spent about an hour doing that (the first few sets of squares…. Then the next morning we set out with 6 guys and it only took us 2 hours to finish it.  Then we moved it with 8 guys. We simply stowed the antenna, lowered the feed, and lifted the dome over the antenna.

So, now we realize that it wasn't calculated out so good as to the space required.  While it does fit, when we steer CW or CCW, the antenna extends over the trailer and with the low elevation, it actually starts to rub on the dome ceiling. We don't get too far before it gets dicey in either direction.  One thing that is a problem is on the antenna…at the top of the joint where the antenna folds out there is a hinge that sticks up several inches. This then grabs or presses on the material.  On Photo#0031 I marked up to show.

The other photos also show some of our temporary solutions. We went out and bought some additional PVC and started creating extensions to add a few feet of lift to the front portion.  This may or may not work…we are worried about stability. 

Could you contact, or send me the contact info of the manufacturer that you worked with? 

  We would like to know, is it possible to extend the heighth of the tent by 2-3 feet all the way around? This should give us the clearance we need.

If this is not possible, then #2 solution is to go with our extensions. Then we would like to get 20 spare panels that we could use as a skirt along the bottom…of course we would need some way to attach the stuff to the existing panels?

So these are my thoughts, any ideas?

We are just about done for this round.  I think I worked out a few calibration problems I had.  I am going to take a week of vacation, then travel back out here on the 5th of December for a week. We will be showing everything off to some of the Big-Wigs of our programs.

Talk to ya later,

To see photo yurt-dome-testimonials



The strongest way to add a 2 feet to the bottom of the dome is to first:
Tie pairs of pole connectors to 20 new HD clips.
Unclip the 20 plug clips with the single pole plugs at the base of your dome.
Add and shingle a skirt of material to the bottom that is wide enough for the height you need + 1.5' using the 20 clips with connectors you have just assembled.
Clip the plug clips along the base of the added material allowing 11" for a skirt 2' directly below the connector clips.
Cut and insert 20 new full length poles to create the ring around what was the base but soon will be 2' above the ground.
Cut and insert 20 new short poles to your added extension. Choose a length so that the tension on the covering is the same as the tension on the main part of the dome. These short poles are difficult to install because you can not bend them. It will be easier to install them if you first remove the vertical pole above it; insert the short pole then reinsert the long pole; or use a pulley system to tension the base clip cords with extra long cords after adding the poles to clips .
Stake out.

This will maintain the integrity of the structure and only weaken it slightly.

Let me know if this works for you. Send me a photo of the finished dome with the added height.

Can I add a few of the photos you sent me to my site. If so could you resend them as individual jpeg attachments.




On Nov 18, 2004

Thanks for the quick and detailed response.
Could you provide these extra materials? 


I'm sure they can find and cut the PVC, but could you provide the other stuff and the extra material needed?

If so, what sort of time frame

We can ship these materials as soon as you want.

and cost?

HD 10 (with cord) $30 ship $5; You need 20 so $70. The price on the Fabric is $8/yd + shipping (it come 6' wide) so it depends on the height you want to rise the dome. Best not to rise it any more then needed as extra height increases the wind loading. The connectors you can cut from 1.5" PVC.
Also, could we do this up front for the remaining systems?  (That is, deliver it a little bigger as this modified one would be?)

Yes, if you give us the specs.
Feel free to use pics -- attached as JPGs.


Jim Abbott

On Aug 14, 2004,

We are planning a wedding reception and would like to know how many guests
can be seated for dinner in your 20' and 30' wedding tent domes.

It is best for you to determine this yourself since you will know how you will want your guests to sit. On clear section of ground or pavement with a cord 15' long have a friend hold one end of the cord to the ground while you walk a circle around, keeping the cord taut, mark a circle with chalk or small stones. This will mark a 30' circle. With a few chairs, you plan to use, mark their outline in your circle. For the 20' use a cord that is 10' long.


I have been using your Heavy Duty and General Grip Clip Tarp Fasteners to join and connect tarps together to cover a 30' dome frame I make and to connect four tunnel structures to the dome. I plan on taking it to burning man. The Grip Clips work great and have held the tarps together and to the frame of the dome during two big wind storms we have had here. I recently cut my thumb and can still clip multiple layers together with only one and half hands. They are a tremendous product.


August 11, 2004

Please send the whole package of Grip Clips together (when the GripClipPro will be available) to the address You have on my first order.

By the way: I am a sound engineer, working on the set for documentaries here in Switzerland. And Your Clips are perfect for me to fix sound-absorbing fabric to walls, through rooms or also outside between trees or lightstands. Speeds up fortification a lot!

On Aug 11, 2004

im building a sof kayak using your plans and grip clips and want to use willow fro my ribs i was wondering
how hard it is to get it to shape and if you have a technique you can share

Willow will bend to that shape when green easily.

On Aug 4, 2004, at 11:29 AM, Eric Bucks wrote:

I'm wondering whether you will be offering the option
of purchasing plans for either the New ReliefTent or
the Diamond Dome?

We will when we can get to it.

I have some Grip Clips. Love 'em. I've used them
for tarp shelters while camping, but I've used them
more frequently for in the back seat of the car. I
use them to string a sheet up between two seatbelts,
using the sheet as a seat cover for our dog, who loves
to travel but sheds quite a bit.




On Aug 7, 2004

Hi - I ordered a set of the black light fabric grip clips. I also requested if you could include 2 extra nylon cords, each 24 inches long. I'd like to attach a Grip Clip on each end of the nylon cord, to make 2 double garters for sheet fasteners (rather than anchor them to the frame as your website shows, I want to wrap them around the mattress corner under the mattress). Please let me know if there will be a charge for the 2 extra cords. Thank you most kindly, Suzanne

Great idea. $1 for the extra cord.

On Aug 6, 2004

Dear Shelter Systems,

Your product is amazing!!! I love your site and can't wait to own one of your domes. We are moving in the near future and are in need of temporary storage space. My hope is that the dome becomes an alternate studio space -- I'm intrigued by the quality of bright ambient light your dome creates.

They make get studio spaces. Your right the light is superb.

My questions have to do with removing sections of the dome structure. I want to make a patio or "pit area" with low walls of straw bales or concrete blocks that could support your 18' dome.

This can and has been done.

Included is a sketch of my idea (see attached). My plan is to trace the dome, cutting away sod to outline its shape. I want to build the walls with two entrances opposite each other. I'd then attach the dome, placing the dome doorways over the openings in the walls.

I have read your decking construction page, and while I can't think of a way to create a lowered ledge for the structure to rest upon, I'm considering sloping the top of the wall to avoid moisture from entering the dome. Perhaps the extra 6" of dome material, draped over the wall, would suffice. I intend to install pegs on the exterior wall to secure the dome in lieu of ground stakes. To extend the length of the door panels I could make a cloth section with a weighted bottom and attach it with velcro. I could then remove them when we used the dome for camping.

Questions: Is it just one tube/pipe that spans the lower part of the doorway and would it be okay to remove them in the two doorways opposite each other and not jeopardize the structural integrity of the dome?

This should be OK assuming you would be attaching the dome to your sod or bale wall.

Another question: If there's a fire platform in the middle of the pit area, and we rig a lightweight chimney to vent out the top of the dome, do you think might work? I know your Q & A page warns against open fires like those in tipis -- but what there was a generous hood a few feet above the fire with a chimney leading out the top?

If this is done right it should work. You would have to use isolated pipe and fittings to attach the pipe to the top of the dome so as to prevent melting the covering. You would also want to take care against water leaking around your pipe but I think this could be done.

Thanks in advance for your consideration regarding this matter. If you have any tips or thoughts on attaching a dome to a low wall, I would appreciate that too.


Yours Light Fabric Grip Clips are the perfect solution for joining two 5x8 Integral Designs poncho tarps and lift up sides.

Joe Young CA

On Jul 19, 2004

Dear Shelter Systems,

Have been looking at your wonderful web site and am interested in purchasing one of the dome yurts for Burning Man this year. I was thinking of a 11” dome, as I only require this for sleeping 1-2 people. However, I would like the following advice:

1. Please advise whether you think a 11” yurt is suitable for BM conditions?

The smallest dome we recommend for Burning Man is 14'.

2. Please advise what kind of shade structure you can supply with this size of yurt and how much it would cost?

Recommend two of our 6 by 12 sun shads or commercial shade cloth which you can get at building supply.

3. Please advise on type of mosquito netting for this yurt size and cost? And how to install?

You will not need any net doors for Burning Man. I you still want net doors they are $25 each. The 14' has 4 doors.

4. Please advise on best floor type and how to fasten and cost?

We recommend a blue plastic tarp for a floor. You can get this at a building supply store.

Please explain more about ventilation tubes and what is already supplied? Do I need more?

Two are supplied and you can make more out of empty cans (see http://www.shelter-systems.com/shingling.html).

6. Is the fabric used a frosted white for privacy? Or can you supply other colours that would be more appropriate?

They are only available in white. It is like white paper as to the light.

7. Please advise whether I would require rebars for the guy lines?

Not with the 14'er. Be sure to read our wind warnings on the site and in the manual (Instruction Manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html ).

8. You say that the 11” yurt has 1 door. What kind of flexibility does this door have, can you close it and secure it properly?

Having only one door is part of the reason we do not recommend this dome for Burning Man.

9. Will the yurt be warm enough for the colder evenings?

You will need to have a sleeping bag.

10. Can you ship to an address in San Francisco and how long would this take?

Yes, about a week.

11. Please can you also advise with the same questions above for a 14” dome, and provide total cost?

$620 + 40 shipping + 49.6 = 707

12. I do not live in US, and was wondering if shipping to UK would be much more expensive. Also would you be able to ship dome to UK by mid Aug?

We are about 3 weeks to shipping right now.

Please advise cost? (Can provide a US address is this is better option).

Shipping to UK is about $250

I have been telling other friends coming to BM about your structure, and hope to put some more business you way.

Your swift response would be most welcome, as I am aware that BM is not far off.

Thank you for your help and advise.


Jake Yearsley

On Jun 19, 2004

I am interested in possibly using your 30' dome for
temp living in Arizona at 5700 ft.

