There’s so many camping tents on the market today and they have hundreds of different designs, brands, features, shapes, and sizes. Each tent will have its own pros and cons, but one of the best designs is a bell shaped tent. It’s not a style you commonly see at the campground but they could be a great option for you and your next camping trip.
Bell style tents are similar to a teepee design, and are a circular tent that has a long central pole that supports most of the weight. Instead of sloping steeply downward like a teepee, the tent walls slope outward then straight down in a small vertical wall, which creates the bell shape. Most bell tents will also have a door pole in the shape of an “A”, or even smaller support poles around the outside of the side walls. Bell tents will also be made of canvas – you’ll have a hard time finding a synthetic polyester or nylon tent that’s bell shaped.
While canvas bell tents are traditionally associated with glamping (see: Best Glamping Tents), they can be used year-round and for a wide variety of different uses. We’ve assembled a list of the best canvas bell tents so you can pick the best one for you. You’ll notice that while they are all bell shaped, they have different features, prices, and quality levels.
6 Best Bell Tents
These are our picks for the best bell tent:
- Editor’s Choice – White Duck Avalon 13′
- Stella Stargazer
- King Camp Khan
- Teton Sports Sierra
- White Duck Mini Regatta
- Danchel Outdoors Canvas Tent
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White Duck Avalon 13′ Bell Tent – Editor’s Choice
White Duck is the leading manufacturer of canvas tents, and we really love their Avalon series. We’ve selected their Avalon 13′ as our Editor’s Choice because it nicely balances size, quality, and price, but it is also available in larger sizes of 16.5′, 20′, and 23′ diameters if you wanted something bigger.
As for materials, White Duck uses top of the line 10.10 oz. Army Duck cotton canvas that’s completely waterproof right out of the box. It’s mold and UV resistant, but also maintains the natural breathability of canvas. White Duck also offers an optional fire retardant spray if that’s an important feature to you.
All the seams are double-stitched and the corners are reinforced for strength, plus the tough steel poles are durable. Pair all these features with a proprietary shock-absorbing grounding system, and you have a tent that can stand up to harsh weather conditions in all four seasons.
Speaking of all four seasons, there’s features in this tent that help it maintain the right temperature year round. Eight windows can zipper open to reveal mesh or can zipper shut for weather resistance. Upper roof vents help circulate hot air up and out the ceiling and there’s a mesh covering on the door that can provide even more air flow. For winter time, there’s a built in stove jack if you want to make it a hot tent, and the breathable cotton helps prevent excess condensation.
All this makes the Avalon bell tent a great option for anyone looking to purchase a bell tent that’s built to last a lifetime. It’s a great price for the quality you get, and it could be the last tent you’ll ever buy.
- Dimensions: 13′ diameter
- Capacity: 6 campers or four glampers
- Center Height: 8’2″
- Door Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 99-104 lbs.
- Fabric: 10.10 oz. Army Duck Cotton Canvas
- Floor Material: 16 oz. polyvinyl
- Poles: Galvanized Steel
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Highlight:High quality tent with a lifetime warranty that’s ready for lots of family camping trips.
Stella Stargazer Canvas Bell Tent
The Stella Stargazer is from a lesser known but super high quality brand of canvas tents and it’s one of the best canvas bell tents for several reasons. What stands out from the start is the overhead stargazing windows that are built into the roof. These transparent roof panels are made of 4mm thick PVC with a UV protectant finish and are perfect for stargazing or lounging in bed and watching the clouds move by. Plus, the windows give this bell tent a luxury glamping feel, so you can be at home in the outdoors.
It’s also made of quality materials like a 11.5 oz. cotton canvas tent body, metal poles, and ripstop PVC groundsheet. There’s powerfully secure rebar tent stakes that penetrate tough terrain and this tent has been tested to withstand winds over 50mph. Part of this is made possible by the outer wall poles, which is something you don’t always see in a canvas bell tent – they add extra stability to the tent body as a whole.
Another really cool feature is that you can roll up the lower part of the tent so that there’s plentiful circulation on warm summer days. You can either leave it completely open, or leave mesh hanging down so you can keep the tent bug-free inside. The four roof vents let warm air vent out the top add and the door has a mesh screen for even more ventilation. Or you can close it all up and heat the inside with wood burning stove for winter camping.
These durable materials and cool features make this luxury cotton canvas bell tent a great option for the high-end camper who wants a top-end bell tent for their camping or glamping adventures.
