Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Bell Tents - Bell Tent Sussex

Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Bell Tents

Good Tips to Know: Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Bell Tents

bell tent


Are you planning to bask in the outdoors with style? Or camp under the stars in thick forests or at festivals? Glamping accommodations are highly favored by families in the UK for its comfort and convenience. Turn your rough outdoor adventures in ease when camping out in the wilds.

Bell Tent Sussex has a range of stunning tents to suit your camping or event needs. The aesthetically-pleasing, chic drape, and sleek look of bell tents make it very popular.

Due to the prevalence of bell tents, there’s a sudden demand for it in the market. However, some products lose its quality, aspects, and features that don’t do the tents justice. In the end, people are left with cheap camping gear that easily breaks off in the middle of their getaway.

At Bell Tent Sussex, we know what our customers want in a bell tent, because, like you, we’re campers, too! Buying the best available bell tent around will save you time, money, and disappointment along the way.

We’ve created this guide, tips, and research on what to look for when buying a bell tent. Let’s talk about bell tents and how you can snag quality camping with the right value for your money.

 What’s a bell tent and how it came to be?

Family bell tent

We’ve seen bell tents adorned in glamping campsites and arts festivals, with fire stoves and gypsy-styled statements at its entrance. The tents are a symbol of a classic design characterized by its single A-frame pole support and guy ropes for the gentle draping of tent sleeves.

Bell tents are commonly used in glamping or luxury camping and is often refurbished with beds, carpets, coffee and tea machines, fire pits, or refrigeration units.


Old Bel Tent

Early history of the bell tent

While early accounts of bell tent were used during 600 A.D., it wasn’t until in 1858, when the Sibley tent, designed by Henry Hopkins Sibley, formed to what we now know as the bell tent. Sibley surveyed designs of the Native American Tipi on his expeditions in the Old West and built a camping tent based on his notes.


Today’s modern bell tent makes use of canvas that is waterproof, flame retardant, breathable, and mildew resistant. This provides a more practical use for glamping experiences.


bell tent setup

Camping in Sussex

According to camp booking website, Pitchup, about 8,200 bookings were made in July 2020 for a staycation in UK’s popular destinations. Cornwall is the most preferred camp destination, followed by Pembrokeshire, East Sussex, and Norfolk. People wanted to camp in less dense areas for some breather and Sussex is a preferred destination for a green-clean camping experience.


Because of the current stress brought by the global health crisis, people would rather enjoy themselves through glamping for a stress-free holiday. Pitchup also stated that their bookings consist of 77% for bell tents in November 2018.


According to a study by the Great British Glamping Report, nearly 21% of users in camp booking sites prefer bell tents as well. The rise of  Glamping and use of bell tents are raking high for the past years even until now in 2020.


How big is it: bell tent size guide

Most bell tents range from three and six meters, and can fit generally about 2 to 7 people. Even with  Glamping, it’s important to get the right size  without being uncomfortable of how you layout the insides of the tent. If you're after for example a 6 person bell tent


Bell Tent Sussex Size Guide

Figuring the best size for you is as important as figuring the size of your group. Will it be the two of you, with the whole family, or with a group of friends? For a group of 2 to 4 people, you might need a tent somewhere around 3 meters or 4. However, larger groups should be more relaxed with a bigger tent.


You also have to keep in mind the amount of space, the sloping ceiling distance, the use of space for keeping valuables, and for camp kitchen area.


bell tent

3 meters – 300 cm (L) x 300 cm (W) x 200 cm (H) x 60 cm

The tent size is ideal for couples or two friend companions. Or, why not just you and your four-legged friend? Bell tents at 3 meters is just the right fit for a quick getaway in the outdoors. This tent size is ideal for winter camping with a small company for stable aeration, ventilation, and heat distribution.

 bell tent

4 meters – 400 cm (L) x 400 cm (W) x 250 cm (H) x 60cm

The bell tent can easily accommodate 2 to 3 adults or possible a family with two little children. At 4 meters, the tent is enough to fill 2 to 4 single beds or 2 Queen-sized beds for couples and children. Plus, there’s enough space for the group to fill in for their baggage and kitchen counter, while moving around easily.

 bell tent

5 meters – 500 cm (L) x 500 cm (W) x 300 cm (H) x 60 cm

A 5m bell tent is perfect for those camping with more people of 4 to 6 individuals moving about. Families with teenage kids or young adults can easily play and go about the camping tent with ease. The tent will give a large group of friends enough headroom and area to socialize.

 bell tent

6 meters – 600 cm (L) x 600 cm (W) x 350 cm (H) x 65 cm

For a larger number of campers, a 6-meter tent allows 5 to 7 people inside with plenty of room for storage, bedding, kitchen counter, and compartmentalized areas. Larger tents like these are also perfect for  Glamping with the whole family and grandparents. It’s also a good way spruce up an intimate celebration like small family weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, and more.

 bell tent

Bell tent awnings – 400 cm x 260 cm

A tent awning serves as an extension to your living space. If you can’t find enough room for a kitchen camp or dining area, a tent awning can give you that extra compartment. It’s also important to use during hot weather for maximum shade protection against the garish light of day without getting too dry and humid. This piece can fully well cover your entrance porch and deflect wind. Moreover, waterproof awnings do a good job keeping you dry from rainy days.