If you plan on using the dome in the winter be sure to read our snow and wind warnings.

Could one use
conventional rolled insulation on the inside rather
than rigid to save costs?

Yes, but batting insolation is more difficult to hold together and to support.

Also could one protect the
dome material with an
outside covering fastened to the poles such as
conventional pvc?

Yes, but applying an outer covering is tricky since the poles are curved and the covering would need joined together and then there is the problem of holding the covering to the poles against the wind.

Thanks, you have a wonderful product.

On Jun 10, 2004

how does one keep the yurt dome from becoming an oven at burning man?

thank you!


ps - was thinking about getting the 14 or 18 ft.

Use two of our Sun Shades (Accessories: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html ) and keep your 4 doors open.

On Jun 5, 2004,

Hello, I am considering ordering either the 20' or 30' dome for Burning Man. As you probably know, it is very windy and dusty in the Nevada desert. How do your domes attach or fit onto the ground if a floor is not used?

There is a skirt around the base of the yurt dome. This skirt can be buried or weighted down on the inside of the dome if you have enough stuff to do that. There are twelve stake loops around the edge of the dome. The yurt comes with guy-lines and stakes enough for the stake loops and the guy-lines. See Dealing with Strong Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/wind-tents.html and Instruction Manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Will dust blow in under it?

You can not keep out all the dust but most, yes. Dust even gets into the RVs

Are the domes waterproof?

Yes, completely.

Once ordered, how long for normal (not rush) delivery take?

We are 2 week behind in shipping now. It takes 5 working days to get to the east coast.

Can you give me the inside dimension of the spaces between the PVC tubing (the spaces created by the overlapping tubes) for both the 20' and 30' if different?

This is about 5 foot for both.

I am asking because we are thinking about having some decoration made to be strung in the spaces. Thanks alot for your help. Your structures look great. Truly, Lori

On Jun 5, 2004

About 3 years ago I searched the internet for a family sized tent (8
children) that was not only big enough, but more importantly, truly
waterproof. After lots of searching, we bought an 18' Dome. We have camped
with it in Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin. We have used it as a base camp for
Paleontology digs
in Florida and Colorado. We have also used it as
temporary storage and a Garage Sale shelter.

Sounds like you got a lot of use out of the yurt dome. What sort of digs where you on?

We were glad that we had purchased a floor from you. Here is how we use the
floor. First we erect and stake down the dome. Then we spread the round
floor tarp out inside the tent so that it overlaps up the wall all the way
around about a foot. Then I take 8 foot pvc poles and connectors hooked
together and feed the resulting long pole into the dome at one of the doors.
I tension it all the way around the inside of the floor perimeter making a
big ring pushing outward on the exterior poles. This creates a tight seal
at the walls and keeps the floor stretched and secure.

This is an interesting approach to securing the floor. How high up is the pole on the wall? Does it get in the way of coming in the door at all?

The Dome has NEVER leaked. We have also found it to be spacious enough
inside to never feel really hot or stuffy. Our Dome came with two screened
doors that help with ventilation.. We often use two pvc poles to hold two
of the door flaps open to create small sun flaps allowing cross ventilation.

Putting up the dome is quite easy, once you get the hang of having one
person to bend the poles while the other puts it in the connector. My wife
and 13 year old son have put up the 18' Dome by themselves.

The only real design complaint we have is the doors seem unfinished. We use
binder clips to secure them, but it lacks the feel of a completed product.
Do you know of anyone who has modified the doors to be more useable? Maybe
a module with a zippered door?

Do you use a door pole at the bottom of your door? We now include some sticky back velcro that can be used to seal the door in windy conditions. We have found zippers to snag, jam, fail, cause leakage where they are sewn to the covering; and not the least is the time and difficulty in getting in and out of the yurt dome with zippers. When you are living in a tent you and your family go in and out lots and speed and ease of entrance and exit are important. This is why I asked if you use a door pole. Hook one side of the door and then with the pole attached you can grab the other side of the door and swing it open. Enter and then the door will close itself. True if it is windy you will then need to secure the door with the hook at the bottom. Perhaps some sticky back velcro would be useful for you also.

Over time, we have kinked a few poles, broken one Grip-clip and broken a
pair of dome connectors. We also had a small hole poked in the roof that we
repaired with duct tape. These were all easily repaired.

Yesterday, a wind storm took our Dome (being used for a Garage Sale shelter,
and not well staked) for quite a ride through the yard and down the river.
Amazingly, it survived in tact. However, the two top panels are each torn
where they connect to the Grip Clips. Upon closer inspection, it seems that
most of the panels look stressed at the points where they connect to the
connectors and look like they might tear soon as well. I wonder if it is
just getting old.

It does sound like your covering is beginning to wear out but you may still get a bit more life out of it.

What will it cost to get replacements for both of the top two panels? What
will a whole new shell cost?

Replacement panels are $45 each. New cover is $648.

Thank you Wayne for the interesting and use full feed back.

On Jun 6, 2004

Floor on sand. It's a permanant site and I can add some rock under neath and some earth to the sand, it seems quite flat and stable, I need a floor of some type but if you recommend a tarp do the instructions on the best way to affix it? Thanks Kirkland

Seems like you got it figured out. No need for a tarp unless the ground dampness seems to be a problem; I would then lay down a tarp and fold it under itself so that it fits inside the dome and goes up against the walls on the inside of the dome about 4". You can then fix it in place by weighting it down with what you plan to put in the dome and or tie it to the ground level dome clips with Grip Clips attached to your floor at these points. Sometime you only need two Grip Clips at the door opening that you use to enter and exit the dome (this is where the floor gets the most scuffing and is most likely to move around.

On Jun 6, 2004,

Hello Bob,   We've talked several times in the past, but you have many customers.  Can you please send me a few jpg's and instructions on "how-to" cut in windows and door netting with the grip clips I've bought. I hope to cut down on the mistakes. They will be on  my 24' 3V shingled dome tent  placed on the river when the flood waters go down in Iowa!!!  Any help will be greatly appreciated.    Thanks in advance,   Steve

There are many ways to do this. The main thing to keep in mind is shingle the windows and netting just as you to the panels on your dome covering. I do not have photos showing this but it is not difficult. Set up your covering and pull it tight. Mark and cut a hole in one of the panels. Cut your window or netting so it is at least 2" wider and 2 feet taller then the hole is after it is cut. With Grip Clips tie in window or netting inside above the hole and outside below.

On Jun 3, 2004


There are certain spray-on UV blocking products available, I believe acrylic based, that provide effective renewable UV protection.  Have you considered using or testing such a product? 

Any paint with pigment will block some or all UV. There are also clear UV blocks such as "303"

– my vagueness in my first e-mail was quite deliberate.  Do the UV blocks such as “303” work on your fabric?

From all I know 303 works on our fabric. Indeed it should work on all plastics and fabrics. I have not tested it my self. The fabric we use has sustantial UV inhibitors in it that

On May 31, 2004

I am contemplating a 14' Dome for use at outdoor/indoor Fairs, etc.. Many of which are held in asphalt paved parking lots or indoor gym-type floors. I noticed "stakes" being used. Are they mandatory?

No, you can hold it down with many large water containers.

They look plastic, can metal ( for asphalt) be sustituted?

I have a second important question. My usage would require my projecting video image within. In a perfect world I would love a "paradox" functionality. Would the covering facilitate my projecting image directly on "inside" walls of dome rather than a screen in normal sunshine (daylight), but be translucent enough to have the image seen from the outside in the evenings after sunset.

Yes. I believe this would work. At least we have sold them for this use. You may want to shade the dome in the day so that the images you project would not get washed out.

This would have great "attention getting" value in a trade show/fair setting.  If the dome covering material is more than a one piece item, I imagine two types in combination would be useable. I could move the projection to different "panels" for day & evening application.

I do not think this would be necessary; but we could make the dome 1/2 white and 1/2 white in black out. But you most likely would still need to shade the dome to cut down on the glare. Most projectors are not bright enough to project well in a bright room.

On May 31, 2004

Subject: tensegrity design for HS engineering class


I work at the Museum of Science, Boston, where we're developing a high school engineering class for 9th and 10th graders that will start being taught in around ten schools this September, and will hopefully expand beyond that.

One of the topics we're covering is construction, which includes tension and compression. Since we're making this a very hands-on course, I thought it would be cool to introduce students to Bucky Fuller's ideas by having them design tents based on his (and Ken Snelson's) ideas. When I searched Google for "tensegrity tents," your wonderful designs came up.

If you have time, I'd love to talk to you about your tents, and any suggestions or references you might have for making tensegrity design accessible for high school students.

Thanks a lot. I'm really looking forward to talking to you.




What do you think about giving students Grip Clips for prototyping their tents for this engineering class? That might be easier for students to prototype with than using rocks and string (we can teach them that method too).

I think this is a good idea.

If we were going to use 4mm polyethylene sheeting (what's it called? Visqueen?) and maybe PVC pipe as the basis of our tent "kit," which clips would be good? General purpose?


How many would be good to have available for use in each tent? 4? 8?

If possible, I would make available a large bin of them. They are reusable. Will they get to keep their tents? (if so then you may want to limit the number you give, since you will not get them back, to say 10 or 12.) The more you give them the more options they have for creative construction.

And do you have bulk discounts?

100 for $150

I'll order some after you tell me which ones would be best for this project.



On May 27, 2004


I'm preparing to purchase one of your 18' yurts and I have a few questions:

1. Is the only difference between a regular and an "Extra Strong" yurt the window material?

They are the same except for the window material. The cost is the same.

2. I'm not clear exactly where the windows are. Are they low enough that someone could look in or are they higher such that one might see the stars through them?

They are the triangular shaped panels above the doors. They are at about head height when standing. So yes you could look in or out. However the Extra Strong dome has translucent windows that you can not see clearly through.

3. We will probably be camping in a fairly open field maybe with one side getting some shade from nearby forest. Would you recommend two 6x12' sun shades, one 8x20, or something else for an 18' yurt?

I would recommend two 6' by 12' Sun Shades.

