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To bell tent or not to bell tent?

(4 Posts)
EarSlaps Tue 19-Aug-14 11:03:42

I'm trying to get the family camping, and starting to look around at tents that would fit us all in.

We're going away as a tester in our little four man tent, but I know we'd need bigger than that to be comfortable. As long as it goes ok we're going to invest in a bigger tent. Plan would be to camp for short weeks/long weekends rather than long camps as our main holiday. Just a cheaper way to get away for the weekend, and would just cook basic stuff and eat out rather than fully cater in our tent.

I'm not into lots of fancy rugs and bunting etc, so I think I'd try and make it comfortable and functional rather rather than pretty,

I have fallen in love with the idea of a bell tent but DH is less than convinced. The positives for me are the ease and speed of putting it up (so one can do it whilst the other watched the children or I can go alone with the boys), the canvas fabric (less sweaty) and the look of them. Downsides are the price, the weight (though I am pretty strong and I would get the ZIG so could carry in two bags), just one room so might get a bit messy, no where to dry things and no where to cook if raining (though we could get an awning or just use a regular cheap tarp rather than the fancy £££ canvas ones). DH is 6ft2, so head height is important. Also, drying the bell could be as I don't think we could put one up in our city garden.

When I look at other family tents the weight thing doesn't seem such a big deal, as a lot of those are very heavy too with all the poles and inners. Plus most decent ones seem similar prices to the bells. Plus they all look like they takes ages to put up, which we don't want if we're just away 2-4 nights at a time. Bell tents seem very big (we'd go for the 5m), do most campsites have space for them? Lots of pitches seem designed for the rectangular tents (but I prefer the idea of camp in a field type space rather than manicured rectangles IYSWIM).

Is there anything else I should think of when deciding which type of tent to get? Has anyone bought a bell tent and regretted it, or not bought one and regretted that?! Any recommendations for a good alternative if we decide not to get the bell?

Sorry for the essay!

Balanced12 Tue 19-Aug-14 21:58:55

I have a bell tent and love it you can get dividers for them too.

They are warmer but heavy.

Ours got wet and mildew on it which stained so now not overly keen but if I had the money I would buy another. Super quick, can put up before the kids get bored !

EarSlaps Tue 19-Aug-14 22:35:32

Ooh, want one even more now! Thanks for replying.

Was the mildew because it was stored damp or did it happen in use iyswim? Is it cleanable with mould and mildew remover (then reproofing presumably)? We could presumably dry over the banisters with the dehumidifier on full blast if we can't get it up.

Don't know if we'd want inner or not. DS is bizarrely obsessed with how many bedrooms tents have, but also needed a cuddle in the night when we slept in our little tent in the garden.

MinimalistMommi Fri 22-Aug-14 14:28:43

If it's is aired/dried correctly you will not get mildew. We've had our 5m bell tent for five years now and adore it.

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