Camping with our Bell Tent – Why we Love it

Why we love our Bell Tent

When Jason, Finlay and I first dipped our toes into camping in the UK, I never imagined we’d end up with a Bell Tent of our own.

Our first few experiences of camping were with borrowed gear. This was to help us decide whether camping was right for us before spending a lot of money on kit. During those first few expeditions, we experienced lows (rain, cold, mist, puddles inside the tent) and highs (beautiful locations, relaxing family time, lots of laughs with friends). We decided the good experiences outweighed the bad and we were in – camping was for us!

The first decision – what sort of tent?

Our number one priority for our tent was that it had to be easy to put up and pull down. It also had to be stable, particularly in windy conditions.  So the research began.

I spent a lot of time trawling websites and camping forums, looking at the pros and cons of various types of tents. All roads led to a Bell Tent. Jason needed a bit of convincing initially, but once presented with the evidence, he agreed a Bell Tent was right for us.

There are quite a few options when it comes to buying a Bell Tent. We decided to purchase ours from Blacks of Greenock, a Scottish company with a reputation for high-quality products and great service.

We decided on a 4-metre Solace I tent, and also purchased a Solace Canopy for a bit of extra space, protected from the rain (or sun).

Solace I Bell Tent with Canopy

We’ve only had our tent for a short time, and so far have been camping with it four times (as well as a few extra times it’s been put up in the garden).  I’m happy to report, that so far it’s been a success!

Why we love our Bell Tent
  1. It is indeed, very easy to put up, and pull down. Now we are practised, it can easily go up in 10-15 minutes and come down even quicker. It can even be put up by Jason on his own.
  2. It copes well in the wind. We haven’t camped in very extreme conditions yet, but we did camp over Easter which was very cold (and windy), and it felt strong and stable.
  3. It feels great being inside it. It feels light and airy, and at the same time wonderfully cosy sleeping under canvas.
  4. It looks great. There’s no denying it’s a nice looking tent, and it puts a smile on my face whenever I see it 🙂
Any drawbacks?

So far we’ve only come across one drawback. As it’s made of heavy-duty canvas (one of the reasons we love it) it takes longer to dry than polyester tents. In Scotland, that is a slight drawback, as every camping trip we’ve been it has rained at some point. As a tent should never be stored wet, on several occasions after returning home we’ve had to set it up in the garden to dry it completely, before packing it away. Luckily, it is very quick and easy to put up (see point 1!)

It’s also worth noting that it’s quite heavy to carry, so is suitable really only for car camping, not backpacking!

As the year goes on, and we head out on more camping trips we’ll report back on any other pros and cons we encounter.

Solace I Bell Tent

Do you have a Bell Tent? What are your thoughts?

If you are thinking of getting one, feel free to ask any questions. We’ll do our best to answer from our experience so far.