My Monster Erection

Following a week in a one man hiking tent and a weekend in a reasonable but a little cramped four man family tent we have taken the plunge and upgraded the “Base Camp” to a massive great big bell end tent.

Delivered in super speedy fashion from Soulpad I did the dreaded test erection this morning.

My ever over optimistic husband had declared, “it can be put up by one person in less than 15 minutes!” I can declare that this is complete bollocks, if the one person is me. It took me just a shade under an hour, but about quarter of this time was putting in the tent loop pegs too securely and having to take them out again, so I’ll give it 45 minutes. With a little practice I see 30 minutes as reasonable but 15.. nah.

So how did it go?

Packed Bell Tent
Packed, as delivered.

The first thing to note about solo erection – these unintended innuendos are going to get annoying soon – is that this thing weighs a ton (that’s approximately 24kg’s in real money)! I managed to carry it up the garden but I would not want to carry this any distance. A backpacking tent it ain’t!

I tipped the contents out of the bag and perused the instructions. (That’s my little backpacking tent in the background. After packing it away wet I pitched it in the garden to dry, where it has been rained on at fairly regular intervals since. You may notice in the following photographs that it gets saggier and saggier – this is not a fault of the tent but it’s not pegged out fully and the chickens have been using it as a climbing frame.)

Step 1: Groundsheet.

Peg out the groundsheet as taught as possible – seems easy enough.

Lightly peg out the peg loops – easy peasy, until I realise I’ve done this step wrong and pegged them out nice and taught. Quick consult with husband and I decide to leave these as they are, can’t make much difference. I later decide that I should never listen to my husband about anything practical – he’s a thinker not a doer.

Groundsheet successfully pegged out, tent loops pegged out but far too taught.
Groundsheet successfully pegged out, tent loops pegged out but far too taught.

Step 2 – Guy Line Preperation

Unravelled and tension slides adjusted. Nothing tricky here.

Step 3 – Poles

Cue circus music, then fire up the bleep machine because this air is going blue!

Bell tent central pole
Erecting the pole is not possible if you have pegged out the tent loops too tight!

“Stand roughly in the middle of the groundsheet, pull the pole up so that the roof of your Soulpad rises, clicking the pole into full length as you do so.”

Accompanied by much grunting, snorting, groaning and making noises that should only really be made during childbirth.. I couldn’t do it. That’s when it dawned on me why the tent loops should have been loosely pegged out and why I shold never ask husband for technical advice. I went round the tent loosening them all before trying again. More grunting and swearing and.. I DID IT! By the time the pole is in place I could have sworn that the tent had rotated by 90 degrees, I’m so disoriented but have a feeling a victory, if I can do that I can do anything! Roar! Nothing’s gonna stop me now.

Bell tent half up
The pole is up! I repeat, the pole is up!

After that exertion, putting in the A-frame that supports the entrance was a piece of cake.

Mmmmmm, cake……

Bell tent with A frame erected
A piece of cake.

Step 4 – Guy Line Positioning

It’s amazing the difference between guy lines not pegged and guy lines pegged.

Bell tent erected
It’s up – and it took 15 minutes. No it didn’t, it took foofing ages!

This thing is massive. I hadn’t considered putting my canoe inside my tent before but having seen this monster I am seriously starting to consider it. In fact, I might be able to park my car in there!

Bell Tent, door open
Flaps open.
Bell Tent
Loads of room inside for boats, beds, car, kitchen sink..

I’m looking forward to our next camping trip and road testing this beast. I’ve even ordered a couple of billy cans so I can be fully “all kit no clue”.

Only question now is where to camp?





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