Camping with our Bell Tent – Why we Love it

Camping with our Bell Tent – Why we Love it

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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 with 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. Those simple good looks. 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. A tent should never be stored wet, so on several occasions after returning home we’ve 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 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.

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Solice I Bell Tent and canopy

There is an increasingly wide variety of bell tents available to purchase. Here are some of the bestsellers on Amazon:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Cozy House Outdoor Waterproof Four Seasons Family Camping Bell Tent with Meshed Door and Windows (Beige Cotton Canvas Tent, Diameter 4M)
  • Cover material: 285g/sqm cotton canvas with 3000mm waterproof PU coating, the tent is waterproof on its own.
  • Ground sheet material: 540g/sqm PVC
  • Center pole material: diameter 38mm x thickness 2mm galvanized steel tubes
  • Door pole material: diameter 19mm x thickness 1mm galvanized steel tubes
  • Please kindly use the cloth to cover the zipper closely in rainy day, so the rain won't leak in from the zipper around the floor.
Bestseller No. 2
Bell Tent 5 metre with zipped in groundsheet by Bell Tent Boutique
  • Luxury bell tent with heavy duty 540gsm waterproof PVC zipped in ground sheet
  • 285g per sqm 100% natural cotton canvas
  • Secondary mosquito door
  • Spring loaded 32mm diameter metal centre pole
  • Canvas treated with UV colour fast, mould, rot & water repellent
SaleBestseller No. 3
GRAND CANYON Indiana - round tent ( 8-person tent), beige, 602019
  • Sturdy and very reliable accommodation for tent camps or a longer tour with several people. Despite wind and weather, it offers an extra amount of space for up to 8 people with luggage
  • High quality materials, careful workmanship and high functionality - the INDIANA satisfies very high requirements and is suitable for longer stays and lots of people
  • In relation to the number of people accommodated - small pack size, low weight
  • 100% waterproof fabric - water column 3000, taped and reinforced seams, stable steel poles, steel tent pegs, mosquito nets
  • Individual packing bags for tent pegs, tent poles and the entire tent!
SaleBestseller No. 4
Safaricamping outdoor four-season family camping waterproof bell tent with zipped groundsheet (beige cotton canvas tent, diameter 4m)
    Diameter 400cm, side high of 60cm, door high of 150cm, roof high of 250cm.
    285gsm100% natural cotton canvas fabric with 3000mm waterproof PU coating on the surface and Dia38mm galvanized steel tube.

    Heavy duty of 540gsm waterproof PVC zipped in groundseet.

    It has net on the 4 side windows and 1 big door, both can be rolled up.

    All sidewalls easily roll up to pass wind underneath on hot days.
SaleBestseller No. 5
Coleman Tent Octagon, 6 to 8 man Festival tent, large Dome Tent with full standing head height, 100% waterproof Family Camping Tent with sewn in groundsheet
  • 360 degree view plus enhanced ventilation: six large windows and mesh roof for maximum air circulation; two hinged doors open like a real door for easy access; full head height throughout the large eight person tent
  • Sturdy and easy to pitch family size octagon tent: colour-coded steel poles for easy set up and a good response to wind, flysheet can be removed and tent transforms into a bug-proof screen room
  • Single extra large room: with a removable partition curtain to segregate it into two areas; can be dressed as luxury glamping bedroom, playroom for kids or a perfect tent for festival gatherings
  • 100% waterproof: thanks to Coleman's Weather Tec system with 2000 mm HH combined with taped seams and fully sewn-in groundsheet will keep you dry, whatever the weather
  • Enhanced size: 3.96 x 3.96 x 2.15 m (LxWxH); 1 bedroom: 15.7 m² total; pack size: 85 x 30 x 30 cm (20.7 kg); tent pegs and sturdy wheeled carry bag included; colour: green

Last update on 2019-10-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API