Cumbria / The Lake District


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What is a Bell Tent

Bell tent
Bell tents in Cumbria
The Bell Tent, Belle Tent or Sibley Tent as it is sometimes known is a tried and tested 19th century design which has stood the test of time. Used extensively in the Zulu war in South Africa by the British Army it was the tent of choice for the troops.

The Bell Tent evolved from what was formerly known as the Sibley Tent. Named after its inventor, Henry Hopkins Sibley adapted the design of the American Indian Tipi. Without guy ropes it relied on a central pole stabilised by twenty four pegs around the base. In April 1856 the design was granted a US Patent. No sooner had the patent been granted the US Army then used his tent exclusively during the Utah Expedition during the winter of 1857-1858, proving the design.

In accordance with an 1858 agreement with the Department of War, Sibley would have received $5 USD for every tent made. However, Sibley resigned from the US Army to join the Confederate States Army after the outbreak of the American Civil War. He received no royalties on his patent.

Bell Tent Diagram CumbriaShould Sibley have been able to claim his royalties he would have been a very rich man as the Union Army produced and used nearly 44, 000 during the war. However, after Sibleys death, his relatives attempted, unsuccessfully to collect the royalties from the Department of Defence.

These days they are once again gaining in popularity, not this time through military channels but by those wanting something a little different from their camping experience. The Bell Tent is now a common sight on today's camping sites.

Where Next?
  1. Information about staying in our Bell Tents
  2. The locations of our Bell Tent sites
  3. Frequently asked questions
  4. Our U.K. locations
  5. Book your holiday with us

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Scout Group Patrol Tents

scout group patrol tents
Adventure expeditions and group camping.

Army Surplus Tents

military and army tents
Military style accommodation bivvy or Bivouac.

Wild Camping England

wild camping in england
Camping in the Wilderness, locations for rough camping.

Wild Swimming Holidays

wild swimming holidays
Outdoor swimming spots, rock pools and waterfalls.

History of military shelters

the history of military shelters
Rapid Deployment Shelters, relocatable buildings.


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