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FAQ

What materials are your Bell Tents made from?

Breathe Bell Tents are made from 100% cotton canvas. As this is a natural material, there may be subtle variances in colour or minor imperfections. These imperfections do not affect the overall performance of the tent. When it is brand new, the cotton may let some air through and leak a little around the seams. Once the canvas has been wet, the cotton expands, making the tent 100% waterproof. 

Cotton canvas provides a natural waterproofing and breathability.  Cotton fibers swell when damp, the tight weave prevents rain from penetrating and the surface tension of moisture on the outside combined with the angle of the canopy allows water to run off.  Moisture held in the air on the inside is still able to escape directly through the fabric, keeping internal humidity low and mitigating condensation.

Are your Bell Tents waterproof?

Bell Tents are treated with a waterproofing agent. This combined with the natural fibres of the cotton canvas expanding when they come into contact with water, ensures our cotton canvas tents are waterproof.

Sometimes, tents might need to be ‘weathered’, which means they actually need to come into contact with some water to become completely waterproof.

The waterproofing agent can, over time, become less effective through UV, wind and rain degradation and might need to be reapplied to ensure the durability of your tent.

How do I care for my Bell Tent?

Sun, wind and rain all contributes to the environmental degradation of the canvas of the tent, which can affect the waterproofing of the tent. Always ensure the tent is absolutely dry before packing the tent away, this will protect the canvas from any deterioration from mould spores.

It is possible to re-coat the tent with water proofing agents. This will extend the lifespan of the tent. Our tents have also been impregnated with anti-fungus agents. Again this process of impregnation should be repeated from time to time. There are many eco-friendly and biodegradable products available on the market (from camping stores and over the internet) that can be applied easily.

Usually the surface of the tent will need to be cleaned with a dry brush, removing any dust and dirt before applying the waterproofing agent. After treatment the tent should be left to dry thoroughly before being packed away.

How do I clean my Bell Tent?

If using your tent frequently, or for long periods of time, a cleaning and re-proofing treatment should be applied more frequently. Spot clean as necessary. The sooner a dirty or stained spot is dealt with the better.

Dust and dried mud can be wiped away with a soft brush before a cleaning agent is applied. Ideally after cleaning a waterproofing agent should be re-applied.

There are also various canvas cleaning specialists who provide this service.

Do not clean your tent in a washing machine. This will damage the canvas fibres and may also damage your washing machine!

Can I use my Bell Tent in the snow?

Breathe Bell Tents have not been designed to be used in snowy conditions. Should your tent be used in the snow ensure that the snow is removed from the tent before too much sagging occurs.

Can I repair my Bell Tent if it gets damaged?

The components used on Breathe Bell Tents have been selected for their durability and ease of maintenance. Small rips in the canvas can be stitched using a common needle and thread. Larger rips and tears will need to be patched. If applying a patch, use a diamond shape with the peak of the diamond at the top, allowing rain run off. Any holes left by the needle will fill with the expanding fibres of the canvas when it becomes wet. Any damage to the groundsheet should be fixed with circular using a patch of the same (or similar) material and a good, strong contact adhesive and should be applied to both sides of the ground sheet. http://www.belltent.com.au/product/tear-aid-immediate-repair-of-tears-and-holes/ 

Can I live in my Bell Tent?

Our Breathe Bell Tent ‘The Ultimate Pro’ has been designed for use over longer periods of time. However, the warranty is not valid when you live inside your tent or when you use it for commercial applications, although we will try to prevent and correct any problems that may arise under those circumstances. Our Ulitmate PRO tents have been equipped with heavy-duty canvas (360gsm), a mesh door, heavy-duty guy ropes and pegs and have been treated thoroughly against mould. Consequently, these tents can be used year round. Our Ultimate PRO Tents are equipped with a heavy duty 540 g/m² groundsheet that is attached to the tent by means of a heavy duty zipper.

How do I protect my tent from fungus and mildew?

One of the most common problems to occur in canvas is mildew.

It is most commonly formed when exposed to certain conditions of humidity. Even if the canvas is mildew resistant, mildew will form if left damp. Mildew is very destructive to cotton fabrics as well as other materials. It most commonly forms when tents are stored damp.

