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How-to Set Up a Bell Tent Indoors Without Stakes

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Setting Up A Bell Tent Without Pegs

bell tent setup indoors at tradeshow

Bell tents, whether for personal use or for your glamping business, are typically set-up on ground that you are able to stake into or on decks for long-term set-up. But you may come across a situation when you would like to temporarily set up a bell tent indoors, or you need to display your tent on concrete (or other hard surface) without the option to stake pegs into the ground or attaching to hooks and posts on a deck. Is this possible?  Oh yes it is.

We had to figure this out with our own business for clients who wanted an indoor rental (such as the photo below) and also for trade shows where we need to display tents indoors. With some trial and error and some light engineering, not only is this possible, but it is actually quite simple!

Before getting into the instructions, keep in mind that this would be for a temporary indoor set-up. Anything long term would need to be engineered in a way that will better hold the integrity of the tent over time - as this set-up won't keep a bell tent up in heavy winds.

Your bell tent has about 12-14 stake points (depending on size) around the base of the floor as well as for the main guy-line ropes. The following process allows you to cleanly hook the floor stake points as well as the main guy-lines on to one, combined anchor point. It is inexpensive, easily adjustable, and we have found is the best solution.

bell tent setup in a house

Materials Needed

  • - (1) 24” x 9” wood board for each stake point (12 total for a 5M bell tent). You can typically find this type of board in 6-foot-long pieces that you can cut into 2 foot lengths.
    board for indoor bell tent set-up
  • (1) Large boat cleat hook or similar for each board you make. This will be screwed to one end of each board. 
  • (1) Small screw hook for each board you make. This will be screed into the side edge of each board (on the opposite side of the boat cleat). We recommend a more durable hook than the one pictured below.
  • (1) Sand Bag (weighing about 35 lbs) for each board you make.  We suggest purchasing burlap bags to fill or to cover to help them look nice.

Indoor Bell Tent Set-Up Process

  1. Lay tent out on your tarp (if using) with door facing desired location, making sure to pull it taught to help reduce floor wrinkles.
  2. Stage wood boards and sand bags around the outside of tent, adjacent to each of the D-rings of the bell tent floor.

    hook for d-ring of bell tent
  3. Connect small hook on each of the wood boards to each D-ring around the floor.
  4. Loosely place each guy-line rope on its associated wood board, and then temporarily lay a sandbag on the board and rope.  This is a temporary step that will allow the center pole to be inserted.  Allow enough slack in the ropes so that they won't pull out from under the sand bags.
  5. Pull the floor tight by firmly pulling back each wood board to create tension on the D-rings. 
  6. Assemble and install the center and A-frame poles as you would on a typical set-up - care to performing this step gently so as to not disrupt your work outside of the tent to much.
  7. Now tighten each guy-line rope. Pull the guy line out from under the sandbag and tightly wrap the rope around the boat cleat hook at the far end of the board. Readjust the sandbag and place any excess rope under sandbag.

    sandbag for bell tent indoor set-up
  8. Confirm the floor is free of most wrinkles and the tent is not drooping in any section. Adjust accordingly.

Alternative Weighted Bell Tent Set-Up Options

The above will provide the cleanest look and the most aesthetically pleasing set-up.  However here are some other options that will still work.  The key is to make sure that your weights are at least 35 lbs. each.  Feel free to get creative and mix and match the below alternatives at various points where you may be more or less inclined for each to be easily seen.

  • Wood Logs:  You can loop the guy line ropes around each log and pull them away from the tent to tighten.  These are a great natural look.  You'll want these cut to approximately a 1 foot diameter x 2 foot height.
    logs for bell tent setup on concrete
  • Cinder Blocks:  These aren't pretty right off the shelf, but you can get creative to change that.  You can wrap the ropes around each cinder block and use their weight to hold the tent in place.
    cinder blocks for bell tent setup indoors
  • Potted Plants:  Similar to logs, these look natural, but also can help to create a beautiful scene outside of your bell tent.  Simply drape the ropes around each. The larger the better, but these take up a lot of space in your vehicle.  
    potted plants for bell tent concrete setup
  • Shot BagsShot bags usually max out at 25 lbs each, so you will need to test to make sure that one bag will do its job at each connection point
    indoor bell tent setup

When using the above items you will need to create a way to hold the floor in place as each can hold the main guy-lines, but will be too far away from the tent to hold the floor loops. To help hold the floor in place you should plan to add items internally around wall of the tent to help hold the floor in place and reduce wrinkling. 

bell tent setup at a tradeshow inside


Check out this video clip showing our tent at an event.

One huge benefit of using our bell tents is that our wall poles help to keep the walls straight!  So feel free to grab one of our bell tents for your next event!



Joe Pagano
Joe Pagano

As the Director or Co-Operations with LiT, Joe has an unyielding energy to be inspired. With over 10 years of experience in team building and events this guy is a well organized & dynamic bulldog.

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