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belltent/soulpad/to Zig or not, lip at the entrance...ARRGGHH

(43 Posts)
cottonreels Mon 01-Aug-11 21:33:32

Am really excited to be on the brink of ordering a soulpad 5000 hybrid G. (zip off ground sheet and stove compatable).
Soulpad seems the obvious place to order from given that bell tents are expensive and soul pad have a great reputation.

Here's what's making me hesitate:

It has a bathtub ground sheet (thats good I think) but it has a lip right where the door is, so you have to step over it. Some maunufactures put in two small zips so that this 'lip' can be folded down, but when I contacted soulpad they say that zips shouldnt be in contact with the ground as they'll deteriorate, so they dont have any with these little zips.

I have a 20 month old and I just know I'll be on edge near the door all the time. She loves running in and out of tents and doesnt stop to look where she's going. Am I just being short sighted? There's not too much left of this season and come next April she'll be 2 and a half - so I'm presuming she'll be more likely to take that kind of information in (and act on it!) Also we wonder whether having that 'lip' detracts from the luxury feel (ie it feels like a how you'd get into a nylon tent) and is in fact a bit of a hassle.


We could go for a soulpad 5000 light. It doesnt have a fitted groundsheet, so open to bugs (and water?) but doesnt have the lip.
Could you give me your opinions/thoughts please??

cottonreels Mon 01-Aug-11 21:36:55

Ps the cost difference is about £100, so significant, but I'm willing to pay the higher amount if it does what we need it to do. I'm hoping it's a 'forever' tent.

leddeeburdee Mon 01-Aug-11 21:46:15

We have a soulpad 4m hybrid. The lip isn't that bad - I have a 2 and 4 year old and if they're running in and out of the tent I just put one of my throws or a rug over the lip which flattens it. Personally I think it's worth it for the flexibility of the hybrid.

cottonreels Mon 01-Aug-11 22:37:43

Ahh, interesting point leddeeburdee. Wonder if flattening down like that will cause tension/damage/wear and tear over time. I'm back onto thinking about the hybrid though. Bloody hell, its like being back at school deciding which boy you'll make a move on at the school disco...he's got nice hair...ohh but I don't like his neon socks...this one smiled at me once...
Really cant make my mind up!

mel2005 Mon 01-Aug-11 22:40:27

i have the soulpad 5m lite and the storm flap tucks under and pegs in with the groundsheet, we didnt get any water in when it rained for a whole week and we did have a few earwigs but TBH they are everywere anyway we would have had them even with a zip in groundsheet. i just thought (apart from the difference in cost) that if the zip was damaged it would be alot to repair. i was worrying about the kids damaging it. i didnt want the sewn in as i would like the option of rolling up the sides and separating the ground sheet so its lighter to carry and easier to dry and store. this is our forever tent as well. my 2.5y old twins are learning about the guys (and not to fall over them) so i think they would be ok if we had a flap on the door.
soulpad have great customer services.

cottonreels Mon 01-Aug-11 22:43:43

Thanks Mel. Just sooo undecided, I flit between the 2 options all the time. Great to hear of others views, it keeps getting us talking.

lovecat Mon 01-Aug-11 22:48:44

We've got a 5m hybrid and have just returned from a week away where DD and her cousins (6, 5 and 2.5 respectively) have been in and out of it constantly with no trippage.

And yes, bloody earwigs get in no matter what you do!

I may be wrong, but is it only the hybrid/ease models that have the mozzie net door screen? That in itself is a godsend on hot days...

hellymelly Mon 01-Aug-11 22:49:39

I bought a soulpad because I read on here that the customer service was great,but I found them terrible.I'm happy with my tent generally (I have the 5m hybrid) but I was pretty put out that the groundsheet is PVC. PVC is really toxic and gives off gas for the whole of its lifetime,it remains poisonous in landfill, it is hormone disruptive and carcinogenic. It didn't state what the sheet was made of when I bought it,so I assumed polyeurothene as they seem an eco-aware company.I also found that the fumes off the groundsheet made me feel light headed and wheezy (i think I may be mildly asthmatic). Anyway when I contacted soulpad they were very patronising and rude about it. they went on about the quality of the fabric but the only reason anyone still uses PVC is because it is cheap as chips and the alternatives are more costly. I was very unhappy with their attitude.