 Bell Tent Inner

Inner tent – 200 cm x 200 cm; 250 cm x 250 cm; 300 cm x 300 cm

Need a special compartment inside? Inner tents are zipped rooms made with polyester anti-bug nets to keep pesky mosquitoes ruining your camping experience.


A bell tent space is roomy at best, but moving around comfortably and placing your luggage somewhere is also important. Weather in the UK can be unpredictable, so, you might never know when it’ll rain or snow harder. So, a bit of extra space could make a difference.


What is it made of – Bell tent materials

Traditional bell tents are made of 100% cotton canvas. Overtime, the market introduced lighter materials such as polyester and poly-cotton mix. Each material has their own pros and cons that cater to the needs of campers.


100% Cotton Canvas

Canvas tents are unbleached cloth made from, natural materials such as hemp, flax, and cotton. They’re strong and usually used for sailing, tenting, or painting. Our bell tents are made from 100% cotton and are durable, breathable, and well-aerated. With proper care, they can last for years of usage.


One of the drawbacks of a canvas bell tent is that when humidity kicks in, there’s a huge potential of growing mold that causes the tent to discolor. These usually happen when it’s wet and dried improperly or left in a not so well-ventilated room or space.



  1. Strong, durable, and quality knitting and fabrication
  2. Stays breathable in any camping seasons
  3. Aesthetically pleasant
  4. Long-term usage



  1. Intensive care to avoid mold and mildew
  2. Needs more weathering-in to become waterproof
  3. Heavy to carry



Factors considering when buying a bell tent

With Bell Tent Sussex, you’ll find various bell tents to suit your needs. Purchasing a tent can be daunting because you have to deal with a lot of specifications in the markets. Don’t know what to buy? We’ve made this checklist with all the information you need to choose the right bell tent. We also have on occasion used bell tents for sale.


Check your lifestyle and usage

How many times do you travel in a year or go on about camping in the outdoors? Camping life is not easy. You can always opt to glamp in one to see and feel how it’s like camping under the stars. Or, perhaps you can find other purposes for it other than camping?


Whether you’re basking in the great outdoors, having a party in the backyard, or celebrating a milestone event, the appeal of bell tents can’t be ignored. Maybe you want it for your kid’s birthday or personal relaxation space? Canvas bell tents are great adorned with cushion, buntings and colorful decors.


Size of tent

Bell tents are sized between three and six meters. Know who’s coming along on your trip and you get to choose what size is available for you. A 3-meter tent is good for couples or 2 to 3 people, while a 4-meter sized tent is ideal for 3 to 4 people with just enough room for moving around.


Meanwhile, a 5-meter tent can fit a small family or a group of 4 to 6 friends. Our 6-meter bell tent is best for larger families and groups of people. Define the number of people and gauge whether they can fit inside the tent.



Quality is an important factor when buying the bell tent you want. Bell Tent Sussex invest on premium quality 100% canvas cotton for its durability, solid, and properties. We can’t stress enough why canvas fabric is the real deal for camping.


Canvas bell tents can help insulates you upon camping in rainy seasons or winter. Likewise, it helps the insides stay cool during summer as well. On a plus note: it doesn’t make weird, flapping noises on windy days.


Weight and load distribution

The weight of a camping tent may not be a big factor unless it gives you the trouble of brining and pitching it. Most campers load it off their vans and use trolleys and boxes for stashing its equipment and accessories. A tent’s weight increases depending on the thickness of the fabric and its size.


With weights, come the burden of guy ropes and appropriate pegs that can stabilize the tent. With all the weight your tent is providing, is your vehicle even ready to pile it in?



Groundsheets are often thick around 540 gsm, are made of PVC materials, detachable, and are waterproof. Groundsheets are ideal to prevent bugs from crawling in, or seepage of rain or and muddy ground that could make its way into the tent.

 Bell tents have built-in groundsheets – some are sewed and some are zipped. We prefer our tents having a zip-in, so campers can customize what their grounding should be when tenting.

 camping pegs

Pins, pegs, and poles

Bell tents have mid-poles and an entrance pole to give that A-shape entrance. Of course, you need to examine them whether they’re quality made or have special features like an extension system that forms when you stand them up on the sides.


Other than that, poles are often spring loaded for easy set up. Mid-poles with a diameter of 38mm made from galvanized steel tube with 1.5mm thickness, copper-zinc coated is enough to say that’s it durable. Bell Tent Sussex has a frame pole of a diameter of 19mm of 1.0mm thickness for tent entrance stability.


Pins and pegs are worth 6mm steel of 20cm on length and 10mm steel with 30cm length respectively.

 Bell Tent Zip

Ropes, zips, and fly sheets

For guy ropes, you can opt for synthetic fibers or sisal ropes. Either works and bodes well for a canvas bell tent. However, the latter, when damp for a long time, may grow molds. For zippers, heavy-duty zips can hold a tent down while cheaper ones can be a bit frustrating especially when it’s not working.


Canvas fly sheets do well for windy and rainy days. When weathered-in, it can act as a waterproof protection against the rain. Remember to have fly sheets n your air vents and tent doors.

 100% Canvas Bell Tent

Basic canvas bell tent care

Always check your tent if there are any dirt or grim sticking on its exteriors. Gently brush stains and mud with a soft bristle brush before washing (or hosing) it with cold, clean water.


Before storing your canvas, make sure to dry it before storing. Damp canvas is often the cause for molds and mildew to grow and rot the canvas. Even when you’re not using your tent, take time to brush it inside and out so it won’t get destroyed easily on your next trip.

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