By Sara Baird
My family spent every possible day Minnesota weather allowed at our rustic one-room lake cabin. Because the cabin was so small tents became our bedrooms. This tradition continued as my sisters and I became parents, just expanding the number of tent bedrooms needed. In addition to our time at the lake, we thoroughly enjoyed campouts in state and national parks and wilderness trips. While we just upgraded to a 5th wheel for most of our camping needs I still love to spend the night in a tent, so I was excited by the request to try out No Box Tools Bell Tent.
This tent did arrive in a box. No Box Tools creates products meant to inspire people to live outside the box. I was excited to try it out as soon as it arrived, unfortunately, we were buckling down for a January blizzard. This tent is not intended for winter camping but I figured it could not hurt to try it out in the backyard so I recruited my teen to help me set it up.
The design of this tent is based on a yurt. It is round with a pole in the center and entirely dependent on tent stakes to set it up. The stakes that came with the tent were very sturdy, we were unable to drive them into the frozen ground but were able to use them to anchor the tent by freezing them into the snow horizontally. This is a single layer tent with sealed seams to make it waterproof. It does not have an additional rain fly to place over the top but you can purchase a fly to extend the entryway of the tent.
The tent was extremely easy to set up. It took the two of us less than 15 minutes and I did it all with choppers on my hands. One of the best features of this tent is the easily adjusted straps, just a quick pull or release will adjust the straps to pull the bottom of the tent tight. I left the tent up for two weeks through snow, wind, melting, and freezing and visited it often. I even took advantage of a warmer day to take a cool nap in it. The tent stayed in place and stayed dry.
Did I mention that this tent is huge! It is designed to be an eight-person tent. Reflecting on the days I camped while my kids were young, I believe you could easily fit two full-size air mattresses and a playpen with plenty of room for gear. Five to Six cots or eight sleeping on the floor would also be perfectly comfortable. Considering the size of this tent, it packs up pretty small and only weighs 26 lbs. I would not want to haul it into the wilderness but it is ideal for a car camping trip.
- Super easy setup
- Large entryway
- Durable zippers and closures
- Plenty of room and tall ceilings
- Relatively small and not overly heavy
- Strong sturdy stakes and poles
- Vented ceiling and two windows for airflow
- Entirely dependent on stakes for set up, could be difficult in rocky or very sandy locations
- Too large for backpacking
Overall, I would recommend this tent if you are looking for a large tent that packs up small to use for car camping trips or an extra room at the cabin. I will be happy to use this tent when we do some state park camping this summer and it will replace the one we bring along as an extra shelter when we camp in our 5th wheel. I would have loved this tent when my kids were young and we needed the space.