Whether you’re a new camper looking to get started or a seasoned pro who needs a new tent, its handy to consider which type is best for you!
Obviously, here at Bellisima we think Bell tents are the Belle of the ball; but we’ll try to be impartial!
There are three options to really think about, bell tent vs air tent vs poled tent


Bell tents are our personal favorites!
They are so easy to put up and take down that even one person can do it by themselves in only 10 -20 minutes.
• Lay it out in a circle
• Peg down
• Go into the tent and place one end of the king pole in the point, slowly pushing it up until it fits into the central base.
• Put the A-frame in to make the door
• Finally, peg the guy lines!
• Grab a glass of wine!

Bell tents are available in canvas or polyester (typical tent fabric) – click here to read canvas vs polyester comparison page.

Bell Tents

• 5m (6 – 8 person) Polyester Bell tent 19 – 22kg
• 5m (6 – 8 person) Canvas Bell tent 35 – 45kg

Bell tents are large, spacious, open plan family tents. In a 5m, there’s plenty of room to stand up in a large portion of it. There’s room for beds, clothes and a seating / eating area. We love the open plan aspect of bell tents… some people fear it, but it really does make the space bright and airy!
Its great to be together with the family and closed compartments provide no sound insulation between rooms anyway, so you might as well watch your kids lovely sleep faces (when else are they peaceful??), while you have a little drink at night.

Click here to see video of how easy it is to pitch a bell tent!

What can go wrong:
Someone may get jealous and steal your tent!!! (What? It’s the only thing we could think of!)


Air tents are definitely our second favorite option!
They are easy for one person to put up (though it does require a fair bit of pumping)… and the size makes no difference, it’s almost as easy to put up a house sized air tent, as it is to do a teeny one! It takes about 15 – 30 minutes to put up a 6 – 8 man air tent.
• Lay it out
• Peg it down
• Inflate the beams to set pressure (you often have to use the manufacturers specific pump – DON’T LOSE THIS!!)
• Peg out the guy wires
They are easy (ish) to put away too, as long as you use the pump to fully deflate the air (you’ll never fully squeeze it all out manually! So, don’t waste your time trying!)
Air tents are often multi room… which can be handy since we live in a society where we want open plan houses, but want 20 rooms when camping?? Go figure.
They are available in canvas or polyester (typical tent fabric) – click here to read canvas vs polyester comparison page, though its many are canvas.

Bell Tent Vs Air Tent Vs Poled Tent - hi-gear air tent
Air Beam Tent

Weights – there is a huge variety, but this seems to be the general weight:
• 6 – 8 person Polyester air tent 15 – 30kg
• 6 – 8 person Canvas air tent 30 – 60kg

What can go wrong:
Well, the air beams could rupture, requiring patches and expensive replacement.
The pumps are delicate and can break. If you lose it, it will be expensive to replace!
Air beams can be discontinued, so you cannot guarantee to get replacements resulting in the death of your tent.
Large changes in temperature can cause slight deflation or over inflation and potentially burst a beam.
RIP little air tent!

We like air tents… we prefer bell tents!
Get a bell tent (sorry! We’re meant to be making this unbiased. Forget that last line! Or don’t!)

We may even end up making air tents at some point, so if you like air tents… watch this space!


You know how science and technology progress? You wouldn’t go out and get a horse and cart to ride to work, would you? And NOBODY wants to go back to washing by hand… Well, it’s the same with Poled Tents. They are a nightmare and should be a thing of the past!

They are hard to put up!
Unless the tent is brand-new and unstretched or you are some sort of magician, you will need two people to put up a poled tent! (I mean, it is technically possible, but its very stressful. People tend to show off if they can do it, and for good reason, because its really f**ing difficult and will ruin your holiday!… and… well, you get the point.)

Poled tents are usually made of polyester (to my knowledge, regular tent poles would not support the weight of canvas, especially once it gets wet!!) – click here to read canvas vs polyester comparison page.

Bell Tent Vs Air Tent Vs Poled Tent - poled tent
Poled Tent

• 6 – 8 person Polyester poled tent 15 – 40kg

What can go wrong:
We’re going to need a list here!
• Tent blows away whilst your faffing with poles
• Poles break
• Fall out with other half and end up divorced
• Rip through tubes poles go into
• Poles bend into awful shape
• Elastic breaks between poles
• Tent ends up wrong shape to attach bedroom inside or close zips.
• Etc etc etc!!!!!!!!!!!
• Etc!!!!


The size and weight of your packed away tent is hugely important! So don’t forget to think about it when choosing your tent!
Does it fit in your car with your other camping equipment? Can you lift it out on your own?
As a guide, Workplace Manual Handling guidelines suggest the safe lifting weight for a woman is 16kg and for a man is 25kg, so, if you can get something around this weight its going to make your life easier and prevent injuries!

Bell tent vs air tent vs poled tent – which will you choose?


Polyester Bell Tent – https://www.bellisimacamping.co.uk/product/bell-tent-marrakesh/