If you think about the kind of tent you envisioned as a kid, the chances are it’s a bell tent. With that classic A-frame entrance and the nostalgic canvas feel – they’re the type of tent you might imagine next to you when you’re roasting marshmallows by a roaring fire on a warm summer’s eve. (Or maybe a rainy British winter…)
First patented in 1856, a military oﬃcer called Henry Sibley took inspiration from the Native American tipi tent and designed the ‘Sibley’ tent, the predecessor to today’s bell tent. Whilst the tipi has multiple wooden poles to create a sturdy structure, the bell tent generally uses one single metal pole in the centre with multiple guy ropes on the outside for stability. This results in a one-room circular floor space with plenty of protection from the outside elements, and a pretty quick assembling time overall.
Nowadays, however, that nostalgic canvas exterior is chemically treated to make it more waterproof and breathable, and you might also find some extra supporting poles in the mix to create a more durable structure. It’s also not uncommon to discover handy design features such as pipe jacks for wood-burning stoves, or inner dividers for that homely feel.
Related: Hot Tenting Guide
More commonly used as basecamps, for glamping holidays or family vacations – a bell tent is definitely an investment for life. Though inevitably too heavy and bulky for lightweight adventures, they’re perfect if you’re looking for a more luxurious camping experience this year.
With that in mind, here are our top picks of bell tents on the market right now.
The Best Bell Tents On The Market | Our Favourites
It’s worth noting that quite a few of these tents have various size options (see the Klondike for example). There’s also a whole range of price points here so hopefully there’s something for everyone. If, however, you decide you’re after something a little more lightweight but with a similarly large capacity, have a browse of our list of the best family tents for this year.
- Robens Klondike
- Alpkit Roundhouse
- Nordisk Asgard
- Stout Bell Tent Pro Series
- Big Agnes Mint Saloon
- Naturehike Cotton Canvas Luxury Tent
- Quest Adventure 5M Bell Tent
- Karma 5M Bell Tent
- Teton Sports Sierra 16
- Whiteduck Mini Regatta
Robens Klondike | BEST BUY
Price: £748 to £1090.00
Weight: 13.1kg to 21.6kg
Featured on Outdoors Magic before, the Robens Klondike is an incredibly popular tent amongst outdoor enthusiasts. It’s got that traditional retro design that people are after, but with the modern twist of breathable polycotton fabrics. This should ensure an eﬀective performance up against nature’s elements, as well as a lengthier lifespan than older styles.
In terms of technical specs, the Klondike comes in a small, regular and a ‘grande’ size so we’ll focus on the regular option here for reference. This one’ll hold up to six people with 127 sq. ft. of floor space to work with and a nice head height of 270cm. There’s a vertical door for easy access, protective eaves around the exterior for extra shelter, a zip-oﬀ groundsheet if you fancy a canopy option, and multiple air vents throughout for breathability.
The integrated stovepipe port at the top is probably the coolest feature, though there’s separate inners for sale too if you want to deck it out further. Have a browse here for a breakdown of the new polyester ripstop options.
Small, regular and large size options / vertical door access / four-season / breathable poly-cotton fabric / no coating / non-freestanding / integrated stovepipe port / zip-oﬀ groundsheet / multiple vents / reflective guylines / separate inners including mosquito inner available / small (4P) pack size: 79 x 24cm / regular (6P) pack size: 80 x 27cm / grande (9P) pack size: 92 x 35cm / regular wind test: max. 168 km/h, avg. 153 km/h.
|BUY NOW: ROBENS.DE|
The Alpkit Roundhouse is a four-person organic cotton bell tent. Strictly speaking, it’s made of a polycotton blend with 65% polyester and 35% organic cotton. As well as being free from nasty chemicals, organic cotton also uses less water and produces less greenhouse gases. Thumbs up in terms of eco credentials then.
This also means the tent should stay cool in the heat, warm in the cold, and breathable all-year round. Other features include: a durable 400-denier floor that should hold up against spikey sticks and stones, FSC-certified wooden toggles (another plus for sustainability), and some tough steel poles and pegs. Alpkit also oﬀer a handy 3-year warranty for repairs should disaster strike.
