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Bell tent /camping

(37 Posts)
piddlypoddlypoo Tue 09-Aug-16 07:44:38

I'm not a natural camper but as a lone parent I'm beginning to think it could change our life, as I break the bank to afford a UK break. DD is 8 now. Also I absolutley love the idea of going to festivals, the smaller family type ones. Went to an outdoor concert recently and it unleashed memories in me and I felt back to me after a horrific ten years.

So looking at bell tents.... But - if i get a 4m can I put it up on my own? DD could probably help carry it?

Also, need to buy a car as still sharing car with ex. Was going to get a ford fiesta. Does the bell tent fit in most cars? Obviously can put back seats down as just me and dd?

I'm just sold on the festival/fairy light thing. I've even got a portable toilet this year as we are glamping, so that'll give me food for thought on whether this is going to be for us .

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Tue 09-Aug-16 07:50:54

I could put a 5 m bell tent up on my own and im very short so you should be able to manage a 4m one. I got a ZIG version and kept the groundsheet in a seperate bag which was a lot easier for carrying. Remember if they're wet when you leave they weigh about double!! I had a bad time once getting it back in the car when soaking wet and if it had been a sewn in groundsheet I wouldn't have managed. However I did find the zip hard to do to put it together and if I was buying again I might be tempted by the one with a seperate groundsheet but not a zip, think it has toggles or something??? But then there's a higher insect invasion risk which I wouldn't like.

I had a Ford Fusion at the time, so bigger than a fiesta. Just me and dd and the car was packed to the roof. Tent was massive and wouldn't go in the boot without the back seat being down. Then by the time you'd got clothes,shoes, chairs, sleeping bags, cool box in there wasn't much space left!

Blimeygirl Tue 09-Aug-16 07:54:36

I adore our 5m bell tent and could put it up on my own. However... They weigh a bloody tonne and pack down huge. They are a thing of beauty but I really don't think your 8 yo could help carry it.

piddlypoddlypoo Tue 09-Aug-16 07:59:06

If I got a 4m with sewn in groundsheet (it's the bugs that put me off camping) and carried the poles separately could I manage? Is it possible to put it on a trolley or is that more hassle than it's worth across a field?

Yes dd would probably not be impressed about helping carry it.

piddlypoddlypoo Tue 09-Aug-16 08:04:17

We're also going to have to move when the divorce is through, and we're moving out of London due to costs, one of my basic criteria is a decent size garden, to fit a swing in. So the idea would be to also pitch it for part of the summer in the garden, so not just for camping. Where we are moving to is in/near countryside and we'd be able to get to festivals in the south of england pretty easily.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Tue 09-Aug-16 08:11:34

Well normal camping you pitch next to your car and I would have thought a 4m tent would be manageable.

Festivals im not so sure about. Yes you could put it in a trolley/wheelbarrow but they're so heavy if the ground is soft I think the wheels would just sink.

I wouldn't have been able to carry my 5m one far at all. It was bad enough just taking it from the front door to the spare room for storage!

maisybobbins Tue 09-Aug-16 08:20:53

We bought a 5m bell tent last year, all excited about camping and fairy lights. It is beautiful and we love it. BUT it weighs a ton - we need a trolley just to get it across the garden! It takes ages to put up. So we haven't camped with it once. But love it in the garden as an extra room.

It's a bit decadent but could you possibly but one for the garden but also stretch to an easy tent for festival camping?

piddlypoddlypoo Tue 09-Aug-16 13:42:04

Just looked again at soulpad and the 4m ease is 22g. Manageable ? About 3 stone I think. Appreciate more when wet! how much more though?

voluptuagoodshag Tue 09-Aug-16 13:45:04

I love the look of bell tents but the practicalities of erecting one are probably why there are so many other types of tent. They aren't cheap so if money is an issue would you not be better buying something easier, lighter and cheaper and string some fairy lights to it instead?

Naoko Tue 09-Aug-16 13:54:45

Bells are exceedingly easy to pitch once you've done it once or twice, I can do it on my own in 15-20 minutes or between two of us in 10. They are heavy but not impossibly so. I am disabled and really not very strong, so if it needs carried any distance DP (who is healthy and averagely strong, rather than super athletic) does it. I can shift the bag if it's in my way though, or from a car to a nearby pitch. They're a pain in the arse to dry out, but if you've got a garden you'll be fine. It's if you need to dry them indoors when it becomes difficult.

And definitely carry the poles separately. Only masochists try and get a bell back in its bag poles and all, never mind the carry weight.

piddlypoddlypoo Tue 09-Aug-16 13:54:54

I'm very claustrophobic. I went to Glastonbury s few years in a tiny tent with a mate but I couldn't do that now. When I saw bell tents I realised I could manage to camp in those!

readingrainbow Tue 09-Aug-16 14:17:15

I specifically bought a bell because they are easier to put up alone. My dh refuses to camp, so this style tent seemed the least hair-pulling experience. My only trouble with it is that I can't seem to get the guy lines taught enough or something and when the skirt touches the sides of the tent we get wicking. sad

voluptuagoodshag Tue 09-Aug-16 14:24:07

You get larger tents that are just as easy to put up as small ones. We have an Outwell Minnesota which sleeps 4, has windows and my 6'6" hubby can stand up in but probably has a smaller footprint than a bell tent.

piddlypoddlypoo Tue 09-Aug-16 20:03:11

Been looking at tents in a shop today, but all those poles...

