Is it just me who doesn't 'get' bell tents?

(128 Posts)
millimat Mon 24-Jun-13 21:53:10

I just can't see the appeal? Why go for just one open room?

professorpoopsnagle Mon 24-Jun-13 22:12:53

I think they have their advantages- cotton, good head room, feel good factor. But I camped in them as a Guide so getting one would remind me of that, which is my main reason for not getting one. I have also read that people say they can put one up on their own, but I can't see how, surely you need someone to hold the pole whilst you get a couple of guys sorted?

They do look nice though, especially when you see them on glamping sites ready made with nice beds.....

pookamoo Mon 24-Jun-13 22:14:40

Ours has an inner with a SIG, so it is like a huge porch and a sleeping compartment.

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 24-Jun-13 22:23:16

We love ours but I can definitely see why someone wouldn't. Because you only have one room, they get messy quite easily. If you are a tidy person you would have to work quite hard to keep one tidy, particularly with children.

But the feeling of space is lovely and they are a lot cooler in the warm weather (not that that has been a particular advantage recently).

You can have one or two inners in there as well, as pookamoo mentions. We bought one but, for us, it ruined the feeling of space so we will probably only use it for really cold camping, or sell it even.

You can definitely put one up on your own because you peg out the edge of the tent before you put up the central pole and A-frame (a the entrance).Then you do the guys afterwards. I must admit, however, that whilst I used to put up our 4m on my own easily, the 5m is harder because the extra canvas makes it much heavier.

hillbilly Mon 24-Jun-13 23:18:02

I really liked the idea of them knowing full well we could not have one because our garden is not big enough to dry it out if packed away damp. However then we camped with friends who have one and I was really put off by the mess and the fact that you can't stand up in much of it......

SignoraStronza Tue 25-Jun-13 00:36:22

I like the idea of one for the garden but surely you'd need a trailer to take one camping with you. Also (if camping with dcs), isn't it just one room? How on earth would you find private shagging time and space?

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:07:00

They are not as enormous packed as you might think. No bigger than any large family tent really. THey are heavy - 25kg, I think - but so are most family tents.

In the evenings, we generally sit and relax outside the tent when DD is asleep - either under a tarp or event shelter or nearby round a fire with friends.

For "private time", I think the advantage of sleeping pods is largely psychological. Obviously, that wisp of cotton between the pods means you can't be seen by your children but you can certainly be heard (by them and the rest of the site) so you would have to be quiet anyway. In that case, you won't wake them whether they are screened off or just on the other side of the tent.

That said, we have only really been in our bell tents for long weekends, it has been freezing most nights (so I am swathed in numerous inpenetrable thermal layers) and DD sleeps between us, so all this is pretty much theoretical for me.

pictish Tue 25-Jun-13 10:08:20

I have one. They are lovely and ambient, and not all dark and sweaty like nylon.
You can buy toom dividers for them if you want...not that I bothered.

I love ours.

duchesse Tue 25-Jun-13 10:11:58

I don't understand the attraction at all, having camped in uncomfortable and heavy tents with a central pole in the 70s with my parents. I have two theories: 1) it's nostalgia for the 60s/70s in a certain demographic and 2) it's being driven by "glamping" and being presented as a more upmarket version of camping than high-performance lightweight tents. As for hauling carpets, heaters etc to festivals for your bell tent, words fail me.

Give me modern camping any time!

pictish Tue 25-Jun-13 10:30:28

I haul rugs, cushions, heaters, fairy lights, tealight chandelier, lanterns and duvets to festivals and all other camping trips too. It's my choice and my lookout - why do words fail you? It's up to me isn't it?
I like to be warm and comfortable, and relaxed. I like ambience.
So what?

pictish Tue 25-Jun-13 10:33:02

And to add - we spent years camping in the traditional way....nylon tent, roll mats, sleeping bags and being fucking cold. We had an unexpected windfall four years ago and laid out for a bell and all the glamping kit to accompany. Best money I ever spent. We have a complete holiday home to take wherever, and whenever we like, without slumming it.
It's absolutely brilliant!!

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:39:21

I agree with you pictish (although I never seem to be able to fit in all the glamping kit, which is very saddening).

pictish Tue 25-Jun-13 10:41:28

In fact, I am awaiting delivery today of a new chandelier as we are off camping next week. Our old chandelier got accidentally smashed last year when dh dropped it.
We didn't want to go without one as it just wouldn't have been as good. There is something truly lovely about sitting in a tent with the multi coloured flickering of candles, while the rain pitter patters on the roof.

My name is Pictish and I am a glamper.

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:41:34

And the other great thing about a bell tent is being able to fit in a superking-sized airbed with huge duvet and proper pillows - bliss (and probably explains why we have no room for sofas/cushions/proper rugs/wooden tables/chests etc)

pictish Tue 25-Jun-13 10:42:52

mummy we struggle to fit it all in too, but we always manage somehow. wink

duchesse Tue 25-Jun-13 10:43:46

But, but, but, it's not proper camping if it's comfortable! Surely the whole point is to be mildly uncomfortable, and to live on your wits and with the small number of things you have with you, so that Home seems so lovely and so comfortable when you go back there? Not recreate a mini-mansion in a muddy field?

I think maybe there are two schools of thought in camping...

pictish Tue 25-Jun-13 10:44:28

YY to that. When we are all snuggled up in warmth and comfort in our great big king sized bed, with duvet and pillows, we feel like life could not be better.

pictish Tue 25-Jun-13 10:45:35

Duchesse - I have done plenty of what you describe...so I've earnd my camping stripes a hundred times over.

I don't have to now, so I don't ta!

TwasBrillig Tue 25-Jun-13 10:47:09

Presumably you'd need a van or trailer for all the associated paraphernalia?

I can post of red the appeal if you were to turn up at a ready made glamping site. Not sure I'd want to spend the whole of the first day setting it all up myself!

TwasBrillig Tue 25-Jun-13 10:47:32

Sort of see even!

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:49:08

I think you are right duchesse - there are definitely two schools of thought in camping. And the great thing is, whatever type of camper you are, everyone always seems to agree on the essentials - wine, marshmallows and a fire - perfect!

TwasBrillig Tue 25-Jun-13 10:49:10

Ah we do 'real' camping but do take our duvet so are nice and warm. No point being cold . . .

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:51:09

We manage in a Zafira with a roof box TwasBrillig, but we are starting to eye up towbars...

NotWilliamBoyd Tue 25-Jun-13 10:51:16

Hmm must admit I don't see the appeal either. I do understand the advantage over sweaty nylon tents, which is why we've got a polycotton (Bear Lake) but we have a lot of v useable space - ie, that we can stand up in - plus compartments etc, useful for hiding all the crap in during the day keeping everywhere tidy.

pictish Tue 25-Jun-13 10:51:36

Nah - we've got an ordinary car.

As for setting up - all part of the fun, making your nest for the next few days or week, while the kids run around outside tiring themselves out. The satisfaction of when it's all done and looks pretty pretty pretty.

Ahhhhh...I just love it.

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