What’s the difference between Bell tents and Tipis?

Tipi

Learning which tent to pick for your event is a must. A lot of times we’re ready to plan every bit of our adventure but fall just short because of our lack of knowledge of tents. People often confuse the bell tent and tipis tents. Here’s an explainer on how both the tents are different and can be used differently. 

What is a tipi tent? 

A tipi tent, also written as tepee and teepee, was first developed by the Native Americans of the Great Plains. These tents are cone-shaped with a steeply inclined exterior. This conical shape of the tent prevents any snow from building up on its exterior and also protects against sharp winds, as the wind blows around the round edges of the tent.

Tipis are uniquely marked by their open flap which helps with ventilation – this keeps the tent cool in the summers and releases any smoke from a fire in the winters. A small tipi will always have a height, giving you enough standing space. 

The tent was popular in the pre-modern era, especially for nomads since the tent design was functional and easy to both set up and disassemble. They have regained popularity in recent times for pretty much the same reason they were popular before: their resistance and stability. They aren’t used for longer outdoor camping but are commonly used as a glamping tent, and temporary camping and hunting.   

Different types of tipis 

There are 2 types of tipis. The first kind has a single central pole that holds the tent together with help from the strength of the guy lines, canvas cloth, and stakes. This is the traditional tipi design and frame.  

The other kind of tipi has a couple of long poles that lean against each other and are wrapped around with canvas cloth. They are usually called twelve pole tipis, where around twelve poles will meet at the top center of the tent.  

If you think about it, the tipi is an intelligent creature that uses its shape and structure to create a comfortable outdoor experience.

What are bell tents? 

Interestingly, it was the tipi that influenced the creation of the first patented bell tent. Henry Sibley studied the tipis used by the Native Americans and created the Sibley tent as an evolved version of the tipi. 

A bell tent, similar to most tipis, is identified by its single central pole. It has a pyramid-like exterior that is generally made of cotton canvas, and another pole that holds together the doorway. The guy-lines help keep the tent together, allowing the material to stretch outward and giving the tent its unique bell shape. 

Compared to tipis, bell tents tend to be more spacious and roomier. A bell tent has round edges and a circular shape, but it’s exterior is not as steep as tipis’. Bell tents, and especially canvas bell tents, can be used as permanent housing. If you’re thinking of moving out of your house and want to set up a tent in the wilderness, a bell tent is a sturdier and durable option for you to consider.  

White Duck Outdoors offers the Avalon bell tent and the Regatta bell tent. The material is made of 100 % cotton duck canvas, which makes them a four-season tent. They can handle most weather conditions in your camping or glamping trips. We also offer bell tents with an entrance made of an A-frame pole – this gives everyone in the tent more room, and a place to leave dirty shoes from outside.