Bell Tent - Blacks of Greenock Solace.

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Apr 7, 2016
477
101
suffolk
THE BLACKS OF GREENOCK SOLACE 1 and 2 BELL TENTS


The Solace 1 and 2 are Blacks of Greenock bell tents, built to identical specifications, one is 4 metre in diameter, the other 5. This review is specific to the Solace 1, the 4 metre tent.

These tents are made in a slightly higher weight canvas than is common in many others, at 320 g/m, as opposed to 285g/m.
The canvas is a tight quality weave and is utterly waterproof. All the pressure points are reinforced and seams double stitched as a minimum. The tents are well cut and set very nicely without saggy panels.
The designs have a higher than is usual entrance and the 4 metre tent entrance is nearly 6 feet, to mix up the units of measurement, or 1.8 metres. Many others are 1.5m or less. This is quite significant because then the ridge that follows from tent apex to door apex will be that much higher with commensurate increase in space. It makes a surprising difference.
I am 6’ 4” and there is loads of standing room in this tent for me.
The front doors (with a 3 way zip) have full size mesh doors with their own 3 way zips, which again, many other bell tents do not have. This is part of a very comprehensive ventilation and insect ingress prevention system for the tent which includes 3 very large half-moon windows in the walls. These have zip in canvas closures and again full mesh inserts. Ideally, these too, like the doors, could be zipped, but they are not, they are fixed. On the outside, uniquely, the windows have clear plastic roll up covers for extra rain protection if required.
In the apex, are three further, mesh and cowled vents. With all this, ventilation is excellent and insect exclusion is as good as it can be.
The walls have large “sods” made from woven polyethylene on the bottom which go under the groundsheet. These in their turn are covered by canvas cowls which pin down with the walls. Whilst perfectly adequate I would have preferred the sods to have been the same plasticised material as the HD groundsheet in a tent of this quality.
Inside the front doors on the walls are 2 rows, 1 row each side of the doors, of useful odds and sods storage pockets for keys, cards, phones, maps or whatever.
The groundsheet design on the tents is again unique to Blacks: they clip in. This gives the versatility of zip in groundsheets without the risk of damaging a zip and the inherent cost, the simplicity of peg in groundsheets, without the inconvenience of all those pegs. I would have preferred the clips to be a couple of inches higher and the groundsheet to be slightly “trayed”.
The standard groundsheet is a lightweight woven polyethylene affair, but a fabulous ripstop woven and plasticised heavy duty sheet is available, sometimes offered f.o.c. This is highly recommended.
All poles (with hanging points) are robust and sprung connected for ease of assembly and the pegs, at least for the 4 metre variant, perfectly good and strong. Blacks supply with the tent a couple of spare guys, but it would be nice to include a few spare pegs, bearing in mind that this tent is sold at the more premium end of the market. They do include a mallet as standard.
The tent also includes as standard, again unlike many others, an inner tent which clips in and has its own mesh doors, This, and the groundsheet, are pale grey, but the anti-insect mesh is dark grey, and it is this which makes the tent interiors look dark in the photos. It is far from the case in reality, and the tents have a lovely light ambience.
The tents are supplied in a nylon zip up bag with webbing carry straps, which is plenty big enough, though I would have preferred a canvas one.
On the options list is a large canopy or awning, made of the same high quality canvas, which is supplied with its own pegs and pole, and in its own bag. This gives a large covered area for storage, cooking, dining, socialising or whatever.
When one looks at the whole package, the specification and the quality thereof, the tent suddenly begins to look like very good value for money, compared to many of its competitors. Despite some very heavy and prolonged hosing in order to “weather” it (for I have yet to use it in heavy rain), as Blacks advise, it did not leak at all. Not at all.
I am one very happy customer. The service, attention, and the willingness to answer all my queries before finally purchasing were much appreciated, and played a significant part in finalising my decision to buy.
This seems a good, strong, robust, quality tent. Yes I may want a couple of tweaks as it were: who wouldn’t?
How long to pitch? Fifteen minutes on my own, on first attempt. Couldn’t really be easier.

2017
 

Tiki

Member
Aug 31, 2016
47
2
Oxfordshire
I couldnt let this go without a comment even though im not in the market for a bell tent. Great review and sounds like a great tent!

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk
 
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Reactions: Laurence Milton
Apr 7, 2016
477
101
suffolk
Sorry Tiki, for some reason this site doesn't given notification of replies, least not to me!! Otherwise I would have acknowledged your post sooner.

Firstly thank you, and it does indeed seem like a good'un. I can't fathom out though why they are seldom in peoples consideration list if they ARE, as I was researching a bell tent? Certainly Blacks of Greenocks website does them no favours as I've said to them, but get to speak to them and it all changes...............goodjob
 
Apr 7, 2016
477
101
suffolk
Hi sorry missed this...
not as much as I'd have liked, but a trip is planned using it, canoeing in the Broads, springtime?????????

Since the above, have used the bell tent several times, and it has been all I wanted and more...……...
It gets used when on canoeing trips with my partner as a base. I also have the awning with it.
 
Apr 7, 2016
477
101
suffolk
Hi sorry missed this...
not as much as I'd have liked, but a trip is planned using it, canoeing in the Broads, springtime?????????

Since writing the above, it has now been used several times; primarily as a base when on canoe trips with my partner. We also use the awning with it.
It has proved to be all I had hoped for, and much more!
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
5,469
1,944
W.Sussex
Since the above, have used the bell tent several times, and it has been all I wanted and more...……...
It gets used when on canoeing trips with my partner as a base. I also have the awning with it.

I’ve got a 4m bell from Obelink, I think it’s 285gsm, same as Soulpad sell at inflated prices. Tell me about the awning Laurence. I bought a triangular 2.5 x 3m and it’s hopeless for much other than pegging down to the windward side of the door to shelter boots and cookwear. I’ve had a good useable space from a DD 3 x 3m tarp but would like something more purpose built in canvas.

Tip for your notifications. Under the message box is a tick box to watch the thread. Other than that go in your profile by clicking your avatar, select Alert Preferences and tick anything you want an email or an alert for which will show top right of screen (flag icon).
 
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Reactions: mowerman
Apr 7, 2016
477
101
suffolk
Damn...just replied at length to your tarp questions, and its gone....now I've got to rush out...……..
Also all message alert options ticked, but I don't get any notifications?
 
Apr 7, 2016
477
101
suffolk
Right sorry...…..try again, I can reach my wi fi from my neighbours, Yahay!

The tarp I have is the standard one, 320g/m as the tent, as on B of G's website here: https://www.blacksofgreenock.co.uk/tents/8-solace-i-tent.html#.XEoLbHd2s2w
It works very well, I would post some of my own images, but can't do so on this site......
There are some on the UK Campsite site? Here: https://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/tents/p/Blacks-Solace-1-Bell/3835

Also I have a 4 x 4 metre 10T polycotton tarp, from Spreen/Camping Outdoors: they also do a 3 x 3 metre version.

Hope this helps?
 

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