4-person capacity / polycotton (100% organic cotton) canvas / 3m (diameter) x 2m (height) / additional inner option / 400-denier PU floor / integrated groundsheet / steel poles and pegs / FSC-sourced wooden toggles / oversized stuﬀ bag with compression straps / 3-year warranty for repairs / pack size: 70 x 35 x 25cm.
|BUY NOW: ALPKIT.COM|
Price: £530 to £1100
Weight: 4kg to 20kg
Much like the Klondike, the Nordisk Asgard comes in multiple size options including a ‘Tech Mini’ version (2 persons), the 7.1 (3 persons), the 12.6 (6 persons) and the 19.6 (10 persons). All options feature a centre pole construction, a single-walled build and an integrated groundsheet. The centre pole is additionally height-adjustable, and there’s ground level windows with mosquito nets that can open up on hot days.
Our favourite is probably the Asgard 7.1 which, with a pack size of 30 x 97 cm (diameter x length), is still relatively compact for a 3-person bell tent. The head room reaches 200cm so there’s more than enough room for the height of an average-sized individual there too. There’s even a denim option available if that’s your thing…(no judgement here).
Multiple size options (2P to 10P) / centre pole construction / single wall build / integrated groundsheet / ground level windows / mosquito netting used throughout / adjustable pole height / mesh door and windows / pack sack with carry handles.
|BUY NOW: NORDISK.CO.UK|
Stout Tent PRO Series
Price: $1009.00 to $1489.00
Weight: approx. 40kg
With 13ft (3m), 16ft (5m) and 19ft (6m) options, the Stout Tent PRO tents are some very hard-wearing bell tents. They have a hefty weight too so are definitely more suited to a long-term set-up or a basecamp type of adventure. This does mean, however, that they should withstand the harsher elements better than most. According to Stout Tents, when rigged correctly, their tents will stand tall in winds of up to 60mph. Pretty impressive stuﬀ.
The PRO series tents are made from a waterproof and mould-resistant cotton canvas and a ripstop PVC groundsheet. The trade-oﬀ for that old-school cotton canvas is the overall weight here, though if you’re a bell tent traditionalist, this mightn’t bother you too much.
Other features include: 24 inch sidewalls that can unzip from the groundsheet for airflow, bug-netted secondary doors behind the canvas outer doors, an adjustable stove jack and a relatively tall A-frame entrance.
13ft, 16ft and 19ft options / 15-minute construction / 100% cotton canvas / ripstop groundsheet / bug-netted doors / adjustable stove jack (3 to 6 inch capacity) / rebar stakes / reflective ropes / A-frame entrance / 24” sidewalls that can roll up / single or double bug-proof canvas options / 5-year warranty / rental options.
|BUY NOW: STOUTTENT.COM|
Big Agnes Mint Saloon BA Logo
Price: £230 (sale)
Okay so we might be cheating here as Big Agnes have coined this a ‘yurt-style’ tent, however, we’d argue the key central pole construction suggests otherwise… Anyhow, here we have the Mint Saloon BA Logo. In terms of design, it’s the most modern on the list, though it still has hints of bell tenty-ness splattered throughout.
The Mint Saloon has an 8-person capacity and 254cm of head room (roughy 8 ft 3 inches). It’s a single-wall shelter with an integrated fly and a very large vestibule. This vestibule can be staked out to provide some shade when outside, or can be zipped shut for optimum elemental protection. There’s also peaked vents throughout, a back window and some large side wall windows for ventilation.
8-person capacity / polyester and polyester mesh body / 1500mm waterproof polyurethane coating / taped seams with PVC and VOC-free waterproof polyurethane tape / single-wall shelter / integrated flysheet / peaked vents / side-wall and back windows / large vestibule / reflective guylines and webbing / 15 aluminium stakes / aluminium poles / packed size: 15 x 28 x 75cm.
|BUY NOW: REI.COM|
Naturehike Waterproof Cotton Canvas Luxury Tent
Price: $1919.85 (sale)
The Naturehike Cotton Canvas tent is another cotton canvas option, though it’s reassuringly treated with Naturehike’s own waterproofing solution and has reinforced seams throughout. With an expanded size of 548 x 548 x 350cm, there’s also enough room for a grand old family adventure with this one.
Other features include: top air vents, zipped windows, walls that can roll up to let a breeze through, and polyester mesh built into the door for protection against biting insects.
Cotton waterproof-treated fabric / double stitched, fully seamed lining / thick PVC ground sheet / top air vents / zipped windows / integrated mesh / pack size: 100 x 34 x 34cm.
|BUY NOW: NATUREHIKE.COM|
Quest Adventure Bell Tent
Price: £600 (including purchase of GO Outdoors Member’s Card)
The Quest Adventure Bell will hold up to four people and has a height of 300cm. The flysheet is made from a 100% cotton canvas (285gms) whilst the groundsheet is made from a PVC that can be zipped away if you fancy a canopy option in the the summer. The sides will also roll up and there are inners and tarps available to buy separately.
