A bell tent fly cover is a brilliant investment to protect your canvas and to insulate your canvas tent.
A bell tent cover reduces cleaning and prolongs the lifespan of your canvas by protecting your bell tent from tree sap, bird droppings and UV rays. A tent fly also helps to reduce internal bell tent temperatures during hot summer days and helps to insulate during cold nights.
For added versatility, you can even use a bell tent fly on its own to create a separate shade structure by using a center pole, an entry pole and using ground peg stakes.
Below are instructions, but we also have a very in-depth video which shows this fly cover process as well.
Attaching Fly Cover to Bell Tent
A brand new fly cover will need to initially require that you tie the guy line ropes on. You can do this prior to installation or as you go through the next steps. Note:One of the guy line ropes may be longer than the rest - this one is to be used above the door (closest to the grommet on the fly cover).
The following instructions assume that your tent does not have the center pole and door pole inserted yet. If you tent is already set-up, then you can attempt to drape the fly cover over your tent with a friend and broomstick.
STEP 1:DRAPE THE FLY OVER YOUR TENT
With poles removed from your tent and the groundsheet pegged down, lay the fly cover over your tent. Align the metal grommet hole of the fly with that of the tent (above the door). Confirm that the Life inTents patch is facing up (found on the right of the door).
Untangle any guy line ropes.
Proceed with your tent set-up...
STEP 2:INSTALL YOUR INTERNAL TENT POLES
Install the center pole for your tent.
Install the door pole.
Attach the grommet of the fly cover to the peg at the top of the door.
STEP 3:STAKE IN THE GUY LINES
Stake out the guy line ropes of the tent.
Attach the corresponding fly cover ropes to the ground stakes used for the tent as you proceed. Each set of ropes from the tent and fly will share a single ground stake.
STEP 4:TIGHTEN THE GUY LINE ROPES
Walk around the tent and tighten the bel tent and fly cover ropes.
If you find that the fly cover is rubbing on the outer wall poles, then you will need to improve the angle of the guy line ropes. This is typically accomplished by moving the ground stake further away from the tent.
STEP 5:ADD THE RAIN CAP TO TOP OF DOOR
Using The Fly Cover As Shade Structure
Fly covers don't need to cover your bell tent, you can also use them on their own to create a large sun shade or rain cover. All you need is the fly cover, ground pegs, a center pole and a door pole (the last 2 items can be borrowed from your tent or purchased separately). We also sell a sun shade kit that includes all of these items.
STEP 1: LAY THE FLY COVER FLAT ON THE GROUND
Face the door in the desired direction and extend the guy line ropes on the ground. Adjust guy line ropes to be the same length (anticipating that they will still need to be tightened later).
STEP 2:PEG GUY LINE ROPES
With the guy line ropes extended on the ground, partially stake each guy line into the ground (don't stake all the way into the ground as you will likely want to reposition these once the poles are inserted).Do not tighten ropes at this point as you will want to allow some slack for inserting the poles.
STEP 3:INSERT YOUR TENT POLES
Install your center pole
Next, install the door pole.
STEP 4:REPOSITION STAKES & TIGHTEN GUY LINES
Reposition the ground pegs if necessary and securely stake them into ground - tightening the guy line ropes as you go.
SAND INSTALLATION TIP: You may need longer stakes to secure the structure on a windy, soft and sandy beach.
Maintaining & Cleaning Your Fly Cover
Your tent fly will shield your tent from dirt, debris, moisture and UV rays. In doing so, you can expect that they fly will endure wear and tear the longer it is in use (better it than your tent!).
When it gets dirty, simply spray clean with soap and water and scrub as needed.
Do not store your fly cover wet for more than a week, or it could develop mildew.
Replacement or repair of the cover may be required after several months of continuous use, as most covers are light-weight for easy transport and installation.
FAQs Of A Bell Tent Fly Cover
Can I use a fly cover with a wood stove pipe? Typically, No. The material used to make fly covers is not fire retardant, making this an unsafe option to use with a ceiling stove jack. You might be able to exit your stove pipe through your wall to get around this.
Why do I need a fly cover is my tent is already waterproof? A cover will reduce the amount of maintenance on your canvas tent - cleaning being the most time consuming. Birds, tree sap, pollen, and caterpillars are just a few culprits that a fly can help keep at bay. Rain water and UV rays will break down the protective coatings on your canvas tent, but a fly cover will significantly slow down this process.
Will a fly cover insulate my tent? YES! The fly will shade your tent in the summer and traps warmer air between it and your tent in the winter to keep it more comfortable. Plus, when it rains, your canvas won't need time to dry off - keeping the inside of your tent less prone to condensation.
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Father of two aspiring glampers, husband to one inspirational wife, and Co-Founder of Life inTents. Continuiously striving to help make camping more comfortable.