Everyone has their own definition of what a camping trip should look like. For some, camping means loading up the RV and hitting the road with all of the comforts of home. For others, camping is much more rustic and involves strapping everything they need on their backs and heading deep into the woods. For those looking for something in between luxury and minimalism, “glamping” is the perfect solution. Glamping is a relatively new concept and also could mean different things to different people. However, one thing that every glamper can definitely agree on is the need for a tent. But not just any tent; glampers need an upgrade, such as a canvas bell tent.
What Bell Tents Are Commonly Used For?
So what is a bell tent? Canvas bell tents have been around for a very long time since 600AD, in fact. Its design is simple - basically, a circular cotton canvas that is supported by a single pole and stabilized by guy ropes. Today, bell tents are used for everything from glamping to backyard parties, sleepovers, weddings, graduation parties, and music festivals. Your bell tent is literally a blank canvas. If you choose, you can paint the tent with weather-proof paints to create a truly custom tent. The interior also can be your own unique creation. Pillows, cozy throws, and cushions will create a cozy and inviting oasis. The possibilities are endless! If you aren’t sure if a bell tent is right for you, you can even try one on for size by renting one from an Airbnb or Vrbo.
What Variety in Tent Sizes Is There?
Bell tents come in a wide variety of sizes, which can make it sometimes difficult to decide what size bell tent to choose. Just like with any other tent, the size that you need depends on how you will be using the tent and how many people you will need to accommodate. The good news is that your bell tent can be customized to fit nearly any size crowd. For those choosing a bell tent for smaller-scale glamping, here are some recommendations to help you choose the right bell tent size:
- 9 - 10 ft: This is on the small side and ideal for a cozy camping trip for two.
- 13 - 15 ft: This size provides enough elbow room for a family of four.
- 16 - 20 ft: This size bell tent will accommodate larger families or groups of friends of five or six.
What Materials Are Used for Bell Tents?
Bell tents are made from heavy-duty tent canvas. A traditional bell tent will utilize heavy-duty tent fabric that is 100 percent cotton. However, lighter weight fabrics are also available, but the high-quality, unbleached, cotton canvas is considered the best option. The canvas for tents should also be UV, mold, flame, and water-resistant. To keep the base of your tent clean and dry, you should also invest in a high-quality groundsheet, ideally one that is zipped in for the ultimate in comfortable glamping. If you have kids or pets, a zipped-in groundsheet is an absolute must to ensure safety. To extend the life of your groundsheet, you should also consider investing in a groundsheet protector. Considering that a groundsheet protector will help protect against dirt, tears, water, and mold, it’s a worthwhile investment.
How Should I Style My Bell Tent?
Now that you know what size tent you need, it’s time for the fun part - choosing a style or theme for your bell tent. If you’re a bohemian glamper, then opt for rich, layered rugs in a variety of funky patterns and colors. Colored glass lanterns will create a warm ambiance. Add some comfy cushions and incense and you’re all set! If you prefer more elegant glamping decor, keep the color scheme simple and clean with soft shades of cream and pale pink or coral. Choose plush throws to match the color scheme and use fairy lights to softly light the space.
What Are The Major Benefits of Bell Tents?
Maybe you’re still wondering why you should choose a bell tent, especially when there are so many other tent options available. One of the advantages of bell tents is that they provide a unique space that is fun to decorate. Keep reading for more benefits that bell tents have to offer.
Bell Tents Are Spacious
Tall folks will appreciate the fact that bell tents provide more vertical space than typical camping tents. The added height not only provides more headroom, it also lends to a more spacious feeling within the tent. Since they have low walls, bell tents also utilize nearly every inch of floor space, giving everyone some extra elbow room. This is especially important if you’re glamping with kids who want to spread out their toys and play. Also, because bell tents are so sturdy, kids can play freely without worrying about doing anything that would destabilize the tent structure.
The Canvas Is Waterproof
Imagine you’re glamping and have your bell tent decorated to the nines. Your rugs are down, your cushions scattered and pillows plumped. And then…dark clouds roll in. Nothing can ruin a glamping trip faster than a leaky tent. Fortunately, as long as you choose a quality waterproof canvas tent, rain won’t put a damper on your glamper. So how does canvas keep you dry? It works so well because it is so tightly woven as well as very absorbent. But first, the canvas needs to be seasoned with water. You can either use a hose or leave the canvas out in the rain and then pitch the tent until it is completely dry. Also, be sure to keep your tent canvas clean by removing any dirt or debris with a hard bristle brush. Finally, apply canvas waterproof evenly to the surface and let it “cure” for at least 10 - 12 hours in a protected, dry area.
Bell Tents Offer a Great UV Protection
Glamping should be luxurious, and that means comfort and protection from the elements, including harmful UV rays. But at the same time, no one wants to be sweltering even if it is in the shade. Bell tents offer protection from the sun, but also have added benefits that other tents can’t offer, including breathability. Because authentic, traditional bell tents are made of cotton, they are a cool and more comfortable alternative to other materials options. Just be sure to treat your tent regularly with paraffin or beeswax to ensure that it remains waterproof and UV repellent.
Bell Tents Are Long Lasting
Bell tents have been around for centuries for a very good reason: durability. Because they are made from such densely woven, heavy-duty cotton, they truly are built to last. Your tent’s longevity depends on a number of factors, including the amount of usage, how long it stays pitched, the climate and weather conditions, and sun exposure. That said, with proper maintenance and storage, you can expect your bell tent canvas to last for a decade or longer.
The Construction Is Stable
Another reason why bell tents have stood the test of time is because of their unrivaled stability. The combination of their circular structure and heavy-duty canvas material makes them incredibly sturdy. Their pyramid shape means that it doesn’t have corners that are why they can withstand strong winds and harsh weather conditions, making them a favorite among glampers. They also don’t flap in the wind like tents made from lightweight materials. If you add a groundsheet and groundsheet protector, your tent will be even more durable and long-lasting.
The Maintenance is Incredibly Simple
By now you know that the quality and longevity of your canvas bell tent are dependent upon regular maintenance. Another consideration to extend the life of your tent is the location where you pitch your tent. While it might seem like a good idea to pitch your tent under a shady tree, the truth is that you should not. The reason is that you don’t want sap or bird droppings on your beautiful canvas. Also, you want your canvas to stay dry and mold-free. That means the best place to pitch your bell tent is in an open, sunny area.
If you’ve decided that a bell tent isn’t right for you and you’re looking for American-made tents for sale, look no further! At American Tent, we are proud to manufacture the majority of our tents right here in the United States. This means that from sewing to welding, right through to the finished product, your tent is created with an unsurpassed dedication to quality. Our team is here to advise you on how to choose the best tent for your glamping needs. Contact us today for help with everything from planning and installation to maintenance.