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Fellow bell tenters...a moment of your time please? Need opinions.

(14 Posts)
pictish Tue 23-Sep-14 11:02:02

So lucky me, I'm in a position atm to upgrade our bell. We've had our 5 metre PIG Soulpad for six has done well, but a recent windfall has been allocated to a new tent.

I immediately thought of Canvas and Cast. They make a heavier grade bell with reputedly excellent finishing. They are very lovely and I want one.
Just rang up to speak to someone there regarding an order, and got the most disinterested, vague, patronising-encroaching-on-rude 'salesperson' I've ever spoken to.
Basically they are out of stock until next year. Ok - but I had a few questions regarding bell tent options, pricing and manufacturing...nothing heavy, just general enquiries, and was pretty much treated with the contempt a stupid person talking utter shit to someone would politely be awarded.
Very surprised.
I am now reconsidering where to put my spends.

BCT do a heavier grade bell as well...and theirs are made in Britain for the British weather. They have raised their doorways, which is good from a comfort point of view, but they don't look just quite as pretty. I believe the product would be of a great standard though. I am tempted to go with them.
Take a look here

Any other recommendations of experience of these companies? I really want to buy wisely.

Thank you x

cedricsneer Tue 23-Sep-14 11:08:19

Haha Pictish, I knew it would be you! I have no useful advice as I am new to bell tenting - they are very cool though and you helped me decide to buy one, so thanks. We had a great scottish summer of camping thanks. Hope someone knows more than me (although the camping topic may be a bit quiet now).

pictish Tue 23-Sep-14 11:13:31

Thanks for replying anyway - I did wonder if I was going to get any at this time of year.

The Soulpad is still going, albeit needing a bit of TLC and repair (nothing to do with the manufacturing, the damage was our fault) - I'm going to give it to my friend as a gift and she can take it in for an overhaul for the £60 it will cost.

This is the only time I will be able to fork out for an upgrade so I'm taking it.

cedricsneer Tue 23-Sep-14 11:14:52

Quite right. Lucky friend!

EarSlaps Tue 23-Sep-14 11:45:18

I'm not a bell tenter but I did look into them a lot before DH vetoed the idea.

BCT seem to get good reviews, they've been making canvas tents for years. I really liked the look of their Pioneer tent too but they don't seem to do them at the moment.

Bell tent do a Pro heavier duty bell tent too, but then lots of people are negative about their customer service.

Maybe try UK Campsite boards for more luck with someone knowledgeable- there'll probably be a scout leader still using a 30 year old BCT tent or something.

pictish Tue 23-Sep-14 19:25:45

Bump for the evening crew.

pictish Tue 23-Sep-14 19:28:37

Earslaps thanks - I'll ask UK Campsite too. x

CampingClaire Wed 24-Sep-14 15:38:35

Not a Bell Tent but can't recommend the Dutch canvas company DeWaard. We have an Albatross with its giant variolifuil (sunshade) ...check them out on google images. You have to buy in Holland but can be done over the phone and sent (although we treated ourselves to the trip for a look see)!!

pictish Wed 24-Sep-14 16:49:38

I considered a DeWaard, but decided against. They're amazing tents, but they weigh a ton, take longer to put up than a bell and cost twice the price. After thinking about it for ages I decided to upgrade the bell, because it works for us.
Thanks though - I am a little jealous of your Albatross.

NettleTea Wed 24-Sep-14 17:27:55

yes yes to Dewaard
but I have heard bad stuff about canvas and cast
and good stuff about BCT who are great at tents, but not as faddy and jumping on the bandwaggon.
Bell Tent UK I avoid purely for their threatening manner towards Obelink
Soulpad are good, but as you have noticed their canvas isnt as robust.

pictish Wed 24-Sep-14 18:11:07

I have taken Canvas and Cast out of the picture. When I am proposing to spend the best part of a grand on a tent, I expect to be treated with basic courtesy and a minimal amount of pleasantness.
The woman made it quite clear she couldn't be arsed talking to me about their tents, because they didn't have any stock in til April, and treated me like an annoying child when I asked a handful of questions anyway.
Fine - I can't be arsed buying one then.

I've ordered from BCT - they're more expensive, but I think the experience, quality and the fact they're manufactured in Britain for the British climate make up for it.

pictish Wed 24-Sep-14 18:13:03

Oh and owing to the fact that they were more than happy to answer my questions with no obligations.

Anteater Mon 24-Nov-14 23:32:17

We have rented bell tents for the last two years...
Opt for the sewn in ground sheets.. Lots of bugs otherwise.
Usually some good 2nd hand bargains to be had at the end of season.. A few marks = £100's off.
I have bought from and another (can not remember..) Both excellent. Prices similar.
They are super heavy to lug about if you are a weekend camper but offer a great family area for longer hols..

PinkFondantFancy Thu 15-Jan-15 19:27:23

I used to have a PIG soulpad and it was a disaster in bad weather and not remotely fit for purpose - not water or wind tight. However, we've now got a 5m sig and so far so good. Let us know how you get on with BT.

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