- Dimensions: 16′ diameter
- Center Height: 9’8″
- Door Height: 5’6″
- Weight: 111 lbs.
- Fabric: 11.5 oz. canvas (390 gsm)
- Floor Material: 19 oz. ripstop PVC
- Poles: galvanized steel center pole, aluminum outer wall poles
- Warranty: 30 months (or 12 months for canvas tents set up more than 21 consecutive days)
- Highlight: One of the coolest canvas bell tents with its unique star gazing windows and high quality materials.
King Camp Khan Bell Tent
This King Camp Khan canvas bell tent is a more affordable but still quality option when it comes to the best bell tents on the market. The cotton canvas is durable and water repellent right out of the box, and the aluminum central pole is strong enough to withstand all kinds of adverse weather.
One of the coolest features about this canvas tent is the mesh lower layer, which is similar to the Stella Stargazer above. Essentially, the entire lower side walls can be rolled up to create a canopy that’s separate from the tent floor, or you can have it enclosed like the picture above, or you can roll up the canvas and expose a mesh layer. This mesh screen layer covers the door area and the whole 360 degree lower wall, which gives you plenty of ventilation for use in hot weather.
The packed size of this tent is smaller than most others on this list and measures only 12.6 x 35.4 x 14.2 inches. It does have a stove hole if you want to take it winter camping, and the guy ropes have an adjustable toggle so you can tighten them after setting up the tent. You have the option to open or close the skylights and upper vents – simply pull on the white string to open the skylight or pull on the black one to close it.
The 13.2 ft. diameter Khan can sleep up to six campers or four glampers, and there’s also a larger size (16.4′ diameter) that can sleep 6-8 people depending on your sleep setup. Heavy duty zippers, double stitched seams, a zippered plug port, and the quality of the canvas material all add up to a strong camping tent that could be a great addition to your camping gear.
- Dimensions: 13.2′ diameter
- Center Height: 8.2′
- Door Height: 5.4′
- Weight: 56.1 lbs.
- Fabric: 10 oz. (340 g/m2) polyester cotton canvas fabric
- Floor Material: PVC 540g/㎡
- Poles: aluminum alloy
- Warranty: 1 year
- Highlight: Affordable and quality canvas tent that has a really cool mesh layers all around the lower walls of the structure.
Teton Sports Sierra Canvas Bell Tent
Teton Sports is based out of Utah here in the United States and they have an amazing customer service team that offers a lifetime warranty on all their products. Their Sierra tent is one of our favorite cotton canvas tents and it comes in three different size options. The 12′ diameter Sierra sleeps three campers comfortably, and there are two larger sizes if you need more space.
While this tent doesn’t have a built in stove jack, it can still be used in winter if you have an indoor safe tent heater and cold weather sleeping gear. Or with the upper roof vents, mesh door, and mesh windows, there’s plenty of ventilation for warmer family camping trips. Either way, the cotton is breathable, which helps prevent condensation, and this tent is built to withstand all kinds of weather.
Like the other bell tents on this list, the Sierra has a zippered removable floor, power access port, reinforced corners and seams, and a quick and easy setup that only takes a few minutes. All these features make this tent a great option for anyone looking for an affordable and simple camping tent.
- Dimensions: 12′ diameter
- Center Height: 8’4″
- Door Height: 4.5′
- Weight: 56 lbs.
- Fabric: cotton canvas 285 g/m2
- Floor Material: 19 oz. PVC
- Poles: steel
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Highlight: One of the best canvas bell tents when it comes to quality, customer service, and a lifetime warranty.
White Duck Mini Regatta Canvas Bell Tent
Another White Duck tent made our Editor’s Choice at the top of this list, but we also really like their Mini Regatta tent. It’s perfect for couples looking for a small canvas tent that has all the qualities and features without the large size of a glamping tent. Measuring 8′ in diameter, it’s the smallest, lightest, and cheapest bell tent on this list.
It’s made with 8.5 oz. heavy duty canvas and the center pole is made of aluminum to make it more lightweight. The center height is 5’2″ and the door height is 3’6″, making it quite a bit shorter than all the other options, but that’s the point of this mini version. If you do want to size up, the Regatta series does come in a variety of sizes that are all made with that White Duck quality we’ve grown to know and expect.
