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12/04/2015

First camping trip and the New Bell Tent

First trip report post of 2015! Well I decided that I needed a Bell Tent, don't know what notion I took but in the long winter months I fell for the idea of having a Bell Tent (actually not for the first time but financial constraints always stopped me before) and eventually I tracked one down at a price I liked. I bought it direct from Germany and it is a 4m Polycotton.

Unusually it has two windows in the walls which is one of the things I liked about this one, and I also liked that being polycotton as opposed to cotton canvas, it would be quicker to dry and a lighter weight to handle. I'm not absolutely tied to 'real canvas' anyway. It is branded '10T'.

So I just needed an excuse to use it and I got the chance on a Monday evening over the Easter Holidays. I wasn't due in to work until the Wednesday so I sprung at the chance. It was only one night so I packed little but the tent and my bed and headed off to a campsite called Hillfoot which is near Dungiven in Co Londonderry. As it happened I arrived quite late and didn't get the tent up until it was practically dark which was around 8.30pm. The next morning I had to be away by 10am so it really wasn't much experience of the tent, and first impressions weren't that great.The door was far too low, the single guy rope outside the door kept threatening to decapitate me and the air inside the cavernous space was far too much to heat never mind that it was damp and cold as well. A friend lives on the site and so I actually didn't spend much time in it except to sleep. Being early April it was bloody cold at night but anticipating that I had brought lots of blankets. I was still freezing and did not sleep that well to be honest. The next day, despite direct sunlight, the thing did not dry and I hadn't the luxury of hanging around until it did. So it was bundled away wet and I do so hate having a wet tent to deal with.

It was nearly ready for Ebay at this point but I got it dried in work (an empty, unfurnished office provided the space and the boss gave the go ahead - little does he know, this is the new tent drying area) and I left it for a good five days to make sure it was bone dry. I struggled to get it into it's bag as I was doing this on my own, and the tent really is a heavy brute.

I didn't even get any photos on this trip, I literally had no light in the evening and in the morning I was busy putting it away.

Pro's

It is mahooossive.
It is a lovely colour.
It is really nice quality fabric and the floor is strong and thick, cream coloured pvc (or whatever groundsheets are made out of).
The centre pole and the door poles are strong and substantial.
It literally took about 8 minutes to pitch. First time, never having pitched one before.

Cons

The space means it's hard to heat, any heat goes up to the 2.5m tall centre.
The door is low
The guy rope outside the door is in a stupid place
It's really heavy, I can hardly lift it out of the boot.
It didn't dry practically instantly like a polyester tent does. For some reason this shocked me.
The windows were no good because they were condensated up (although I'm told since that pitching it in cool damp air would not have helped.)


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