Shelter Tents

In order to avoid any confusion for our customers who are attempting to button their new shelter tent halves together, we are supplying the following instructions.

Since the army likes to avoid confusion (What?), when shelter tent halves were fabricated, the halves were all exactly alike. There are no "rights" and "lefts" to match up. Whenever two soldiers got together, they could button any two halves together.

Due to the semi-unique method of buttoning the halves together (two rows of buttons along the joining edge) it is necessary that the buttons on one half face down and the other half face up. In the 1860's the actual cloth or "Drill" was much thinner and flimsier than the material that we use today. Modern day folks would not pay money for some of the low quality canvas and leather goods that were issued by the army, but then, the soldiers didn't pay for it either. When the users of these tents had to turn one side inside out, it was not obvious, nor did it matter to the users, as long as they stayed relatively dry.

When assembling your new shelter tent from Fall Creek Suttlery, you will notice that one half must be turned "inside out" as in the original tents. In todays "style" concious society, we generally do not want something to look improper or inside out. Also, the material is much thicker and the seams are evidently different on each half when set up. That is the way it is supposed to look.

If you need any help at all, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Do not feel pressured to let us know that our tent maker must have been drinking, or the button holes are all messed up and you had to re-sew the buttons on (and you want to be reimbursed for your time). After reading this, I think that the 19th century method should be easier to understand.


The proper poles for your shelter tent can be obtained form your local woods. Select saplings of some relatively worthless tree such as Maple or Mulberry that does not add to the quality of the forest that you are standing in. The best size is 1-1/2 to 2" diameter stock. You will need two forked pieces and one long pole as straight as can be found. The long pole should be approx 72" long and the two forked poles should be 36 - 48" long. The height of your uprights will dictate the width of the base of your tent. Please note the pictures herein. Everything should be self explanatory.

Thanks for reading this,

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Fall Creek Suttlery
P.O. Box 92
Whitestown, In 46075
(765) 482-1861
(765 ) 482-1848 fax