The White Duck Regatta Bell Tent
– Price: $999 (currently on sale for $739)
– Weight: 77 lbs (34.9kg)
– Floor size: 197” x 197” (500cm x 500cm)
– Peak height: 118” (300cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Capacities: 8 person (6 & 3 person also available)
– Shape: Bell
– What we like: Solid materials, reliable construction, fair price
– What we don’t: Fewer windows, sewn in floor/walls
The Wise Adventurer’s Verdict
This is a review of the White Duck Regatta Bell Tent, a plus-sized canvas tent that’s ideal for group camping trips.
The Regatta is the most budget-friendly canvas bell tent in White Duck’s lineup, but it was more than simple frugality that put this shelter on our radar. Despite its bargain price, this tent has some of the most high-quality materials and bulletproof construction on the market, positioning it as a smart buy for anyone looking to get into one of these outdoor palaces.
As is the case with every tent we test firsthand, we applied our same process and methodology to the White Duck Regatta to see how it performed on all the most important aspects of any outdoor shelter. Below we break down each of the main factors you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re considering the Regatta for yourself, but if you want to know more about how we test and review our tents, you can check out this article where we outline our process step by step.
Alright, let’s take a closer look at the White Duck Regatta!
We spent a long weekend this winter getting to know the Regatta inside and out. Our conditions were below freezing but sunny, with some light snow at night and minimal winds during the day, aka, the perfect weekend of cold weather camping. Over the course of the weekend we had occasion to test various aspects of the tent from its weatherproofing to the quality of its construction and materials, and were overall extremely pleased with the results. Here’s our take on the Regatta
Space and Comfort
As is the case with any tent this large, both space and comfort were highlights of our testing. Whether you’re coming from a compact backpacking tent or even a larger camping tent, the outright size and headroom of the White Duck Regatta feel downright luxurious if not absurd, and we had plenty of space for four sleepers as well a stove and a separate dining room/living room area inside. It is truly one of the best tent with stove jack, we had the opportunity to test!
We tested the Regatta using two queen-sized sleeping arrangements, but you could easily add another four campers to the mix without feeling overly cramped. This layout left plenty of space near the back wall to park a set of chairs and ample room for egress between and around the sleeping areas. We also had adequate headroom left over by the tent’s tapered roof line to sit comfortably without touching the ceiling, which can be an issue on some tents we’ve tested with aggressively tapered ceilings.
We also appreciate that White Duck includes two very large mesh organizers on either side of the door. This gave all four of our testers all the storage they needed for stashing keys, headlamps, and other quick-access items without taking up any extra space on the tent floor.
Downsides here are minimal, but we had two common complaints among all our testers. First, while the Regatta’s three ground-level windows are notably larger than some tents we’ve tested, we wouldn’t mind seeing a few more added to other walls of the tent. More windows make for more natural light inside the tent (which is particularly important for dark-colored canvas like our test model) and also add extra ventilation to keep the tent comfortable in the hotter months.
Our other complaint here is the pole that supports the tent door. Most canvas tents use a large “V” shaped pole to support the door without getting in the way of your comings and goings, but the Regatta uses a single upright pole that sits dead smack in the middle of the doorway. Don’t get us wrong, there’s still plenty of room to get around it and it doesn’t impact the interior space/livability of the tent at all, but when you’re hauling gear in and out of the tent during setup/takedown, it can be a little annoying.
One of the coolest things about cotton canvas is its natural waterproofing. Once a canvas tent has been exposed to water and then allowed to dry, the fibers tighten to make an utterly storm-proof barrier, and we’ve spent our fair share of stormy nights in canvas tents without seeing a drop of water make its way through this material.
As expected, the White Duck Regatta is up to the task when it comes to bad weather. The Regatta uses White Duck’s 8.5 oz “DYNADUCK” cotton canvas fabric, which is also treated with a special finish that beefs up its natural waterproofing while also adding mold and UV resistance.
We had zero issues with water or wind resistance from floor to ceiling, and even found that the Regatta’s windows could be left open in light rain or snow thanks to the overhanging roof design. We’ll also note that White Duck uses some of the sturdiest guylines we’ve tested to date, which did an excellent job of keeping the structure taut with minimal checking and re-tensioning required.
Ease of Set-Up
Most canvas tents all set up in roughly the same fashion, and if you’ve pitched one, you’ve pitched them all: Lay the tent out, stake out the canopy, then prop up the center. Once the poles are up, all that’s left to do is tension out your guylines, and you’re good to go.
With that being said, our testers felt the White Duck Regatta was actually easier to pitch than your average canvas tent thanks to its lighter construction and fewer total guylines. It’s also nice that White Duck includes everything you need for a simplified setup in the bag including a heavy-duty mallet for driving its heavy steel stakes into the ground.
We timed our first solo pitch at around 20 minutes total from start to finish, and our brave volunteer noted that the Regatta’s quick-and-easy guyline tensioners made for a particularly drama-free setup. The only slightly difficult aspect here is wedging in the center pole to raise the roof as there’s a fair amount of tension on the canvas even before the guylines are drawn, but it’s something we felt any adult could manage on their own.
