What is a Bell Tent?
A modern bell tent is a single-pole (usually canvas) tent, based on tents widely used by the military during campaigns in the 19th century. The basically circular and conical outline make for a very stable structure that stands up incredibly well to violent wind.
Are your zips good quality?
We use YKK branded zips throughout the complete build of our Pukka canvas bell tents – on all doors, windows and zipped wall-to-groundsheet joins, even the carry bags.
Zips are one of the most hard-working components of a tent – having to stand up to wind stress and heavy use – so we decided not to compromise on this, even though they cost us more to buy. You get what you pay for as the saying goes.
YKK is the world’s leading zipper manufacturer. YKK zips are recognised as the most reliable zips around.
Is Pukka tent canvas dyed?
Our canvas has been dyed a natural 'Camel' colour, which means our canvas tents, tarps and awnings blend in perfectly with nature. Actual colour may vary slightly from batch to batch.
What does 'weathering' my tent mean?
Canvas tents have a certain degree of natural water resistance and they are additionally treated during manufacture with a waterproofer to enhance this water resistance.
However, to become properly waterproof, canvas tents need to go through a process known as 'weathering'. This can be done naturally, by allowing rainfall to soak the canvas. Or artificially, by hosing down the tent sufficiently for water to penetrate the canvas and seams; but only use a gentle sprinkler as using a strong water jet could damage the proofing in the canvas.
An unweathered tent may suffer from a small amount of ‘leaking’ around seams when it is first wetted, although Pukka canvas bell tents have been treated to ensure minimal or even no leakage during weathering.
So to be on the safe side we do recommend that our customers erect and ‘weather’ their tents before using them.
Correct weathering involves allowing the tent to become totally soaked and then fully dried out, perhaps more than once – cotton canvas is a natural fabric, and as such no two tents will behave in exactly the same way. The canvas will need to be totally soaked and wetted through, especially at the seams, which may take a while where these are multi-layered.
On its first few soakings the canvas will shrink, so you need to adequately loosen tension on the guy ropes to allow for this. And when it dries out the guys need to be tightened again. Thereafter, whenever your tent is wet/damp it is advisable to loosen tension on the guy ropes, to allow the canvas room to contract in the wet without damaging the structure of the tent.
By the way, Pukka canvas bell tents should be re-proofed from time to time with a proofing agent that also includes protection against the harmful effects of UV. Apply at the end of each season, or as soon as water no longer forms 'beads' on the canvas surface.. See FAQ ‘Is Pukka tent canvas waterproof?
Is Pukka tent canvas waterproof?
Pukka tents are treated to be water, mould and UV resistant, but this does not make them water, mould or UV proof. To keep your Pukka canvas tent in the best condition it should be cleaned, re-proofed, maintained and repaired as necessary. A good rule is to re-proof as soon as water stops 'beading' on the outside of the tent which stops the canvas from retaining excessive amounts of water – therefore keeping the canvas drier and less vulnerable to mould. Clean all dirt off your tent canvas as soon as possible.
Even though the waterproofing on our tents is so good that our tents usually do not let in a single drop of water when first rained on, we still do advise that a new tent should be 'weathered'. See FAQ 'What does 'weathering' my tent mean?'
Has my Pukka tent been treated with chemicals?
Pukka tents are made of heavyweight 100% natural cotton canvas. But to extend the life of the canvas it has been specially treated during manufacture to improve water resistance, mould resistance and resistance to the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays.
Is Pukka tent canvas fireproof?
Our tent canvas has not been treated with any fireproofing chemicals as these can be extremely toxic and there is evidence that they can leech into the environment, including the air you would breathe inside your tent. Traces of chemicals used in fireproofing fabrics have been discovered in breast milk and in swabs taken from people's hands after having handled fireproofed tent fabrics.
Are Pukka tents ethically produced?
Our tents and tarps are responsibly made at regulated tent factories. All our suppliers operate according to the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI). Our suppliers produce tents for the UN and other international relief agencies, who regularly inspect for compliance with ETI standards. The main codes of conduct of the ETI are:
No forced labour
Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining
Safe and hygienic working conditions
No child labour
Wages are reasonable and fair
Reasonable working hours
No physical or verbal abuse
Are Pukka tents and tarps easy to erect?
All our tents and tarps are so easy to put up that you can even do this on your own, although it always make things a lot easier when there are two of you. Full instructions are available to download to guide you through the stages. You will be amazed at how quickly you can put up/take down one of our tents once you are used to it.
see FAQ 'How do I erect/care for my bell tent/tarp?'
How do I erect/care for my bell tent/tarp?
You can download relevant erection and care instructions here:
• erecting & caring for your Pukka Classic tent
• erecting & caring for your Pukka Zipped tent
• erecting & caring for your Pukka Tarp
Please also ensure that you do read all the relevant FAQ sections on this website, such as:
'What does 'weathering' my tent mean?'
'What weather conditions are Pukka bell tents suitable for?'
'How should I store my Pukka bell tent?'
What is “Leave No Trace”?
Leave No Trace is both a set of ethical and practical principles and the organization that promotes those principles.
The principles are intended to help all outdoor enthusiasts in making decisions about how to reduce their impact on the environment whilst enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, bike riding, fishing, skiing – or even enjoying a picnic. The basic principles make good karma for all of us to practise.
