Tent manufacturers use various materials to produce their products, and those materials — especially tent fabric — can vary widely in quality.
When shopping for a temporary tent structure, it’s important to consider a few key factors which can have a huge impact on performance and cost of ownership.
Most important considerations for temporary tent structures:
- Overall durability
- UV resistance
- Pinhole protection
Let’s go over these considerations in detail:
The logic behind this one is simple: choose a tent made from higher-quality fabric, and you’ll get a more durable, longer-lasting tent.
Between setup, teardown, transportation, cleaning, and storage, your temporary tent structure is probably going to endure a lot of stress. If you want it to last, you need to choose a product that’s made from high-quality materials that are rigorously tested and designed to prevent stretching, tearing, and other forms of damage.
A tent made from cheaper materials may come at a lower initial cost, but it will degrade much faster and need to be repaired and replaced more often. A tent made from durable fabrics, while potentially more expensive, is a better choice in the long term.
Protection against UV rays is important both for the comfort of event guests and for the longevity of your tent structure.
A large part of the appeal of using temporary tent structures at events is the shade they provide. UV-resistant fabric offers maximum protection from the sun, so guests can enjoy their event without worrying about getting burnt.
Without UV resistance, UV rays can also cause damage to the tent fabric itself. Over time, UV exposure can make the fabric appear faded and discolored, and cause brittleness and cracking that affect appearance and make cleaning the tent more difficult.
Pinholes are tiny tears and punctures that occur when tent fabrics come into contact with sharp objects. In most cases, tents get pinholes when they’re dragged across rough surfaces, such as pavement. When the structure is set up, these holes become visible as pinpoints of light (and potentially small leaks) in the fabric.
Major tears that require a temporary tent structure to be repaired or replaced usually start as pinholes.
Of course, no matter what tent fabric you choose, it’s best to avoid contact with sharp objects or rough surfaces. Unfortunately, with all the handling required for setup, teardown, transportation, and cleaning, accidents do happen, so it’s best to be prepared for them.
Materials with pinhole protection add another layer of durability so that if the tent fabric does come into contact with a rough surface, it’s less likely to cause damage and turn into a major problem.
If there’s one thing worse than an event getting ruined by rain, it’s an event getting ruined by rain when a tent should have protected the guests. Waterproofing is a must for tent structures, especially in climates with frequent wet weather.
Waterproofing is also important after the event. Without proper water resistance, tent fabric can get mildew from prolonged exposure to moisture, causing unsightly — and smelly — stains that are difficult to remove.
While the vast majority of fabrics intended for outdoor use will be water resistant to some extent, they’re not all equally waterproof. For some tent fabrics, the severity of the weather (a light drizzle vs. a downpour) and the duration of exposure can be the difference between an effective shelter and a leaky, stained mess.
Vinyl-based polyester tent fabrics made with high-performance composite synthetic fibers are your best bet for waterproofing — they’re designed to withstand humidity, dew, and rain without springing leaks or getting stained.
When evaluating temporary tent structures, fabric quality is one of the most important components to consider. Durability, UV resistance, pinhole protection, and waterproofing are all key factors that can make or break your investment, so make sure the tent you choose is made from the right materials.