Tents often are one of the most visible things brought to an event. The ocean of white canvas set a scene that quickly and easily transports the mind 200 years or more into the past. Reenactors and visitors are becoming increasingly knowledgeable and expect our event to do the same. The History Channel, historic novels, and historic movies are a part of everyday life and more than an "old timey" look now is necessary. Events throughout the nation are looking more and more toward authenticity. A good period impression begins with the tent and camp appearance.
The Spirit of Vincennes Inc. Rendezvous centers on the time of 1700 - 1815. To fit into this time frame requires limiting the type of shelters used.
ALL tentage from this era MUST be white!
Marquee - Marquees are the larger, usually rectangular tents used by merchants and others needing larger space. These should not be used for a civilian impression unless you are portraying a wealthier individual or using the shelter for demonstrations etc.
A-Frame - The name is confusing as the frame really is not an A. This is the typical military style tent looking like an upside down V or an A. This type of tent is the most appropriate for the time period of the Rendezvous. Tents may be open at both ends or may have a bell back making more room at the rear of the tent for storage of all your stuff.
Wall Tent - Wall tents are appropriate for the later part of the time period involved. While they are acceptable your camp and clothing should represent the later part of the 18th century or early part of 19th century. Wall tents of this period use external poles - tents with internal poles are not allowed.
Flies (as seen attached to wall tent in picture at right) - Many reenactors use flies for shade and for a sheltered dining area etc. While this is acceptable keep in mind that this is not the period norm. Flies were rare in historical drawings and descriptions and were typically used for special uses, field hospitals etc. They would have been very rare among citizens. The spirit of Vincennes recognizes the need for shade and cover and thus will allow the use of flies, if you can share or keep the use of flies to a minimum it is appreciated.
Diamond Shelters or lean-to - These shelters were typically used by hunters and frontier travelers. There are a variety of methods for setting these up and most anything you can contrive would probably be OK so long as natural or available materials are used (i.e. no aluminum poles.) These also may not be white but probably came in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes.
Native style shelters - not only are they correct they are encouraged by anyone doing a native impression. They typically are created by tying willow sticks together to create a frame and covering it with canvas, bark, reed mats, hides, or other natural material.
If you don't see it pictured above it probably is not allowed.
The following types of shelters will not be allowed at the Spirit of Vincennes, Rendezvous.
One pole shelters or Pyramid tents - There are a variety of one-pole shelters the most common is the miners tent which was popular in the gold fields of California (obviously not our period or area.). These tents are easy to erect simply stake the corners and put in one pole and you are done. These tents are NOT allowed at Vincennes.
Baker Tent / lean-to - Basically resembles a lean-to shelter with sides and often with a front. These are a later western frontier design.
Tipis or Teepees are STRICTLY AND STRINGENTLY banned. While these shelters were used during this period there is no evidence of them east of the Mississippi and the native peoples of the Illinois Country did not use them.
Anything made from material other than canvas - No nylon, polyester, or other modern material will be allowed. While these materials simply do not present the correct image more importantly they are a safety hazard being easily flammable and melting rather than simply burning.