If mildew does appear, it can be stopped from spreading by thoroughly drying the tent (preferably in the hot sun) and applying a cleaner, followed by the re-waterproofing of any areas cleaned.

When dealing with fungus, use a soft brush or sponge and a lot of fresh water to remove as much as possible and to stop the fungus from spreading. Only use specialized canvas tent cleaning products for this purpose. Other domestic, chemical products can be too harsh and cause the canvas structure to breakdown and leak.

WHEN DO I NEED TO RE-IMPREGNATE MY TENT?

Solar radiation affects the waterproofness of your tent. After 12 to 25 weeks of use the fabric will be less waterproof. This can easily be resolved with an impregnation agent.

HOW TO CLEAN AND RE-WATERPROOF YOUR TENT

The canvas has been impregnated with anti-fungi but when using the tent often or in a harsh environment this process should be repeated on a regular basis, for solar radiation affects the waterproofness of your tent. Applying a new coating with care demands time and effort, but extends the life span of your tent considerably.  Before EU rules and regulations were applied, chemical products were used to impregnate tents. Although these products lasted longer, they were harmful to the environment. The products we use are 100% biodegradable and can be applied by you without protective clothing. 

The easiest way to re-waterproof is:

  1. Pitch your tent and make sure the tent is 100% dry.
  2. Remove dust and dirt with a hard brush.
  3. Apply the impregnating agent with a gentle brush. The cotton needs to be soaked properly.
  4. You can also apply the fluid with a pressurized garden hose and rub it in well with a brush.
  5. Let your tent dry in the wind, preferably not in the sun.

If the cotton has been affected by mould, mildew or weather conditions, do as follows:

  1. Moisten the cotton.
  2. Dissolve 1 unit of bleach into 10 units of water.
  3. Apply the solution to the wet canvas and let the canvas absorb it for about 30 minutes. Prolong the absorption time if necessary.
  4. Rinse the canvas with plenty of water.
  5. Clean the canvas using Ultramar Shampoo, so there is no bleach left on the canvas.
  6. Let your tent dry properly.

Use Anchor Extra or Ultramar Protector to protect the cotton against fungi, algae, filthy water, etc. A perfect impregnating agent to make cotton tents waterproof is ANCHOR EXTRA®. It is an environment-friendly product, non-toxic and biologically degradable. Tent rental places and army tents have used it with excellent result since 1943. The product is water based, without solvents or hydrocarbons. The usage varies between approximately 8 m² and 12 m² a liter. It is possible for a gray shine to appear on dark-coloured cotton after treatment; after a few downpours, but this will disappear.  Some companies industrially impregnate cotton in case you don’t want to do it yourself. The cotton is first cleaned and then impregnated under high pressure. This, however, is quite expensive.

Mould

Before 1995, potentially harmful chemical products were often used to render cotton tents waterproof for life. However, the European legislation banned these products, no longer enabling tent manufacturers to render the canvas of their tents completely water & mould proof. Although our tents have been treated to be waterproof as well as mould resistant, they need to be reproofed in due time to ensure they stay that way.

Mildew has an extremely adverse effect on cotton canvas.  It breaks the fibers and creates black stains that are very hard to remove. Additionally, it spreads quite rapidly once the first stains have appeared. It is therefore of vital importance that you protect your tent against fungi in any circumstance.

General tips to avoid mildew on a cotton canvas tent:

Mildew is caused by moisture. It is therefore sure to form on the canvas of your tent if you store the tent wet. Moreover, mould stains often appear on canvas tents if they are no longer waterproof, for they then lack of an important protective layer which would otherwise keep off moisture and mould. To avoid mould and mildew, wipe down the interior and exterior of the tent with clean water before you leave it to dry and store it in a dry, well-ventilated area. Also, reproof the tent in time to ensure it stays mould resistant and waterproof. For more tips & tricks, check out the list below:

