Should I Leave My Bell Tent Set Up All Year Round?
With their vintage aesthetic and spacious design, Bell Tents have become a popular choice not just for camping, but also as semi-permanent fixtures in gardens. Many homeowners are drawn to the idea of having a Bell Tent set up long-term, serving as an outdoor retreat, play area, or even a workspace.
However, leaving a Bell Tent up long-term comes with its own set of considerations. In this article, we'll explore the pros, cons, and tips for maintaining a semi-permanent Bell Tent in your garden.
Advantages of a Semi-Permanent Bell Tent in the Garden
- Versatile Space: A Bell Tent can serve multiple purposes - from a summer reading nook to a winter meditation space.
- Aesthetic Appeal: The classic design of a Bell Tent can enhance the beauty of a garden, offering a picturesque spot that stands out.
- Quick Outdoor Access: Having a ready-to-use outdoor space can encourage more time spent outside, benefiting mental and physical well-being.
Challenges and Considerations
- Weathering: Continuous exposure to the elements can wear out even the most durable Bell Tents. Sun can fade the canvas, while rain and snow can strain the waterproofing.
- Mould and Mildew: Without proper ventilation, especially in wet conditions, mould and mildew can form, potentially damaging the tent and posing health risks.
- Ground Damage: The ground underneath the tent can become compacted and devoid of sunlight, potentially harming the grass and soil health.
- Pests: A stationary tent can attract pests like rodents or insects, which might damage the tent or become a nuisance.
Tips for Maintaining a Long-Pitch Bell Tent
- Choose Quality: If you plan to keep your Bell Tent up all year, invest in a high-quality, durable tent designed to withstand various weather conditions.
- Location: Pick a spot that gets daily sunlight and is well ventilated. Placing your Bell Tent in a dark, damp corner behind a large hedge will mean it doesn't get to properly dry, which will eventually lead to the tent developing stains and mould.
- Avoid Overhanging Vegetation: Try to avoid placing your Bell Tent under trees or other vegetation as it will get marked by sap and falling debris. There will also be a risk of falling branches and it will be harder for it to dry out.
- Regular Inspection: Check the tent regularly for signs of wear, tear, or damage. Address any issues promptly to prevent them from worsening.
- Ventilation: Ensure the tent is well-ventilated to prevent condensation and mould. Try leaving some of the window flaps open, regularly opening the doors for a few hours and consider using moisture absorbers during wet seasons.
- Ground Care: Occasionally move the tent to allow the grass beneath to recover. Alternatively, set the tent up on a platform or protective groundsheet.
- Pest Control: Keep the area around the tent clean and free from food scraps. Consider natural repellents or regular checks to deter pests.
- Weatherproofing: Reapply waterproofing treatments as needed and consider additional protective measures like tarps during heavy rain or snow.
- Secure the Tent: Ensure the tent is firmly pegged down and consider additional guy ropes or weights to withstand strong winds.
While the idea of a permanent or semi-permanent Bell Tent in the garden is enchanting, it requires commitment to maintenance and care and will shorten the usable lifespan of the tent. Very few people actually use their Bell Tent all year unless they are living in it, so it is recommended to take your Bell Tent down over the winter months and only have it up when it might be used. That is usually from late Spring to mid-Autumn and doing this will probably double the tents lifespan. However long you decide to keep yours up for make, sure it's packed away BONE DRY (Like, really properly bone dry, not "I thought it seemed dryish" otherwise it will get damaged!).
Remember, you have bought a Bell Tent, not a building, so treat it as such!