White Duck Regatta Canvas Bell Tent – Reviewed

Has the call of nature been stirring your heart? Do a few nights in the wild sound like a welcome retreat against the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Well, I definitely feel you there, and I can’t deny that traditional tent camping is one of the best ways to get a healthy dose of the great outdoors.

At the same time, lying down on the hard ground doesn’t always sound relaxing, especially when you’re surrounded by a small, cramped tent. Sometimes you just need to add a little comfort to your camping trip, and the White Duck Regatta canvas bell tent is one of the best ways to do that.

Having tested the Regatta in various places across the US, I’ve discovered quite a few points that I absolutely love, along with others that are slightly less desirable. Here’s the complete breakdown of the tent, together with my recommendation on whether or not you should get the Regatta for yourself.

White Duck Regatta Overview

The White Duck Regatta is a canvas tent most commonly used for car camping and glamping. Since it falls on the heavier end of the weight spectrum, it’s not suitable for long treks (or even relatively short walks); however, as a backyard hangout or a luxurious camping getaway, you’ll start to notice its true strengths begin to shine. It’s definitely a fun one, but before diving into the full review, here are a few notable points and features to consider:

  • Material:
    Canvas, Steel Poles

  • Weight:
    51 Pounds

  • Center Height:
    89 Inches

  • Door Height:
    57 Inches

  • Roof Vents:
    4

  • Electric Cable Outlet:
    Included

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than a few specs and features. It might be a tall tent, but does it really feel that spacious on the inside? The materials might be durable, but will it really hold up well in rough weather? And considering how large and heavy it is, does one person have any chance at being able to set it up by themself?

(Hint: the answer to that last question is “Yes,” depending on the environment you find yourself in)

We’ll touch on all those points and more, so let’s go ahead and dive into what the Whiteduck Regatta canvas bell tent does really well.

Where it Shines

brown canvas tent in the desert with mesas

40 years ago, a canvas tent was (basically) the only option available to people who wanted to go camping. And to be honest, they weren’t really that great, since they lacked waterproofing, they were unbearably heavy, and more than a few didn’t even have walls that extended all the way down to the ground.

Technology has come a long way in the last couple decades, though, and there’s no better example of that than the White Duck Regatta. While normally used for glamping, the Regatta is a versatile shelter that gives you plenty of options. While you certainly can have your full-blown glamping experience inside of it, I find it to be more suitable for elevating your normal camping game.

Stability

The first time I unrolled the Regatta marked the beginning of a three-night camping expedition in Utah, just a few miles from the San Rafael Swell. When I first saw it, I wouldn’t say stability was my biggest concern with the shelter, simply because I’ve always known bell tents to be structurally sound. However, given that there are only two poles – one to prop up the center, and one to prop up the entrance – I was starting to get a little anxious while unrolling the tent in 30 mph wind gusts.

That being said, it didn’t take long for my anxieties to melt away. Once I had the tent staked out and I propped up the center pole, the Regatta stood tall and proud, barely showing any indication that one side was getting hammered by the wind. Of course, this is after I guyed it out, but even before I added that extra security, the tent held up a lot better than I expected.

Ease of Setup

canvas tent unrolled on the dirt

Now, my Regatta is the 10 foot variety, which is a measurement of the tent’s diameter. That’s not small, and given the 51 pound weight, I thought it would be pretty hard to setup by myself.

And, it was. In those 30 mph wind gusts that I mentioned earlier.

But even with the strong winds, I didn’t feel like I struggled too much while putting it together. The canvas and steel are heavy enough where they won’t fly away in the breeze, so it’s not very hard to hammer in all 8 stakes, regardless of weather. Especially thanks to the included rubber mallet, it’s incredibly simple to lock down your tent in a matter of minutes.

Of course, I have pitched this tent in “normal” conditions as well, and I have to say that it was probably the most painless experience I’ve had with any shelter, canvas or otherwise. So, can one person put it together with ease? Absolutely – even with little to no past experience working with tents, I’d be surprised if it took you more than half an hour to get it up and running.

Spaciousness

Nowadays, we’ve all come to expect canvas tents to be large and spacious. And while the 10′ Regatta certainly isn’t the largest canvas tent on the market, it’s still quite roomy and cozy.

As a 4 person tent, it would be easy to fill it to max capacity without feeling cramped. However, for optimal comfort, I would recommend using it as a 1 or 2 person tent to give yourself room to breathe along with space for your belongings and certain luxuries. My wife and I find that it’s the perfect size for the two of us, and I can’t imagine using it for any other purpose than that.

The center height is one of my favorite features about the tent, though, as it’s hard for me to find a 4 person tent that gives me the space to stand straight up inside. In the Regatta, I have room to spare, which is great for stretching out and changing clothes.

When I was glamping in Maine a year ago, I had the opportunity to spend a couple nights in the White Duck Avalon, which was a 13′ tent. While more spacious overall, the Avalon didn’t feel too different from the Regatta from a convenience perspective. As long as you’re not trying to pack in the people, and don’t mind a cozier living space, the Regatta is a great option for campers who like to stretch out.

