Tutorial: How to take down and fold a double bell wedge tent

Double bell wedge tents are a tricky shape to fold. I owned one of these tents for several years and worked out a systematic, tidy, easy to carry and store way to fold up my tent. I thought others might be able to benefit from knowing this too. If you’d like to know how to set one up, I wrote another article about that here.

First of all, what is a double bell wedge tent? Double-bell tents are sometimes called French double-bells or double-bell-end wedges because of the rounded ends. These tents do not need external ropes to hold the structure unless you aren’t using a ridge pole. The canvas is all one piece. My tent does have a ridge pole and that keeps the tent walls very taught. It looks like this:

These instructions assume you have already set up the tent. I have an article here about how to do that too because there were some tricks I learned along the way that were worth sharing.

Step 1: Begin with a friend. Both of you need to go inside the tent and lower the upright poles and the ridge. Be careful to do this together so the ridge beam doesn’t twist and break. Lift together and tip the ridge gently down onto the ground.

Lowering the poles is sometimes too hard to do when the tent is completely staked down so you might have to pull up some stakes before you can drop the ridge. Don’t remove too many or it will all fall over.

Thank your friend. You can do the rest on your own if you need to.

Step 2: Once the roof is down, remove the ridge pole and the uprights from inside the collapsed canvas.

Step 3: Remove all the stakes. The easiest way to do this with the nail and washer stakes I use sometimes is to take two extra nails, work one horizontally under the top of the washer of the stake I’m trying to remove, and one horizontally under the bottom of the washer. Then you can pull up on the horizontal nails and work the stake out. Another way is to put a nail or two under the loop and pull up on the stake that way. Do not just pull on the loop. It might rip.

Step 4: Now you need to fold the canvas. First tie the door shut in a few places. Especially at the bottom corners. You don’t have to tie all of them, the goal is simply to make it lay flatter when folding and rolling.

Step 5: Turn the canvas inside out with the door facing up. Future you will be glad you did this now. Fold it in half along the ridge and pull the bells out into triangles at the sides keeping everything as flat and neat as possible like this:

Step 6: Fold one pointy end of a bell into the center of the door (see photo 2).

Step 7: Fold the pointy end of the other bell into the center of the door on the other side (see photo 3).

Step 8: Next fold the pointy ends into the center again to make a rectangle.

Step 9: Take the sides of your rectangle and fold in toward the center, overlapping. You’re folding this rectangle in thirds.

Step 10: Start rolling from the ridge toward the bottom of the door. This way any trapped air can escape.

Step 11: Rolled up completely, it will fit into a nice tidy package. I used ratchet straps to keep the shape together during storage and transport.

You can print these directions (with setup instructions) here.

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