4. When using velcro to attach the floor to the walls do you recommend a continuous strip all the way around or smaller strips spaced out? If the latter how much velcro would be necessary? How much would be necessary to attach four doors and one net door?

Generally it is not necessary to attach Velcro to the doors unless you have a lot of wind. And velcro is not necessary for your floor unless you are very worried about bugs. The truth is that bugs partially a few ants can always find a way in, even in a wooden house. I would start by using none and then add small bits, perhaps 4" sections, here and there if you feel you need to. Velcro has its own problems: it takes effort to hook and unhook it; the hook part can get caught in long hair or sweaters; and it can peel off if it is the wrong kind or was attached to a damp or dirty covering or the adhesive was not allowed to "cure". On the other hand it is quick to apply and does the trick of holding against wind and can be hooked and unhooked when desired.

5. Are four door poles provided?


6. When opening up the yurt to an Open Arched form is the arch centered around one of the doors or is it between two doors?

The Open Arch encompasses two doors. That is to say two adjacent doors become part of the arch.

If centered, would a net door impede the process in any way?

Net doors do not effect the Arch.

7. What would be the expected delivery time for an 18' yurt?

We are quite busy at this time of year and are about two weeks to shipping.



Robert Gillis

On May 25, 2004

hi shelter folks:

these domes look really cool!

I’ve recently bought some land in rural vermont and I’m looking for a temporary structure so I can live on the land for a while before I begin to build on it. I’m writing to ask your advice about managing to put up one of your shelters on a very rocky uneven newly cleared area of the land. are bigger domes more difficult to deal with under these circumstances?

No, so long as you do not have trees inside where the dome is to be. You can set the dome on a slope and it is quite flexible as to fitting over rocks etc.

should I consider building a platform for the dome instead of trying to deal with the lumps and bumps and hills and dales?

I would try with out deck at least at first. You could even set up a small deck inside the dome to get around some rocks. Big decks can be a lot of work and expense.

I like the idea of being on the actual ground much better. one idea is to make a good thick layer of wood chips to even up a base for the dome. does that seem like a good idea to you?

Not sure about wood chips. Would not they rot?

the lower parts of the site are wet and boggy just now and will be every time it rains, so that’s not gonna work well, I’m sure.

the higher parts of the site seem to be actual rock (not just stony, I mean, but actual bedrock). given that, is there some way to secure the dome to the ground?

Sure, tie it to rocks and trees.

sorry for all these newbie questions, but I am new, so there it is!



On May 24, 2004

I am interested in knowing if these portable structures could be used in the tropics? Where you need plenty of ventilation and protection against the rain and hot sun.
Jon Reder

Yes, The 14, 18 and 20 are standard with 4 doors and upper vents. The 30'ers are standard with 8 doors and upper vents. We also make sun shades for them. They are totally water tight. You may also be interested in our net doors and netting with velcro for upper vents. Accessories: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Bob Gillis

On May 17, 2004
Re: dome and yurt structure tent for burning man festival

Great. Thank you for getting back to me on this.
It is nice to know you have experience with Burning Man.
How well does a 30 footer stand up in the wind at BM?

They have done extremely well in the past 4 years. As far as I know not one has been damaged.

Do you make one bigger than 30ft?


Also how are big are the stakes you use?

We provide 24 - 12" "I beam" ABS stakes with the dome. With stake cords provided these can be driven below the surface of the playa. This technique has worked for some. Others have created re-bar stakes (see Dealing with Strong Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/wind-tents.html).

Also see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/burningman-.html

Hi Again,

Any way of shipping these domes to us in UK cheaper?

If you have a friend in the US we can ship to him for our standard shipping and he could then carry (if he is coming to visit you) the packages as baggage or ship to you any way you want (some times US mail is cheaper - but slow and not as secure).

The old dome lasted for 8 years of extreme UV exposure up here at 9000
feet (that's what eventually did it in), snow, hail, and wind gusts up
to 45 miles per hour. The design is very sound and provides for an
exceptionally efficient use of interior space. We have been very



Thanks for this info - when you say ship within 2 weeks does this mean I'll receive them within 2 weeks?

Approximately - ship date depends on what orders we are working on and what stock we have at the time of your order. Right now we are about 8 working days away from shipping your order (if you want us to go ahead with it). Shipping time is 3 to 4 days.

Also, with whom do you ship

UPS Air. They are reasonably priced, fast and insured.

- can you give me an idea of taxes + duties which will need to be paid?

This varies county to country. Call a local carrier in your area and give him the cost of the tents not including shipping.



On May 6, 2004, at 9:28 AM, Kerry Edson

The GroDome Greenhouse 18 is a replacement for our older model which had given eight years
of life here at 9000 feet in the Colorado mountains. The old greenhouse would easily get up to 90 degrees on
a 65 degree day.

On Apr 29, 2004,

Dear Shelter Systems,

We would like to order a star bubble but we would first like to know exactly how light tight it is and also if it can be set up on a concrete floor? Might you have a free standing version?

Thanks in advance,


The covering is drum tight. The panels that it is made of are shingled. It can be set up on concrete so long as it is held down from the wind; you can set eyebolts into the cement or hold it down by tying it to large containers of water. It is freestanding.

On Apr 29, 2004


I represent a burning man camp and I'm responsible for creating the dome

We have a dome that is built from steel conduit - here are the specs.


it is a 3V 5/8ths dome with an 11.875 foot radius. You can use the
calculator to get the dimensions and see the dome plans.

the assembly diagram is at www.desertdomes.com/pics/dome/3vdiagram2.gif

We would like our cover to be pink, provide substantial shade (80-90%
blockage) be breathable and mostly waterproof.

We only use a white material that creates 40% shade and suggest that this be shingled to make it breathable. Suggest this covering be hung under your poles and use of a sun shade cover over the frame. You can spray paint the white pink.

I was thinking something along the lines of using the black/silver
material with each panel covered with pink sailcloth with occasional
"vents" of 90% shade weave that gardeners use. I think 5 vents will be

We also want to be able to roll the cover up around the bottom edge to the
second row of struts. We like the open-ness it creates.

This would not be a problem.

Our "door" consists of removing one strut in the lowest circle to create a
four sided parallelogram. It's awkward to describe it. It's much easier
when you see a drawing.

Not a problem.

Are you able to make something like this? Could you send me an estimate.
I'm sorry I don't have the exact math figures, I've never done anything
like this before.

If you use our material and Grip Clips you should be able to "clip" the covering together without sewing.

I'm not sure how much material we would need, if we need special sewing
equipment, the best method for putting it all together, etc.

The cover will not be tensile, the dome cover should go over the skeleton
like a skin.

Please email me a quote if you are able to do something like this. Or
perhaps you'd have some advice on how to proceed.

The clips are 20 for $40. The covering is $8 per yard it is 6' wide.

Let me know if I can help.

-Thom Fowler

On Apr 30, 2004

dear dome folks, Dome on posts

I am looking for a temporary dome structure that I can put up from time to time in my backyard for parties and dance gatherings. I like the looks of your 30' yurt dome. Is there any way that it could be erected on top of, say, 8'-tall posts so that the sides of the structure were open? I think that would make a great garden pavilion.It might look something like...

Yes, this is possible. The posts will need to be secured to the ground and stabilized and strong enough to handle all encountered winds. You could set the posts in the ground our cement. Best support would use 20 equally space posts.

On Apr 30, 2004

I'll be ordering a 14ft dome soon for BM and would like to get your opinion on sun shades.  Do the shades work well in high wind?  If so, do they offer much benefit in the desert?  I was considering two 6'x12' SunShades; would this cover the 14ft well enough?
Thank you very much; I look forward to ordering soon.

You would be very glad to have the sun shades. Two 6 by 12 would be best. You could also use 90% shade cloth which you can get at your hardware store or home depo. It is a black woven plastic with lots of small holes in it.

April 1, 2004 9:04:23 PM PST

The latest on the studio yurts in Greenville SC:  High winds today.  While we were away, one of the Grip Clips broke.  The skin panels did not tear.  The anchors held.  The Frame hung together, and the structure stood, even with the resulting opening in one side.
None of the contents were damaged, and it took about ten minutes to replace the damaged clip.  I would have thought the clips were the strongest part of the system. Even so, the yurt survived, essentially intact.  I'm impressed.

-Henry Mitchell

Thanks for the update. Could be the clip was defective. Send me your address and I will send you a replacement clips.

On Apr 8, 2004, at 8:34 PM

Received replacement clip.  Thanks. Sending the broken clip for you to look at.  I notice the clip you sent is larger than the ones holding my domes together.  Is the larger size standard now.

The 14, 18, and 20 foot domes are still made with the General Purpose Grip Clips but for spairs we give the Heavy Duty as the larger size makes it easier for user to install.

You have the best product (Grip Clips) out there for joining lines to fabric, and fabric
to fabric, that's out there... I will try to find some pics.

We have one of your 18' Greenhouses that has been up for 5 years and it is still standing strong. No rips, no tarps and it does not leak.

We use it day to day to store our Macadamia nuts and grow some greens.

I just wanted to tell you that it has brought a lot of pleasure to me.

On Mar 22, 2004,

Dear Sir,
I'm thinking of using your 10' bubble dome to house a telescope.
I have a 3m (9'10") circular concrete base.  Either the dome could
be entirely removed before an observing session, but this makes me
wonder how you attach it to the ground. 

You could set eye bolts in your base and then using small carabiners clip the domes 12 anchor cords to the eyebolts.

Or perhaps it might be possible
to have a larger door that extends right to the top and a little beyond.

This would difficult since the strength of the dome comes from its even tension. The tension broken by this large opening would be a strength and stability problem.

It might then be possible to make the dome rotate on casters for
360 degree views.  Or perhaps the open arched combined with
a rotating base would work.

This should work.
Please let me know your thoughts on the practicality of these ideas
and whether you have any customers with experience of using your
dome for a telescope housing.
What would the shipping cost to the South of France be?

About $120.
Best wishes
Rob Lucas

On Mar 22, 2004

Dear Sirs,
After seeing your web site on the www, I was intrigued about the lightweight
roofing materials you can supply.