Kingsroadie Mon 01-Aug-11 22:55:27

Just as an aside - i know a lot of people aren't keen on belltent on here but I have just got my Emperor Bell tent (it arrived today - super excited) from them as that's the only place in the Uk that sells it. Not sure about normal bell tents but on the website they say that this one folds flat at the doorway for no tripping but can be clipped up into position to avoid flooding etc. Also not sure what groundsheet is made of (Haven't even opened it yet!)

mel2005 Mon 01-Aug-11 23:06:59

good point about the mozzie net, mine doesnt have one and it is really handy, i did know it didnt have one, i just knew my kids would damage it, which is why they are not alowed to keep playing with the windows. i have four monsters aged 6y, 5y and 2.5y twins. the mozzie net would be great for normal families. i am planning on adding a fabric fly screen when i get around to it.

mel2005 Mon 01-Aug-11 23:08:26

those emperor bells are lovely kingsroadie

hellymelly Mon 01-Aug-11 23:48:44

Yes,I agree the emperor does look incredible.

luciadilammermoor Tue 02-Aug-11 00:06:13

We have a 5m hybrid, with a 7 yr, 4 yr and 17mth DCs. There is a bit of a lip but noone's tripped yet. I don't flatten it down. I might be a bit harsh these days but I reckon that if they were to trip, it wouldn't take many times before they learnt to step a bit more carefully IYSWIM?

I don't think it makes it feel less luxurious, but then I like being able to zip it all up - not sure why cos yes, you do get earwigs whatever you do. I love having the option of rolling sides.

SalomeD Tue 02-Aug-11 07:30:01

I've found the best thing to do is to open the zips a bit past the opening and then it is simple to flatten the lip, also it reduces the tension on the zips by the door flaps.

lovecat Tue 02-Aug-11 07:52:34

I'm sorry you had that experience with Soulpad, Hellymelly, I've always found them incredibly friendly and helpful.

Wrt the groundsheet, my DH is severely asthmatic (gets hospitalised a couple of times a year if it gets really bad) and has never, ever had a problem sleeping in the hybrid. In fact he sleeps better in there than at home because of the fresh air! No fumes, either, the only fumy things we've encountered have been airbeds.

yy to being able to roll up the sides - it's wonderful! grin

oranges123 Tue 02-Aug-11 10:53:39

We have the ordinary bell tent with separate groundsheet but still our 20 month old DD used to trip over the groundsheet every time she came into the tent. However, one or two camps on and she has got the hang of it. She has also got the hang of our friend's tent which does have a lip like the hybrid and just holds on to the side of the entrance while she steps in carefully. So I do think your DD will get used to climbing in after maybe a couple of falls. Might be worth putting a soft rug at the entrance for the first couple of days though.

On the subject of buying bell tents, I thought anyone who is still thinking of getting one, whether a regular one or "Emperor-style", might be interested to know that someone on ebay looked in to getting a tent from Obelink after initially being interested in one we were selling. He appears to have enquired directly and been told that if you order in Dutch on the website they will send you one, despite what the site actually says. This chimes with what has been going on recently. We suspect someone may have raised the EU rules issue with them and this is a compromise. Anyway, just a thought as you can save some serious money if it does work.

cottonreels Tue 02-Aug-11 13:28:15

Thanks again everyone.
Oranges - that really is interesting as a lot of the old threads mention this about Obelink but the newer ones seemed to suggest they'd put a stop to it. Maybe we'll have a go. My DP is contracting to a Dutch company at the moment so that might help somehow.

Hellymelly - sorry about your experiences with the groud sheet. I do find their website, though inspiring, to be a bit lacking in actual detail considering there is no showroom. There ought to be pictures of stitching etc to look at.

Salome D - yes that should ease the tension and do the job.
It seems that either groundsheet will therefore work.

Mel - Im also thinking of adding a fabric flyscreen. We've got some old mozzy nets from out travelling days which I might use.
Anyone added some of their own loops and tags but just carefully sewing onto the canvas? Do you think that would work - maybe with a strong, yet fine needle?

Kingsroadie - I do like that empora tent, but I know some of the time I'll be putting it up alone, so the two main poles put me off as its got to be harder to erect. Pity you havent tried it yet, you could have given me an idea...

While you're al listening. I have another thought. We have a garden which is 5.2 metres wide. If I want to put up the 5m soulpad in the garden, the side guy ropes are not gonna be able to extend and go into the ground. Do you reckon I could tie 2 or 3 ropes on each side to the garden fence? Sounds bonkers I know but I think the 4m will be too small for us as we are thinking to extend the family in the future. I realise that won't be as stable, but might it 'do' for a day of using it as a play area or doing it like that to dry it?

