10 Reasons Why Canvas Bell Tent Wins - Canadian Edition

10 Reasons Why Canvas Bell Tent Wins - Canadian Edition

We Canadians tend to be a bit slower to adopt many of the natural, fulfilling lifestyle trends compared to our European friends. Think hygge, the green building movement, farm-to-table dining...

How can you blame us? We live and play in harsh Canadian climates, so we instinctively seek materials we believe are the most durable and protective. This typically means high-performance plastics and synthetic composite (which have their place).

But what about the other qualities that we, as Canadians, tend to forget? Features that offer that “hygge” factor: comfort, a place to socialize, an aesthetic that blends with our natural environment — a place to live, not just sleep.

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Canvas bell tents aren’t new in Canada. Their use arguably dates way back to the 9th century (read up on its history here). So, it’s not so much a move forward, but a move back: back to tried-and-tested (and now improved) ways of living.

Now, with its upgraded, human-centred design and enhanced quality thanks to advanced manufacturing, the canvas tent is superior on many different levels.

The most obvious example of the bell tent’s human-centred approach to design this is its roominess. The steep pitch and sidewalls create ample space to gather. This is not just a place to crash at the end of a long day outdoors.

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There’s also the cotton’s ability to breathe. Imagine the last time you slept under nylon and it rained. Besides the wet nylon tent brushing up against you, the moisture was likely trapped in the tent, causing that sticky feeling on your skin. Cotton tents, on the other hand, allow moisture (from breathing, sweating, wet gear, cooking, etc.) to escape through the canvas. 

The benefits of canvas don’t stop there — canvas’s overall performance outweighs other contenders (depending on what you’re using it for, of course).

Canvas bell tents come in many different styles with varying levels of function and quality. There are many high-quality features that set the CanvasCamp Sibley Bell tent series apart, from the quality of the materials to the method of manufacturing and assembly. Together, these features all contribute to the tent’s performance and lifespan. 

Below, we’ve outlined the top 10 reasons you should consider a canvas bell tent for your next car camping adventure, how it ranks against its contenders (in Canada, anyway), and how the CanvasCamp Sibley Bell tent series stacks up to competitors.

1. The Roominess in a canvas bell is unparalleled
The high ceilings and low-profile side walls optimize the usable floor space of the tent, creating a multi-functional room, not just for sleeping. The design also permits room separators for some reprieve and privacy.

Sibley Bell Tents offer ample room, making them ideal for family outings or group adventures. These tents provide enough space to comfortably accommodate multiple people and their gear, turning the great outdoors into a home away from home. The spacious interior is not just about size; it's about creating a comfortable, secure environment where memories are made.

Here are two examples to consider. Take the Sibley 300 ProTech, for instance, with a 3-meter diameter, it's ideal for solo campers or couples, providing enough space for a double bed and essential camping gear. Its compact yet comfortable size makes it perfect for intimate camping experiences.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Sibley 600 ProTech Double Door, with its expansive 6-meter diameter, is ideal for larger groups or families. This tent can comfortably sleep up to 8 adults and has ample space for multiple beds, a dining area, and even lounge chairs. The double-door feature enhances accessibility and ventilation, making it a luxurious choice for group outings or extended family trips. These examples highlight the versatility of the Sibley Bell Tent Series in accommodating different group sizes and camping needs with comfort and ease.

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2. The cotton canvas is incredibly durable
The natural strength of the cotton canvas is enhanced through double stitching, flat-felled seams and seam gussets, and double-layer configuration along stress points. Plus, water makes cotton about 20% stronger, unlike other seemingly hydrophobic synthetic material.

The CanvasCamp Sibley Bell Tent Series is designed to cater to the most demanding outdoor conditions. Crafted from high-grade canvas - 320 g/m² for the Ultimate Series and 360 g/m² for both the Pro and ProTech Series - these tents are not only durable but also resilient against diverse weather conditions. The heavy-duty canvas material is known for its ability to withstand wear and tear, making it ideal for rugged terrains and extended outdoor use.

