Original model tents are best suited for temperate / wet climates - the PVC windows are easy to wipe clean and keep in warmth. Great for hire business' because they are the quickest and easiest to pitch and de-rig.
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heavy duty water and mould resistant canvas will withstand very heavy rain and wind.
single access doorway and 2 fully openable round windows.
clip on groundsheet the most quick and easy option.
standard roof vents draw warm air up and out of the tent.
wipe clean windows great for easy maintenance of hire stock.
extra heavy duty canvas for longevity, durability and mould resistance.
extra thick heavy duty ground sheet to withstand very heavy commercial use.
Original models have one door and two PVC windows with canvas roll down blinds.
The canvas material is waterproof yet breathable minimising condensation. It keeps in warmth at night but stays cool inside when the sun is hot. The windows and blinds can be fully opened to allow a good through-flow of air which keeps the tent very comfortable inside.
The groundsheet on this model is clip-up not seal-in which makes for quick assembly (great for rapid deployment of multiple tents - not so good for long term semi-permanent set ups).
We have been camping for many years and have owned many types of tents from lightweight mountain tents through to 8 berth canvas bungalows. Our newest tent before the Lotus Belle was an Outwell Minnesota 4 with the front extension which we purchased about 3 years ago. The Outwell we were very pleased with but impossible to pitch single-handed. An accident in 2011 meant I could no longer lift my left arm above shoulder height, so pitching the Outwell became a painful experience.
This spring we started looking at tipis. Seemed a good idea but the sloping sides mean that even with a 5m tent a lot of space is lost. The same with bell tents; better height at the sides, but still lose a lot if like me you are 6ft +.
I stumbled across the lotus belles whilst searching the net. The shape was immediately appealing, being an “almost yurt”. The high sides made us think that all the floor space would be usable. We decided on a 5m tent which would mean that the double air-bed could go end-on to the wall and still leave room to walk around the centre pole. The tent was ordered, and arrived by courier in a couple of days. So what do we think of it?
Firstly, it is heavy. Really heavy. About 80 kilos for the 5 metre. Just imagine carrying 3 bags of coal across the field and you will get the idea. And being canvas, it’s bulky. It certainly will not fit in an estate car with a family and all the camping gear. But it will split into several bags which makes it easier to move around and store.
First attempt at pitching was in a friends paddock on a nice sunny day. Following the instructions, it took about 2 hours, but this included tying on all the guy lines. Once up it is very easy to adjust the guys to get it looking very straight. I was impressed by the quality of construction. All the seams were very well stitched and everything fitted together as it should. It appeared to be a very solid tent.
Second pitching was a slightly different experience. The tent was pitched at dusk in driving rain. After trying to put the roof section up first, gave up and pitched it in the normal manner. Went up easily but the groundsheet holds water like a bathtub. Once it was bailed out all the camping gear could be thrown in and sorted in the morning. Despite all the inside of the tent being sodden from the rain, by morning being canvas it had completely dried out.
The space inside the tent is huge. We had a double bed, all the cooking gear, two dogs and chairs with plenty of room to spare. Being able to stand up across the whole tent makes a huge difference.
Third time I put the tent up easily on my own. The easiest way is put up the walls, throw the roof over and loosely peg with three pegs, Velcro roof to walls then put up the pole.
Pros – Very easy to put up, though practice before your first trip. Now takes us about an hour.
Huge space. Very good quality tent. You will be the envy of all on the field.
Dries out quickly. Being canvas and light colour, much cooler in full sun than a plastic palace.
Cons –Heavy and bulky (though can be split to spread the load). And once you have the tent, you will want the coir mat, chandelier, bunting, fairy lights etc for the full hobbit experience. You will have a stream of visitors on the camping field wanting to admire it.
Anything we would do to improve the design? A larger, opening vent in the roof would be good (there are already two small vents). Mesh over the windows would also be good, so they could be open but keep the bugs out.
Would we buy another? It’s pricy, but you pay for what you get. So yes, we certainly would.
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