My Danchel tent is really a teepee but not a teepee.

Our Danchel Teepee at the Kingman Rodeo Grounds for the London Bridge Renaissance Fair March 2023

In my personal blog, [What Have We Learned?] I have intermittently chronicled our acquisition of the Danchel 6m Bell tent. [Here, then here]This was in error. We have no such tent.

The Danchel Bell Tent that we do not own.
Not our tent – at all.

In our defense, when we acquired this thing, it had no documentation, and no poles. Just the tent fabric and a storage bag.  And it was already several years old.

What we have turns out to be a Danchel 5.5m Teepee tent. We learned this setting up at a Renaissance festival (as we do) and our neighbor recognized the contraption. 

A review of said teepee. If only I had found this sooner…

Danchel does not seem to sell this style anymore, certainly not in the US market. They may be available in Asia, as “Indian tents”, which could refer to the type of canvas used rather than the style. These were old websites, though.

It is not actually a teepee in the sense of the traditional native American tents. Those would have several poles spread out along a circle and then brought together at the top to form the iconic cone shape.  [Notes from the Frontier has a good write-up].

My tent has a single pole in the middle. It’s the second one I bought for it, and it’s still too short, being specific to the Danchel Bell tent. I don’t believe I could reliably purchase the proper pole, nor do I want to sink any more money in this, so I adapted.

Before I learned that the pole was simply too short, I went around in many circles trying to conjure a method of removing the droop from the sides.

None of them worked.

Because the pole was too short.

The answer is actually easy – both sets of loops can make to a guy stake that I try to place about three feet out.  I have found that in good weather, I only need to make the top row.

This revelation also explained why I could never find the loops and holes for the doorway frame that is a feature of Bell tents. Yes – I bought one of those as well. The teepee has no holes or loops for the A-frame it does not need.

So I have an A-frame for a 6m Danchel Bell tent in my garage, and if you need it contact me. It’s yours for cost of shipping.

I also still have those stupid wooden stakes, but I will find a use for them.

Like their bell tent, the Danchel teepee features a zippered-in heavy-duty bathtub floor. Currently, all of that zip hardware still works.  The floor can be completely removed if you want.

In the Bell tents, it is possible to hike up the walls a couple of feet to provide a more ventilated shade structure. The teepee does not have those means, though it could likely be done by just roiling up the side sections and clipping them.

We haven’t tried. At fair, it is both dressing room and sleeping quarters.

It comes with a flap for your stove vent, but we have sewn over that burn-damaged flap. We do not camp in the snow.

Now that we’re done with what not to do, here are some best practices I can recommend.

You really, really have to dry this thing – somehow –  before storage. You do not want to store it wet for any longer than it takes to drive to someplace sunny and open.

I use the 12” heavy duty tent stakes, the ones that look like giant nails. Anything less will frustrate you when you are trying to convert the dirt parking lot of a rodeo ground into a renaissance market.  I can usually get them in and out with a straight claw hammer, but I carry both a 8lbg sledge and a 3’ crowbar, and have used both on occasion.

It is also well to have something bright to wrap around your guy stakes, as they are trip hazards even in the sober daylight. I use a pair of bright orange ratchet straps. I also use a ratchet strap instead of a guy line for the loop over the doorway. This is a hangover from when I tried to incorporate an A-frame, but it is also more stumble resistant.

Here’s the video I did not put on You-Tube about inserting the pole.

This goes for any tall pole in a tent.

I use an 8” wooden apple-box to prop up the bottom of the pole. It is the stand where the water bottle and toilet paper (two things you should always have in a sleeping tent) always return to.

The last time I kept track it went up in 90 minutes and went down in 50.  Yes – I got it back into the bag – dry.


The Canyon Cooler Scout and MSR Superfly stove.

I am, as a backpacker, somewhat of a gear hog. One of the few exceptions is cooking. I carry a little MSR stove, a can of fuel for it and a titanium pot, and that’s it. All I do with the stove is boil water.

To be fair, I am not a foody at all, and this allows me simple meals on the trail. And once you grasp that name-brand freezer bags will accept boiling water without melting, these meals become easy to prep in advance. I have oatmeal for breakfast, and maybe ramen, or some commercial boil-in-a-bag product. That’s it. That’s all the work I put into meals.