I'm working on a housing project for Africa.
Each dwelling shall be 6.5m x 6.0m exterior wall sizes, and 2.4m high.
The wall shall be made out of recycled materials, but shall be extremely

Please provide more info on your walls.

The walls are 250mm thick.
1. Can you supply a translucent, lightweight roof to fit on top of the

Possibly. Would you be able to make your walls into a 6 or 12 sided? Would not you want part of the roof to be opaque to block the heat of the sun?

2. If yes to Q1, what will be the approx weight, in kgs and fixing

About 15 to 20 kgs They can simply be tied from pole ends to anchors fixed in your walls. How smooth are your walls (would they abrade the roof)?

3. Approx cost per roof, we can supply sufficient materials to build
approx 3 houses per day.

The prototype could be expensive depending on the wall shape and size. In 100's about $110 manufactured in USA.If manufacturing locally then cost should be about $60

4. Answer to Q3 should be for 1, 10 and then 100 complete roofs, so we
can budget and cost effectively in our financial model.
5. Will this type of roof be in a number of pieces, the fewer the
better, as local unskilled labour shall be assembling.

Would be easy to put together by unskilled labor in about 45 min.

The professional team shall be present to erect the first few, thus
enabling the locals to carry out the rest.
6. Approx all up costs inclusive of shipping to South Africa and

Difficult to determine at this stage of our interaction.

We have backing from a number of European Union Ministers, who have shown a
great interest in the project,
but we need to tie down this last loose end.
If you have a picture or sketch of something similar, then this would help.
Many thanks,

Glen Tully M.Sc- From Essex in the United Kingdom.

This roof is on it side: http://www.shelter-systems.com/roof-shell.html My suggestion would be to make one big enough for your walls.


Robert Gillis

My wife is terribly paranoid about raccoons or other wildlife being able to get in the shelter.  Is there any way that you know of to scure a floor to the bottom edge of the cover so I can aleviate her fears?

The floor can be attached to the walls of the Yurt with sticky back Velcro. The doors can also be sealed this way. As you know Raccoons are smart, strong and curious. The best way to keep them out is not to have food where they can smell it.
Any insight you can offer is greatly appreciated.
Darren Clark

On Mar 22, 2004, at 1:12 AM, Vivien Mousdell wrote:

Can your domes be set up in interior spaces besides outside -

Yes they are free standing and do not need to be anchored to the ground to hold there shape only to prevent the wind from blowing them away.

interested in
using one for a puppetry/story telling space, projecting shadows & lights
etc. onto the walls.

Yes, we have sold dome for this use in the past. I would think they would be excellent for this use. Adults and children find themselves drawn to them out of curiosity.

Which of your shapes would you recommend for maximum
effect - uninterrupted image etc.

A large dome 20 or 30 would be most dramatic. You could set the dome up in the Open Arch form ( Open-Arched: http://www.shelter-systems.com/arch-domes.html ) if you wanted or enclosed. The white covering act nicely as a projection screen (you can see the images and shadows inside and out).

Is there a supplier of your tents in


otherwise how much would it cost to ship say a 20ft dome?

About $180. We ship UPS air.

Thanks Vivien

On Mar 19, 2004

We are looking for an efficient and portable way to create a sweat lodge structure.  I have been reading about the structures that you create and have two questions:
1. would the steam and heat of a sweat lodge adversely affect your materials?
2. would the structure of your dome withstand a layer of blankets etc. to create a darkened space in which to perform the sweat lodge?

Thank-you in advance for your time and response.
Pam Garrett
Madison, Wisconsin

I do not know the answers to your questions personally but I have sold domes to be used for sweat lodges and therefore assume they work for this use. The heat should not harm the covering or clips. My concern would be the heat softening the poles and causing them to bend. This occurs at about 190 degrees F. If the blankets were applied on the covering under the poles then this should insulate the poles from the heat at least to some degree. If you go ahead with your project be sure to let me know so I can advise others.


In response to my question of whether it was safe to leave the dome up while we are away: safe for me meant the elements. Can the dome sustain wind, rain and snow or do you advise dismantling the dome each time we leave.

Tell me more about your weather. How exposed to winds are you. If your dome was compermized by extream wind it or your belongings could be damaged. I would not leave it up without attention if you expect it to snow. Snow can stick to it and be quite heavy. This may casue it to colasp potentaly damaging belongings inside. The covering of the dome ususaly is not harmed. Four or so poles may brake (these are easy to repair or replace as they are standard PVC.

A lot depends on how bad your weather is and what you are protecting inside. Read our warnings on snow and wind: Snow and Wind Warnings: http://www.shelter-systems.com/warning.html

Also, If you plan on visiting only every few months as you said in your last email, I would be concerned about dampness potentially causing mildew to things you have inside. If you have it in part sun may help keep the air dry inside. The thing, is that the air inside your dome will overtime assume the dampness of the air outside unless it gets dried out by the sun or a heat source such as a stove.

Tell me more about your weather.


On Mar 14, 2004, at 2:57 PM, Judith Mathews wrote:

Dear Dome Folk:
My Burning Man group is considering purchasing a 20' dome for the playa. As far as we can tell, the dome would work well in the extreme conditions on the Black Rock. Any special tips or considerations we should be aware of?

Look at: Dealing with Strong Winds: http://www.shelter-systems.com/wind-tents.htm and Instruction Manual: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html

Is there a way to paint the fabric without compromising it?

You can paint it any way you want. It will not harm the material.

Thanks for whatever help you can offer.

Cat enclosure?

On Mar 14, 2004, at 9:16 PM, Suz wrote:


I need to start off saying that I am a huge fan of
your company and structures. I've had one of your 18
foot domes for several years and it has been oh, so
reliable and durable through extreem weather
conditions: the raging black rock desert, Colorado
Rocky Mountains, downpours in Michigan . . .

So, I thought I would run a question past you since
the structure I am looking for does not exist (as far
as I know) on the scale and affordability that I am
looking for.

I am looking for a small geodesic dome where the
covering material is like a screen, or chickenwire (a
material that you can see through that will allows
bugs, rain ect. . to come through. I am hoping to
attach it against my home (either on one side or a

The smallest dome we make is 10' diameter and 5' high. We can make this as a half dome (so it would go out from your home only 5') and we may be able to make it of fiberglass screen netting. I would be a special order and would be some what expensive because of this

Regardless of your response, I appreciate your
ingenuity. I see something new every time I delve into
your web site. I saw that cool little rocker for the
first time. Are you selling those?

Not at this time. But we could make you a pattern so you could make or have one made for you.

Thank you for the quality of your products!

Suzanne St. Martin

On Mar 14, 2004, at 9:10 AM

To whom it may concern,

I own property, 40 acres, with no structure and am very close to ordering one of your geodesic domes.

I noticed on your web-sight some colored domes but I did not see a listing for them. I am interested in the white and blue geodesic dome, either 18' or 20'. Can I specify the colors when I order?

We only offer white at this time. White is the best "color" to live in. White will not negatively effect your vision. You can paint the domes if you want. Test the paint as to its' holding power. Spray paint is often better in that it does not as readily peel.

Cris Pulos


On Feb 21, 2004, at 4:39 PM, Gerry Halter wrote:

I am interested in your line of shelters.  Some basic questions.
I will be using this for retreat shelter In the desert of West Texas.  In summer it gets over 100 degrees.  How does your roof top sun shade fit onto the dome? 

The Roof Top Sun Shade is a separate structure and is not intended to be attached on top of a dome but can be attached to and create a shaded porch next to the dome. However:

Our Sun Shades can be pulled over the pole structure white out to reflect the sun, black in to block it. There is a generous air space under the shad to allow hot air to escape.

I would get enough shades to cover most of the top of your dome yet position the shades so as to create a gap up near the top to let hot air out. If the air out side the dome is 100 the air inside the dome will be at least r each100 unless you air condition the dome (there is no way to escape this) but at least you can be in the shade.

Dear Shelter Systems Folks,

I need to choose between a BubbleDome 20 and an 18' greenhouse dome. I am not sure how to compute the difference in available growing space/standing space/ability to ventilate.

Is it possible to have more than one door on a BubbleDome?

It is possible to make a low door opposite the tall door. Two tall doors are not recommended as they would weaken the structure (but is possible if you are not subject to wind).
You provide on your website size and volume/standable distance and standable area, and door size comparisons for your domes/yurts but not for the BubbleDomes. Are you able to provide Bubble Dome data via email, please so as to make comparisons between Bubble Dome and yurt.

The main thing to keep in mind is that the BubbleDome is much taller and at the same time smaller in diameter. This makes it weaker in the wind since a bigger wind area and smaller base. For most applications the yurt is best unless you need the height.

I recomend the standard dome. Stronger, more space for the money, and four doors.
Thank you for any help you can offer,
Eve Trook

I'm interested in getting a StarBubble 10...

I want to use it as a projection dome for a planetarium; my company develops planetarium shows, and this will be our test site. At the center we'll have a LCD video projector with a fisheye lens, which will project onto the surface of the dome.

I'll be wanting the black/white material, but the black will be outside

No problem there. There is a 10% special order charge to make it if the white/black material. It is not fire retarded.

-- to reject all exterior light -- and the white will be on the inside, as the projection surface. No windows, naturally. How opaque is the black side (I'm after a totally opaque shell)?


Will I need to get a sunshade to lay over the top?

I do not think so but there may be a few pinholes of light you could mask with tape.

Actually, my biggest concern is probably one you ordinarily don't run into. My ideal is a perfectly smooth and seamless, perfectly spherical inside surface. I know with the fabric construction and standard seams with shingling and overlap and those GripClips, this ideal is going to be hard to achieve. I'm guessing that the seams can be "finished" somewhat using sticky-back Velcro on them all, and trimming excess.

Or maybe just trimming close?

The "holes" of the GripClips will likely have to be filled in or covered with white tape or something so they'll be flush with the dome surface. And I'm hoping the stretching of the fabric will actually conform more to a rounded spherical surface than the flat squares I taped together out of cardboard using your model (thanks for that!)

It will not. But it may be that the clips or the lack of it not being spherical will no matter that much. ?