3. Canvas tents can breathe
The interior of our canvas tent is naturally humidity-adjusted, keeping you dry and comfortable no matter the weather. This is enhanced with built-in screen windows and doors, detachable floor and roll-up side walls, and integrated ventilation.

4. Bell tents are impressively wind resistant
The conical structure of the bell tent is ideal for deflecting strong winds. The girth of our centre pole and door frame are also key in the bell tent’s stability. 

CanvasCamp tents can withstand winds between 65 (600 size) - 85 (300 size) km per hour when pitched properly (this excludes our twin tents which are not wind-rated). Keep in mind, the tauter the tent, the stronger the tent (so make sure to adjust the tensioners at least daily, or more often in inclement weather). Our exterior tent accessories are not wind-tested and shouldn’t be left up in extreme wind.

5. The canvas is UV & water resistant
When the exterior of the tent is damp, the cotton swells, increasing the surface tension of the fabric and causing rain to bead off the slope of the tent (versus causing leaks!). Our tents also come treated to further enhance the cotton’s ability to fend off mold and UV damage.

6. The cotton canvas has insulating capability
Cotton has a low thermal conductivity, meaning it has high insulating capability (when paired with a tent stove). It also doesn’t melt when exposed to heat, like many synthetic materials on the market today, so you can turn your tent into a four-season retreat with a tent stove.

7. They are easy to pitch and store
Bell tents can be pitched in 15 minutes flat, with one or two people depending on the size (we don’t suggest pitching our Twin-size tents alone, though). The spring-loaded poles and the tent guylines make assembly foolproof. And our tents pack up into the size of a cooler, leaving tons of room in your trunk or storage room.

One of the standout features of the Sibley Bell Tent Series is its remarkably easy setup process. These tents are designed with a central pole and an A-frame entrance, which simplifies assembly and reduces setup time. On average, setting up a Sibley Bell Tent takes about 15 to 20 minutes, making it an efficient process even for those new to camping.

Moreover, the setup is easily manageable by one person, though having an additional person can make the process even smoother and quicker. This ease of setup is particularly beneficial for families and novice campers who may not be familiar with the complexities of traditional tent assembly.

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8. Canvas bell tents are surprisingly easy to maintain
Keeping your canvas in mint condition is simple and requires very little effort: brush off the exterior debris, pack when dry, and store in a dry space. For a deeper clean, a vinegar/water soak is recommended for every 12 to 25 weeks of use , depending on your climate (hint: we recommend more often in humid provinces like BC, the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario).

9. Canvas bell tents are built for winter
Because of the pitch of the tent walls, snow and ice doesn’t tend to accumulate as long as you have a stove running periodically. In areas prone to heavy snowfall (in the mountains, Maritimes, Ontario’s snow belt, etc.), snow can be easily brushed off to prevent collapse (hint: if you’re a keen snow camper, we recommend the 300 – 500 sizes — the smaller the tent, the better in this regard).

10. These tents are environmentally sustainable
Made from 100% cotton (a renewable resource), our fabric is strong, built to last and, after its very long life, biodegradable. High-quality canvas can easily be repaired over time reducing our environmental footprints and making the most out of your investment.

Bonus: THEY look great
A canvas tent’s overall curb appeal makes it ideal for a backyard garden party or blending into the wilderness. 

The aesthetic appeal of Sibley Bell Tents is unmatched. These tents aren't just functional; they're beautiful. This visual allure enhances the overall camping or glamping experience, making every trip a luxurious adventure. They blend seamlessly into natural landscapes while standing out for their elegant design. This appeal is crucial for customers who see camping not just as an outdoor activity but as a chance to connect with nature in style.