  • Do not roll up or store a wet tent. When you are left with no other option than to store it wet, be sure to remove any mud or dirt from the groundsheet and bottom strip and pitch your tent again within 2 days, allowing it to properly air-dry.
  • Dry off the tent and clean it before you store the tent in a dry, well ventilated space.
  • Ventilate the tent, especially when you do not use it. That way, you drive out moisture, preventing mould to affect the canvas.
  • Do not hang your tent to dry, as mould could form in the folds.  Instead, set up the tent outdoors or in your garage and open the doors and windows to ensure that it is being well ventilated. If possible, pitch the tent in the sun, for sunlight may help you in your fight against mould and mildew. 
  • Clean and reproof the tent periodically in order to ensure it stays waterproof.
  • We advise you to store the tent in a cotton bag which breathes and does not contain surfactants. A plastic bag may impede ventilation and transfer plasticizers to the canvas.
  • Do not store rings, guy ropes and groundsheet together with your tent, but keep them in a separate bag.
  • Make sure the tent is pitched perfectly, so water can easily glide off the canvas.
  • Avoid touching the tent when it is raining.
  • Be careful with creams, lotions, suntan oil, etc. Greasy hands may affect the tents waterproofness adversely.
  • Ventilate the tent well when cooking, for condensation may cause mould to appear on the canvas.
  • Do not do the dishes in the tent, for dish water is one of the main enemies of the canvas.
  • Do not hang a kitchen rag over a bar in the tent, as the soap residues may affect the canvas.
  • Do not clean the groundsheet with water which contains soap. Use a dry piece of cloth and a sponge to clean it.
  • Re-impregnate your tent after 12 to 25 weeks of use to protect your tent against solar radiation and extend its life span.

If your tent is no longer waterproof and/or if black stains have formed on the canvas, you need to dry the tent completely and treat it with specialized products such as Ultramar Shampoo and Ultramar Protector. Set the tent up outdoors or in your garage and open the doors and windows to ensure that it is being well ventilated. If possible, pitch the tent in the sun, for sunlight may help you in your fight against mould and mildew. Avoid pitching the tent in your living room, as mildew can trigger allergic reactions. Do not apply laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose cleaners, or neat bleach to the canvas, as they will damage the canvas treatments. Dirt or mud can be dry-brushed off with a very soft brush.

The washing and reproofing process is simple and similar to hand-washing your car:

  • Moisten the tent.
  • Apply Ultramar Shampoo and rub it in with a soft brush.
  • Let the canvas absorb the solution for about 10 minutes and then rinse it using plenty of water. Prolong the absorption time if necessary.
  • Allow the tent to air-dry completely before using Ultramar Protector to re-impregnate the fabric.

Duty of care

WHEN DO I NEED TO RE-WATERPROOF MY TENT?

Solar radiation affects the waterproofness of your tent. After 8 to 25 weeks of use the fabric will be less waterproof. This can easily be resolved with an impregnation agent.

HOW TO CLEAN AND IMPREGNATE YOUR TENT

The canvas has been impregnated with anti-fungi but when using the tent often or in a harsh environment this process should be repeated on a regular basis, for solar radiation affects the waterproofness of your tent. Applying a new coating with care demands time and effort, but extends the life span of your tent considerably.  Before EU rules and regulations were applied, chemical products were used to impregnate tents. Although these products lasted longer, they were harmful to the environment. The products we use are 100% biodegradable and can be applied by you without protective clothing. 

The easiest way to impregnate is:

  1. Pitch your tent and make sure the tent is 100% dry.
  2. Remove dust and dirt with a hard brush.
  3. Apply the impregnating agent with a gentle brush. The cotton needs to be soaked properly.
  4. You can also apply the fluid with a pressurized garden hose and rub it in well with a brush.
  5. Let your tent dry in the wind, preferably not in the sun.

If the cotton has been affected by fungi, algae or weather conditions, do as follows:

  1. Moisten the cotton.
  2. Dissolve 1 unit of bleach into 10 units of water.
  3. Apply the solution to the wet canvas and let the canvas absorb it for about 30 minutes. Prolong the absorption time if necessary.
  4. Rinse the canvas with plenty of water.
  5. Clean the canvas using Ultramar Shampoo, so there is no bleach left on the canvas.
  6. Let your tent dry properly.