Is the PVC piping available in black?

No. But you could paint them. Test the paint first.

And how long would it take to get one, once the order is placed?

It would ship in about a week or so.




I'm curious if you have tested these in high wind or polar environments?  We are always looking for shelters that are lightweight, strong and waterproof for applications worldwide.  Can you provide any additional information?


We do not have a lot of experience in polar environments. We use PVC for poles which shows stiffening in the very cold. We would recommend when setting up to keep the poles in a sleeping bag with hot water bottle and removing poles one at a time when setting up. The 18' and 30' are our stronger structures and they do will in strong winds. An additional set of poles can be added for more wind strength but we still do not recommend them for extreme winds or constant strong winds..


Thank you so much for my 14 foot greenhouse. I never thought it would be so
easy to assemble. It is a true work of art in my back yard. Keep up the
good work. Thanks, Steve Farrell

Hello, I found your site to be very informative, however, I have
questions, I may have overlooked these in your site, if so please excuse

I am interested in GroDome 20. I live in Arkansas and weather in the
winter months can go as low as 10 degrees. I am wanting a greenhouse to
use thru the winter to house my ferns and plants, until the weather is
warmer usually in late April.


1. Would the GroDome 20 be suitable for my area as described above, if I
use a heater in the colder months?

Yes, if you would heat it enough to melt snow off; read snow warnings.

2. It sounds as if the dome is enclosed enough to prevent wind from
coming inside ?

Yes; be sure to read our wind warnings.

3. I want to use the earth for the floor, so how is it secured down?

It includes 16 1' long stakes.

4. Can the doors be secured to prevent wind from coming in them?

Yes, if you are in a windy area consider using some sticky velcro to increase door closure security.

5. Is ample sunlight allowed in during winter months? depending on my position of course.

Yes. You will need to match the length of light that the plants need however. For example tomatoes require a long day of light so you would have to light it into the night to match the length of day that your plants need to thrive.


6. Shading would not be necessary for ferns and house type plants,

You will need to match the light to what your plants require. Most house plants do not like full sun.

7. I read somewhere, something about using a liner? Would this be
necessary for heat?

You can heat it easily with out a liner but the liner will save fuel and make the heat more even inside.



Robert Gillis


Interested in 30'foot Yurt Dome, but have questions

Your 30' Yurt Dome is great!  An organization I belong to is planning on a gathering of men for August of 2005.  We are planning on 80 men to attend...and we are looking for a gathering place...so, your 30' Yurt Dome seems to offer us the

best space...what do you think?  any other suggestions?


I think you would love it. Where is your gathering?

We have reserved a site at an Environmental Learning facility in Sandstone, MN...about 70 miles north of Mpls/St. Paul....
So, you think 80 men can fit sitting in a three-quarter circle?
thanks for your quick response...

Yes, I think so, but make sure your self by drawing a circle that is 30' by using a cord 15' long; have a friend hold it to the ground and then holding the other end and pulling it tight walk around your friend and mark a circle using stones or a marker. Then have your friend sit down and mark where he sits. Have him move etc...

Why would I buy a tent which did not include a floor??! maybe in the future you could just sell the roof and then package the walls separately. or even the poles separately or both then you could offer a truly unic product THE TENT THAT IS IT'S SELF SOLD SEPARATLY!! I think it would work. Kidding aside what's up with that???

We do offer the floor as an accessory: Accessories http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html Some people want to put their Yurt Dome on a deck in which case a floor is not needed. Some people want to set up their Yurt Dome directly on the ground with out the floor. Others would rather buy the shelter with out the floor and lay a tarp or plastic down with carpet on top and save over the cost of our floor (the floor is a lot of material can add quite a bit to the cost of the Yurt Dome).

Just so you know, we sell most of our tent shelters with out the poles to those who ask and have access to class 200 PVC, since this save the user some in cost of the pole set and the cost of shipping them. We also offer some of our products as kits and plans. Different people have different needs, abilities, and resources. We offer a choice hoping to help were we can.

From your website:
"Shelter Systems' Yurt Domes have four flap doors evenly spaced around the dome for good cross ventilation and light. The door coverings close automatically so you can go in or out quickly." I'm confused, what holds the doors together?

A pole can be added to the lower edge of each door to hold the door tight and make it easier to use. The door pole goes over the plugs attached to the corners of each door. One side of the door can be left hooked closed all the time if you do not need the extra ventilation. This is
particularly nice if you're using a door pole, since it allows the door to swing open and shut easily. In strong winds, hook both sides closed. Binder clips are provided with your dome to secure the doors in wind or when a tight seal is desired. They also work well on net doors. They
hold best if you overlap the door and side wall materials a little as you clip them together. If you want more binder clips, you can get them at a stationery store. To prop your door open, tuck the tip of the door pole under an adjacent horizontal pole. Of course, if you aren't using a door pole, just roll the door panel up and tuck it over the pole above the door.

How are they closed?

The weight of the pole pulls the door closed.

Can they just blow open?

If it is windy use the hook at the door bottom to hook and hold it closed.

Do they swing in or out?


I'm interested in a 20'er for family camping on the Oregon coast.

Kap Young here,

We have recieved yurt dome and sun shades. I am a contractor and have been doing hard physical work all my life and trying to put up the yurt dome was a work out. Do you have any new and improved directions for the yurt dome?

Dear Kap Young

The 30'er. is a beast but does get easier each time you put it up. Have you looked at the online instructions yet? They are more recent. Manual:

You know some tricks for tub bending?

Try inserting the upper end of the pole first then the lower. One technique I sometimes use is to insert one leg between the dome and the pole to use my body to help bend the pole. Another is to use the lower connectors as a lever to pry the pole into it. Sometimes I have my help pull out on the middle of the pole to bend it (being careful not to pull so hard that the pole kinks) while I pull on the connector that the other end of the pole is to go into to stretch the dome's covering underneath the pole.

Two people can put it up in two hours you say.

As hard as it is, I have put up a 30'er my self in about 1 hr. I weigh 135 lb and yes it was a work outand I knew what I was doing. Make sure you have at least 2 strong people to help you.

Does the dome itself stretch and go together easier the second time?

Yes, the dome does stretch out and the poles take a slight bend; both help quite a bit to make it easier to put up the next time. Also you get more experienced as to how to bend and insert the poles.

Please call or write if you still have trouble.

I am considering purchasing an 18' Yurtdome for use as portable temporary
I appreciate the amount of information provided on your website,
but still have a few questions.


1. The 18' dome comes with four doors, how are these configured? 2 side by
side on opposite ends? Evenly spaced? However I want?

Spaced evenly.

2. I will definitely want net doors, how do these function with the
standard doors? 1 outswing/1 inswing?

They are situated inside the standard door. They work the same as the standard door; compleat with clips with hooks and pole plugs so they can be hooked closed and a door pole can be attached to it's base plugs to allow it to swing open and close automatically.


3. I am also very interested in the net walls shown in the instruction
manual. What are the costs associated with this option, does it limit the
number of doors and does it weaken the integrity of the dome.

We no longer make net walls as they weaken the structure too much.

4. I am leaning towards the Lighthouse Dome. Are there limitations for the
options listed above with either the Solar Dome or the Lighthouse Dome?

At this point we make the Yurt Domes which incorporate the better parts of the LightHouse and Solar Dome.

Scott Illinois

I tried my new 20 foor dome this weekend. It can be backpacked in 3 loads. I simply duct tape the dome package to an old backpack frame. The instructions were a little hard to follow, but I can excuse that since the dome was totally leakproof in 8 hours of rain. The way the floor is oversized keeps it bone dry even with water running under it! I also like the way the shape of the dome tends to hold it down in the wind. Those windows are really really neat too. It is ingenious how the panels all overlap and seal tightly when stressed by the PVC. I know it sounds crazy to use a 20 foot dome for backpacking by myself but I love it. It is like being inside a house. Congratulations on a great product and thanks!

Bill NC

While searching for a Party tent to purchase, I ran across your sight. I am excited about the possiblity of purchasing your 30' dome yurt. In your opinion, would the 30' dome be a good stucture for an outdoor party?





We have sold many for this use.

How many people / tables would it hold?

Quite a few. Mark a 30' circle in a parking lot using a 15' cord and small rocks to get an idea. Have some one hold the cord and you walk around with the other end of the cord marking a circle. Then set up some tables or have friends stand inside to get an idea how big it is.

The photo at the right shows the 30' Yurt Dome being used in a commercial for Sierra Mist being shot on a glacier in Alaska.

Re: Gro-Dome greenhouses - questions:

1. What type of base is used?

It sits directly on the ground. Since non of the materials can rot it does not require a foundation to protect it from the ground. This also allows you to plant directly in the ground. It is free standing and comes with ground stakes.

2. I see nothing about r factor - here in Virginia the winters can get down to 10 deg F.

We make full liners (Accessories
http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html )
which create an isolating air space.

How does one heat such a greenhouse,

You can use any type of stove or heater.

and is it efficient?

Yes. A dome has minimal surface area for the volume which makes it easy to heat.

3. Have you ever considered using a fine mesh screen to offer an insect-free eating area, or aviary?

Mesh does not work well since the structure needs unidirectional tensile stability (fabric with out a bias).

Regarding ventilation and insects, I'm still not clear how to prevent flies from entering the dome when the ventilation system is being used. If the doors are netted, OK, but what will prevent insects from entering via the vent tubes?

What we recommend is to use sticky back Velcro to attach a strip of netting approximately 18" by 5' to the inside of the upper shingle of tent fabric where you plan to place your Vent Tube. Do this so that the netting hangs down on the outside of the Yurt Dome's cover. Then when you insert the Vent Tube the netting will cover the opening and protect the interior from insects. If and when the bugs are not a problem you can un-Velcro the net and store it. If wind is a problem use sticky back Velcro to attach the hanging part of the net to the lower shingle.

Leakage Question.

Is it true that if you touch a tent (from the inside)  while it is raining, that it will begin to leak from that spot?

Tents used to be make of breathable uncoated cotton which would leak at the point of contact. The tents we make breath through the shingling and the covering is totally water proof and will not leak.