Kingsroadie Tue 02-Aug-11 13:57:18

Yes Oranges - I have heard some Obelink orders are getting through. Sadly though they have sold out of Emperors with ZIG and we needed ours for 10 days time so couldn't wait. Annoyingly!

Cotton - I liked it because I wanted a fair bit of space - something that will last us for a while as we are planning to have more children, and if my parents wanted to come etc too. Def think it would need a strong man to put it up solo. I think it said on website that it is possible with 1 (strong) person but easier with 2. As I doubt I'll ever be going camping on my own it should be fine but if going alone I think a belltent would be much easier. If I totally love campign and ever want to go on my own we can always buy a bell tent in a few years grin

oranges123 Tue 02-Aug-11 15:00:26

What a shame Kingsroadie re Obelink selling out. Mind you, I don't think it is the most expensive tents which have the biggest mark ups in the UK anyway, although there is obviously some difference. It is the ones without groundsheets which seem to be considerably cheaper from Holland.

I must say the Emperor/Ultimate does look fantastic. There is NO WAY we would fit it and all our other crap vital belongings into the car sadly. Can't wait to hear how you get on with yours though.

Kingsroadie Tue 02-Aug-11 15:38:10

I know - I had been looking at it and once we finally decided they had sold out! Yes you're right re the ones without sigs or zigs - we wanted a zig anyway so that much difference - esp with the Euro at 1.3.

Yes, am starting to wonder how it will all fit - I am not a light packer and no doubt that will translate to camping too <confessing to having purchased solar fairy lights and numerous throws/rugs (warmth is important right?! grin already>

We do have a landrover freelander with a roofbox though so hopefully that will help...erm... maybe.

Will try and take some pics and report back as not many reviews of them around yet I think.

cottonreels Tue 02-Aug-11 15:42:47

Me again. Ive just emailed obelink to see if they'll deliver. Price from soul pad £515, Obelink £439 (no idea about delivery cost though). The tarp is half the price I can find here and it looks exactly the same as the malu shade from bell tent. I'll let you know what they say.

Technically, i CAN wait, but Im impatient.

Am a leetle worried how I will transport all this stuff in a honda jazz blush. Am just hoping that somehow it will all go in. Maybe I should watch a youtube video on how to pack a car first grin

oranges123 Tue 02-Aug-11 16:31:10

Hi Cotton reels - to give you an idea we bought the basic 5m at 299 euro and delivery took it to 313.90 euro. So I guess you are looking at 15 euro, perhaps a bit more to allow for added weight.

Kingsroadie - yy to pics! It would be great to see how fab it looks all set up. Quite jealous of your Land Rover. We have a Zafira which is great but we have already had to add a roofbox and it is starting to look like a trailer might be needed for long trips too shock

Kingsroadie Tue 02-Aug-11 16:43:10

Oranges, ahem, yes it will look "fab"... Maybe the tent itself will - if we ever manage to put it up! Will try and take some pics anyway and perhaps shame myself. Is a windbreak essential for making cooking easier? Am leaning towards not bothering as we have spent sooo much already and am not sure we'll have room in the car! Honestly am worried... Isn't a Zafira quite big?! What am I going to do!? I just don't know how to pack light...

Cotton - will be jealous if you get a tarp - we ended up getting one from Karma Canvas which was the same but slightly cheaper than Belltent. Although obv more expensive than Obelink. As per. Oh god how on earth am I going to put up tent and awning for the first time without husband (but with friend)!? <runs off panicking>

oranges123 Tue 02-Aug-11 21:16:45

Kingsroadie - believe me, it is not the tent that fills up the Zafira! It is all the boxes of "essential" camping equipment I like to bring and not use. Also we sleep on a double SIM and that is a beast. Also we can never decide whether we need a pushchair or a baby-carrier and end up bringing both. It all adds up....

cottonreels Tue 02-Aug-11 21:29:04

Oranges - we always have the same puhchair dilemma ( we always end up with the beast as she might sleep in it for her nap. She never does grin. I think you'll do yourself proud putting up the tent. Have a cup o tea at the ready and just slurp and survey every few minutes...

Well, I did email Obelink and got this:

We are sorry we cannot ship these products to the UK. We do not ship this line of products, because we are only allowed by this manufacturer to do certain countries in the EU

So - did you get yours recently oranges? How exactly did you do it? If I order through the dutch page and then put a uk address wont they just email and say "no you numpty we've aleady told you" and wag finger a lot??

Also oranges did your tarp from karma colour match your soulpad?

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