Worlds Strongest Dome Tents - Since 1976 - Portable Affordable Reliable
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Portable Affordable Reliable: Tensegrity - Geodesic Tent Structures

Shelter Systems' YurtDomes are based on tensegrity and geodesic design principles. We call them Geotensic™. They have the highest strength-to-weight ratio than any dome tent made of the same materials, making Shelter Systems' domes strong, durable, lightweight, and highly portable. Shelter Systems' domes are so compact and lightweight we can ship even our largest 31' dome with UPS to anywhere in the world.

Shelter Systems' domes gain their strength and simplicity and by combining tensegrity and geodesic design principles in their construction. Our structures incorporate tensegrity by having the poles not attached to each other except by the tension of the covering (the poles will not stand on their own without the covering and fasteners). Our structures are geodesic because the shape of the covering and that most of the poles follow the shortest line on a sphere. Geotensic™ structures make possible the greatest strength to weight possible in a self-supporting shelter.

The materials used to make our domes has been chosen to balance strength, durability and affordability. We could use other materials to make our domes stronger, but they would be more expensive, more difficult to assemble, and heavier. The fasteners used are Shelter Systems' own patented Grip Clips, and join the poles to covering without puncturing or weakening the fabric. Tensegrity and geodesic structures are typically confusing for the user to put up, but the tension covering we use in our shelters has connectors attached, and serves as a map for where poles are to be inserted. Most of the poles used are the same length, and can only fit where they belong, so you can't get confused. This makes for a quick and easy assembly. Most of our domes and structures can be set up in less than an hour by one or two people. Two primitive tensegrity designs:

A ziz-zag tensegrity. (make your own)

Bob Gillis, the founder and owner of Shelter Systems, was studying tensegrity (like the modles above) and geodesics since the early 1970s. Bob, who, was living in a 20' cable suspended dome while attending the University of Southen Illinois Design Department, when it became clear that he had developed a new type of tensegrity that is ideal for building tent structures (below) by removing the external cable network and replacing it with an interior tensile membrane. Thus Geotensic™ structures were born. (See New, History and Shapes). 

The many advantages of these tensegrity / geodesic (Geotensic™)" structures is impressively demenstrated by the fact that Shelter Systems' tent patents cover all the dome tents on today's market that have multiple intersecting external flexed poles.

In the photo below, you can see the next stage where the poles are joined end-to-end to make long arches across the covering:

Early dome

The next step was to replace the jointed poles with bent flexible poles, creating our current designs:

So how reliable are Shelter Systems' domes and yurts?
For the materials used, you will not find a stronger self-supporting dome tent. Shelter Systems' domes and yurts are very strong, drum tight, and stand up well in rain, snow and wind. Our domes have endured wind gusts in excess of 50 mph. With proper care, our domes will last many years of use.

Our domes, yurts, and relief tents are lightweight and highly portable structures. However, most structures can fail in extreme wind or snow Shelter Systems' structures are no exception. Just as you would never climb on your structure you should not let snow build up. Snow must be periodically brushed off or melted with a heater, Continuous strong winds will cause constant vibration, which over time will wear out dome components.

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

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