If you have a parachute and three poles and the tactical situation allows, make a parachute tepee. It is easy and takes very little time to make this tepee. It provides protection from the elements and can act as a signaling device by enhancing a small amount of light from a fire or candle. It is large enough to hold several people and their equipment and to allow sleeping, cooking, and storing firewood.
You can make this tepee using parts of or a whole personnel main or reserve parachute canopy. If using a standard personnel parachute, you need three poles 3.5 to 4.5 meters long and about 5 centimeters in diameter.
To make this tepee (Figure 5-4)--
Lay the poles on the ground and lash them together at one end.
Stand the framework up and spread the poles to form a tripod.
For more support, place additional poles against the tripod. Five or six additional poles work best, but do not lash them to the tripod.
Determine the wind direction and locate the entrance 90 degrees or more from the mean wind direction.
Lay out the parachute on the "backside" of the tripod and locate the bridle loop (nylon web loop) at the top (apex) of the canopy.
Place the bridle loop over the top of a free-standing pole. Then place the pole back up against the tripod so that the canopy's apex is at the same height as the lashing on the three poles.
Wrap the canopy around one side of the tripod. The canopy should be of double thickness, as you are wrapping an entire parachute. You need only wrap half of the tripod, as the remainder of the canopy will encircle the tripod in the opposite direction.
Construct the entrance by wrapping the folded edges of the canopy around two free-standing poles. You can then place the poles side by side to close the tepee's entrance.
Place all extra canopy underneath the tepee poles and inside to create a floor for the shelter.
Leave a 30- to 50-centimeter opening at the top for ventilation if you intend to have a fire inside the tepee.