If you search hippie tents on the internet, you will be sure to find pages and pages of beautiful bohemian tapestries made into colorful shelters.
For me, the word hippie tent evokes the image of a free-spirited nomad traveling the world and enjoying nature, while living out of a beautiful tent that’s strung up wherever they decide to rest their head. That’s exactly what you will find on the internet, but there’s so much more to it than just that.
Despite this popular image, there’s not a lot of information out there about hippie tents and what you can do with them. Luckily, I’ve compiled all of the information about hippie tents, and I’m here to explain why you need one.
But first, let’s get down to the basics.
What is a Hippie Tent?
To put it simply, a hippie tent is a bohemian style tent that is usually made from colorful and bright fabrics.
Unlike a traditional tent, hippie tents are not often outfitted with zippers and bug-proof or water-resistant materials. Instead, they are more likely to be open-air and free flowing. This means that they aren’t the best option for long-term camping or adverse weather conditions. Despite that limitation, they do work pretty well for sun protection during the daytime.
Instead of providing a rugged shelter, hippie tents create a whimsical and relaxing environment that wreaks of fun and spontaneity. Hippie tents can be used for parties, dinners, back-yard slumber parties and even at musical festivals. They are a great way to spice up an otherwise boring space and an exciting and trendy addition to any backyard.
Ultimately a hippie tent is what you make of it. Its purpose and potential use is only limited by your imagination. There is no reason why a hippie tent can’t be used as a fun study space or in any other creative way!
What’s the History Behind Hippie Tents?
Hippie tents actually didn’t originate with hippies, they started with the bohemian movement spawning from the late 19th and early 20th century. During the 1960’s, the hippie subculture developed in the United States as a youth movement and response to the Vietnam war.
As the movement grew, the self-proclaimed hippies began to incorporate elements of the bohemian movement into their own, including their colorful tapestries and nomadic values. That’s how we got hippie tents.
The hippie movement focused on communal living, artistic expression like music, and one’s relationship with nature. Hippie tents became more colorful and brighter as artistic minds sought to make their camps into beautiful, even artistic, places.
As a result of the hippie movement, hippie tents came into the mainstream view. When groups of hippies gathered for music festivals, in communes, and while traveling, these tents became a strong symbol of shared ideology.
During the late 70’s the hippie movement began to wane, and hippie tents became less popular among young people in the movement. As people moved into homes and removed themselves from communal living in nature, it became less common to see these bohemian style tents in parks and other areas.
A few years ago, hippie and bohemian fashion came roaring back into style. Luckily for hippie tents, they did too!
While hippie tents are no longer a strong symbol of the hippie movement, they still evoke the same images and feelings of freedom, love and fun. That makes them even more popular in the mainstream, today.
Where Can I Buy a Hippie Tent?
The best place to buy a hippie tent, hands-down, is on Etsy. If you haven’t heard of Etsy, it’s a website where a large collection of small artisans sell their products. It’s sort of like Amazon, but for creatives. Etsy is great because it provides a platform for smaller businesses to sell one-of-a-kind products to people across the world.
Etsy has a great selection of hippie tents from all over the world. This one is made out of vintage, colorful silk Sari from India.
This hippie tent comes with outdoor stakes and indoor ties so that you can easily set it up wherever you want. It has more of a romantic, whimsical look and includes lace.
DIY Hippie Tents
If you aren’t looking to shell out over a hundred dollars for a hippie tent, you can also venture to make your own in a few simple steps.
Hippie tents must have a bohemian and relaxed style. This means that hippie tents are a great choice for an at-home project because they are hard to mess up! Since you don’t need the tent to be waterproof or to endure the elements, stitching and seams don’t have to be perfect. It’s all part of achieving the relaxed and laid-back look and is great for a novice.
To make your own hippie tent, you’ll need:
- a lot of colorful fabric,
- a sewing needle and thread,
- fun and colorful embellishments, and
- some rope, paracord or wire to hold it up.
Most hippie tents are really just a large piece of rectangular fabric draped over a line or rope. The line is secured in between two objects, like trees, and creates a solid foundation for the tent.
You can purchase fabric by the yard at a local fabric store or on Amazon or Etsy, and feel free to choose whatever colors or patterns you want!
The fabric does not have to perfectly match, sometimes clashing colors on a hippie tent is what gives it a fun and carefree look. Focus more on colors and patterns that you like and enjoy being around.
If you don’t want to bother picking out fabrics, you can also purchase bohemian tapestries, like the one below.
- Quality Tapestry Wall Hanging - Our hippie spiritual tapestries are beautifully...
- Enjoy meditating and relaxing whilst in the presence of the powerful Mandala...
- There can be many uses for our wall hanging tapestries try it as a bed throw or...
- Great Size- 51.2" x 59" (130 cm x 150 cm). Rectangle in shape, made from...
- Machine or hand washable - Easy to care for, just wash on a low temperature to...
Bohemian tapestries are very common, and you can find them for pretty cheap online or in markets. If you have multiple pieces of fabric or multiple tapestries, hand sew them together to create the rectangle that will form the base of the tent.