Animal Shelter


As I mentioned, this was taken last winter. In addition to the baby
in the doorway, there are two more alpacas and 10 bales of hay and
supplies inside.
18 feet seems to be a perfect fit for 4 alpacas, in case anyone wants to

Will send a picture I took of all three domes. Nice talking with you.


Mildew Question

I think I would like one the 20 ft models. It would be a dwelling that is used only on weekend retreats. I dont think I would leave it up in the winter because of snow load and not being up there to keep the snow off of it. Could it be set up as a getaway shelter that I could have lets say a bed and sofa set up in and feel safe the water and mildew will stay out.

Yes, the structure is rain proof. If it gets sun, the sun will drive out the dampness and help control mildew. Heat is needed to dry the air every so often or else mildew can develop.

Anything else that I should have with it that would help me with my needs.  

You will want to have a water proof floor to keep the dampness of the ground from entering your space.

Wedding Tent Questions

Dear BevMoor

You asked some questions about using our domes as wedding tents.

We are having a wedding for 100 people in August here at our (sloped) yard.
We are in S/E Pennsylvania. We have several flat areas and wonder if one of
your products would be good as a shelter in case of rain.

They are completely water tight. I believe you would be pleased with how well they work and look.

How long would it
take to set up?

The 30'er would take two strong people 1 hr. If you have more people to help it would go faster.

Could we use a ceiling fan or electric lights (the string
kind) in it?

Yes. At each of the pole crossing there is a clip, inside the dome, with holes for attaching items. There is a limit to how much weight they can hold. I am not sure how heavy your fan is. If you are buying one I would buy a light one and tie the box up first before opening - if it is too heavy you can return it). If it is to heavy it will pull the clip inward but should not hurt the dome.

What about tables and chairs - we don't plan to get a floor,
just set it on the lawn.

That should be fine if they do not sink into the lawn. Try it first. If they sink you might consider attaching small squares say 2" by 2" of plywood to the legs to help prevent them from sinking. Also, I would put a tarp down on top of the grass when the dome is not being used to help the dampness of the damp grass from condensing on the inside walls of the dome.

Do you have any demos that might suit our needs?

We only have a Bubble Dome 10 and a YD 14 demo right now.

Thanks for your help. I am excited about the possibility of using this type
of structure, rather than a traditional 'wedding tent.'

We have sold many of our domes as wedding tents and think you would be pleased with them.

Burning Man

Dear Shelter-Systems,
I recently purchased a 30 foot Yurt dome from you to take to Burning
Man 2001. I am writing to tell you how much I enjoyed the dome and what
a great job it did. We attached some PVC and lights to make the dome
look like a big face with spikey hair(it is actually a boognish, the
logo for the band Ween). We were so pleased with it and everyone told
us how happy it looked. I just want to thank you for making such a wonderful
product. Here is a link to our website with pictures of the dome and
our wedding in the dome (just married Sept. 2, 2001, BM'01 Temple of
Boognish)! Feel free to post the night picture on your website if you
want. The boognish looked great from far away!

Once again we thank you for your business.
Justin and Sarah McCaleb (was Sarah Mims when I purchased it!)

Life in Yurt Domes

Bob, We completed 3 1/2 months in the Yurt you supplied us.
We solved the heat problem with a kerosene heater (the quiet kind) which also gave us a good night light. The yurt looked like a glowing dome in the dark. We kept two vents open the whole winter. Temperatures in the 20's to the warm 60's were encountered.
We never had to worry about leaks, even in somewhat windy conditions, from rain or snow (we were snowed in one day).
The airiness of the structure made it very comfortable. We had some regrets when we moved into our house, which is so air tight that my wife, especially, always keeps the doors open "TO GET MORE AIR".
My wife and I were Camp Hosts for 3 months. I commuted to Boeing and helped her with the state park duties in the evening. Our children
13, 10, 7, 6 years studied math, reading, science, biology, and for physical fitness and fun they hiked and observed nature from the sea shore to the forest hideaway.
Camano Island State Park and South Whidbey Island State Park were wonderful places to observe the day to day changes of nature, season and weather from. We are even more aware of the necessity of preserved areas now that we have lived in them for a short time.
The people who do the day to day work of preserving deserve our respect and support.
We are using the yurt for a temporary storage area while I build the various cabinets and book shelves needed in our new house.

Thanks again for a structure that allowed us to be successful

Harley and Vicki Clark
w/ Sophia, Gabriel, Michael and Nicholas

Grip Clips

I want to make some awnings for my Mom. While looking for instructions on
the net I found your website. Do you have the instructions for the awning
pictured along with how many of the Grip Clips are necessary to complete the

Look at: http://www.shelter-systems.com/awning-plans.html

You will need 4 Grip Clips per http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Also do you sell the awning material?

Chose the white/black covering http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Use PVC for poles which you can find at your hardware store.

Diana Dietz

Treatment for Covering

>4. Is there any recommended periodic maintenence or treatment (other
>than water
>rinsing) for the cover material to extend life: protect, preserve, etc.


"303" may extend the life. http://www.thinkjeep.com/manufacturers/303/


Good day!
- I have been fascinated this morning reviewing your web site and products.
- Having at least 15 large tarps around, I am wondering if it is possible to
just buy the structural components (Schedule 40 PVC?) and craft my own things
such as hunting blinds, uniquely shaped storage shed, travel trailer cover,


- Do you sell just the PVC lengths separately?

These are best bought locally.

And of course, Grip Clips...
Thank you! John Cowan

Burning Man

Hi there,

I'm gearing up to purchase one of your 18' domes +
flooring for Burning Man and other uses this summer.
Here are a few questions I have:

1a) I'm thinking it would be a good idea to use the
black & white material on 1/2 the dome, white on the
other half. Then I'd use additional b&w material,
split down the center and hanging down from the top,
as a way to shade 1/2 of the dome when I want to sleep
or rest during the day.

I'd end up with two large pieces of material that
could be bound to the sides of the dome by several
cords or cloth ropes of some sort when I wanted full
use of the dome, but then dropped down and loosely
tied together when I wanted privacy and shade.

Do you think this could work?


If so, how much material
and other accessories do you recommend for this

The material is 6' wide. You would have to come up with how much you need. You could buy the dome and then take measurements. Grip Clips may come in handy.

1b) Also: could you provide this material to me custom
fit for the dome? i.e. two large 1/4 oval pieces that
hang from the center down, so as to be split in the
middle, black facing one 1/2 of the dome and white the
other? If so, what would be your price for this?

You would have to sew or Grip Clip your self. See: http://www.shelter-systems.com/lighthouse-manual.html


1c) Would this also be a method to help keep the dome
cooler? Though I like the idea of tarp coverings, I'm
concerned they'd blow away in severe winds. This 1/2
and 1/2 idea seems like it might make a good
alternative. Your thoughts?

I think...Since the white and black shade cloth we offer absorbs some of the suns heat it is best is to keep the shad cloth above the poles of the dome; this way air can flow under the shade and remove the heat the shad will absorb. You can take it down in strong wind to keep it from flapping.

On the other side your idea sounds interesting and therefor you should try it and let us all know if it works

2) Given I'm going to Burning Man and the possibility
of severe wind storms and damage to the dome...

How much extra PVC and other materials would be useful
to bring along as a safety precaution, in order to
repair the possible damage from a wind storm? I'd like
to hope this would happen no more than a single time
during the week, if at all. But I'd like to be
prepared. Your recommendations?

The domes did well last year but you should make no assumptions. Read all we have on wind and take every care.

I would take a lot of Grip Clips and 5 or more yards of covering and perhaps 5 poles, although the poles are easy to repair with 10" sections of wooden dowels inside, also. If these are materials are not needed for repair they could be used to make porches, other shelter, for trade, shade or art.

Have fun; be safe.


I would like to take this time to tell
you that I do love this well thought out shelter. When one is inside and
looking up and around it is evident the thought, time, and trial that went
into making this beautiful piece of  architecture. I'm telling all my
friends-kudos to you all.                              


Burning Man


I saw your Burning Man photos and I was wondering how the larger yurt domes
(18', 20', 30') held up over the week. Did the high winds do them in?
Cause a lot of tears?

Mikel Hubbard

Most of our domes at Burning Man were 18', 20' and 30'. I went out after each storm riding my bike far and wide looking for damage and found none. This does not mean that there was none, since I believe there were in excess of 60 of our domes at Burning Man last year and I did not visit each one. I did hear back from one person that they broke a pole. None of this is to make you think that that our dome will not go down if the wind is strong enough so take all the precautions necessary including what we recommend. I must say however I was quite impressed with how strong the winds were and how well our domes did.

10 Year Old Shelter Systems' Greenhouse

Good Morning,

I purchased a greenhouse from your company more than 10 years ago. The greenhouse is till being used and the plastic covering is still good. I have and eight foot diameter greenhouse. I think it was the middle of 2 or 4 sizes that you had at the time. I am interested in purchasing the same size or the next size larger. I never thought it would last so long and work so well, and the best part is that I can put it together myself. I usually take the greenhouse down at the end of June and sometimes put it back up in the fall and use it again till December. Thanks for a great product!

Sincerely, Caron Chapman

How to Divide a Yurt Dome

Can I divide a 18' or 20' dome in quarters?


Yes see: http://www.shelter-systems.com/divide.html

One of my doors is loose can I adjust the clips to tighten them?

Yes you can move the Grip Clips to adjust the tension on the door.

i built a deck, mounted the dome, and we have moved in. we love it...
i need a sunshade, should i get the big shade? maybe the big one for the
top, and a small one which we could move around as the sun changes?
please advise.
ps did i say we love it?

See the link: http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html

Warming Hut

Dear Mark

Thank you for the details on your experiences with our dome. It may inspire others. You can tie off your clothesline to the holes inside the clips as this would provide an hold fast with out going through the flaps. I was wondering if you might send us a photo that we could include with your commits?

