In this article I will cover the 3 essential practical items needed for a comfortable camping trip and provide my opinions on them; flooring, beds, and lighting and then put my Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen hat on to provide some inspiration for the different interior designs for your bell tent.
Our bell tents all ready come with a heavy duty 540 GSM ground sheet but you may want to cover this with either, rugs, coir matting or a new product call DandyDura.
Made from coconut , this flooring looks very traditional, suiting the style and the natural look and feel of the bell tent. A great option for bell tents that are permanently pitched (IE for campsites that hire out bell tents and have them have them permanently pitched, or if you have a bell tent in your grounds that you leave up for a long period of time)
You can buy flooring cut to either half moon or full moon sizes that will fit the circular shape of the bell tent. This flooring is also naturally very fire resistant.
My preferred choice for a long term set up.
Very heavy and does not pack down small so hard to store and it is hard to wash.
DandyDura is a synthetic alternative to coir matting. It is very popular for use in marquees and in giant hat tipis. Although it is synthetic (polypropylene) it has quite a natural look. It is a lot lighter than coir matting and folds down a lot smaller. It is also easier to clean.
More expensive than coir, not a natural product and a lot less fire resistant.
You usually already have some that you can take with you. Light weight, easy to store, colourful, easy to dry individual rugs. Flat woven rugs suit the style of the bell tent very well in my opinion, my preferred choice for a camping trip / temporary set up.
As you can see from the photo below, just one flat woven rug at the entrance transforms the look of the bell tent.
Unless you use a lot, they do not cover the whole floor area.
Light weight and pack down small
Even the expensive ones burst very easily. You have to spend a lot of money to get one that is comfortable and does not move around when sleeping on them.
I would suggest if going down the foam mattress route using a high quality mattress that you would use on your bed at home.
Pros: A lot more comfortable than an air bed. Can be rolled up. Do not burst and will last a lot longer than air beds, my preferred choice.
Cons: Heavier and harder to store than air beds.
Ikea do an excellent range of foam mattresses that I use on all my camping trips (except wild camping / hiking trips where space is more of an issue (for this I use a Thermarest blow up mattress)
Pack down small and easy to transport (I keep one in the glove box in case I forget to pack on) Provide a lot of light for the size and use a low amount of battery power.
Three LED lights are a good option for the tent. When we go camping we hang one from the centre pole and two from the inner ties at either side of the tent.
Purchased from here:
(Google – Rolson 24 led light hook and magnet)
Do not provide the soft warm light that you would get from candles.
If buying a candle lantern for your tent ,I would certainly advise steering clear of any glass lantern. It is a very good idea to get a metal lantern with an interesting pattern. Not only are the metal lanterns far easier to transport the metal pattern creates a beautiful light/shadow on the the interior of the canvas. The photo below is of an Indian style lantern showing this effect.
(NB: The photo was taken in one of my tipis – not a bell tent)
Caroline Sweeney who runs a Luxury bed and breakfast in Ireland (https://www.facebook.com/legancastle) purchased some bell tents from us this year in order to provide additional, luxury accommodation to her guests and was kind enough to send us some photos of the interiors that she created.
Of all the interiors I have seen I have to say these are my personal favourite. Caroline here has created a rural and contemporary look that whilst being minimalist, with the extra plump pillows, additional cushions and towel basket also looks very comfortable. I like the use of the salvaged boxes and also the tilly lamp as an accent. The hedgerow style flowers also continue the rural theme as does the traditional look of the coir matting which works very well tonely with the colour of the canvas. The bed itself is a custom made pine frame. The bell tent pictured above is a 4 metre, we have a very detailed size guide overview on our site here
Above are the photos from my other website (tipirent.com) they are photographs of one of our tipi tents that we hire out, but as bell tents and tipis are a very similar shape these interiors would work equally as well in a bell tent.
As this was for a tipi tent I wanted to base it on a Navajo design. I went for bold patterns and a warm blending of colour. The contrasting neutral of the coir matting helps counter balance the vibrant, strong colours as does the dark brown salvaged tea chest, the black steel bed frame and the neutral, distressed wooden table with flowers.
Although the bed is not a camping bed, it is easy to transport as only 8 screws are required to re assemble it. The mattress is a comfortable memory foam which is also surprisingly easy to transport as it can be rolled up to quite a small size.
The above photos were posted on our Facebook page from a very happy customer who loves her bell tent. The tent pictured is from our 2014 stock which was a different colour to our new stock.
The vibrant flower cushions and bed spread combined with the traditional bunting creates a Kath Kidson style which can be defined as modern vintage. The tilly lamp (this time hung outside the bell tent) also creates a great accent and continues the traditional feel.
Hopefully the above has been helpful, any other topics you would like me to cover please send me an email via the contact page. Please take a look here for a detailed overview of our bell tents.