Use Anchor Extra or Ultramar Protector  to protect the cotton against mould, mildew, filthy water, etc. A perfect impregnating agent to make cotton tents waterproof is ANCHOR EXTRA®. It is an environment-friendly product, non-toxic and biologically degradable. Tent rental places and army tents have used it with excellent result since 1943. The product is water based, without solvents or hydrocarbons. The usage varies between approximately 8 m² and 12 m² a liter. It is possible for a gray shine to appear on dark-coloured cotton after treatment; after a few downpours, but this will disappear.  Some companies industrially impregnate cotton in case you don’t want to do it yourself. The cotton is first cleaned and then impregnated under high pressure. This, however, is quite expensive.

MOULD

Before 1995, potentially harmful chemical products were often used to render cotton tents waterproof for life. However, the European legislation banned these products, no longer enabling tent manufacturers to render the canvas of their tents completely water & mould proof. Although our tents have been treated to be waterproof as well as mould resistant, they need to be reproofed in due time to ensure they stay that way.

Mildew has an extremely adverse effect on cotton canvas.  It breaks the fibers and creates black stains that are very hard to remove. Additionally, it spreads quite rapidly once the first stains have appeared. It is therefore of vital importance that you protect your tent against fungi in any circumstance.

General tips to avoid mildew on a cotton canvas tent:

Mildew is caused by moisture. It is therefore sure to form on the canvas of your tent if you store the tent wet. Moreover, mould stains often appear on canvas tents if they are no longer waterproof, for they then lack of an important protective layer which would otherwise keep off moisture and mould. To avoid mould and mildew, wipe down the interior and exterior of the tent with clean water before you leave it to dry and store it in a dry, well-ventilated area. Also, reproof the tent in time to ensure it stays mould resistant and waterproof. For more tips & tricks, check out the list below:

  • Do not roll up or store a wet tent. When you are left with no other option than to store it wet, be sure to remove any mud or dirt from the groundsheet and bottom strip and pitch your tent again within 2 days, allowing it to properly air-dry.
  • Dry off the tent and clean it before you store the tent in a dry, well ventilated space.
  • Ventilate the tent, especially when you do not use it. That way, you drive out moisture, preventing mould to affect the canvas.
  • Do not hang your tent to dry, as mould could form in the folds.  Instead, set up the tent outdoors or in your garage and open the doors and windows to ensure that it is being well ventilated. If possible, pitch the tent in the sun, for sunlight may help you in your fight against mould and mildew. 
  • Clean and reproof the tent periodically in order to ensure it stays waterproof.
  • We advise you to store the tent in a cotton bag which breathes and does not contain surfactants. A plastic bag may impede ventilation and transfer plasticizers to the canvas.
  • Do not store rings, guy ropes and groundsheet together with your tent, but keep them in a separate bag.
  • Make sure the tent is pitched perfectly, so water can easily glide off the canvas.
  • Avoid touching the tent when it is raining.
  • Be careful with creams, lotions, suntan oil, etc. Greasy hands may affect the tents waterproofness adversely.
  • Ventilate the tent well when cooking, for condensation may cause mould to appear on the canvas.
  • Do not do the dishes in the tent, for dish water is one of the main enemies of the canvas.
  • Do not hang a kitchen rag over a bar in the tent, as the soap residues may affect the canvas.
  • Do not clean the groundsheet with water which contains soap. Use a dry piece of cloth and a sponge to clean it.
  • Re-impregnate your tent after 12 to 25 weeks of use to protect your tent against solar radiation and extend its life span.

If your tent is no longer waterproof and/or if black stains have formed on the canvas, you need to dry the tent completely and treat it with specialized products such as Ultramar Shampoo and Ultramar Protector. Set the tent up outdoors or in your garage and open the doors and windows to ensure that it is being well ventilated. If possible, pitch the tent in the sun, for sunlight may help you in your fight against mould and mildew. Avoid pitching the tent in your living room, as mildew can trigger allergic reactions. Do not apply laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose cleaners, or neat bleach to the canvas, as they will damage the canvas treatments. Dirt or mud can be dry-brushed off with a very soft brush.