After you have the fabric sewn together, you can then set up the line between two sturdy objects and hang your tent. I find that it is easier to sew on embellishments after you see how the tent hangs in your space.
Embellishments are not necessary, but I think that they are important. Embellishments will give your hippie tent a cozy and fun feeling and set it apart from other tents. Instead of feeling like you just tied up a tapestry, a properly embellished hippie tent will feel complete.
Some great options for embellishments are lace, pom poms or tassels. These can be sewn or glued onto the outside, edges, seams or inside of the tent.
- Durable material: the felt balls are made from wool fibre and are fully...
- Size information: 24 pieces balls on each ball garland, each ball measures about...
- Vintage-style design: lovely ball garlands can give a visual impact, and felt...
- Nice decoration tool: the pom pom garland looks elegant and cute when it hanging...
- Easy to hang: easy for hanging on the ceiling, walls as party or home...
This garland would make a great addition to any hippie tent because it can be placed on either the outside trim or hanging from the inside. Even though it’s technically labeled a Christmas decoration, it is colorful, fun and whimsical, making it a great option for your tent.
If that all seems like too much work, you can create a hippie tent vibe with a basic nylon tent. Check out this video to see how these festival goers outfitted their nylon tent and campsite to get a fun and relaxed feeling for their weekend.
This is an excellent option for people who don’t want to spend the time making a hippie tent, or people who want to sleep easier knowing that their tent can withstand rain and other elements.
Things To Do in Your Hippie Tent
Once you have your hippie tent ready to go, you have to make sure to put it to good use! Luckily there are many creative ways to use your hippie tent, both by yourself and with your friends. Again, it’s uses are only limited by your imagination!
Plan a Brunch
What better way to get friends together than to plan a brunch for inside of your new tent?
Set up a large hippie tent in your backyard and decorate the interior to create a bohemian brunch setting. You can use spinning dollies or trays for tables and colorful pillows for seating. Stringing up lights, playing music, and making delicious and colorful cocktails will help set the mood for a festive meal.
The dollies will sit flat on the ground, but spin to give every guest access to your delicious food. This will keep people from having to stand up and move around once inside the tent. If you have a really large hippie tent, this might not be an issue. The colorful bohemian pillows will create an ambiance and invite your guests to visit if comfort for hours.
Go to a Festival
One of the most popular uses for hippie tents is for sleeping at outdoor multi-day musical festivals. Festivals, like burning man, Coachella and lollapalooza, are notorious for having groups and groups of people camping out in hippie-esque tents and settings.
If you love music, or even if you just love a good time, a festival is a great place to use and show off your new hippie tent. You’ll also probably meet some like-minded friends to share your space with along the way.
Be careful to remember that many hippie tents are not waterproof or water resistant. Try to choose a festival somewhere it isn’t likely to rain or outfit a nylon tent instead. You definitely don’t want to be caught in the middle of nowhere with an inadequate shelter.
Have a Photo Shoot
Who doesn’t love a good photo shoot? In the age of social media, everyone is looking for that perfect picture to post online.
Fortunately, hippie tents make a great backdrop for photo shoots because of the bright colors and whimsical patterns. They are also a great spot for guests to take a selfie at any party!
Many photographers are using hippie tents as a colorful and fun backdrop for engagement photos, baby photos, graduation photos and more! It’s a place that both kids and adults can enjoy.
During your photo shoot, you can sit outside the tent, inside the tent, and incorporate props. Add in some fresh cut flowers, or a fun sign to make it memorable.
Check out this video of a mom who made a bohemian style teepee for her 1-year old’s photo shoot. This might be a smaller hippie-style tent, but it contains loads of inspiration.
If you aren’t meditating, you should start now, but you should also make sure to do it inside of your new hippie tent.
Meditation is a great way to escape from the world and reflect internally. A hippie tent is an excellent place to meditate because it can offer a cozy and relaxing space free of distractions.
You can set your hippie tent up to be the perfect meditation space by including cozy pillows and blankets. You can also string up hanging lights and bring in a wireless speaker to set the mood and play your meditation. Before you know it, you’ll have a relaxing space to meditate and wash away life’s stresses.
Play an Instrument
Hippie tents are closely tied to art and music because of their historical background. What better way to pay homage to hippie culture than to practice your own music inside?
Even if you aren’t a trained musician, a hippie tent can provide inspiration and a safe space to practice or learn a new instrument. Most hippie tents are large enough to include a table or a music stand so that you can read music. You’ll enjoy playing new songs while the wind gently blows the side of the tent.
Don’t worry if you aren’t musically inclined, a metal triangle, tambourine or simple drum set can be a great way to get into the rhythm without having to learn too many new skills.
Get Creative and Have Fun!
The point of a hippie tent is to create a space that is relaxing, fun and enjoyable. No matter how you decide to make it, or what you decide to do with it, remember to have fun and enjoy the process. Hippie culture isn’t about the end result, it’s about the process of getting there!
Alex Mwangi is the creator of Outdoor Right and an outdoor enthusiast. During his free time he enjoys riding his road bike or traveling the world looking for his next adventure.