Speaking of quality, this tent has a sewn in floor, premium bug mesh on doors and windows, double-stitched seams with reinforced corners, and more. It has the same proprietary shock-absorbing grounding system as the Avalon above, making this tent extremely weather resistant in all four seasons like most canvas tents.
It only takes 5-7 minutes to setup with four steps, so you can spend less time setting up your tent and more time enjoying camping. The packed size of this tent is quite compact, and it comes with an oversized weatherproof carry bag so you don’t have to worry about stuffing it back into a tiny bag.
When you buy a White Duck tent, you get a lifetime warranty and the box includes everything you need to set it up, including a tent stake hammer. No need to run to the store in order to get more gear, which makes this tent perfect for one or two people who want one of the best canvas bell tents you could buy without having a large tent that’s just way too big.
- Capacity: 2
- Dimensions: 8′ diameter
- Center Height: 5’2″
- Door Height: 3’6″
- Weight: 31 lbs.
- Fabric: 8.5 oz. Army Duck cotton canvas (285 g/m2)
- Floor Material: 7.5oz. PVC
- Poles: aluminum
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Highlight: A small and lightweight tent that has all the qualities of a canvas bell tent in a more compact size.
Danchel Outdoor Bell Tent
Danchel Outdoor has a 100% cotton canvas bell tent that made our list of top picks because it’s a good option for someone looking to get into glamping or camping in a bell tent without breaking the bank. Canvas tents are stereotypically quite a bit more expensive than a traditional polyester tent, so it’s nice to have an option that’s more affordable.
This tent uses a 8.5 oz. canvas material that is a bit lighter than other more expensive options on this list, but it’s still heavy duty enough to withstand weather and time. It’s water repellent right out of the box, and has the natural breathability of canvas. There’s four windows and one large, oversized door that all have bug mesh to keep the inside of the tent bug free.
The bottom of the tent walls can roll up, which allows you to use this whole tent has an open-air canopy. The specifications below are for the 13.2 ft. (4M) diameter tent, but there’s also one smaller and one larger option. There is a built in stove jack for winter camping, or this tent would be great even in on hot days.
- Dimensions: 4m / 13.2 ft.
- Center Height: 8.2′
- Door Height: 5.1′
- Weight: 60 lbs.
- Packed Size: 39.4 x 11.8 x 11.8 inches
- Fabric: 8.5 oz. cotton canvas (285 g/m2)
- Floor Material: PVC
- Poles: galvanized steel
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Highlight: A waterproof bell tent that is a good budget option for beginner canvas tent campers.
Thing to Consider When Choosing a Bell Tent
When looking to buy a bell tent, there are a few things to take into consideration like fabric quality, the pros of cotton canvas fabric, features, hot tenting compatibility, recommended capacity, and the included warranty.
In the specifications for each tent, we’ve included information about the materials, and we would encourage you to pay special attention to the thickness of the canvas. Thicker canvas is better for long term quality and durability, so if you have the money in your budget to buy a bell tent with thicker fabric then we would recommend doing so.
It’s also worth noting that the White Duck canvas bell tents above are made of Army Duck canvas, which is different than regular canvas. While it is a type of canvas, it’s more tightly woven and has a different classification system. It’s also more sturdy and holds its shape better, which means it could possibly be a better option for someone looking to use their tent for long periods of time and for a long time.
Pros Of Cotton Canvas Fabric
Modern tents are mostly made of synthetic materials, but you’ll have a hard time finding any polyester bell tents on the market right now. The bell tent shape is really best suited for canvas, and canvas bell tents will last way longer than any polyester or nylon ones. But why would you choose cotton over polyester? There are several reasons.
The main reason is the longevity of canvas – it’s built to last a lifetime. While they do require maintenance over the years, keeping up with waterproofing and storing the tent properly when not in use will greatly extend the life of the materials. With proper care, you won’t have to buy another tent again (unless you want a second one).
A second reason is the natural breathability of canvas, which makes it a great material for camping in all four seasons. In the winter, it can hold in warmth while letting excess moisture escape, which greatly helps with condensation. In the warmer months, the breathable material lets air flow in and out, plus all the windows and mesh help circulate air even more.
There’s a time and a place for tents made of synthetic materials. They’re significantly easier to set up, so they are better when used for short term camping situations like weekends away. You won’t find any backpacking tents made of canvas, and you can see in the specifications of each tent above that canvas outweighs synthetic tents by a lot. Weight and pack size is just much larger when it comes to canvas tents. Perhaps the biggest difference is the price, as a high quality synthetic tent will be far more affordable than even the cheapest canvas options, but they won’t last as long either.
