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Well that strategy backfired, then...

(26 Posts)
ReshapeWhileDamp Sat 28-May-11 22:31:52

I took DH to our local GoOutdoors to browse family tents, mostly in order to convince him that nylon and bendy poles were deeply unaesthetic, noisy and that we should get a bell tent instead. (I've already bored this forum on the topic.) I even picked a really windy day to go - cunning, eh?

So we went and saw this and actually, we both really liked it. It's got loads of room, the pods at the back unzip, making one sleeping room (something we'd want to do for the next few years), there are front and side extensions available... And I found it for £314 online, so they'll knock 10% off that price too, under the Go Outdoors guarantee. grin

I fully intended to get DH to see that what we really want is something I can ponce about with is a canvas bell tent - and now he's all enthused about this one. confused I like it too, but if we get this, we will never get a bell tent. One thing against me is that there aren't any canvas tent showrooms (that I know of) and though I've been rubbernecking local campsites, I've yet to see a canvas tent pitched there.

Does anyone know if there are any outlets that actually have bell tents pitched so that you can go inside them? Or if there are any events likely to attract bell tenters that we could get into in order to have a gawp? We're in South Oxfordshire.

We need to have bought and practised with our tent for a festival at the end of August, and for summers after that, so I'm not too worried that Soulpad are currently sold out, as they seem to be restocking soon.

Wolfgirl Sun 29-May-11 11:24:15

Check out where Yeoman outdoors are holding their Tent exhibitions. There is one here in North Bristol (near Cribbs Causeway) till May 31st. I know they move about the country, so might be worth calling their head office for next locations? all the best smile

Just wondering what fesival you are planning to take your bell tent to?

We have a specific fifty quid tent that we use for fesitivals, I would never take a decent tent, even at pretty nice, middle class, 'family' festivals, I have seen terrible things happen to tents, including motorbikes driven over them shock, though tbf that was at T in the Park grin.

ReshapeWhileDamp Sun 29-May-11 20:46:24

Thanks, will check out Yeoman shows! smile

WTWTA - Shrewsbury Folk fest, so pretty demure!

gapants Sun 29-May-11 20:53:16

I have a bell tent and then I also have this

tent

TBH, the bell tent as lovely as it is, it gets heavy, is not that big and gets very messy as there are no "rooms". It looks so pretty, and it is very "lifestyle" we use it to take to garden parties or camping in friends fields IN ADDITION to our proper tent.

Just saying, you might end up with BOTH, win win!

needanewname Mon 30-May-11 21:59:50

We're going to Cornwall tomorrow so no good for you I'm afraid.

You really need to decide what kind of camping you want to do. When we started, the children were younger and I wanted us to have a room the DC to have a room, a room to store crap stuff in and a large area to live in when it rained. We got an Outwell Hartford XXL and to be honest it ticked all those boxes and more.

I changed to wanting a bell tent cos it looked pretty, DH said no as it didn't tick any of those boxes, however I have changed what I want from a tent now and a Bell tent is perfect for me. Yes it looks great but it isn;t as tidy(dont; forget that all those pretty pictures on soulpad and belltent.co.uk don;t show where all the closes and food stuf is kept) but that isn't as important to me anymore. I like the fact that if one of the children needs attention in the night, its easy to get to them than before, I like how quickly it goes up and I really like the feel of it.

You really need to decide what you want from a tent and see if you can get to see a bell tent in action.

Join campsite UK and see if theres anyone there thats going to be near you so you can have a look.

ReshapeWhileDamp Mon 30-May-11 23:12:48

See, my reasoning is that NOW is the time we want/need a Bell Tent, while the DC are wee! Because we'll be sleeping in a pile, all together, whereas when they're older, they're going to be wanting a pod of their own.

The Stuff issue does worry me, I admit. Also the fact that the tent walls are curved and our mats, table, etc - aren't. Waste of space. Basically I want a bell for shallow, aesthetic reasons, the likes of which are severely frowned upon round here. grin

I've been trawling Campsite Uk for an opportunity to see a bell tent in action - but they're all rather scary, those camping types. Can I really just start a thread saying 'I want to see your bell, please tell me if you're camping nearby?' They'll tell me to get lost, surely?

3rdnparty Tue 31-May-11 09:03:30

Reshape- not sure of my oxfordshire geography but we were at Britchcombe campsite in Uffington and quite a lot of bell tents pitched there.... so you could be nosy!
although some people pitched in our field had that Outwell you linked to and it looked a great practical tent - they added the front extension whilst we were there- it was v v windy - didn't see them put it up though so no idea how long it would take...they had a table and chairs comfortably in the front half the first v windy night...
If its like other Outwells you canroll up the inner walls to make a large sleeping space

I too am a bell tent wannabe for v shallow reasons but dh wont have it grin

Lovecat Tue 31-May-11 09:15:47

I posted a huge message on my phone and then Liverpool St Station ate it...

Anyway, the gist of it was that mine is currently pitched in our back garden drying out after the weekend so if you can get to East London in the next day or so (I have a horrible feeling it's going to rain later today so it will be up for a while!) you're welcome to come see it!

We were in the New Forest and there were 2 other bells on the site there.