A few notes about our geo dome. Red Top Meadows is a school / treatment
center for emotionally /behaviorally challenged teenage boys. We bought the
geo dome with the idea of having a semi portable warming hut for our winter
wilderness camping program. The idea was to have a structure that could be
set up on snow, with a roll out astro turf floor and install an outfitters
stove. The entire unit could be broken down and transported with snowmobiles
pulling haul sleds. This satisfied our need for portable as well as the
forest services need to minimize our impact by setting up on snow and not
establishing a camp. This was an experiment of sorts. I had done a fair
amount of research for shelters and this was the lightest, cheapest, most
portable and aesthetically pleasing thing I found. Strength was the question
mark. Our program is located at close to 7000 ft in the Snake River
Mountains of western Wyoming. We usually have over 400 inches of snow fall
each year and it is not unusual for temps to go well below 0 . The dome
past its first tests but we learned nothing the easy way. Here is a few
notes that may help the next who try what we are trying. First off it needed
a name. We took one look at it and everyone thought we would start with the
Hindinburg because it looked like it would sail in a big wind and go up in
flames. both were wrong but the name stuck.

-- We set it up in the yard for a week to watch it and see how it handled
the elements. I got the call one morning saying the burg had collapsed. This
was after it had accumulated 5-7 inches of wet heavy snow. One staff got in
the middle, shoveled off the fabric, popped a few poles back in place and
the burg self inflated so to speak (popped back up). Damage was one broken
pole and one damaged hub.
-- If the dome is cold shaking lightly and gentle poking from inside will
shed most snow easily. shake at the window triangles works best.

-- We used 10" square plywood with perlon rope to make deadmans for
anchoring in the snow. One for each pvc touching the ground.

-- We bought used astro turf for 60cents a sq. ft from a company in Texas
and cut it to fit then cut it again for hauling. Heavy but it worked. Were
looking into other alternatives.

-- Putting the stove pipe through the door works but the door is 62"x 62" so
one piece of plywood does not do it. We used a piece 48" x 62" and then
rolled down the door flap and tied it off. We then used a piece of fire wrap
insulation to protect the pvc and the door fabric doing a drape and weave
kinda thing. Worked well.

-- We had an elbow out of the stove then a straight section inside and
another straight piece outside, then an elbow going up. We stabilized the
unit by sinking a ten foot piece of conduit into the snow pack and using
hose clamps ( get the size right first) and bailing wire to secure it. The
mesh spark arrestor needs cleaning every two days or get a dunce cap style
top to the stove pipe.

-- The area around the stove needs to be insulated or else the snow will
melt out and the stove will drop, screwing up all your rigging.

-- The dome heats up quickly to be very warm and cools down even faster when
the stove goes out. condensation was pretty heavy and froze on the inside
wall but knocked off and dried out quickly in the morning sun.

-- We used parachute cord for clothes line for drying socks etc... We
reached through the fabric flaps and tied it off to the hubs. This seemed
most secure.

-- The doors were hard to keep sealed even with bigger clamps once the
fabric was cold and iced up a bit the clamps just want to pumpkin seed off.

-- The dome did well in some pretty good stiff wind gusts and held 3-4
inches of light snow with out a problem. If the dome collapses the legs are
what take the weight. We are goping to try 450 psi / pvc pipe for the leg

-- The material is incredibly strong. We tested a scrap piece with a hole in
it. We could not get it to tear any further and we tried. I also tried
burning it to see what would happen. It melts but does not burn.

-- Replacing a hub was easy. I'm not looking forward to a grip clip
replacement. Should practice before its necessary. The local hardware store
had all the PVC I needed but none in the lighter 200 psi stock. Also, 10
footers come with a flared end so there is some waste when it comes to
cutting spare parts

-- Were looking forward to what we can use the Hindinburg for next. It is a
beautiful structure that gives off good vibes. Hope these notes help some
one -- Cheers -- Mark Ames -- Red Top

Repair Question

Hi there...
I bought a 20' dome from you last summer. It's great. I'm very happy
with the purchase...but have a repair question:

I erected the dome on a windy day, and a large gust came through
before it was guyed. The dome held up well, but the grip clip at the
lower corner of one door was pulled out, leaving a round hole about 2"
across. How should/can I repair this?

Thanks for your help.


Small cuts and holes in the covering can be sealed with silicone rubber and a patch cut from the wrapping that the dome came from. If a clip has pulled through leaving a hole then the whole panel should be replaced or a patch of the wrapping sewn over the hole and sealed with silicone rubber. The reason for this is that tension is greatest at clip attachment points. A quick fix can be made by simply moving the clip over two or so inches. This of course dos nothing about the hole but will give a new attachment point for the clip and could get you by for a while. If more than one pole meets at the clip some of the poles may need to be shorten or lengthen.

Materials: PVC

Hi I am interested in the geodesic yurt dome. I wanted to know firstly, i
heard that PVC is very toxic and bad for the enviornment is this so? also
will there be toxins produced in the living space by all of that heated
plastic. I may want to live full time in one of these things and have
concerns. Thanks alot

I am not an expert on PVC toxins but what little I know PVC is toxic when burned. As far as I know there is no toxicity do to outgassing inside the dome. Our Extra Strong version does not have vinyl windows and the PVC poles are only on the outside.


Hello, my name is Ko and I'm currently thinking of
purchasing 20ft dome. But before I make a decision,
I need to be clarifyed with some of the question that
I have right now.

Is this dome could be set up without the ladder or any
sort? The dome seems to be really tall.

Yes; See http://www.shelter-systems.com/upin30min.html

Is this dome have warranty or guarranty of anysort,
if it colapsed and breaked because of weather or accident?

Our guarantee is simple. YOU MUST BE SATISFIED! Everything in this catalog is offered for 30 days' free trial. If for any reason you're not completely pleased with your purchase, return it in original 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.


Your dome is a lightweight, portable structure and should not be relied on as your sole shelter in extreme weather. Your dome could be destroyed in extreme weather and your life or safety could be at risk.


In heavy snow your dome could collapse which could damage what you have in it or compromise your shelter. Do not rely on your dome as your only shelter where it snows.


Your dome will blow away if it is not anchored properly. Study the anchoring instructions carefully and apply all appropriate means to secure your dome to the earth. Rain will soften the ground and greatly reduce the holding power of the stakes. We provide good general purpose stakes, but they cannot cover all ground conditions. Wind will at times come up unexpectedly. Be prepared!
Remember that the dome is a lightweight, portable structure. Its strength comes from tension, not mass or rigid components. Exposed sites with unusually extreme winds are not recommended. It is apparent that you can not climb on top of the dome, nor can you expect it to support heavy snow loads.

Accumulated snow must be melted or shaken off periodically.

How many people could comfortably sleep in 20ft dome?

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

thank you for taking time to answer these questions.



I was wondereing if you know about Astro-Foil Reflective Insulation?
Is it usable in your domes?

cindy baxter

Yes. You would need to attach it inside the dome. There a number of ways. Get it as wide as you can. If you have a liner for your dome put it between your liner and the dome. This is best dome by first removing the liner. Use the special foil backed tape to create panels of the insulation that match in size and shape to the domes panels. Attach Grip Clips to the foil and tie the clip at the top of the dome. Then tie clips at the next lower dome clips. Work your way to the ground. You might also try to safety pin the foil to the layering seams of the dome that extend inside the dome at the seams. Reattach the liner if you have one.

"Sizes" Jacuzzi Cover

Interested in a small dome just big enough to cover a 8' X 8' jacuzzi which I
have in the corner of my small patio. Do you have anything that might work.
Cannot stake down dome because the Jacuzzi is on concrete.

Perhaps you could tie it to your fence or you can use sand bags or concrete "eye" bolts to hold it down.

Dome should be rather vertical because Jacuzzi is located in the corner of the patio and
there is a fence on two sides of the jacuzzi. In other words, there is
little room to have the dome slope. Any info is appreciated. Thanks.

You might get our Crystal Cave 9 to work for you. http://www.shelter-systems.com/tunnle-shelters.html

"Sizes" Portable Classroom

Dear Shelter Systems,
I am looking for a shelter that is portable, brightly lit on the
interior, well ventilated and easily assembled. I am applying for a $1,000
grant in order to purchase such a shelter, but I had almost given up the
hope of finding something suitable when I discovered your webstie.
Can you tell me how many people can be seated comfortable in your
Geodisic Yurt Dome 20 Diameter 20'x10' High? Generally I expect to have 6
- 10 students using spinning wheels plus myself. Occaisionally I would like
to be able to seat 20 people for a lecture. Is this possible in this size?
Given the constraints of the grant money do you have any other
recomendations in choosing one of the shelters that you produce.
Thank you very much, Phylleri

I believe our 20' Yurt Dome would work well for your class room. They have been used as classrooms in the past and I belive there would be enough room for your group. You can mark a circle on the ground with a 10' cord and small stones by having some one hold the cord to the ground and then you walk in around keeping the cord tight and mark off a 20' diameter circle with the small stones. Then set up one or more of your wheels or chairs to see how they fit.



Here is an image as we walk it to its place in the snow. We set it up where it was warm and then carried it one mile. Andre


My wife and I do eco-building during the summer, and are thinking of buying one of your 18' yurts from friends, who write:

"We lived in it from July-October '99, and May-November
in '00. It held up amazingly well through extremely
windy thunderstorms (it was VERY fun to lie in bed and
watch the lightening!). And where we had it placed
last summer worked out really well - there was a fair
amount of tree cover (essential). "

Some questions to you as manufacturer. First, your web page mentioned a two to eight year life expectancy for the tent material: What would symptoms of decay look like?

The covering will with enough sun delaminate and tare in your hands.

The tent was used in northeastern Missouri, and has seen at least two summers, and perhaps at least one winter in the weather. How long is it likely to hold up, probably?

Two to eight years is about right.

How much would a replacement shell cost?

Less 10%

Also, our fourteen year old daughter is joining us this summer for the first time, but we don't really want to go wild and over spend on her accomodations as she may back out soon after we begin. What's your most affordable small space/ display model?

We have a used 20'er for less 10%

It looked like your spaces might well be pleasant enough to sweeten the deal for her, would love to find one for her. Thanks for your help!


"Comments" "Burning Man"

I did not remember if I sent you a photo of our dome at BM 2K.


