Solace II Bell Tent Test - Camping and Caravanning Club
Review from September 2015, Camping and Caravanning
'Sheila Kiggins tries out an updated version of a traditional bell tent from Black's of Greenock'
'Black's of Greenock is one of the oldest names in camping. Founded as a sailmaking company in Glasgow in 1861 and moving into the camping business in 1904, the company's roots can be seen in the beautiful lines of this traditional bell tent, brought up to date with modern materials including 12oz polycotton canvas and high tech alloys.
With just two poles and 28 pegs, the tent is quick to pitch. The base with clipped-in groundsheet, is pegged out first, then the central pole and door pole are put into place and guyed down, It can be helpful to have a second pair of hands to keep the central pole vertical while the guy lines are pegged out, but it is possible to manage solo.
Standing three metres tall and five metres in diameter, the Solace II offers a huge amount of flexible living space. Enjoy open-plan living, or clip the two detachable inner tents to the central pole for private sleeping quarters, each of which will sleep a couple in comfort. The clips are colour coded so there is no chance of getting in a muddle. Even with the inner tents in place there's room for a couple of chairs and a table inside for socialising.
The cream canvas lets plenty of light into the tent, while ventilation comes from low-level windows and high-level vents, all fitted with mesh to keep the interior bug-free. The windows also have polythene covers to fend off the worst of the British weather.
I loved the classic style and quality materials of the Solace II. But like any classic equipment, the Solace II requires a bit more maintenance than it's modern equivalent. Black's of Greenock recommends that the canvas should be pre-weathered before first use, and provides clear instructions on how to do this. The company also advises the tent will need reproofing in the future. It's a small price to pay for years of old-school enjoyment.'