Rigging for a Storm

Wind load increases exponentially with wind speed. Double the speed and the force of that wind increases fourfold. That's ideal if you're a pilot, and worthy of attention if you're a tent rigger.

Preparing for the worst

Weather forecasts carry no guarantee. Otherwise, tenting would be easier, and cheaper. But whether we pitch for an evening event or a 6 month restaurant enclosure, our stretch tents must withstand a surprise storm. We monitor but don’t count on weather forecasts. If we’ve learned anything from the Rockies, it’s that unexpected storms should be expected.

Before pitching a stretch tent we apply engineering standards to withstand the worst. This starts with sound anchors, engineered pitch options, robust rigging, and mitigation strategies to storm rig a stretch tent.

Storm straps and valleys reduce billowing

Regardless of the pitch, tents are not storm shelters. Aluminum poles are dangerous in a lighting storm. Occupants should seek seek shelter when lighting is near. That said, we rig to ride out the storm, whether the tent is occupied or not.

We have a history of pitching before snow, hail, and wind storms, so we rig accordingly. In the Rocky Mountains weather changes often. It’s best to err on the conservative side and always storm rig a stretch tent.

Drop windward side

We’ll design a tent pitch to suit the customer, occasion, and conditions. The flexibility of stretch tents allows us to drop a windward side or two. Framed tents have straight sidewalls which take the wind force head on. In contrast,  the slope of a stretch tent helps the wind ride over the structure. That’s why Tentrix stretch tents are more robust than a framed tent with an 8ft sidewall.

To storm rig a stretch tent we will also alter the anchoring to suit conditions. We make sure guylines are angled aggressively enough to hold in the toughest of conditions.

Grandoozy beer tent in Denver
Storm straps with 14,000 lb break strength limit billowing with uplift. Under canopy, king pole tops are guyed as failsafe.
Steel corner rings guyed with two 8400 lb double braided ropes 36″ stakes.
Perimeter poles canted to bisect the angle between aggressive guy line and canopy so tension is split evenly between canopy & guylines.
3-point valley draw down between perimeter poles to counter ponding & uplift
Side drawn down to prevailing wind
3-point anchor on perimeter poles with aggressive guy angle
Hops tied to beer tent poles. No storm benefit but keeps the occupants happy.