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Completely overwhelmed!

(28 Posts)
Moodykat Tue 26-Mar-13 10:37:16

So, this year I have decided to use the holiday budget (self catering, not a lot!) to buy a tent. Thought it would be easier to have last minute getaways etc.
I would LOVE a bell tent but it's a lot of money and we might not use it that much. (Although I can see it being up in the garden a fair bit!) Is there somewhere that one can see a bell tent up? Do camping shops sell them? I am completely ignorant to all things campy!
Would really, really appreciate any advice at all as would love this to work!

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 26-Mar-13 11:13:42

Hi Moodykat. Great decision - bell tents are fab! There may be camping shops which do sell them but I think most people tend to buy them on the internet, often from this website: which I have seen recommended for good customer service too. Ebay is another option. However, if you do a Google search lots of other sellers will pop up too.

The more expensive tents are often priced higher because they are made of thicker canvas, or are made in this country, or some similar reason. I have no doubt they are better quality but, having had two bell tents of the basic grade of material, I have never had any problems with them, and with higher-grade canvas comes more weight. Up to you of course.

In terms of where you might see them, some of the online sellers now do have showrooms and if you go to a campsite, particualrly of the sort which allow campfires, you are increasingly likely to spot a few. Most bell tent owners are very friendly and proud of their tents ime and will happily show you round.

The cheapest place to buy bell tents is from However, they do not deliver to the UK (due to a restrictive arrangement they have with a certain UK seller), so you would have to take a trip to their shop in Holland or get them to courier to somewhere on the European mainland (we had an inner tent delivered to a campsite in France last year, but you do have to be careful with dates and delivery times and get the campsite on side if you are going to do this). You can save a lot of money this way though, particularly on the basic tent, without a sewn in groundsheet (SIG) or zipped in groundsheet (ZIG).

You could do worse than look at old threads on here about bell tents as there is lots of useful stuff about SIG v ZIG v PIG (pegged in groundsheet), whether to go for a 4m or a 5m (I have had both and I do think with a bell tent, the more space the better, particualrly if there are more than two of you).

It is also worth thinking about the type of person you are. The nature of a bell tent is that everything is all together in one large room. You can buy inner tents but a lot of people feel they ruin the whole open feeling which is one of the best things about bell tents. However, open plan tends to mean it is harder to be tidy in a bell tent than in one with lots of different pods and separate rooms for sleeping and living. If this bothers you, a bell tent may not be for you. On the other hand if you think prettying up your tent with bunting/cushions/throws etc will make you happy and you don't mind doing a bit of tidying each day, you can't beat a bell tent.

Whatever you decide - Happy Camping!

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 26-Mar-13 11:32:30

Actually, all this talking about bell tents got me looking at the internet, and I noticed, Soulpad tents are currently reduced. A basic 5m PIG is £369.00. Given Obelink's rough equivalent, the Sahara 500, is currently working out around £318 (according to an online converter), that is not so bad, and Soulpad offer free UK delivery.

Something to think about maybe...

Moodykat Tue 26-Mar-13 12:38:50

Thank you for your post, I have actually been looking at Soulpad. I'm just not sure if the car is big enough for all the crap stuff that I would want to take with us! Luckily my dad has a field which we would probably camp at a fair bit so I could get him to bring some chairs down!
Oh the decisions!

victoriasmith Tue 26-Mar-13 12:59:32

we have a 5m soulpad and lots of crap, i mean essential prettiness, and have managed to squeeze it all into the back, middle, sidepockets, ontop of husband, of a hyundai getz, not a big car, with two adults and a toddler (plus we have another on the way in june which will really push us to the limit, have already decided that whilst chairs are not essential bunting and fairy lights and rugs really are!). Soulpad are really lovely people as well!

Moodykat Tue 26-Mar-13 13:58:50

Am I right in thinking (I know I am right, please say I am right) that a Soulpad would also look gorgeous in the garden and give us a wonderful little outside room too?

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 26-Mar-13 14:01:55

Oh yes, you are certainly right about that.

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 26-Mar-13 14:03:07

Assuming you have a large enough garden of course. Our 4m tent used to take up almost the whole width of ours and our 5m one now has to be dried in my parents' garden (you have to think of the guyropes too, of course). But we do have a very small garden....

Moodykat Fri 29-Mar-13 17:39:27

Sorry, another quick question for the Soulpad experts - is the 4m big enough for DH, me and 2 DS's? DS1 is 4 and DS2 is 1.5 - travel cot for him I should think!

SeaShellsMyDogTrulySmells Fri 29-Mar-13 19:15:47

If you can, go for the 5m smile

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 02-Apr-13 12:34:52

Yes, I would second going for the 5m. We have had a 4m and a 5m. We traded up when DD came along. You would definitely all fit in a 4m, but once you have all your stuff in there, space would be tight. The best thing about bell tents is theuir spacious feel, so the bigger the better really. smile

Moodykat Tue 02-Apr-13 13:28:06

I've just bitten the bullet and bought the Karma Canvas one as it has mosquito net and is rather a lot cheaper! (missed the Soulpad sale!).
Apparently it should be here tomorrow! Eek!
Am now looking at crap stuff to fill it with! Am terribly befuddled about beds and sleeping bags. But it's giving me lots to research and I cannot wait until the car boot sales start to buy some tat wonderful accessories!

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 02-Apr-13 13:52:52

Did you go for the 4m or 5m in the end, Moodykat?

Happy shopping (and camping of course) grin

Moodykat Tue 02-Apr-13 14:52:40

The 5m in the end! Am so excited!

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 02-Apr-13 15:18:11

Oh great. You will be really glad you opted for the extra space. There is NOTHING better than a bell tent (imo). grin

Now we all just have to pray for some decent bell tent friendly weather.

Moodykat Tue 02-Apr-13 19:13:49

I'm praying! And perhaps foolishly hoping its sunny enough to put it up this week!

SeaShellsMyDogTrulySmells Tue 02-Apr-13 21:42:13

Have a look at last years threads - there are loads of bell tent links and hints from when a few of us were looking at them. You won't regret the 5m one. Hoping for some sunshine so yo can get put and enjoy it!

Moodykat Wed 03-Apr-13 16:37:39

It's arrived! It's in the car waiting for me to finish work! Would it be silly to put it up in the garden? (quite sunny here but very cold!)

Now for what to sleep on, whether I need a Handirack or not and where to get fairy lights from! Happy times!

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Apr-13 17:56:54


Moodykat Wed 03-Apr-13 19:21:59

It's up and I love it! Took 20 minutes!

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Apr-13 19:53:33

Did you do it on your own Moody?

Moodykat Wed 03-Apr-13 21:07:58 DH helped but that was probably cancelled out by DS's "helping"!

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Apr-13 22:06:07

Am trying to convince DH that it's as easy as a 'pop-up'.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:23:14

It is, it is. We have both and once you get the hang of the bell tent it is pretty quick. Maybe 10 minutes with two of you? Although a family pop up might be quickerm, the bell tent is also really simple what with having only one main pole.

Now you just need all the bell tent crap essentials.

As to a bed, there is so much room in a 5m bell tent that we have a 180cm wide airbed from Intex. Takes a superking sheet and duvet. Pure luxury and DH, DD and I all sleep together in there (more DD's choice than ours but at least we know she is warm). If you do opt for an airbed rather than a SIM or a proper campbed, you will need a blanket either below the bed or between you and the bed to protect you from the cold because an airbed provides no insulation from the ground.

Moodykat Thu 04-Apr-13 08:51:13

At the risk of repeating myself...I LOVE IT!

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