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Bell tent question

(5 Posts)
SusanneLinder Wed 10-Aug-11 12:25:58

Trying to persuade my darling hubby that we really NEED a bell, but he has raised the following questions, and I still need to sell it to him.

1.He has a problem with his hands,is it easy to put up? We manage to pitch a Hartford XXL between us, even though I have limited ability in my left hand as well.

2. If it's raining on packup day, is the tent really heavy, obviously we would dry it like we do with our own tent.

3. Is it mahoosive, and had any problems with sites accepting them? I am tempted by the Emperor smile

4. Does it cut down your floorspace much having a sleeping pod? I would need one for my 12 year old ASD daughter, she wouldn't cope "not having her own space" we have zippable sleeping pods at moment, and she is fine with that,or would we be better just getting her a pup tent (defeats purpose really, but may be only solution)

Sorry for daft questions-but I really really like them :0

oranges123 Wed 10-Aug-11 14:06:32

Oooh bell tent questions - I love'em! Hmmm, I was about to extol the virtues of bell tents from an erection (snigger)/packing up perspective but, to be honest, I am not sure what an Emperor would be like - we have a 5m and it is EEEEASY.

Being canvas, they are quite heavy but no more than other family tents and, when ours is wet, we have just rolled it up and stuffed it into a large bin liner and taken it home to dry in the garden.

I don't think a 4m or 5m bell tent is likely to cause you many space issues on most sites - a lot of Outwell/other family tents are of similar and larger size. Again, not sure about an Emperor but I think they are 4m by 6m which doesn't sound enormous in the scheme of these things.

You can, of course, buy an inner tent, both half tent and quarter tent ones exist. They will inevitably reduce the floor space remaining, although a quarter size one shouldn't cause too much of a problem in a 5m and might be ok for your DD. I am not sure if inner tents for Emperors exist yet but I am sure they must be on their way, if not.

Not much help I am afraid but just to say that we have had a bell tent for 4 years now (first a 4m and now a 5m) and we love 'em - hate going back to the rustly nylon ones when we have done so the odd time.

If you do get one, you will not regret it (and if you do they fetch good prices on ebay)


needanewname Wed 10-Aug-11 20:20:28

We had a Hartford XXL and we all much prefer the 5m bell tent.

In answer to your questions:

1. it is so much easier to put up than the xxl, I can do it by myself no problem at all, both of us together 20 mins max.

2. it is heavy, there's no doubt about it, but so's the xxl! The difference is that the BT is so much easier to dry out if you need to when you get home. I would recommend getting an extra canvas bag (soulpad sell them) so that you can store your groundsheet and tent separately - that way if the gs gets dirty you don;t have to worry about mucking up the tent! Also easier to carry. We have the 5m ZIG

3. A 5m is bigger than the central area of the xxl, but there are no pods. We've put it up in spaces where we wouldn't have been able to pitch the xxl. Can't say about the emporer - it doesn't sound all that big but it is massive (and gorgeous) we saw one in obelink and fell in love with it. If it had had zig we would have got it!

4. a 1/2 pod should be fine, we have a 1/2 pod (which the 4 of us sleep in) and it does cut down on the space but doesn't ruin the feel of it. We tend to keep all clothes in the pod and all food and toiletries in the outer bit round the sides. Oupod that we all share is sooooooooo much better than the xxl pods!

To add, sleeping under canvas is 100% times better, it has a lovely feel to it, you don't feel claustrophobic when you wake up, if its hot outside, its not too bad inside (unlike nylon) even better if you roll the sides up.

DH took a hell of a lot of convincing, he's now really pleased with it and if pushed will even admit I was right grin

needanewname Wed 10-Aug-11 23:30:48

point 4 was supposed to say 1/4 pod!

Kingsroadie Thu 11-Aug-11 10:02:28

Hi guys grin

Susanne - I am not much help (yet) but intend to be extremely helpful on Thursday when we are back from our first camping trip in our new Emperor tent.

1) So I have no idea what it's like to pitch (if you look on bell tent website it has instructions so you can get an idea. It has two central poles joined by a bar I think, an A frame for the door (like most bell tents I believe) and one at each end. It is 3m high and the A frames help keep the head height at both ends. I think it might be tough to pitch with one person if a hand problem as the two middle poles with bar inbetween might make it a bit tricky? But apparently it can be done with one strong person.

2. I imagine it will be heavy when wet (it is apparently 35Kg when dry and I can't really lift it much on my own - off the ground a bit but not enough). I know people usually unzip the ZIG and then it is lighter and they store them separately. But I also think most family tents are, as the others have said!

3. We were looking at Outwells and lots of them had wider than 4m and longer than 6m footprint. We are going to a v small campsite in Sept and they said no tents bigger than 4 x 6.5m - the pitches are actually 9m wide apparently. There is one amazing looking campsite I found in Sussex I think where the limit was 5 x 3 or something but I think that is rare. (In any event a normal bell wouldn't fit there either).

4. There are no bedroom pods, yet, but I expect they might bring them out next season or something (although bell tent have no knowledge of any being produced at the moment - I asked them). I am going to try and use throws and kikoy wraps and a washing line type thing, pegs and the a frame at the end to try and fashion some sort of bedroom area for my 20 month old. However, if your ASD daughter needs her own space then I suppose a pop up tent inside might work? I considered this for mine but she is pretty young and not sure she'd get it (plus travel cot wouldn't fit in height-wise).

PS - It feels lovely!

So I can report back on Thursday but until then you have my conjecture and some confirmed facts grin!

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