Camping in a bubble tent is just as incredible as it sounds: sleeping under the stars on a cozy mattress in an other-worldly experience to remember forever.
Whether you’re an experienced back country tripper, a camping enthusiast or you’ve never tried camping, we believe everyone should consider putting “sleep under the stars in a bubble tent” on their bucket list.
Here at Four Corners Algonquin, we love the saying…why pay for five stars, when you can have millions instead?
Find out more about what bubble tent camping is all about and why adding it to your bucket list is a must-do.
What is a Bubble Tent?
A bubble tent is an inflatable structure in the shape of a dome, most often used for camping, glamping and unique hotel experiences.
Bubble hotels have been popping up across Instagram and Facebook feeds like wildfires recently.
From the Sahara desert, Hawaii, the Nordic fjords, and even right here in Algonquin, bubble camping experiences are new, exciting, and here to stay.
But what exactly is bubble tent camping?
Some places create a bubble experience using geodesic dome construction technology. Just like the name suggests, these accommodations are round on top like a dome, and sit on a flat surface like a deck. Other bubble providers use inflatables to create a similar experience. In this case, you are literally staying inside of an inflatable ball. Bubbles and domes come in different shapes and all sizes, and may have bathrooms, furniture, decks, and other elaborate amenities.
Bubble Tents at Four Corners Algonquin
At Four Corners Algonquin, staying in a bubble tent is just like regular camping, except that instead of sleeping
inside a canvas tent, you’re inside an inflatable dome - kind of like a bouncy castle but without the bounce.
Our bubbles are made from an opaque white vinyl on the bottom so you can maximize privacy, with a transparent, clear vinyl on top so you can maximize your exposure to the night sky. We use solar energy to power the fan that keeps the bubbles inflated 24/7 from the last weekend in June until Labour Day weekend each year.
We concentrate on sticking to basics and doing it really well: our forest bubble tents are set on a wooden “dodecagon” base (that means it has 10 sides) and come with all the essentials… a wooden deck, firepit, picnic table, barbecue and muskoka chairs.
We bring the bubbles, you bring the fun!
How Does a Bubble Tent Work?
Our bubbles are not like a typical canvas tent.
The relationship between a canvas tent and the outside world is pretty standard. There’s not much to observe in the way it behaves - they do their one job in an excellent manner without fuss.
Bubbles on the other hand have a more symbiotic relationship with the environment. They live, breathe, and move in relation to one another.
When we give people the bubble tent orientation, we tell them the bubbles respond to both their presence and the environment. If you walk around inside, the bubble above you will respond to that movement and move also. It also responds to outside influences - on a windy day, you will see the bubbles swaying as well. You can also push the bubble from the outside and cause movement.
On hot or humid days, it also sweats. If the temperature is humid outside and cooler inside, then condensation may appear on the outside of the bubble. If you have a lot of people inside, the condensation may appear on the inside of the bubble.
Just like a regular tent, the ambient air temperature is often very close to the same both inside the bubble and outside. But it is subject to change as well. When the sun is high in the sky in the hot afternoon, the temperature inside of the bubble will be hotter than outside and probably too hot to enjoy. But because the air inside the tent continually circulates, the inside temperature may feel a bit cooler than outside on cloudy days and at night. Think of it like an indoor windchill effect.
Because the tents are always connected to fans, we think of them as ‘living, breathing’ tents.
What Is It Like to Stay in a Bubble Tent?
There are different types of bubble tents, bubble glamping sites and experiences around the world. While every host has created a unique bubble tent experience, there are many commonalities among them, ours included:
Outstanding night sky views
Typically they are bug free (or nearly bug free) experiences
360 degree-domed experience
Unique sound qualities due to no traditional corners in the space
Inflatable bubbles also have an air-lock entry system so the bubble doesn’t deflate when you enter or exit.
We want our guests to have the best experience possible - which means being prepared to make the most of your stay, and being aware of any potential concerns or possible discomforts.
So, to answer the question “What is it like to stay in a bubble tent?” we will answer that with a pro and con list.
The Pros and Cons of Staying in A Bubble Tent
What Are the Bubble Tents Like At Four Corners Algonquin?
When we decided to open our business, we wanted to be able to offer a variety of different tent experiences. The canvas safari tents are our bread and butter, but we wanted something unique as well. We decided to invest in a bubble tent product called “Bubble Huts” made in Arizona. We ordered three at the same time, and took delivery several months after placing the order. All I can say is, amazing people, amazing service, amazing quality!
We deployed our first bubble in 2019 for an eight week trial run. We powered it through our solar power system we had installed in a shipping container. We had a few disappointing hiccups that first year, but everyone was so gracious, and we were able to work them out in fairly short order. In 2020, we shuttered the bubbles due to COVID19. In 2021, we deployed two bubbles to much fanfare, and finally in 2022, we had all three fully deployed and operational entirely on a dedicated solar photovoltaic power system. We have not had any unexpected downtime since connecting to the new solar power system!
Now we have such a high demand for our bubble tents - we have a waitlist for 2024 stays - we’re looking at adding even more bubble tents to our site. Stay tuned!
When you stay in one of our bubble tents, your site comes with a waterproofed bubble, built on a wooden deck, so that no matter the weather, your stay will be dry. We also provide the same amenities as with our other tents - a comfy mattress, a picnic table, barbecue, firepit, and muskoka chairs. You also have access to the common areas including kitchen and comfort station.
As with all of our tents, we try to size them for the right number of people. In general, we say that bubbles are for couples, or families of up to 2 adults and 2 kids (or 3 depending on the size of the kids and how cozy you’re comfortable being with each other). We have accommodated up to four adult guests in one bubble comfortably.
If you aren’t sure if staying in a bubble is for you, we always welcome you to stop by our site to check us out, see the bubble tents in action, or you can choose a different accommodation style for your first stay with us, and then experience the bubbles on your next! We’re happy to give tours if you stop by.
Stargazing in A Bubble Tent
Four Corners Algonquin is a Dark Sky Friendly location. That means that while we don’t have an ‘official’ dark sky designation, we have taken intentional steps to bring you amazingly dark skies.
We selected a great organically dark location quite far from most artificial lighting
We are off-grid and use night lighting in a limited manner
We have a dedicated night sky forecast for our location based on data from the Canadian Meteorological Society
We have a dedicated night sky viewing location
We are working introducing night sky guides and workshops
You can rent red light lanterns from our Quartermaster Shack.
Stargazing in a bubble tent brings you all of the amenities above, except that you also get to sleep on a comfy mattress, in your pjs, and avoid the bugs while you do it.
Where Can I Go Bubble Tent Camping Near Me?
To our knowledge, Four Corners Algonquin offers the only bubble tent camping and glamping experience in Ontario to date.
Glen Oro Farm, located in Oro-Medonte Ontario, offers a stargazer dome tent that in many ways is similar to a bubble tent experience, but is not an inflatable structure.
Beyond Ontario, there are many incredible options around the world. Here are a few we’ve come across when checking out what other bubble tent camping and glamping sites have to offer around the world:
Costa Rica: https://glampinghub.com/costarica/guanacaste/nosara/glamping-bubble-rental-costa-rica-vacation/?dates=%20-%20&adults=2&children=0&infants=0