The washing and reproofing process is simple and similar to hand-washing your car:

  • Moisten the tent.
  • Apply Ultramar Shampoo and rub it in with a soft brush.
  • Let the canvas absorb the solution for about 10 minutes and then rinse it using plenty of water. Prolong the absorption time if necessary.
  • Allow the tent to air-dry completely before using Ultramar Protector to re-impregnate the fabric.

We used strong zips that have been selected for their durability and strength. However, zips endure extreme tensions caused by wind or from being set up incorrectly. Always ensure all zips are closed prior to setting up, adjusting or taking down the tent. Handle the zips with care. For extra protection the zips can be treated with silicone from time to time. If a zip on your erected tent seems strained, play with the tension on the guy lines until it functions better.

How long can I expect my Bell Tent to last?

The lifespan of your Breathe Bell Tent is very much dependent upon the camping conditions and the way in which you care for and maintain your tent. Air pollution, ultraviolet radiation, natural dirt and domestic dirt all limit the lifespan of your cotton canvas tent, as will the level of care and maintenance that you choose to apply. In our experience bell tents have lasted generations: the bell tent we had as children was only very recently replaced almost thirty years later!

How should I store my Bell Tent?

Always store the tent when it is absolutely 100% dry.

Never store the tent if the canvas flysheet or the groundsheet is damp or wet. Both the groundsheet and the canvas must be completely dry before storing. If you are forced to pack your bell tent away when it is damp or wet then it must be set up again within 24 hours.

Store in a dry place. Extremes of temperature will harm the structure of the canvas. Ideally store at room temperature.

Do not store anything on top of the tent as this can distort the canvas or damage components.

The tent should be taken out of storage at least once a year allowing it to recover from its compacted and stored state.

Rodents and insects can cause damage to stored tents.

What should we do in the event of fire?

There is a legible notice permanently attached inside your tent, to the left of the entrance as you enter the tent. Do not remove it.

These Fire Precautions should be noted and followed each time you use your tent. Never block the exit of your tent on the inside or the outside of the tent.

In the event of an emergency the exit will need to be clear of obstacles to allow the occupants to vacate the tent as quickly as possible.

It is advisable to include a small hand held fire extinguisher as part of your camping kit.

The Breathe Bell Tent does not have a designated cooking area. Cooking equipment should be used outside the tent. Please carefully follow the instructions that came with your cooking equipment. Never use gas cooking equipment inside your tent.

How do I set up and pack away my Bell Tent?

For printable detailed descriptions on how to set up and pack away your bell tent see the PDF on our specifications page. You will also be provided with printed instructions with your bell tent.

What ventilation is in place in your Bell Tents?

Breathe Bell Tents have three vents at the peak of the tent. These are lined with a mosquito mesh. The vents must be kept clear at all times. Never block the vents, doing so will compromise the tents performance and the occupant’s safety.

Can you please send me some press photos for my publication/blog?

Please contact us by email and we would love to discuss your ideas and requirements. 

What currency are your items in?

All of our items are listed and sold in Australian AUD dollars.

Where do you ship to?

We ship to every and any destination across the globe! Our items are shipped via UPS and should reach you within 3-7 days of ordering. Please contact us for a shipping quotation.

Please note: Freight costs, import duties and taxes (if applicable) are the responsibility of the buyer & will not be paid for in part or full by Breathe Bell Tents, unless expressly agreed upon before the time of purchase. 

Do you sell wholesale?

We do not offer wholesale prices.

Are you interested in collaborating/taking on paid photography, styling, product development or creative work?

We are always interested in discussing creative projects & collaborations. Just drop us a line and let us know what you had in mind. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Are your products guaranteed?

We pride ourselves on quality workmanship, using the best materials available to us. If you are unhappy with your purchase for any reason, or change your mind, please contact us within 3 working days of receiving your parcel & we will do our best to resolve the matter quickly. Please refer to our Returns Policy for further info. Looking after our wonderful customers is our #1 priority.