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Dealing with Strong Wind, Yurt Domes and Tents

The advice given here are only suggestions and each situation is different and must be treated as such.

Wind is the most destructive natural element to tents and other light weight shelters. Strong wind will flap, smash, and blow away your shelter in short order if it is not designed for the wind or properly secured.

To withstand strong wind a tent needs to be drum tight and successful shed the wind. We have designed out Yurt Domes to hold up to strong wind. They are drum tight and shed the wind well. We do not recommend them for extreme wind. The winds at Burning Man can be extreme and extra care needs be taken to survive there.

More images showing tents in high wind: Wind at Burning Man
The tent in front is getting smashed by the wind while the 18 ' Yurt Dome in the background stands strong.

Be aware that all structures have their wind load limit. It is by far better to take down a tent before the wind. gets to strong then to have it fail in high wind. At the same time it is hard to know when to do this and taking down a tent in strong wind can be dangerous to you and or your tent. Taking down a tent in high wind weakens it and can cause the wind to get a better hold on the tent which can cause it to fail or get away from you. A failing tent can cause poles to brake and fly at you or others. Be extremely careful when you are around tents in high wind. Stay clear of failing tents and advise others to do so.

We will describe how to best prepare your Shelter Systems' Yurt Dome for the wind. Some of this information may or may not be useful for other tents you my choose to use. Keep in mind when choosing a tent that it must be strong and resilient.

The best is to avoid the wind by choosing wind protected places to pitch your tent. Of course this cannot be done if you are on at Burning Man. If high wind comes up take your tent down before the wind gets too strong. Next best is to protect your tent from the wind with wind blocks such as snow fencing, bales of hay, buildings, cars, etc. Next make sure you secure your tent to the ground in a way that it will not come loose. Wind over time will cause your tent to move up and down and side to side therefore your ground stakes need to be checked frequency to see if they are working loose Check to see that the cords you run from your tent to the stakes does not become frayed by this friction. If you use rebar as stakes make sure the ends of the rebar are covered with bottles or preferably bent into a "U" shape so you will not cut your foot or leg on the exposed bar.

Making your own re-bar stakes.
You can make re-bar stakes by bending lengths of re bar into a U shape at the top of the stake. Slip over each end of a 2' length of re- bar 3 or 4' sections of steel pipe and then by holding on to the ends of the pipes bend the bar.

Anchoring: Your dome is no stronger than its anchors, so it is important to anchor it securely. We have provided you with short cords so you can drive your stakes deep. Tie them to the base of the attached Grip Clip strings around the perimeter of your dome. You now have a long loop to pull out and drive your stake through. To assure the dome's edge is an even tight circle, place stakes lightly at every other pole base. Then go around pulling, tightening and adjusting the circle, driving the stakes deep after adjustment. Add the remaining stakes. If the stakes we have provided go into the ground easily, then this type of soil requires longer stakes.

Guying: In wind set 4 to 12 guy lines. Run a line from the clip cords (if you tie to poles the wind will pull out the poles) to trees, stakes, large rocks or buried objects in the soil. In high winds check guys and anchors frequently, adding more if necessary.

Even if you anchor your dome well, extreme wind can rip the guy line clips and poles off your dome and your dome will fail.

Always incorporat a strong bungee cord into your guylines. By "strong" we mean a bungee that you can just barley strech when you pull on it with both hands if you can not find ones that strong then tie a weaker one into a loop or joing one or more together. Tie one end each guyline to a bungee and then tie the other end of the bungee to a sequre stake.


Long, very strong, Foundation Stakes for soft or rocky ground. Another way to create longer and much stronger stakes: buy foundation stakes from your building supply store, galvanized steel wire, 1/4" nylon cord and plastic end caps for the stakes.

These stakes are available in lengths from 18" to 4 feet. Use pliers to create a loop through the top most hole in the stake. Twist and then bend then ends of the wire so they will not cut the cord or you.

Use a small sledge hammer to drive the stake into the ground till only the top 4" is protruding. Use the 1/4" cord to tie the wire to your domes bottom clip cords.

Now, Most Importantly put the plastic end cap on the top of the stake as you can do great harm to your feet with our this cap. If the cap is knocked off be sure to replace it. Do Not use these stakes with out the plastic end caps as you can hurt your feet or body seriously by tripping on them


If you should get an unexpected storm with extreme winds, consider removing the lower 12 poles, leaving the dome anchored. Then run strings back and forth across the dome, going from stake to stake to keep the wind from lifting up on the covering. If the dome still appears to be buffeted excessively by the wind, remove the remaining poles and lash the covering to the ground again by running strings back and forth from the anchors. When the storm passes, put the dome back up.

Watch out for rebar friction
One thing we noticed at Burning Man was the wearing out of base clip cords where people were staking their dome with re-bar. This happens because of the wind pushing and pulling on the dome, causing the cord to rub up and down on the ruff re-bar (like a saw blade) there by cutting through the cords. The way around this is to tie the base clip cords to the re-bar with sections of 3/8" or thicker cord. (The clip cords that we provide with our domes are only 1/8" and are designed for the plastic stakes not re-bar.)

Anchoring: Your dome is no stronger than its anchors, so it is important to anchor it securely. Be sure to read your Instruction Manual section on anchoring carefully. If your dome is free from its anchors it can tumble and blow away and possibly collide with and damage people or property. Do not let your dome get away from you; anchor it well. Even if you anchor your dome well, extreme wind can rip the guy line clips and poles off your dome and your dome will fail.

WARNING: Your Yurt Dome shelter could be destroyed in extreme weather and your life or safety could be at risk. In heavy snow or wind your Yurt Dome could collapse, damaging what you have or compromising your shelter. Do not rely on your Yurt Dome as your only shelter. Accumulated snow, must be melted or shaken off periodically. Do not set your Your Dome under a tree or branch that might fall on you. Keep all flames and heat away from your Yurt Dome's covering and objects in your yurt dome.

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