Ventilation

tent window covered in mesh in the desert

Stale air inside your tent? It’ll make you feel miserable in a jiffy, which is why ventilation is so important in any tent. To help you beat the heat and prevent condensation buildup, White Duck included a number of features to keep the air moving throughout the tent.

First, you have the door itself, which can act as your greatest source of air movement. Since it’s double layered (one solid, canvas layer and one mesh layer), you can easily unzip and roll back the canvas outer layer while keeping the mesh door zipped up. This keeps the bugs out while letting the air in, and when paired with the several mesh windows surrounding the tent, you can get a nice cross breeze in no time.

Don’t feel like opening up any windows or doors due to bad weather or some other factor? You’ll still have a little air flow working for you, thanks to the canvas’s natural breathability along with the four vents circling the top of the tent.

Waterproofing

I haven’t had a chance to test the White Duck Regatta canvas bell tent in any sort of precipitation, but I have spent some rainy nights in a White Duck canvas tent once while traveling through Maine and again while in Colorado. Based on those experiences, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the Regatta will hold up beautifully in the rain.

Made from army duck cotton canvas, the fibers absorb water and swell, sealing up any micro holes that would otherwise let the rain through the fabric. When paired with the water repellent finish, there’s almost no chance that you’ll get wet when you’re living inside the Regatta – or any other White Duck canvas tent, for that matter.

Additional Features

small opening in a canvas tent

Aside from spaciousness, waterproofing, and durability, the White Duck Regatta comes with a variety of other features to enhance your camping experience. A couple of the more notable ones include:

Stove Jack. Many canvas tents come with a stove jack, which allows you to use a tent stove inside of the shelter. Though it will add to your overall weight, a stove is a great way to bring some warmth into your tent, along with a heat source for cooking. With the Regatta, this option is available for you, but I would offer a word of caution. This shelter is relatively small for a canvas tent, which means a wood stove is going to heat it up very quickly. Make sure you don’t overdo it, otherwise you’ll be sweating in no time!

Electric Cable Outlet. Want to wire some power into your Regatta? With the built-in electric cable outlet, you can do just that, whether you happened to find an outlet nearby or you have a generator you want to keep outside of your tent. This feature is especially useful in a “glamping” tent like this one, where you want to have a few more luxuries with you. With the outlet, you have the ability to electronics (like a TV, mini fridge, etc.) inside your tent to elevate your camping experience even more.

Of course, there’s also the sewn-in groundsheet to help keep water and critters out, giving you a fully protected living space. The grounding system is also made from (what seems to be) a sort of bungee cord material, which provides some shock-resistance. It’s a feature that I’ve never seen on a tent before, and it does the trick nicely in strong winds and harsh weather.

Potential Pain Points

At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as a perfect tent. And just like anything else, the Regatta isn’t going to be suitable for every type of camping that you might want to partake in.

The first problem you’re going to run into is weight. There’s no way around it when you consider the weight of canvas and steel, and even a smaller canvas tent like this still weighs in at a hefty 51 pounds. As someone who’s young and in fairly good shape, even I wouldn’t want to carry this tent more than a couple dozen yards at a time. Thankfully it comes in a convenient storage bag, but still, this is for car camping, backyard camping, and glamping only.

Next is the size and shape of the tent. While it does have a very tall center height, the ceiling slopes down dramatically from that point until it reaches the walls, which stand at a modest 31 inches. In terms of standing room, you’re limited to a small area around the center pole before you’ll have to start ducking and crouching. Still, the spaciousness is greater than what you’d find on most 4 person tents, so it’s hard to complain too much.

Care and Maintenance

man sitting in a canvas tent in the desert

Canvas is quite a bit different from synthetic tent materials, like polyester and nylon. Since it’s made from organic fibers, it’s prone to developing mold and mildew if you don’t take care of it properly. That means, if the tent got wet in the rain, you need to dry it out before storing it back in its bag. Even if it’s only packaged up for a day while wet, there’s a good chance that you’ll start to notice black mold forming on the fabric. Not only is this unhealthy, but it will also stain your tent, which is pretty unsightly.

Assuming you’re not in a position where you can dry the tent within 24 hours of taking it down, you’re better off leaving it pitched in the rain. It’s always better to leave it fully erected in the rain than to roll it up and store it while damp.

Final Verdict

The White Duck Regatta is a powerhouse with a lot of special and unique features. Not only do you get all of the benefits that come with canvas (breathability, waterproofing, durability, etc.), but you also get a spacious shelter that you can easily put together by yourself.

Is it heavy and a little high maintenance? Absolutely. If you’re the sort of person who likes to stay mobile, then I have to say, this probably isn’t the tent for you. However, if you don’t mind settling down for a few days, and you value your creature comforts, I can’t recommend the Regatta enough.

Curious? Check it out below!

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Meet the Author!

By the age of 20, Spencer had already tackled some of the most famed mountain ranges in Europe, Asia, and North America. His mission is to help others accomplish their own outdoor-related goals, even within the time constraints of a 9-5 job and a busy life schedule.

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