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On Jun 30, 2008

On Jun 30, 2008


A few years back I purchased a 31’ dome for the Black Rock Boutique to take to burning man. Bob and I have several conversations about whether it was playa worthy. He mentioned that the 30’ was probably a much better choice for the playa and would handle the wind better. At the time, we really need a larger, taller dome, and despite not being sure if it would work, the 31’ shelter-system dome was our best choice.

I logged into your website the other day to try and figure out how many large poles we are supposed to have for the dome (it’s inventory time). I noticed a section on burning man domes on your site. I figured I should get back to you with our experience with the 31’ dome, in case customers ask.

For the most part it handled fine. Setting it up was no problem. We covered it with a huge aluminet cloth, and a colorful cover over that.

In 2006, there was one pretty big storm. Our camp all had to hold the dome down and it was lifting off the ground. We also pulled the bottom row of poles out, as suggested in the manual. At some point several poles bent and the dome caved in on itself. After the storm ended, we grabbed some extra poles, popped the bent ones out, put the new ones in, and the dome popped right back up.

Last year we had a few storms. Same thing happened. Our whole camp furiously held the dome down to keep it on the ground. We also bungeed open several of the upper windows, which helped a little bit with air flowing through. I believe the dome collapsed due to bent poles at least once, but possibly twice.

We are hoping to replace the dome next year with something a little more playa sturdy. In 2006 the boutique was a very weak camp, with low participation, so the most important aspect of our main structure was that it would set up quickly and easily, which it did. Now that we are a solid camp, I think we can handle a more strenuous set up.

We also have two other shelter-system domes, (a 12’ and an 18 or 20’) both have been great on the playa. Overall have been very happy- the 31′ has served us well, despite the collapses.

Just in case anyone asks about a 31’ on the playa, please let them know they will want to bring extra poles and may be holding it down in a storm.



Hi Eric

Thanks for the feed back.

I am wondering: you mentioned you “held the dome down” did it pull out the stakes? was it staked all Extra Wind Strengththe way around? If you decide to use it again at BM see the added section in the online manual:

Another way to make your dome stronger in the wind is to add an additional set of “base poles” (12 extra poles for the 14′, 18′, and 20′) (20 extra poles for the 30′ or 31′).

You will also need two “connectors” and two ” clip cords” for each of your extra base poles so you can tie them tightly to the Grip Clips cords that support the existing dome’s base poles.

This is best done with your dome set up. Tie the connectors tight to the Grip Clip cords above and below the domes base poles and then bend and insert your extra poles into these connectors.

You do not have to remove these connectors when you take the dome down. Just remove the extra poles by bending as you would any of the other domes poles. With your dome well staked out set guy-lines off of each the clip cords at the top of your base poles. Be sure to hang strips of cloth, etc. to your guy-lines to avoid tripping hazards. Include a heavy duty shock cord in each of your guy-lines so that the dome will have some give and take.

Super StakeUsing this same approach an extra set of ring poles can be added for additional strength. See our online manual for more information on staking above. Even though stronger, your dome can still fail: be sure to read our wind warnings below and: Extra poles, connectors and clip cords can be found at our Accessory Page:

You might find these SuperStakes of use also:

Super strong 18″ galvanized steel stakes for extra holding power. Be sure to face the hook away from the dome and drive the hook so it enters the ground. This will prevent the stake from rotating and releasing its hold on the dome. Use a 3/8″ cord to make a stake loop on the Grip Clip cords to drive the stake through. To remove stake from the ground slip another stake under the hook and lever the stake free.
Price Set of 4 for $32, or $96 for a set of 12


Bob Gillis