The organization strives to educate all those who enjoy the outdoors about the nature of their recreational impacts as well as techniques to prevent and minimize such impacts.
The Leave No Trace message is framed under several principles:
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Dispose of Waste Properly
Dispose of Waste Water away from natural water sources/ditches
Leave What You Find and don’t interfere with what’s around
Minimize Use and Impact of Fire – use lightweight camp stoves instead of fires
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information: www.lnt.org
How can I pay for purchases from Pukka Tents?
You can pay by credit/debit card (online or telephone), by cheque or by BACS bank transfer (contact us for details).
We accept the following cards: American Express; Visa; Mastercard; V PAY; Visa Electron; Solo; Maestro; JCB.
Credit card transactions are securely processed by Barclays. Pukka Tents personnel never have access to your personal or financial information.
How long will my Pukka canvas bell tent last?
A Pukka cotton canvas bell tent should last for a long time if well looked after.
The life of a Pukka bell tent will be affected by a whole range of factors such as length of time pitched, conditions pitched under and the degree to which the canvas is maintained and kept free of bird droppings, tree resin, coastal/salty weather conditions, airborne dirt etc. How a tent is stored will also affect its longevity. Cotton canvas tents must always be stored totally dry and free of mould.
Our canvas bell tents and tarps/awnings are treated to be water, mould and UV resistant, but this does not make them water, mould or UV proof, so to keep your Pukka bell tent in the best condition it should be cleaned, re-proofed, maintained and repaired as necessary. A good rule is to re-proof as soon as water stops 'beading' on the outside of the tent, which stops the canvas from retaining excessive amounts of water – therefore keeping the canvas drier. Clean dirt off your tent canvas as soon as possible.
Pukka bell tents are intended for recreational/leisure use in mainly moderate weather conditions and will stand up to heavy rain and wind. Our tents are not intended for extreme or mountain conditions.
Pukka bell tents are not intended to be used as permanent shelters or for long-term erection. We recommend erection for not much more than 2-3 weeks at a time.
See FAQ 'How do I erect/care for my bell tent/tarp?' to download care instructions.
Why is canvas better than nylon?
Lightweight nylon tents have their advantages, but there are drawbacks, not least of which is that they can be very stuffy and uncomfortable in hot weather and very cold in inclement weather. Many people consider nylon tents as a short-term/single-use/throw-away solution.
Conversely quality cotton canvas tents are heavier and they demand a lot more maintenance, but if treated well they will give years of comfortable stylish service. They are cool and airy in hot weather and cosy on colder days, especially when made of our superior grade Pukka 360gsm cotton canvas. All our bell tents look terrific and are truly delightful to camp in. Once you’ve experienced the difference there is no going back!
Some people love their cotton canvas Pukka bell tent so much they want to use it as much as possible so install a Pukka stove with a safety flue. You can’t be doing that in a nylon tent!
Can I see a Pukka tent before I buy?
Yes. You are welcome to visit us at our base in North Suffolk, but you will need to make an appointment first to ensure someone will be available to greet you.
Please be aware that we do not have a 'showroom'. But we do have a large field, and we also can put our hands on tea and biscuits if so required! :)
What weather conditions are Pukka bell tents suitable for?
Pukka bell tents have been designed and built for use in mainly moderate weather conditions, for example, poor weather (ie. wet and windy) conditions. They are not intended for extreme or mountain conditions.
Pukka bell tents are ideal for camping in the UK climate during the traditional camping season of March to September. However, because we use 360gsm canvas as standard (heavier than the lighter 285gsm often used for leisure tents) they are more substantial so extending your potential camping season. Pukka canvas bell tents are not intended for use as a permanent shelter and, like any canvas outdoor product, will require regular re-proofing for resistance to water, mould and UV.
Pukka bell tents are classified as Category B, Level 2, according to EN ISO 5912:2011.
How should I store my Pukka bell tent?
All canvas tents need to be packed away clean and dry and stored in dry, airy conditions (never pack your tent away in either a damp or a humid environment). Ensure your tent is cleaned/swept inside to avoid any insects, food crumbs etc from lingering. The groundsheet must also be clean and dry on both sides.
If you do have to fold up your tent whilst damp (eg for getting home), it is essential that you dry it out at the earliest opportunity (within 24-48 hours). It must be completely unpacked, opened out, dried, aired and then re-packed. This is to prevent mildew and general degradation of the fabric. Make sure that the poles and pegs cannot damage fabric or groundsheets – pack poles, pegs and separate groundsheets in their own bags. If guy ropes are not absolutely dry, store them separately too.
The best way to dry out a damp tent is to re-erect it in dry conditions. Using a stove inside your erected tent will help to dry out the fabric faster than simply relying on good weather. If this is not possible and you have to dry your tent indoors in a restricted space, ensure that it is frequently turned/moved in order to prevent moisture being retained in any parts of the canvas, especially the seams.
Our ultimate, preferred storage method is to store your dry tent loosely folded inside a purpose-built, rodent-proofed, ventilated, dry wooden box.
However this may not be possible so – store your tent off the ground, in a dry, airy atmosphere, loosely folded. Do not store anything else on top of your tent or poles as this could cause pressure damage to the canvas and/or the groundsheet as well as damage to the poles.
As with any natural fabrics that are stored for a while, it is always a good idea to occasionally check that your tent has had no unwelcome visitors.