Re. the inner room/mess thing - Soulpad does 1/2 and 1/4 inner tents, we bought a 1/4 one and used it for the first time this weekend to put the portaloo and the clothing in. DD also claimed it as 'her' space and took all her toys/drawing stuff in there so the tent was very tidy all weekend! Pretty it ain't, but you do get used to it being there and outside of it we still had room for 3 airbeds, the camping table, 2 inflatable armchairs and sundry other stuff without feeling cramped. DH wasn't keen on it as it 'spoilt the look' but given that I'm normally a candidate for that Life Laundry woman in terms of clutter, it kept the tent really tidy (btw, what we do re. clothes is get 3 of those pop up toy store/laundry basket type things from the pound shop, we have one each and the clean clothes go inside - anything dirty goes back in the suitcase, which is kept next to the clothes bins. Keeps things relatively neat and then I just tip the suitcase into the washing machine when I get home!).

Bumperlicioso Tue 31-May-11 09:22:28

Hello 3rdnparty, how was your weekend? Which field were you in? We had a great time despite the wind and rain.

needanewname Tue 31-May-11 09:41:45

From what i've seen on campsite UK there are plenty of friendly campers who wouldbe thrilled to show off their bell tent!

I will try and take photos of our this week with all our crap essentials dotted around the tent and upload so you can see.

ChiddelyPie Tue 31-May-11 10:08:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lovecat Tue 31-May-11 10:18:21

I'm now worried about this festival = trashed tent malarkey.

We bought our bell having seen one at Latitude last year, so I'm hoping that arty festival + family camping area = tent left in one piece?

Having forked out for it, there's no way I'm taking it anywhere it can get destroyed....

Oh, and 3 lots of people came up and talked about /had a nosey around the tent this weekend, we were very friendly and didn't bite!

gapants Tue 31-May-11 10:37:25

I would not take a bell tent to any type of festival, no way, all you need is one drunk mum or dad stumbling into it with a glass of rioja and you are fecked.

3rdnparty Tue 31-May-11 10:38:15

hi bumper- yes lovely weekend despite the wind ! 2nd time been to that site and it is just so beautiful... back in london now with a mountain of smoky washing wondering where the big skies and hills have gone smile

ReshapeWhileDamp Tue 31-May-11 10:39:55

3rdnparty -thanks for the tip! Uffington isn't that close - about 50 mins drive - but it's been a while since we walked up there to look at the White Horse, so perhaps we can do that this weekend and have a nosy. Do you reckon we can just walk onto the campsite? grin

Lovecat - thanks, what a generous offer! smile Unfortunately, the logistics of getting me and two small DSs to London mean I don't think we'll manage it.

Thanks for all the help and advice here! I think we need to start stalking campsites. The two local ones in the nearby town are no good - mostly caravans.

Am also a bit worried now about taking a good tent to a festival - surely people don't drive motorbikes over tents at small folk fests??

3rdnparty Tue 31-May-11 10:40:12

how did the tipi go?..we in other field this time...sorry hijack op.

QuintessentialOldMoo Tue 31-May-11 10:41:39

That is the one we have.....
It is a faff to put up! I recommend LOTS of practice. And spare pegs.... It takes us between 30 and 40 minutes to put up, as long to take down, and fold, to get back into its bag. We have not used it for nearly 3 years, come to think of it....

But keep very well in the rain and the wind of the arctic circle, so you should be ok in Oxfordshire....

We only go to vair naice, vair middle class, (wanky) festivals, but there is stll no way I would take a decent tent, really, get something cheap and save you good tent for camping proper.

QuintessentialOldMoo Tue 31-May-11 10:44:46

WhereTheWildThingsWere, could you recommend me such a nais and middle class festival?

3rdnparty Tue 31-May-11 10:45:24

lovecat - sure you'll be fine in family camping - been going to festivals for few years and never seen problems in family area - although at big chill last year a few groups of younger teenagers were in the family field and they /their tents looked a bit worse for wear by the end....good thing about bells at festivals is you dont generally have long guys for people to trip over...which is the most frequent cause of damage smile

ReshapeWhileDamp Tue 31-May-11 10:48:06

grin at Naice middle class festivals. Surely the worst thing that can happen to your tent there is that someone spills their M&S guacamole over your canvas? wink

ReshapeWhileDamp Tue 31-May-11 10:51:45

Quintessential, were you refering the tent I linked to at the top? The Outwell Oakland XL? Do you like it? I read that it doesn't have enough pegging points, which gave me momentary nightmares about a gust getting underneath and wafting us about the field...

That's the other thing - bells take minutes to erect, so it doesn't really matter if the DSs are going apeshit in the car <neglectful emoticon> whereas with something that would take 30-40 mins just to get up, never mind tweaking, I'm not sure how helpful a 3 yo and an 8mo would be. 8 mo would be strapped to my back...

QuintessentialOldMoo Tue 31-May-11 10:54:07

Yes, we have exactly the same tent.

We found that we had to use our luggage in the "sitting room" area to secure the tent walls with, to prevent wind and rain from entering the tent, by stretching the fabric around the bags, and ensure the bag is on top, but from the inside, iyswim.

But other than that, yes, we liked it. The longest we have spent in it, is 5 days. Took a while to wait for it to dry, before packing it. grin

Quintessential try Cambridge Folk Festival and Harvest at Jimmys, both middle class to the nth degree, particually love 'Harvest' but then I am quite a foodie and seeing the Hairy Bikers last year made me almost implode with joy.

We also go to Beautiful days, which is slightly less 'naice' but very small and peaceful and brilliant for the kids.

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