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Tenting Guide

Our Event Rental Experts will be happy to assist you in the proper tent selection for your event. There are three types of tents available: Pole Tents, Frame Tents, and Clearspan Structures. No matter what type of tent you have all potential tent sites must be checked for low hanging tree limbs, underground sprinklers and telephone lines, and other obstacles. Site inspections are available to assist customers who want to reserve tents with us.


Elite and Genesis are styles of pole tents with superior weather performance. They require 3-5’ of distance all the way around the perimeter of the tent for the ropes (guy lines) and stakes which create the tension that keeps them upright. There are stakes approximately every 10’ along the perimeter. While easiest to put up on grass, they may be installed on a parking lot or gravel if permission is granted to stake through those surfaces. The poles along the perimeter of the tent are called side poles. Center poles hold up the interior areas of the tent (spacing varies by tent width) and gives the tents a more dramatic height than frame tents or clearspan structures. One must account for the center poles when trying to layout the interior of the tent, however. Pole tents are less expensive per square foot than similar width frame tents or clearspan structures.


Frame tents (also called free standing tents) are supported by an aluminum frame. While no guy lines or stakes are required for support; they are needed to make sure the tent is anchored in place from potential winds, but far fewer are used than for a pole tent. Another benefit to a frame style tent is that there are no supporting center poles inside the tent allowing more creative use of the available space. Frame tents can be placed on any surface. If not on a surface which can be staked, frame tents may be anchored with water barrels or cement anchors. The amount of these varies by size of the tent and the possible weather conditions at the tent site. Frame tents must have a clear surface at least the size of the tent in order to erect them. They may be placed directly up against buildings, fences or other structures though. Frame tents are more expensive than pole tents, but less expensive than clearspan structures of similar width.


Clearspan structures are made from a highly engineered aluminum frame to provide the greatest in tenting flexibility. When on a surface that can be staked, the stake goes directly down through the foot of each tent leg, therefore no ropes or guy lines are required at all. If on a surface that cannot be staked, clearspan structures of up to 50’ width (and any length) may use water barrel or water basket anchoring. Structures wider than 50’ (no matter the length) must always be staked for safety purposes. Clearspan structure sidewalls slide into a groove on the tent leg so they do not need to be anchored with a wooden frame as do sidewalls on pole and frame tents. This also means that in between every set of tent legs you have the flexibility to use whatever type of sidewall you need (solid white, French window, or clear). Clearspan structures may be built over existing small trees, parked vehicles, swimming pools, and other obstacles. While there are limits, this tent style provides greater flexibility than with either frame or pole tents.


One area of possible confusion in the tenting world is the term clearspan itself. Standard clearspan structures come with a white canvas roof. They are also available with clear canvas roofs, but this is a more expensive option. Standard frame tents also come with a white canvas roof. Again, they are also available with a more expensive clear roof option. All tents, even pole tents, have the option of clear sidewalls.


Marquee tents are a very narrow type of frame tent with gabled ends. They are made specifically for creating a small addition to an entrance on a building or tent, or for creating covered passageways between larger tents.


The number listed as “Capacity” next to our tent sizes assumes the entire tent is used for seating with 10 people per 100 sq. feet. Extra space must be allowed for dance floors, serving tables, bars, head tables, etc. Because every event is unique a 40’x100’ tent could seat 350 for one type of event and only 100 for another type of event. We can assist in quoting you the correct size tent for your event.


All of our tents are made by reputable manufacturers and have canvas that is treated to be flame retardant. Copies of the flame certificates are available by request for those who have existing tent orders with us.