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How do you set up a pole tent?

Updated: Mar 14

Pole tents, often called standard frame tents, are one of the most common tent structures used for outdoor events. The tent design is classic and is what you might think of when you think of a tent structure. So, how do you install one? First and foremost, tent safety is the goal here. Installing a tent the proper way is very important for the safety of event attendees. Also, the last thing you want is the tent collapsing or flying away in the middle of your special event (check out the video below).

How do you install a frame tent?

So what does it take to install a tent? What do you need? There are a few things to keep in mind when installing a tent. The very first thing we tell our clients is that they should have a crew with experience installing, anchoring and tethering your tent. While it is relatively simple we always recommend you exercise caution with a tent structure. If you do not have experience, then hire a crew which will not only help you install your tent but who will also tether it safely. We have in in-house crew who will head to your location and help you install it in the Southern California Region. If you are outside of our service area, we recommend you hire a local tent rental crew who can help you.

The video below is of a 20x20 standard frame tent installation for reference. In it you can see how it is easy to install the tent since it is not too big. We always recommend you install your tent with a crew of at least two. Never attempt to do it alone. We also highly recommend you wear a hard hat, gloves and eye protection when necessary.

  • Wear Hard Hat

  • Wear Gloves (when necessary)

  • Wear Eye Protection (when necessary)

  • Wear Foot Protection (work boots)

  • Never Attempt to Install a Tent Alone

How Do You Anchor a Tent?

Anchoring a tent is just as important as installing it correctly. This is because the structure can be relatively big and somewhat light for its size. Tents are susceptible to being dragged, flipped or to collapsing in high winds. We build our tents with heavy duty tent poles to prevent them from collapsing. A great tent structure will not collapse but it can still be dragged and flipped by the wind which is why tethering is crucial.

There are several tent tethering options including cement ballast, k-rails, stakes and eye bolts. By far, stakes are the most common option since they are relatively easy to install and the most accessible. They are found just about anywhere from hardware stores to online shopping websites. Wooden stakes are not what you need here, always use steel stakes. Most small tents only require one per corner or per leg and larger tents require 2-3 per corner or leg. Of course, we will let you know how many you need and can sell them to you. Don't forget to "Call before you dig" since you do not want to strike water or gas lines. Always make sure you know that the area you will drive stakes in is clear for you to do so.

Cement ballast to secure pole tents

Cement ballast are another alternative to stakes. They attach to each leg and the tent is secured with rope. Since they are not too appealing to the eye, we always recommend to have ballast covers which will hide them in plain sight. We offer cement ballast but do keep shipping in mind, as it can get very expensive since they are so heavy.

Eye bolts are a great solution as well but keep in mind that you need to have the properly installed or they can be a bit dangerous as tension pulls on them. This is because if wind tugs on a tent and the eye bolts come loose, then it can become a projectile. Definitely not something you want. The other issue with eye bolts is that they are static and unless you will have your tent set in the same place it doesn't make too much sense to use them. If properly installed and used, they are perfect since they literally let you tether your tent to the ground.

Lastly, K-Rails are the yet another option. K-rails are more common in locations where there will be some wind expected or for very large structures. These unique tethering devices can weigh between ~2-14k pounds. They are very, very heavy and used for extremely heavy duty installations. You can also use them for small scale setups since they are so secure but they are definitely overkill for smaller tent installations.

This video below is a great example of what happens when you do not properly tether your tent or inflatable. For the record, none of these tents or inflatables are ours. Be safe, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Our professional installation crew can help you if you are near our facility. If you are too far, we are sure you can go to a tent rental business near your installation location and get them to help you.


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