Has your bell tent been treated with fire retardant?

(13 Posts)
daisydancer Thu 25-Jun-09 12:31:30

Being someone who would love one of these tents for next year, I've been doing a bit of research. I don't think it would be too strong to say that I was shocked that most of the tents I have found seem to not have been treated with fire retardant. I also think that the tents have to be made with canvas density of something like 350g (not sure about the weight!) to take the chemicals effectively. It does seem strange that tents that are sold in such a way that almost encourages campfires, candles etc, are not treated in this way. Any thoughts? Advice?!

friendly Thu 25-Jun-09 19:52:55

I hadn't realised this and am interested in replies as I would LOVE one. Bumping for you.

tattycoram Thu 25-Jun-09 19:58:45

I've got one and had no idea. Would never put a candle in any tent tho

Slubberdegullion Thu 25-Jun-09 20:00:38

afaik our Cabanon's canvas isn't fire retardant. I think chemicals on the canvas alter how the fabric responds to water.

So long as you know your tent will go whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMPH if it catches fire, then you take all the relevant precautions to make sure it doesn't happen.

Candles in any tent ?hmm That would be a bad idea imho.

LundyBancroftatemyhusband Thu 25-Jun-09 20:06:03

They sell stoves to go in these though, don't they? There mUST be some info on that site surely.

Hmmm, but the stove is kept securely in the middle, away from the canvas, you can have a fire in a tipi (I thinkhmm) but again only in the centre and probably only if you are a bona fide American Indian, you just don't want hot things near the canvas.

That said in my younger days I used to camp in tents lit by tea lights, makes me shudder now, we often used to pass out fall asleep with them still lit and they would just be merrily placed in amongst our nylon sleeping bags.

daisydancer Thu 25-Jun-09 20:45:20

Yes, they do sell stoves for these.

I have some experience of theatres and treating the fabrics on set and so on with these chemicals can make a huge difference.

Obviously, not taking every precaution to avoid tent fires would be silly, regardless of flame retardants but my question really was asked because these tents are advertised along with stoves to go in them.

The nature of camping is such that there are lots of naked flames around, even for those of us who would never put candles or stoves in tents.(I also think it sounds very silly!!) I think that if the canvas isn't of a high enough density, the chemicals either aren't so effective or perhaps they make the tent less water proof. Just guessing though.

I think 'cast and canvas' ones are treated with the flame retardant chemicals, friendly, but they're more expensive and don't appear to have some of the features I think we'd need. The search goes on!!

paisleyleaf Sat 27-Jun-09 01:43:20

I think that the 'cast and canvas' ones that you are saying about, are also in the thicker fabric

rebeccapayn Sat 10-Mar-12 19:29:24

I looked into hiring a bell tent and was put off by how many companies that hire them out provide bell tents that aren't fire retardant. I then looked at buying one and found i could buy a cheap one for less than the hire price, madness! To get one that is fire retardant it costs more than twice as much though so i couldn't afford one at the timesad
Canvas and Cast are definately the best ones to go for for bell tents to buy , all the others sold in the UK and Holland are not treated for fire retardancy and can go up in flames in a flash! What i find extremely odd is that so many companies hire these cheap non retardant bell tents out to people for glamping holidays and also supply chandeliers and candles? Seems very odd to me that this is permitted when a cheap tent from Argos has to be treated for fire retardancy....
There is a lot of companies offering Glamping that are charging more to hire the tents than it actually costs to buy them from Obelinks. Obviously they care more about how much money they are getting in and how cheap they can get the bell tents for and little about peoples and families safety!
Surely any provider would have to ensure everything is safe and be following guidelines especially with kids in the mix! I certainly would not put my child or anyone i love in one of those cheap tents. There is only one or two companies that hire the bell tents out which are fire proofed for glamping, weddings and festivals, surely a regulation needs to be brought in?

Lovecat Mon 12-Mar-12 19:40:10

I did mine myself - like daisydancer I am part of a theatre group and so have a big spray bottle of Flamecheck that I sprayed the inside of my Bell with - we have a tealight chandelier [ponce] and I didn't want to take any risks.

It has not made the tent any less waterproof, something tested to extremes in the 3 day torrential downpour that was last year's Latitude.

thehenmother Wed 18-Apr-12 10:42:22

Hello can’t help to comment on this subject as I have two kids and I wouldn’t dream of putting them in such risk. But the more I read regarding the subject I realize that this is a bit of an extreme, saying we will all die in a bell tent that has not been treated with fire retardant!

When it comes to bell tents the heavy weight canvas will burn much slower than the “flame retardant treated” polyurethane coated polyester or nylon that most tents are made from, and would therefore be safer.

Yes the bell tent will burn but fire retardant does not equal fire PROOF!

And as a wife to an ex fireman I know a lot about fires, but I would still keep on camping and keep it as safe as possible.

First of all never leave a fire unattended and no naked flames in a tent!

Always try to cook outside, keep the cooker on grass not on the ground sheet where most fires starts.

Always keep the cooker at least 2 feet away from the side of the tent.

Always have something at hand just in case you get a flair up, a wet tea towel is the best, it will cover most small fires.

Basically use your common sense and hopefully if you do this you will never need to know how fire retardant your tent is.

One more thing!

To make them fire retardant, bell tents and other canvas tents need to be treated with heavy chemicals. There are serious health hazards to flame retardant chemicals.

Tris, one of the first flame retardants used on cotton, was banned after a few years because it caused cancer.

PBDEs, a class of flame retardant chemicals used more in mattresses or foam furniture rather than clothing, nonetheless may cause problems with neurodevelopment and hormone regulation.

Flame retardants have been found in household dust, human breastmilk and even grocery store food. Can we really trust that flame retardant is safe?

Have a read about the chemicals in e.g. children’s pajamas that have flame retardant treatment.I’d rather take a chance with a “small, open flame,” under safe conditions to be honest.

For those of you who share my concern don’t let our children breath in the fumes from flame retardant surroundings!

Think of our children and let’s take them out camping in the fresh air.

Metbird Thu 19-Apr-12 23:41:38

I own a tipi and we have an open fire in it. They are designed to act as chimneys, so that the draw air in and up through the hole in the top. They are very snug and cosy, but you have to be careful, so we have a fire extinguisher, co alarm, water available and a knife ready if we have to cut our way out. With everything, you have to understand the risks and reduce them. They are pretty safe - far safer in fact than the idea of candles or tea lights / stoves in a standard tent. As for bell tents, you can get stoves for them, but I would be a little wary. The flues for the stoves can get very hot, and can catch alight the canvas as they pass up through the hole into fresh air. The only time I have heard of a fire in a tipi was due to someone acting 'safely' and using a stove with a flue up through the smoke hole.

As for fire retardancy, a heavy gauge of canvas will be very fire retardant when compared with standard treated nylon. As with everything, common sense rules... don't drink to senselessness, don't play with naked flames and have a plan if things go wrong.

Metbird Fri 20-Apr-12 00:19:00

Just going to bed and I thought of one more thing...(just hate it when something sticks in your head)

...The most likely fire hazard from a canvas tent is putting it away damp. If you have to strike your tent in the wet (when is it ever dry?) then the first thing you will have to do when you get it home is re-pitch it or lay it out fully so it can dry off. The cotton fibres start to decompose very quickly if wet, and can cause enough heat for the canvas to spontaneous catch fire. Canvas is very nice to sleep under, but it is a lot of work! Maybe that's the reason behind most people hiring it, not owning it?

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