What’s the difference between Tipis and Bell Tents?



Showing the difference between Giant Tipis and Bell Tents.

Fundamentally the difference between Tipis and Bell Tents comes down to this. Tipis, Giant Tipis, Kata Tipis, Giant Teepees whatever you call them are large structures and used for events like weddings, festivals, parties and Corporate events. A single giant Tipi can seat 70 people easily. 

Bell Tents are used primarily for accommodation purposes. For sleeping in. They come in a range of sizes but mainly 3m, 4m and 5m diameters. 

How do we know so much about Giant Tipis and Bell Tents? 

Well we seem to be very well placed to answer this question! We run Cotswold Tipis AND Brilliant Bell Tent Hire

We decided to write an article specifically about the differences between Tipis and Bell Tents as we are constantly asked this question and also clients and potential customers get them confused. 

So what is the difference between Tipis and Bell Tents

Giant Tipis

Tipis are large 10.3m diameter structures made of heavy duty waterproof canvas and use 9 main poles. They can be connected together to form large structures. Tipis have no central pole as the 9 poles are around the edge of the tipi. A single giant tipi needs a minimum of 3 crew to erect and normally take 2-3 hours to get fully ready. The central point is almost 7m above the ground and long ladders and harnesses are used. 

Giant Tipi being built. 9 x 8m poles

The canvas alone weighs 90Kg. The main poles are over 8m long and a specialised trailer is required for moving the Tipis from A to B. 

For example 4 Giant Tipis joined together can seat 200 people for a wedding breakfast with a dancefloor, a bar and stage. 

4 Tipis with wide entrance

Bell Tents

Bell tents are much smaller structures and designed for sleeping in. They have formed the basis of glamping set ups in the UK for the past decade. They are perfectly suited for creating wonderfully luxurious Bell Tent Villages at events.

All Bell Tents have a central pole and an inverted V shaped pole around the door. Bell tents can easily be erected by one person in 20mins. 

Bell Tents set out around a lake in South Cerney, near Cirencester

A 5m Bell tent weighs around 30Kg including the poles depending on the thickness of the canvas. The packed down tent can easily fit in the boot of a small car. 


I hope we’ve managed to explain the difference between Tipis and Bell Tents. Both are used in the event industry. Both are used extensively for Weddings, Corporate Events, Parties and Festivals. However, that’s where the similarities end!

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