What Are Whelen Tents?

What Are Whelen Tents?

It might not seem like it in our modern era, but tents were once a very popular home choice. The difficulty and skill required in building a standing home was often a multi-person effort, whereas tents were lightweight and portable options. In both frontier and ancient times, versions of the tent were widespread across nations and countries.

As is so common with human innovation, variations on the stand structure began to appear. Names that we take for granted today, like Tipis and lean-tos, were once wondrous changes that had limitless potential for revolutionizing tent living. Though, simple shaped tents also grew in popularity over time.

The simple conical shape, hunting tents, walled tents, pyramid tents and more came into existence over many years. Eventually, tenting became an activity and not a necessity for most people. These different innovations found their way into niches, like hunting, camping, surveying and travelling. But, there was still room for further innovation, at least back in 1925.

The Beginning of the Whelen Tent

One of the major uses for tents, especially at the turn of the last century, was exploration and military campaigning. As the world slowly turned away from horse travel and into automobile travel, the infrastructure still needed to be built. As a result, walking, camping and journeying were a major part of any travelling lifestyle.

One individual who knew this fact better than most at the time was Townsend “Townie” Whelen. A prolific hunter, explorer, naturalist and Colonel in the United States Army, he spent most of his life in a tent. As a writer for many magazines related to rifles and shooting, he gained prestige and recognition for his advice and knowledge articles.

Indeed, he was quite prolific in this regard, publishing over 2,000 articles throughout his career. These covered everything from ammunition and sighting information to his various adventures through the many forests of Canada and the United States. However, his greatest contribution to the advancement of civilization would not be in the form of written material.

Lean-to Tent

Military Service

Before we investigate how Townie’s tent would be a great boon for everyone, it is important first to note his distinguished military service. He first joined the national guard. There, he distinguished himself quickly and, after three years, had become a sergeant. By the time he was finished in the national guard, he would be a second lieutenant. Though, that was not the end of his military career.

Instead, after a short hiatus to travel and explore uncharted territory in British Columbia, he joined the American Army. Again, he distinguished himself through an in-depth knowledge of rifles and wilderness. For many years, he would belong to this organization and was responsible for his own companies at various points in his military career.

The Whelen Tent

Instead, it would be his own variation on the lean-to tent. Townsend Whelen had always tried to be closer to nature and felt traditional tents that shut out a person’s surroundings were insufficient. The whelen lean-to tent was specially crafted to have a short roof and reinforced, angled side panels. Though it was the lack of a “fourth” wall, opting instead to have it open to the elements, that truly separated this tent from the competition.

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