Tent Fabric

The Basics: What You Need to Know About Tent Structure Fabric

Tent structure fabric should be, at bare minimum, waterproof and structurally sound. But, it’s important to consider whether you want features like UV resistance and special aesthetics.

Warner_pole_tent.jpgIf you’re looking into buying new tents for your business, whether you’re just starting out or in search of replacements, fabric should be one of your key concerns. Business owners know the importance of diligent research when making any investment in their company, and every part of the product should be made of the best possible materials at the best available price. Choosing any outdoor fabric requires considerations of the fabrics’ waterproof factor, structural stability and durability. Taking these factors into consideration will help you choose a tent fabric that will last a long time, making it a great investment for your business.


Fabrics that are meant to be outdoors should almost always be waterproof. If your tents aren’t waterproof, you run the risk of leaks, which could be seriously disruptive during events. In addition to leaks, tents that aren’t waterproof have to contend with water damage, often in the form of mold or unsightly stains. Both of these increase upkeep expenses in addition to necessitating earlier replacements, which will weaken your investment.

So you need to buy a tent in a waterproof fabric. Use caution when doing so, as any fabric maker say their fabric is waterproof, but marketing can be deceptive in this realm. A good rule of thumb is that natural fabrics are pretty much incapable of being waterproof. Waterproofing materials can be added to them, however, which delays water damage a bit. Synthetic fabrics can be made somewhat more waterproof, but they will still need reinforcements when it comes to extended exposure or heavier rain.

If you want a truly waterproof tent, with no possibility of water damage or leaks during events, you’ll need to go with a fabric that was created to be waterproof. This must be a part of the formulation of the fabric, with waterproofing materials built in rather than added on, as well as a design that intentionally lacks seams. Woven fabrics with seams are always going to have tiny little holes from the sewing machine’s needle, and water will always be able to get through those holes. Though the gap between them seems negligible or nonexistent, these seams will cause leakage after extended use in rain. Waterproof fabrics built without seams don’t have any holes, big or small, for water to get through.

Structurally Sound

Another important consideration when choosing a tent fabric is its structural stability. Is the tent structure going to hold up to rainfall? Is it going to blow away at the slightest wind? Do you need to worry about your structure collapsing in on guests during your event? If your tents aren’t structurally sound, you will be facing replacement costs at the very least, and possibly more serious problems. The good news is, proper thought and planning before the point of purchase can help you avoid these issues later.

When determining the structural stability of a tent, there are two main factors to consider. Perhaps surprisingly, the largest one doesn’t actually have to do with the fabric -- in fact, the strength of your tent has more to do with the engineering of the frame than anything else. Your frame manufacturer will be a vital resource here, with the ability to help you choose a frame that can withstand the types of weather and elements you can expect in your area. Consider whether you will have to contend with heavy snow, wind or rain.

Fabric does come into play a bit here, of course. Imagine a tent made out of silk encountering above-average wind speeds. Even if everything was attached impeccably, the fabric is so fragile that the wind could potentially puncture and rip a hole through it. So of course, heavier, more substantial fabrics are going to lend themselves to usage in tent. Lighter fabrics, as beautiful as a silk tent may be, will not provide the same durability.

Other Factors

There are many other factors to consider when selecting a tent fabric; structural stability and waterproofing don’t automatically make a tent ideal. Really, these are just the basics of what deems a tent “acceptable.” It’s up for you to determine what else you need and what’s important for your business. Figuring out what differentiates your tent rental business from others can help. It helps to know going in if there is a certain aesthetic you’re aiming for or if you place a high value on the feel of the fabric.

One example of an important secondary characteristic is UV resistance. This is especially important if your tents will frequently be in use during the day. Of course, this will apply to most companies, because even if events are held at night, tents are often set up early to accommodate for decor and will sometimes sit in the sun for hours before an event even begins. If your tents are not UV resistant, they will fade faster, diminishing the aesthetic appeal. Speaking of which -- aesthetic appeal is another very important concern in tent fabric. You want to make sure you’re working with a manufacturer who is happy to help you achieve your aesthetic goals, whether through shape, color or pattern. While a manufacturer might have to bring you back to reality if your tent goals are unrealistically lofty or too outlandish, the right one won’t dismiss your ideas without at least a second thought.

Tent structure fabrics are not like most materials -- our free Five Factors to Consider When Buying a Tent Fabric Material guide will help make the research and buying processes easy. 
Herculite Five Factors to Consider when Buying Tent Fabric Material Free Guide

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