When it comes to setting up a bell tent, most of us envision the great outdoors – camping in the woods, by a serene lake, or amidst the beauty of nature. But what if you want to bring the cosiness of a bell tent indoors, on a patio or astro turf? Whether it’s for a special event, trade show display, or just the desire to create a unique indoor space, it is indeed possible to set up a bell tent on concrete. At Boho Bell Tent, we had to tackle this challenge for clients who wanted an indoor rental and for trade shows where we needed to display tents indoors. With some trial and error and a touch of engineering, we discovered that not only is it possible, but it can be surprisingly simple!
Before we dive into the instructions, it’s important to note that this setup is intended for temporary indoor use. For a long-term camping setup, you would need a more robust solution to withstand heavy winds and maintain the integrity of the tent over time.
- 24” x 9” wood board for each stake point (approximately 12 boards for a 5M bell tent). These boards can typically be found in 6-foot-long pieces, which you can cut into 2-foot lengths.
- Large boat cleat hook or a similar alternative for each board. This will be attached to one of each wooden board.
- Small screw hook for each board. This screw hook should be installed on the side edge of each board, opposite the boat cleat.
- Sandbag, weighing about 35 lbs, for each board. Burlap bags can be used to fill or cover them to help them look more polished.
Indoor Bell Tent Set-Up Process
- Start by laying out your tent on a tarp if you’re using one, with the door facing your desired location. Ensure that you pull the fabric taut to minimise floor wrinkles.
- Arrange the wooden boards and sandbags around the perimeter of the tent, positioning them adjacent to each of the bell tent’s D-rings on the floor.
- Attach the small hook on each wooden board to the corresponding D-ring on the tent’s floor.
- Place each guy-line rope loosely on its respective wooden board, then temporarily position a sandbag on the board and rope, The temporary step allows for the insertion of the centre pole. Leave enough slack in the ropes to prevent them from slipping out from under the sandbags.
- Create tension on the D-rings by firmly pulling back each wooden board to tighten the tent floor.
- Assemble and install the centre and A-frame poles as you would during a standard outdoor setup. Be cautious not to disrupt the work outside the tent too much while doing this.
- Proceed to tighten each guy-line rope. Pull the rope from beneath the sandbag and securely wrap it around the boat cleat hook at the far end of the board. Adjust the sandbag as needed and tuck any excess rope under it.
- Double-check that the tent floor is mostly wrinkle-free and that there are no sagging sections. Make adjustments as necessary.
Alternative Methods for Weighted Bell Tent Set-Up
If you’re open to alternative methods of securing your bell tent on concrete, here are some creative options:
Wooden Logs - Loop the guy-line ropes around each log and extend them away from the tent to create tension. Wooden logs provide a natural and rustic appearance.
Cinder Blocks - Wrap the guy-line ropes around cinder blocks and utilise their weight to anchor the tent. Here you even have the option of customising the blocks with paint for a more aesthetically pleasing look, if you still want to keep the glamping style.
Potted Plants - Drape the guy-line ropes over potted plants. This not only stabilises the tent but also enhances its visual appeal. Opt for larger potted plants, but keep in mind that they may require more space for transport.
Shot Bags - If you choose shot bags, ensure that they are sufficiently heavy (around 15 - 20 kg each) to perform their function at each connection point.
When using these alternative methods, you’ll need to devise a way to keep the tent floor in place since these options can secure the main guy-lines but might not be close enough to the tent to hold the floor loops. Consider adding internal supports along the tent’s wall to prevent wrinkling and maintain a neat appearance.
Setting up a bell tent on concrete or for indoor use allows you to infuse an element of enchantment and warmth into any event or space. With the right materials and a touch of ingenuity, you can craft a snug haven. Just remember, while this setup is ideal for short-term indoor use, for a more enduring solution, it’s advisable to consult with an engineer to ensure your bell tent remains resilient in all conditions.