Hybrid Deluxe models give you the best of both worlds, two doorways, canvas and mesh door layers, with PVC and mesh window layers - a practical choice for anywhere in the world.
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Mesh doors and window layers for maximum ventilation, PVC layers on windows for wet / cold weather.
Velcro seal in ground sheet and zip up mesh layers on windows and doors keeps all those unwanted creepy crawlies out.
second doorway, which could be used as a rear entrance into a toilet or kitchen area.
velcro seal in ground sheet to keep out unwanted pests.
oversize roof vents draws maximum heat up and out of the tent ideal for hot climates.
best of both worlds suitable for all climates and uses.
keeps the tent sealed but allows air flow to keep the tent cool on hot days.
extra heavy duty canvas for longevity, durability and mould resistance.
extra thick heavy duty ground sheet to withstand very heavy commercial use.
Hybrid models have both an insulated PVC layer on the windows for the winter and a mesh layer on the windows and doors to keep you cool and to keep the mosquitoes at bay in the summer. Naturally the Hybrid comes with a velcro seal-in groundsheet to keep out unwanted creepy crawlies.
This model also features large air vents at the roof apex which create a circular convection current when the doors and windows are open, drawing excess heat up and out of the tent.
The canvas material breathes minimising condensation and overheating which helps keep the tent very comfortable inside.
Deluxe models have the second doorway with the zip up mesh layer which is great for keeping cool and could be used as a rear entrance into a toilet or kitchen area.
Over the last two years, our Lotus Belle has been the first tent I've really felt a great deal of affection for, so much so we call it the 'Disco Tent' due to my sudden, glamping preoccupation with fairy lights. Its construction is very sturdy and heavy duty proving itself twice at the same exposed site, when other tents were being damaged in high winds and torrential rain, by remaining warm, cosy and dry. The deep, paddling pool style ground sheet was also invaluable when we once woke up in the middle of a temporary moat.
On hot days the thick, off-white canvas has also been a relief when it has stayed cooler than any of our previous synthetic tents, being able to roll up the porthole windows to cause air flow helps too. I just love waking up on sunny mornings to stare at the shadows on the roof, it is very calming, but the downside is that during early summer the long daylight hours can make it hard to get to sleep and then wakes me too early - an eye mask has been my solution.
Back when I was first considering a bell-tent in order to make our usual set-up a little more luxurious, the first aspect of the Lotus Belle that appealed to me was head height across the whole diameter of the footprint - unlike the more usual shape. In use this has been great, providing us with an airy, social space into which we can invite our friends on inclement nights. The fairy lights and the tea-light chandelier really make the atmosphere in a space where we can just drink and talk the night away irrespective of the weather outside. We've not experienced any major problems with bug invasions and I do prefer the open interior myself, but I would consider buying the inner tent if we venture up Scotland's West coast again.
So, the downsides…
Weight and packed size are the primary issues: in single bag the tent is a hefty structure to travel with and manhandle. We tackle this by dividing it up into at least three separate bags: the 10 outer steel poles in one, canvas in another, central pole, pegs and groundsheet in the last. This way we can pack the tent around our other camping equipment.
Erecting it is straightforward - probably best done by two people, but not impossible for one. The hardest part, for us at least, is getting the curving steel poles into the wall canvas. This year we plan to get around this by installing the poles at home and folding the canvas into a 'banana bag' which we have just bought from the Lotus Belle website. This should halve the time putting it up at site, but does mean we will have to accommodate the 2 metre long banana into the car space - we will have to see how this pans out.
Anyway I hope my review is helpful to you if you are considering buying one of these tents. As other reviewers have said, they are extremely well made and robust. They are also beautiful in an unusual way: I really do love the comparisons it gets to onion domes, minarets and yurts - a great way to get to know your fellow campers.
Look out for the flashing garlic bulb - it's probably us!
Absolutely love these tents, would highly recommend
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