Each bell tent on the list above has its own feature(s) that make it stand out from the rest, whether that’s something cool about the tent, the level of quality, or even the price. One of the best ways to determine what features you need is to consider your normal camping trip and see what comes to mind. How many people are there with you? What’s the weather like? How long are you camping for? What’s your budget like?
The Stella Stargazer has windows that make it one of the most interesting tents on the list. They really give the tent a luxury glamping vibe, which could make it a really cool option. It also has a lower vertical wall that can be rolled up to expose a mesh layer, which is a feature we also see in the King Camp Khan. This makes these tents even better for warm weather camping and hot days outside.
Other features to consider when looking at bell shaped canvas tents include the number of windows, the presence of a stove jack, roof vents, the size, the quality of the materials used, and so much more. Compare that to your typical use to find the best tent for you and your adventures.
Canvas bell tents and canvas tents in general make great four season camping tents that can be used in all kinds of adverse weather conditions, including rain, strong winds, and even snow. Most canvas tents (although not all of them) will have a built in stove jack, which makes it compatible with a wood burning stove to use as a tent heater and cooking surface.
A stove jack is a piece of fire- and heat-proof material that allows for a hot chimney pipe to vent out the walls of the tent, and this is an essential piece of hot tenting. If you’re looking to get into winter camping, we do have a compilation of all the best tents with a stove jack.
Because these tents are classified by their diameter and not their capacity (like most other tents), it can be harder to discern how many people can sleep inside each tent. Luckily, most tent brands will have a size and layout chart like the White Duck one below. This is for the Avalon series, which is our Editor’s Choice. As you can see, they have a recommended capacity for both glamping and camping, so you can get an idea of how much space is on the inside.
If the tent you’re looking at doesn’t have a chart like this one above, here’s a general idea of what to expect based on the size of the tent. Keep in mind that you can always size up for a more spacious tent, but we wouldn’t size down lower than the recommended capacity.
|Tent Size||# of Campers||# of Glampers|
|8′ or 3M||2||not ideal|
|13′ or 4M||6||4 or less|
|16′ or 5M||8||6 or less|
|20′ or 6M||10||8 or less|
If you want to shop tents based on the number of people who regularly camp with you, we’ve separated them into articles based on capacity. Keep in mind that the general rule of thumb is to subtract two from the recommended capacity. This means that if a tent has a capacity of six, it’s best for four campers or less, especially if you want extra floor space for larger beds and gear storage.
In the outdoor industry, products with lifetime warranties are preferred. An included lifetime warranty means that the company stands behind the quality of their products, which is something they wouldn’t offer if the tent wasn’t built to last. A warranty can help give you the peace of mind that you would your purchase or investment would be protected if there was something wrong with the craftsmanship.
How windy is too windy for a bell tent?
As a general rule of thumb, gusts over 25 mph are too windy for a bell tent, but some tents (like the Stella Stargazer in particular) have been tested to withstand gusts up to 50mph. You should look at the individual specifications of each tent to see how well they can stand up to strong winds.
Can bell tents be used in winter?
With proper maintenance, you can easily use your bell tent in all four seasons. These tents are built to withstand years of strong winds, heavy rains, and even snow. If you want to use your bell tent as a hot tent, make sure it has a built in stove jack for the chimney pipe.
Which is better bell tent or wall tent?
In order to determine if a bell tent or wall tent would be better for your situation, you should take into consideration your typical use. Bell tents are great for camping, glamping, and festivals, while wall tents are better suited for long-term outdoor activities like hunting and permanent camping homes.
Can I leave bell tent up all year?
If your tent isn’t going to be used for a week or more, you should consider taking it down so it’s not unnecessarily exposed to the weather and damaging UV rays. If you choose to leave it up even when not in use, make sure you’re taking proper care of the canvas material so it will last as long as you like.
Should I put a tarp under my bell tent?
Most bell tents come with a heavy duty PVC floor that’s built to withstand years and years of heavy use. This is typically enough for most users, but you could put an additional tarp underneath if you like.
These six bell tents are all great options for your new camping tent that’s ready for tons of future adventures to come. Just take into consideration your typical use compared to the specifications, and you’ll quickly find the tent that’s perfect for you.