Colonel Townsend Whelen, noted hunter and outdoor writer, designed a tent he called the “hunter’s lean-to” in 1925. David Abercrombie ( of the old Abercrombie & fitch fame) manufactured the style and marketed it as the “Whelen Lean-to”. It has been called the Whelen ever since, Colonel Whelen, as a devout minimalist, hardly believed in tents for shelter at all. He wished to be as close to his natural surroundings as was possible and practical. The Colonel considered this design, which almost has the appearance of half a tent, more than adequate for anything short of -20 degrees or severe bugs. With a sloped rear roof, slanted and splayed sides and a short fore roof panel, this tent is a relatively dedicated specialized tarp. Light and easy to pack.
We build to the Colonel’s original specification: 5’ high, about 10’ wide to the tips of the “wings”, 6’ wide at the rear of the body, 8’ deep and with a 30” panel in the front for a fore roof. The Whelen is built to be suspended from the ridge line with either a rope or a ridge pole. Loops are placed along the inner, underside of the ridge to facilitate the addition of the curtain or netting.
To see this tent is action take a look at on your own in the wilderness BY Colonel Townsend Whelen and Bradford Angier. This is a good to have in your library for many reasons.
Perspective: Sometimes we are lucky, sometimes we are blessed, this year it was in the form of Mr. Thomas Worthington. A non-solicited phone call introduced Mr. Worthington to us one sunny afternoon. Seems he had been watching our evolution over the years and liked what we do and how we do it. He trusted us. So much, it appears, he sent us his prized and cared for Whelen tent for observation and repair. Not such a unique story until we learned he had taken a train trip to New York with Colonel Whelen in 1947. Just to have the Colonel pick out a tent for him. He has used it every year since. His tent can’t talk, but he can and if we are all lucky Mr. Worthington will finish getting all of his stories in print for one heck of a read. We have constructed Mr. Worthington a new Whelen to use and compare to his original. We’ll keep you posted (on our website ) regarding his experiences and opinions.