Bell Tent Varieties, Designs and Features

A Bell Tent is the name given to a tent that, believe it or not, takes on the shape similar to a bell due to the slight flaring of the tent given by introducing lower side skirting to the original Tipi type shape of tent.

This simple modification to the Tipi allowed more efficient use of space in the bottom corner of the Tipi tent as the natural fall of the material met the ground. The lower side walls of a bell tent give more room to move beds, camping equipment and storage boxes closer to the edge of the tent so that the centre area can be used for day to day activities.


The rise in popularity of the Bell Tent has been quite phenomenal due to its ease of erection and the space that it then affords the camper. Once the main canvas body is unpacked, a central pole is all that is then needed to raise the canvas and with the aid of a person to insert three or four stabilising pegs, the tent is in place and just needs the remaining pegs to be put in place followed usually by a groundsheet. The space created is then quite remarkable in terms of both storage area but more importantly, standing headroom. The Bell Tent is then also a very stable and stormproof structure.

What are the Advantages of the Bell Tent?

  • Easy to erect.
  • Very Spacious.
  • Relatively lower cost than trailer tent or caravan.

Disadvantages of the Bell Tent

  • Can be very heavy when packed.
  • Can be Bulky when packed.
  • Needs at least 2 people to erect.
  • Often made of natural canvas and therefore need annual treatment and maintenance.

Can you get an Awning for a Bell tent?

Yes, Bell Tents now have many accessories due to growing demand of additional features and awnings and porches were one of the first things to expand. The addition of an awning to a Bell tent can start to look somewhat “Funky” but they really do work well. Awnings tend to be quite simplistic, however by simply being a simple square or rectangular canvas sheet with poles to cover your tent entrance.

Can I Cook in a Bell Tent?

Yes, check any model of tent that you are considering and identify that it has a stove hole. These are obvious an escape hole in the canvas but with specially added insulating and / or fire retardant materials to separate the tent wall from the substantial heat that can be generated from cooking equipment like stoves. Allied to this point is of course the generation of poisonous gases like Carbon Monoxide which will be expelled through the stove through it's chimney.

PLEASE NOTE : A fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide are highly recommended in any situation where a stove is used.

What are the Popular Sizes of Bell tents?

Bell tents tend to range form between 3 metres and 6 metres Diameter with 1 metre and 0.5 metre denominations in between.

Colour Designs of Bell Tents

The standard natural canvas colour can look somewhat bland but does fit in a natural campsite / woodland environment. There are, however some very funky designs appearing with rainbow colours, simple two colour stripes or circus tent type and they can look really stunning. We can see this area developing some really innovative designs in the coming years.

Convenience Features of the Bell Tent

A really good feature of the Bell tent is being able to unpeg and roll up all or part of the lower side wall to allow ventilation. It is common knowledge that tents can get very hot under the sun and this really is a heaven-sent element to look for. As models have become more and more refined in this tent sector, so too have more features become available to provide integral ventilation with mesh windows and flaps.

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