Durability is a hallmark of any canvas tent worth buying, and the White Duck Regatta is no exception. Every aspect of this tent from the thick canvas fabric to the sewn-in PE flooring feels orders of magnitude tougher than your typical polyester camping tent, and we have no doubt that this tent will last for untold years of group adventures.
White Duck really cuts no corners in this regard, even compared with other bell tents we’ve used. We were particularly impressed by the heavy-duty galvanized steel stakes, which look like they’re pulled from railroad ties and repurposed for camping duty. Our testers loved being able to drive these stakes in with ease regardless of what lay in the ground below. Cold ground and rocky soil were no match for these spikes, which makes setup that much easier.
Weight and Packed Size
While there’s no denying that the Regatta is a very large and very heavy tent, weight and packed size are actually a highlight here compared to other canvas options we’ve tested. Don’t get us wrong, at 125 pounds altogether, the Regatta isn’t light by any stretch, but it’s got a few unique things going for it here.
First, the Regatta is actually about 30-40 lbs lighter than most tents its size, which makes transporting it from your vehicle and back much less, shall we say, intense? Second, it’s designed to break into multiple bags to make carrying it that much easier, so you can separate the poles and stakes without worrying about anything getting lost in transit over multiple trips.
With that being said, keep in mind that the total dimensions for the Regatta are still much larger than your typical plus-sized camping tent. That means you probably won’t be able to carry it in the trunk of most compact cars, so you’ll want to do some measuring before committing to one yourself.
Canvas tents are known for their high price tags, but it’s actually “bang for the buck” that brought the Regatta to our attention in the first place. White Duck designed the Regatta as the ideal “entry-level” canvas tent to deliver on all the essentials (heavy-duty materials, wood stove compatibility, huge interior space) while leaving some of the more “premium” features found on models like the Avalon out in the name of affordability.
Truth be told, unless you’re comparing the two models side by side (as we did during our recent field test), you won’t feel that the Regatta is really lacking anything in terms of quality or livability. Its canvas is a bit lighter than more expensive tents, it has a few less windows, and it lacks certain other features like a zip-out floor that make for easy cleaning, but it still feels utterly premium and delivers fully on the “glamping” experience most campers expect from a canvas bell tent.
What We Like
Value is definitely the most enticing aspect of the White Duck Regatta, but what we really love about this tent in particular is how well it distinguishes itself from other budget-friendly canvas models out there today. Yes, it costs less than many other tents of the same dimensions, but after spending some time in the Regatta ourselves, we’re convinced you’re getting much more tent for your money.
The materials and construction of the Regatta truly want for nothing. The canvas is thick and truly waterproof, the floor is tough enough to sit furniture on without worrying about rips or tears, and all the hardware from the tent poles to the stakes is top quality.
We also appreciate that while this is a budget-focused tent, it’s coming from a reputable brand that backs its products with a lifetime warranty against defects. There are a few models out there from no-name brands that may undercut the White Duck Regatta by a few dollars, but they’re often plagued by quality issues, non-existent customer service, and questionable return policies.
What We Don’t Like
The only gripe our testers shared during testing was the aforementioned door pole, which just seems like an oversight by the White Duck design team. The Regatta’s setup is effective and robust, but it’s hard to believe that swapping out a “V” shaped pole like the one found on White Duck’s more premium Avalon model would make a serious difference in manufacturing costs.
Aside from that, the only other downside we found with the Regatta is the thickness of its materials. It seems like a silly thing to complain about considering how robust everything looks and feels in person, but there are a few models out that deliver even thicker materials than the Regatta’s 8.5 oz canvas canopy and 7.5 oz polyethylene flooring. The White Duck Avalon we tested on the same trip, for instance, uses 10 oz canvas and an insanely tough (and heavy) floor made entirely from vinyl.
- White Duck Avalon: Same outstanding quality, attention to detail, and excellent customer service, but with even thicker materials, more windows, and a zip-out floor for easier cleaning.
- Teton Sports Sierra: Another high-quality budget option from a reputable brand that costs a little less but delivers a bit less space and doesn’t include a stove jack.
- Life inTents Stella Stargazer: The utmost in quality, livability, and premium features. Impressive, but very expensive.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re shopping for your first canvas tent or you actually managed to wear out your current one, the White Duck Regatta delivers fantastic quality at a price that’s tough to beat. The materials and construction are top-notch, the interior space is fantastic, and the fact that it’s coming from a brand with a reputation for quality and customer support makes the Regatta a smart investment all around.
This tent only falls short in terms of quality and features when compared with much more expensive models, and if you’ve got no use for extra windows, zip-out floors, or 360-degree views, the Regatta is the tent for the job. Even the most affordable canvas tents are a serious investment compared to traditional dome or cabin tents, and this is one investment we’re convinced will last a lifetime with proper care.