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Oh My! I NEED a Bell Tent!!

(104 Posts)
wickedfairy Fri 06-Apr-12 17:54:43

I realise I am a little late to the party with this declaration, they look fabulous and I need one!

We have a 4man nylon-y tent at the moment, which does the job but with DC3 on the way, we would need to get a bigger one anyway. I figure we may as well get a fabuous one, while we are at it. So, sorry about all the questions....

So, is a 5m one the best for a family of 5? Are they really massive - can you get one pitched on an average pitch or would you need to book 2 pitches?

We normally go camping in France, this year at a place where they have "open" pitches that are not demarcated, so I would assume this is best? But we do also go to Wales as well.

Where is best to buy from - or

Thanking all you bell tent experts in advance!! smile

Aboutlastnight Fri 06-Apr-12 18:03:52

We are a family of five and have ordered a 5m tent from canvas and cast - currently awaiting delivery. V excited.

My advice is get a 5 metre tent as you will need the space. We stayed in a five metre bell tent on a remote Scottish island for a week last year and it was fab. We ordered from canvas and cast as the canvas was thicker and tent looked better quality. But we do camp in Scottish highlands and winds can be very fierce.

My only reservation is that we might look a bit wanky on the camp site. So no bunting or fairy lights for us well not many anyway

wickedfairy Fri 06-Apr-12 19:27:22


Have seen the tents from canvas and cast - I have never even seen a bell tent in real life, so have not seen the quality of the canvas. Is the thickness much better than those from belltent/soulpad?

We usually camp in France in summer and Wales in the May break. Do you think we would benefit from the heavy stuff, and (if you don't mind me asking) how much did your 5m one cost?

They look fabulous, even DH likes them!

p.s which island did you stay on in Scotland?

Aboutlastnight Fri 06-Apr-12 19:34:24

Canvas and cast was about £600 which is more expensive than the other companies. But mumsnetters have used soulpads etc with no difficulties. Do a search, it really depends on how much you want to spend.

We had a nylon tent ripped to bits last year on the mull of kintyre so are wary. Also the tent we stayed in was a canvas and cast make and endured a pretty bad storm, torrential rain all day with no leaks or problems at all.

We stayed on Canna in the Inner Hebrides. The family we rented the tent from have since moved off the island otherwise we would have gone back this year and not bought a bell tent

wickedfairy Fri 06-Apr-12 19:57:02

Thanks for the info!

Will have a look and a think and we'll see what we come up with!

winefairy Sat 07-Apr-12 11:21:24

We have a 5m bell from Soulpad and are very happy with it. Withstands bog-standard Scottish camping no problem. We looked at the C&C as it got great reviews but in the end we decided we couldn't cope with the extra weight and expense. The Soulpad is heavy enough and more than substantial for our style of camping.

And the folks from Soulpad were very lovely and helpful and even upgraded my bell to a Hybrid-G at no extra cost as the the we wanted was out of stock

IllegitimateGruffaloChild Sat 07-Apr-12 18:24:56

Please can you do some links of your luscious tents ladies?

<nosey and envious>

Aboutlastnight Sat 07-Apr-12 19:25:47

this is a review of the canvas and cast one

IllegitimateGruffaloChild Sat 07-Apr-12 19:28:17

Oh she's beautiful!

Aboutlastnight Sat 07-Apr-12 19:36:27

I have to admit I am obsessed pleased with it.

moomintash Sat 07-Apr-12 22:42:07

Ours is from Karma Canvas. We have the ZIG (Zipped in Groundsheet) Makes it easier when packing up as if the tent is wet you can pack away separately and the canvas won't get dirty off the groundsheet. Then just hose the groundsheet down when you get home. £430 inc delivery for 5meter but they have a new one out this year with flynet for £449 inc delivery

Iambaboon Sun 08-Apr-12 08:13:55

Me too. I'm having one for my birthday (and the next 6 birthdays)

But which one? I second the query about gigantic pitches. Will a 5m necessitate booking 2?

Should we just get a 4 m? (2 small children)

What are the pros and cons of the various features?