Noticed a 3m 10kg option. It's polycotton not canvas though ? Not sure if I am deviating too far now.

readingrainbow Tue 09-Aug-16 20:21:30

3m are really quite small. You'd have a job getting all your stuff in there.

What are you after in a tent? Easy to put up? Is canvas itself alluring? (I like the smell, and the sound of it flapping in the wind)

There's nothing wrong with polycotton, imo. The purists would say otherwise. smile

leddeeburdee Tue 09-Aug-16 20:31:38

I had a 4m bell tent and could pitch it by myself. It was a bit cumbersome to carry but it was doable, I wouldn't want to walk too far with it but it was okay to carry in short bursts.

Youcantscaremeihavechildren Tue 09-Aug-16 20:37:17

Pitching our 5m bell rent is a doddle, DH does it by himself whilst I sort out all the shite to go inside and find him a beer. Carrying it, not so much. With two kids we now need a trailer and a roof box plus the boot and stuff in the car for a proper 2 week camping trip. A 4m might be lighter but not much. Weve got a separate groundsheet and you do get insects but you can get inners for them too. Plus when it's really nice weather we can roll up all the sides and have it in the garden.
They are lovely and we've had ours 6 years and taken it everywhere, with two kids now we've got a pop up tent inside for the baby and a separate mattress for the 6 yr old, I think I'd like an inner soon though, just to give it a bit more of a sectioned feel.

DancingDinosaur Tue 09-Aug-16 20:39:03

I'm a single parent with a 4m bell tent. My 6 year old ds helps me carry it, but he is a very strong child. I can carry it short distances on my own, although the first time I picked it up I was shocked at how heavy it was. It has got easier to carry it. If I need to move it any distance I balance it on one of those two wheeled trolleys that fold up. That makes it easier. The bell tent is extremely easy and quick to put up by yourself. Sometimes the kids help, sometimes they don't, but I don't need their help anyway. I bought the bell for this reason and I haven't regretted it. The bell tent is very special, it doesn't get hot in the mornings and you can glamp it up and make it look special. I'd definitely recomend going for it as a single parent.

Youcantscaremeihavechildren Tue 09-Aug-16 20:39:34

Oh and you can't beat the feeling of waking up in one! No sweaty tent after a morning of sun, lovely and airy. We also project films onto the side using a small projector once the kids are asleep..

DancingDinosaur Tue 09-Aug-16 20:41:17

Don't get the polycotton or the 3m. It will be tiny. I wish I'd gone for the 5 m tbh, I may upgrade next year, but don't get any less than a 4. You will come to regret it quite quickly.

43percentburnt Tue 09-Aug-16 20:49:10

We have a soulpad pig - it's great. Looked at the zig but I was worried the zip would break. You could put it on a trolley and wheel across the campsite. We pitched next to our car at the last family festival we did.

Check out obelink - I ordered an awning from there - it was about £50 less than the UK and arrived quickly. Also bought an extra pole for it. They sell bell tents too.

NannyR Tue 09-Aug-16 20:49:15

I have the 3m polycotton soulpad belltent. I camp on my own but it is surprisingly spacious inside, I think it would be OK with an adult and a child in it. I do have a tarp/porch that I keep stuff like the stove, coolbox etc in.
I have no problem at all moving it around and pitching it (takes 15 min max) and it fits easily into my Skoda citigo boot (I do have the back seats down though)
Things I don't like about it are the lack of windows, the fact that the door is very low and you have to crouch down to get in and the cream coloured fabric means its extremely bright as soon as the sun comes up, bright enough to wake me at 4.30am so I use an eyemask to get back to sleep.

piddlypoddlypoo Tue 09-Aug-16 21:02:04

Thanks for the pics nanny that looks so lovely. I think it would be big enough. Was just mulling 4m ease though as you get mosquito net and dd is very prone to bites.

Insects are my main issue with camping so I guess I will have to get SIG and hope I can carry it if I break it into two bags with pole separate!

Looks so lovely and relaxed. Once it's in place!

piddlypoddlypoo Tue 09-Aug-16 21:06:03

dancing dinosaur do you carry it with the groundsheet attached? All your reasons are why I am thinking of doing it. Plus I want freedom to just go away without having to save for years and camping is only option. But I can't do it in traditional tents, I need a bit of space and comfort, plus dd is super creative and will love having a tent we can glamp up!

NannyR Tue 09-Aug-16 21:13:00

My soul pad has fly nets on the windows and the door but its not midge proof as I found out in kielder forest last summer! The mesh is small enough to keep bigger insects out but the swarms of tiny midges are able to get through it. A can of fly spray sorts out the problem then you just need a dust pan and brush to clear out the bodies!

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