The frame itself is made from steel – as well as the pegs – so the tent’s built to last in that sense. The guy lines are also pre-attached to create an overall assembling time of six minutes apparently. Not bad at all given its size. (Considering the retail price is £900, and the member’s card price is £595, it’s well worth buying that £5 GO Outdoors card for the discount by the way.)
4-person capacity / 100% cotton canvas flysheet / zipped 540g PVC groundsheet / steel frame / pre-attached guylines / assembling time: 6 minutes or less / zipped mesh windows / roll-up sides /additional inner and tarps available / pack size: 98 x 35 x 35cm / dimensions: 500 (length) x 300cm (height).
|BUY NOW: QUESTLEISURE.COM|
Karma Fireproof 5M Bell Tent
Karma canvas are a company based in the West Midlands, and have a huge amount of bell tents to choose from. They also do bell tent stoves if you’re looking to do some hot tenting this year, as well as a rental service if you’re not sure you’re ready to commit to the bell tent life just yet.
The Fireproof 5m Bell Tent has an 8-person capacity, and is built with an 100% organic cotton canvas. Like most bell tents, the groundsheet and windows are zipped in so can be removed, whilst the windows are also all fitted with a mosquito mesh lining for further protection. The Fireproof option also has a pre-cut stove hole with a Velcro-secured canvas cover, and reassuringly, a PROBAN® treatment for fireproofing to industry standards. Here’s our favourite fire pits if you’re interested.
8-person capacity / 100% organic 360gsm cotton canvas / zipped-in waterproof groundsheet (580gsm grams/m2) / mosquito mesh door / pre-cut stove hole with velcro-secured canvas cover / thick 32mm central pole / double stitched seams with reinforced tension points / 4 zipped windows with mosquito mesh lining / 3 meshed vents / 6mm reflective guy ropes / wooden guy sliders / water, UV, mould and fire proof / treated with PROBAN® for fireproofing / 10-15 minute assembling time / power cord access at tent entrance / pack size: 90 x 30 x 30cm / height: 300cm /one-year warranty.
|BUY NOW: KARMACANVAS.COM|
Teton Sports Sierra 16
Based at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, Teton Sports produce a whole host of diﬀerent outdoor products. The Sierra 16 here is one of their canvas tent options with an 8 person capacity, though it can probably hold more at a squeeze.
It’s made from a waterproof cotton canvas with a zip-away interwoven polymer fabric floor. It operates a 1 central pole 1 door pole system and has reinforced corners and seams and built-in vents throughout. There’s also multiple easy access e-ports for electronics and an additional lifetime warranty to add to its durability. It’s also worth noting that there are smaller and larger options of the Sierra tent available.
8-person + capacity / 1 central pole and 1 door pole / waterproof cotton canvas / zip-away groundsheet / built-in vents / power cord access / lifetime warranty / assembled size: 16′ x 16′ x 9′ 5” / packed tent bag size: 36″ x 9″ x 16” / packed pole bag size: 36″ x 6″ x 5”.
|BUY NOW: TETONSPORTS.COM|
Whiteduck 8’ Mini Regatta
Price: £359.99 (sale)
As the smallest option on this round-up, the Whiteduck 8’ Mini Regatta is slightly more portable than your average bell tent. It has a 2-person capacity with 2.5 metres of floor space and a centre height of 160cm (roughly 5ft 2 inches). In this sense, it’s probably not ideal if you sit on the taller end of the scale.
Related: Best Double Sleeping Bags
It’s built with a DYNADUCK cotton canvas which is water repellent, and has a mould and UV resistant finish. The groundsheet is sewn in so cannot be removed, whilst the seams are double-stitched and have reinforced corners for added strength. You’ll also find vents on the roof and bug mesh on the doors and windows.
2-person capacity / 8’ to 16’ options / aluminium centre pole / A-frame door / biodegradable sewn-in PE groundsheet / roof vents / bug mesh on doors and windows / double-stitched seams with reinforced corners / water repellent, mould & UV resistant finish / reflective ropes / metal tension adjusters / 2.5m floor space / centre height: 160cm / door height: 110cm / wall height: 40cm.
|BUY NOW: WHITEDUCKOUTDOORS.CO.UK|