Sooooo exciting!

moomintash Mon 09-Apr-12 16:05:19

So far we've not had any problem with pitch size, but we haven't camped anywhere that has set sized pitches. Our certainly didn't look big compared to some of the family tents we saw. (ours 5mtr)
I LOVE my Belltent and love the atmosphere just sitting in it, it doesn't get all condensation(better for hubbys Asthma), you don't roast alive on a sunny day, but it does have negatives also:
The weight (I would really struggle to carry mine, hubby does it)
It does take longer to dry than a synthetic
If you are used to a family tent with loads of rooms it will take a different mindset(No separate room to put portaloo in)

But as I said I love mine and it suits the type of camping we like, lazing about on rugs and eating off our knees.

SalomeD Mon 09-Apr-12 16:53:11

Really appreciated the space inside the 5m when we camped in heavy rain.

Yes, it is very heavy - the answer is to put the poles and pegs in a separate bag (much easier to manage then).

Iambaboon Mon 09-Apr-12 17:40:52

Pardon the hijacking, I've measured our garden and it's noy quite 5m wide, so we wouldn't be able to put a 5m up to dry or play in

Should this ve enough to swing me towards the 4m

I'd wavered and wibbled and almost decided on the 5m

It's so difficult

issyocean Mon 09-Apr-12 17:44:52

I pic up a 4m from chimchar tomorrow and I am super excited about it.Planning to camp as soon as a bit of dry weather is forecast and I've spent most of the afternoon lusting over poncy accessories grin

There's only 3 of us so I think 4m will be fine.

ifeelloved Tue 10-Apr-12 09:24:41

I would personally always recommend the 5m.

It has higher head room, more space inside (obviously!), more space for a double mattress and to live in if the weather does turn bad.

Don't worry about not being able to out in the garden to dry out, ours is currently hanging over the bannister! You don't need to pitch it fully to dry it out, just put the main pole up and peg out as much as you can.

poppyboo Tue 10-Apr-12 13:55:09

Seriously, get the 5, you would kick yourself if you got the 4m one if there are 5 of you. We adore our soulpad 5m, we're a family of 4.

poppyboo Tue 10-Apr-12 13:55:45

We dry ours on bannister too.

pictish Tue 10-Apr-12 14:02:06

We have 5m Soulpad and it withstands wild Scottish camping very well indeed, and we have camped in some very challenging conditions. I don't think I would worry about shelling out the extra for the Canvas and Cast. Spend it on camping gear and gorgeous bell tent fripperies instead.

I would deffo advise the 5m one though.

Theas18 Tue 10-Apr-12 14:41:44

THey are cute but look at the weight- 45kg is 7 stone- you wont be just popping that easily in and out of the car (and remember canvas gets wet and needs drying...).

Do tell me you get a sewn in groundsheet to keep the bugs out and sleeping pods to stop it raining condensation on your bedding??

pictish Tue 10-Apr-12 14:42:20

You don't get condensation raining on your bedding.

pictish Tue 10-Apr-12 14:45:03

We chose the Soulpad tent because we wanted one WITHOUT a sewn in groundsheet, as they are lighter to carry (we camp wild half the time) and they have the option of rolling up the sides on hot days.
Soulpad tents have rings inside to peg the groundsheet down under the walls (takes about 5 mins), thus eliminating bugs just the same as a SIG but weighing far less.

Iambaboon Tue 10-Apr-12 15:01:35

So Pictish (ace name, I remember learning about Picts, Gaels and Scotts, I digress)

Is pegged in better than zipped in? I'm trying to decide which to get ( and if anyone would care to loom at my otter thread in camping I'd lice you forever)

See if the zip breaks you're screwed. And the price difference is big just for a zip. And may be zipping would be tricksy and pegging easier?

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 10-Apr-12 15:02:41

So how do you sleep as a family in a bell tent? Because it's just one big room isn't it? Do you divide it up anyway?

We love camping but also like the privacy of dd being in a different compartment - and if the weather is bad means we can sit in the tent after she's in bed - what do you do in a bell tent?

I do love the idea of them. Very pretty. Although the accessories on the soul pad site are absurdly poncy and overpriced!

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