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Don’t get us wrong, though — you won’t be hauling your canvas tent on your back into the backcountry. The weight of your canvas tent means you will be camping within a couple hundred yards of your vehicle. When it comes to car camping, canvas bell tents are the way to go. The Sibley Bell Tent Series is versatile, catering to a wide range of camping styles and needs. From outdoor family camping to more rugged adventures and even entrepreneurial ventures in glamping, these tents offer a perfect solution.

Quality within budget
One of the challenges faced by potential customers is finding a high-quality tent that fits within a reasonable budget. CitizenCanvas addresses this by offering a range of tents that cater to different financial capabilities without compromising on quality.

This approach ensures that customers don't have to choose between affordability and durability, making Sibley Bell Tents a smart investment for both personal and business use.

Exceptional customer service - beyond the product
We’d like to believe that we stand out for our unmatched customer service. We understand that a great product needs to be backed by equally great support. Customers have consistently praised the prompt and helpful responses from our team, highlighting our effectiveness in resolving issues and addressing inquiries. This commitment to customer satisfaction builds trust and loyalty, making our tents a go-to choice for many outdoor enthusiasts.

The Camping Tipi
Modern camping tipis built with cotton canvas and hoisted with metal poles are, by a wide margin, canvas bell tent’s strongest contender. The main differences are in its usable floor space and ability to create separate rooms. 

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  • Wind resistance
  • Durable against the elements
  • Can support a heat source
  • Lower thermal conductivity - i.e., high insulating capability
  • Easy to set up
  • Packs away nicely
  • Can withstand snow loads
  • Decent ventilation / air flow (if there is a top cap), but lacking the breeziness created via roll-up side walls


  • Less usable floor space / roominess
  • Does not accommodate integration of separate rooms

The Nylon Tent  

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  • Lightweight (ideal for backcountry)
  • Compact / packs away neatly


  • Tight on space
  • Holds moisture, often causing leaks
  • Non-breathable vapour barrier causing dampness
  • Degrades over time from UV damage
  • Often flimsy creating poor wind resistance
  • High thermal conductivity – i.e, little insulating capability
  • Cannot support a heat source, as the plastic will melt
  • Cannot withstand snow loads
  • Poor ventilation / air flow (especially with a fly)

Check CampCanvas’s page for more info on canvas vs. nylon.

Canvas Well Tents
Canvas wall tents are used for most commonly for temporary shelter, whether on resorts or for emergency relief, owing to the openness created by the full-height walls. They are not as convenient as the bell tent, however, and aren’t ideal in Canada where weather tends to be erratic, as wall tents are inferior in wind resistance and snow loads.

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  • Roominess from full side walls
  • Durable against the elements
  • Can support a heat source
  • Lower thermal conductivity (i.e., high insulating capability)


  • Wind resistance
  • Difficult to set-up and take-down
  • Can’t withstand significant snow loads
  • Typically lacking ventilation

Check out CanvasCamp’s blog comparing its canvas bell tent, its teepee and other canvas wall tents.

RVs and Camper Vans
The camper van is an emblem of Canadian life, especially on the west coast. It’s in a category of its own but we would be remiss not to include it due to its sheer popularity in the camping scene. 

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  • Minimal set-up/take-down
  • Protected from the elements
  • Can support a heat source
  • High insulating capability


  • Gas guzzlers (not exactly ‘blending in’ to the natural environment)
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Difficult to maintain
  • Doesn’t pack away neatly
  • Poor ventilation / airflow (when not running)

In conclusion, the CanvasCamp Sibley Bell Tent Series is more than just a range of high-quality tents. It's a gateway to unforgettable outdoor experiences, where comfort, convenience, and style come together.

These tents are designed with the customer in mind, addressing the needs and challenges of modern campers. They offer a unique blend of functionality and elegance, making them a top choice for anyone looking to elevate their camping experience. Whether for family adventures, glamping businesses, or rugged outdoor expeditions, Sibley Bell Tents are the perfect companions for every adventure under the sky.

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