Here it is.

I hope to be acquiring a 30 footer this year. Any deals for a second dome


"Miscellaneous" "Kayak" Grip Clips

Hello, I am about to begin experimenting with skin (poly tarp) kayak design/construction. I am intrigued with your grip clip. I very much enjoyed the skin kayak that you demonstrated so well pictorially. It got my creative juices flowing. Thanks! I will be doing something similar, except that I plan to use pvc pipe instead of willow boughs. I am interested in more information about your covering materials as a possible candidate for a second generation skin after the cheap poly-tarp that I can buy locally.


What are the weight/ thickness of your covering materials, and their strength compared to poly-tarp bought at the lunberyard?

It is thicker, stronger and last much longer in the sun.

Do your PVC poles offer any greater strength than water pipe pvc that would be bought at the local hardware store. Sincerely, Joe

We use scq. 200. I am not sure what the store offers but most PVC is about the same strength.


Your stuff looks great. I will probably order soon. Do you keep most domes shown here in stock?

We try to keep some of everyting in stock. We almost always have quite a few 18,' 20,' and 30' Yurt Domes on hand.



Every year my family gets together for Idependence Day. This year I am more excited than ever. I am looking forward to ordering and experiencing either the 20'er or the 20' bubble. I can't wait to experience being able to walk into a shelter instead of crawling into a tent. As far as I am concerned, your product rates just Above Motor Homes. They can be more comfortable, and the use a lot less fuel to transport. I may start a trend, but that's okay, we buy new tents about every two years. It will be nice to have something that will actually last for a while. Thank you for such a wonderful product. I can tell I will enjoy it, just from studying the diagrams on your site.


I am a teacher, your site was publiched in a technical (teacher) magazine. I am taking in consideration to imply your ideas (shelters) in to a design assigment for the students aging form 11 to 15. Your site is nice and organized. I specialy enjoyed the cardbordfolding prints. M. van der Lecq


If you have a printed catalog or other printed information, please send to me


Thank you for your interest in our yurt domes and tents! We do not offer a hard copy catalog at this time.Please enjoy our extensive online catalog: http://www.shelter-systems.com We update it frequently with news and new products. Permission is granted to electronically copy and to print in hard copy portions of this Web site for the sole purpose of placing an order or using this site as a shopping resource.If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.


Weight of Half circles & circle wind walls?

Is there a place at your site that gives the weight of your half circles and
Circle wind walls.


I would like to use them at the Beach.  I'm interested in
the  Circle wind wall 4.5' x 14'

About 10 lbs

Diameter & the Half circle 5' x 18'

About 14 lbs

& 30'

About 25 lbs

 Thank You,


NEAT! Ever since I was a kid I wanted to live in a geodesic dome!


Bob, We pitched camp Thursday, when we got the dome. It went together easily in about 45 minutes.

When we arrived the Park Ranger had cut a 3/8'' plywood circle (20' dia.) wraped with a tarp over a 5/8" and under gravel base.

We chose not to say anything in regard to the differences between the recommended installation because we did not want to seem ungrateful, but Friday night it rained pretty heavily and by the next morning water was puddling under the floor and seeping through the floor.
After evaluating the situation we found the plywood to be dry with water on the tarp. Some edges of the plywood/tarp did extend beyond the edges of the dome.
Sunday afternoon we spent an hour removing the tarp from the edges of the plywood sections and making sure that the tent flaps extended beyond the plywood. That night it rained and it seems so far that has solved the problem.

I would much prefer a dirt floor, but because of the gravel we will probably keep the plywood for now.

We are very satisfied with the dryness of the dome and its ventilation.

I and the family like it.



Note when putting up your dome in the cold: The poles of the dome are made of PVC, a thermo plastic, which gets stiffer with the cold. In putting up the dome the poles are bent and inserted into connectors. It is preferable that the domes be set up during the day when the air temperature is warmer. Poles may be kept warm by wrapping them in a blanket with several large bottles of boiling hot water. Once the poles are warm remove and insert them one at a time from the blanket. If the domes are set up in the extreme cold with out warming the poles some may brake. This should not be a problem however since we include 4 extra poles with each dome.

"Burning Man"

I am looking for a dome that I can use to camp in the Black Rock Desert
in Northern Nevada. I was there last September and winds can blow as
high as 50+ mph. You mention that your domes will not handle extream. What
method would you employ to strengthen them, and what is it about your
domes that makes them unstable in high winds?

The dome will be for use at Burning Man, a festival on the dry lake bed
outside of Gerlach, Nevada. Last year we witnessed some very very high
winds and somehow our square structures with guy wires and tethers and
stakes and such managed to make it. I can't imagine a dome being of
lesser structural integrity than a box.

But your products look economical and beautiful. I think Bucky would be
quite proud of your company. I look forward to your resonse.


Look at http://www.shelter-systems.com/yurt-domes-burning-man.html

and http://www.shelter-systems.com/wind-tents.html

Here is a q & a from our http://www.shelter-systems.com/email-stillmore.html

I am interested in purchasing a large yurt dome for the 2001 Burning Man Festival. I was wondering if you had any occurrences of domes falling down due to the wind of the 2000 BM. I remember seeing a few of your domes, and as I remember, they fared very well in the 60+ mph wind that we experienced.
I did not hear of any of our domes failing at Burning Man last year. We were there for the wind and we plan on adding to our site a whole section on dealing with wind at burning man in a month or two. So stay tuned
Also, I was wondering if you have a catalog that you can send to me. I was hoping to show it to other members of our group that are going so I can get some money out of them as well.
Our current catalog is compleatly web based at this point. I will send you an old catalog; note that it does not have all our products and you will have to rely on the web for current pricing.
We bought a $400 tent last year and staked it down with rebar, and had some of the poles break, as well as some of the anchor rings. As you can imagine, it was quite disappointing. We also had our shade structure go down on Thursday of the event, which was not quite a surprise, but the wind actually bent 2 of the metal poles that came with the shade.



I am interested in using one of your shelters (probably the Crystal Cave
shelter) to provide temporary, portable housing to my small flock of
sheep. Do you know of other people who use your shelters in this way?
Are there immediate concerns that you would have,as a manufacturer of
using your product in this way?


People have used our Shelters for lamas, ponies and chickens. Seems like they would work well for sheep also.


fascinating products. I initially stumbled across your do it yourself kayak, but being in a hurry, I just bookmarked it for later study. it's been a while, but I sure was surprised when i investigated the whole site.



Here are some simple shelters that were made with Grip Clips and tarps: http://www.shelter-systems.com/tarp-kit.html . Grip Clips add quality to a tarp shelter that can not be obtained with the old rock and cord technique.

Grip Clips provide the means to turn tarps into functional shelters. They allow you to quickly join the tarp to itself or other tarps so you can create a protected space. They grip a large area of the tarp to provide great strength for ground anchors and support for pole attachments inside and outside the shelter. They hardly pucker the tarp where they attach making for less leakage at overlapping seams and more strength. For a minimum expense, Grip Clips greatly increases the quality of the tarp shelter.


VERY impressive. I think I've found a great alternative to the run of the mill greenhouse structure!

"Miscellaneous" Kayak (Grip Clips)


I am a varsity scout leader for a group of 8 boys. I have been looking for a
project that would both teach and inspire the boys....your 4 hour kayak just
may do the trick. There are just a few questions I have regarding the
supplies I will need.

I live in the Pacific Northest (Medford, Oregon) and wonder where I would
find the willow needed to build the kayak. As you might tell, I know nothing
about plants and trees but am willing to learn!  

See : http://www.gripclips.com/primitiveways/plants3.html/pages/Willow.htm

Secondly, is there a season
to obtain this willow


and do you need to soak,

No, but you should finish the boat before the willow dries out as it will get stiff and be hard to bend.

then dry before covering?

No, since it is the shape of the frame that gives it strength.

I like the 4 hour kayak because it is inexpensive and fun. Should you have
other unique items to build I would be very interested.

Take a look at our http://www.primitiveways.com/ Site. Lots of fun to be made.

Let me know what you think.




I have looked at everything out there, including yurts, Teepees, and canvas structures, especially Pacificdomes, and yours are the most elegant and simple, not to mention the most economical. It is a brilliant design, that appeals to my need for simplicity, much as a parasail or hangglider might appeal to a pilot. Thoreau would have loved it, and I know that Ghandi would have bought several. I suspect that I will try the 20 footer. Be in touch. Glenn


Dear Sirs: I am a physician serving with a medical mission group in
Ecuador. We are interested in your product for medical and surgical
caravans that we run. The environment we encounter ranges from 15,000 feet
in the Andes to tropical coastal areas. Have you had any experience with
medical usage?

Some of our tents have been used as portable medical rooms.

What would your suggestions be as to size?

I would think the 20' dome would work well for you but a lot depends on how big a space you need and how much you can carry.

The Yurt Domes are white and let through 60% of the light so the inside is wonderful to work in in day or night (a small light lights up the whole Yurt Dome

Thanks for your
help, Doug


How can I make my dome last longer in the sun.

You can shade the covering. You can paint it. You can store it when not in use. You can use "303 UV Protectant" (this is a clear space age UV protectant ant you can cover your dome with) (You can do a serch on the web for it)

"Grip Clips"

Do you have any suggestions for temporarily covering an old barn's roof. As inexpensively as possible as we will be reroofing it in the next year or so. As you might expect, its a pretty good sized roof - each side 40x60 approx. Thanks

Yes. You can use our Grip Clips to join and hang a liner tarp inside the barn to create a protected space. We have done this and it works well and is low cost. If you want more details call.Based in Hereford, Grest Britain i am currentley compleating my final major written dissertation as part of my university degree course in 3D design. What on? Geodesic domes, Buckminster Fuller,lowcost, low impact, temporary shelter, and the case for greater use of the geodesic dome, for portable shelter. Suddenly I find your company and go mad .


Thanks for your quick service! Received dome, Monday and erected 30 minutes later.
Hardest part of it, was unwrappig it, to lay it out.
We think we'll be very happy with it, will recommend to friends, and consider more domes in the future!

Thanks, sincerely, Michael & Mary

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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