In town, my day job has me living – and often eating – out of my car. In Phoenix, this means a real cooler, or real disappointment. There is no middle ground.

In the video clips below I discuss my Canyon Cooler Scout, which lives in my car and allows me to eat lunch even in the summer heat, and my MSR SuperFly stove, which allows me to boil water on the trail.

(A more complete review of Canyon Coolers.)

I can confirm that the cooler will keep ice, or near ice for about 40 hours.

Eureka Copper Canyon 6 Tent Review

[This is a thing we do here from time to time. Unless noted, you can assume I bought the item in question.]

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Copper Canyon 6 in its natural environment.

Several years ago (2013) prior to what would become the Last Family Camping Trip, my wife and I, once we realized we did not have the finances to pull off any level of RV trailer, decided the consolation prize would be a really good tent. Our teenage kids, by his point, preferred their own tents, the dogs were not coming, and our giant, two room tent seemed actually too large. Also, it had leaks and failing zippers and other maladies that beset aging tents.

How Eureka envisions the tent.

After some shopping about, we settled upon the Eureka Copper Canyon 6. What sold us was the steep walls and high ceiling which maximized 10’x10’ living space within the tent. The tent tops out at 7’, but even better, the walls are at least 6’, and nearly vertical. That means normal adults can stand up anywhere in that 10’x10’ space. We were old enough that we did not want getting dressed to be an Olympic event anymore, and having space, not on the air mattress, to do that was what sold us.

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All cleaned up for picture day.

Being able to sit in camp chairs inside a tent mitigates a lot of otherwise miserable circumstances at a campsite. Like riding out rainstorms. Or putting on socks.

Eureka touts the zippered port for an extension cord as some sort of big selling point. In my world-view that would be just another means for vermin to sneak in and/or another zipper to fail. People who value that sort of thing are really just biding time until they get an RV.

That said, I think we made use of it at a KOA in Oregon, so that the kids would have a dry spot to charge their phones besides the car. But the adults to not go out into the woods to stare at screens.

Make no mistake: this is a campground tent – not a wilderness expedition tent. It weighs about 30 pounds, and packs as thick as a sleeping bag and slightly longer. The zippers and the floor are all family camp grade. If you’re looking at heavy use, you will want some sort of ground-cloth, and a better grade of tent stakes than the ones that come with the tent. Mine had no leaks or zipper failures as of September 2018, but that’s really less than 20 use nights.

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The three-season rating is somewhat aspirational. It will take some wind and rain, as all tents should, but the design is more about privacy in summer than resisting inclement weather in early spring or late fall.

To get vertical walls, they had to include plastic sleeves to provide rigid corners. That works well, but setting the poles into those sleeves will take strong hands, and it is a LOT easier with two people. That said, I can set it up and take it down by myself in the same 20 minutes Eureka says is normal, but I’m pretty good at this sort of thing.

You could not leave this to junior high children and expect success.

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Minor nuisances in setting up: the upper tent poles, the wide ones, are longer than you think, and must go through sleeves at the top. Sleeves always aggravate me, and you will struggle to keep the extended end out of the dirt. Making the vertical poles will take strong hands. The rain fly is several orders of magnitude easier with two people, but that would be the case with any tent of this size.

Eureka did mark one corner for reference (this matters) and there are pockets in the rain-fly to stow the guy-lines, which saves a treasure hunt for yet another nylon sack.

Unlike Eureka’s backpacking tents, the carry bag is actually generously sized. You do not have to refold the thing to within a millimeter of factory spec to get it back inside the bag. I fold it ends to center and one more time over, but the tent is square – it really doesn’t matter which end you fold from. Four folds will leave the tent no wider than the bag of poles. Plop that bag on one end, roll to the other, and shove it in the bag.

I do not bring this thing when I camp alone – I have a hammock. But recently I had occasion to camp in a campground with a guest. Hammocks do not work well with campgrounds, or guests.

In the video below, I set it up in my backyard because I hadn’t used it in a while, and I wanted to make sure it was still complete and intact. The rest is from the above mentioned campground, namely Hualapai Mountain Regional Park near Kingman AZ.

I remember paying nearly $600 for this tent in 2013, because it was the new whiz-bang thing, and we had lost our window to shop around for price. Eureka now lists it at $259.95. That’s worth the money, if you need to duplicate your bedroom at the campsite.

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Did I mention there is room for a chair?