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Frequently Asked Questions

About Stretch Tents

What is a stretch tent?

A stretch tent is a freeform fabric structure. It is supported by mushroom capped poles toward the center of the tent, and perimeter poles attached to the edge. Guylines extend from the perimeter to a network of anchors which tension the fabric into shape. Because the tent is made from a knit polyester fabric, the fabric has a slight stretch. This stretch allows it to be formed onsite in ways that would destroy a standard tent made from a woven cloth.

What are the benefits of a stretch tent?

Stretch tents require more experience to pitch than a ‘plug and play’ style steel frame tent with white vinyl cladding. However, once mastered, stretch tent technology offers ultimate flexibility in how and where a canopy can be pitched. Stretch tents are thus more adaptable, more durable, more resilient, longer lasting, and more beautiful.

What kind of fabric is used?

The fabric for stretch tents is knit from polyester thread. The thickness, laminations, coatings, weight and treatments are determined by the application. Semi-permanent canopies may use a polyester knit coated with PVC and a UV treatment robust enough to last a decade with continuous exposure. A tent used for short term rental may be a somewhat lighter 3-ply fabric, just as strong, but easier for a rigger to pitch frequently.

Are your stretch tents engineered and fire certified?

Yes, all tents meet US Fire Resistance Standards (NFPA 701), as well as the more stringent California State Fire Marshall Title 19 requirements. All canopies come with fire certifications. All tents are engineered and tested with comprehensive static analyses available.

Are there alternatives to staking?

36″ stakes are the anchor of choice. Structural integrity of a stretch tent depends on robust anchors which must sustain much higher forces than a framed tent. For example, a 33’x50′ pitch requires an unsightly 20,000 pounds of ballast. Beyond the usual trees, rocks, fenceposts, here are some alternatives we’ve used:

Where can I pitch a stretch tent?

Wherever you can anchor to the earth, ideally, or ballast if necessary. Creative anchoring allows us to pitch on turf, sand, rock, asphalt and concrete. Larger spaces allow for greater creativity. Small spaces (eg, 10’x20′) may be better suited for a pop-up framed canopy.

What areas to you serve?

We’re based in Colorado Springs, actively serve the Colorado Front Range and beyond, and go anywhere for the right project, so it never hurts to ask. Make it worth our while. Some general guidance:

  • Backyard birthday party in Omaha? No
  • Music Festival in Atlanta? Yes
  • Tented resort in BVI? Yes
  • Wedding in Bulgaria? No
  • Tent sale & training to vineyard in Virginia? Yes
  • College Campus sale and installation in Phoenix? Sure
  • Glamping resort sale in Utah? Why not
  • Wedding in Gary? Only a Kardashian-style

Do you rent? Sell? Custom Develop?

Yes, all of the above. We offer short and long term tent rentals from our existing inventory. We will also custom develop tents with unique color, branding, sizes. Please inquire.

What about snow?

Temporary and semi-permanent stretch tent installations are designed to sustain only mild snow loads and will not meet the 30-100 psf snowload requirements for Colorado. Permanent tensile structures can be custom engineered with a woven fabric, not stretch fabric.

We do pitch throughout the winter, both temporary and semi-permanent. High snowfall mitigation strategies include removal, melting, and striking the tent.

What about severe storms?

We rig to outlast the toughest storms, but stretch tents are not storm shelters. We rig with tall aluminum poles that can be lethal in an electrical storm. If you encounter lightning during an event, leave the canopy and shelter in a safe building.

Do you offer stage coverings for music venues?

Yes. For simple stage and/or crowd covering, we’ll use a conventional mushroom pole pitch.

We can also attach to a conventional box truss system if you need robust sound and lighting mounts.

Do you offer purchase financing?

Yes. We’re bullish on commercial tents and we’ll work with you to demonstrate their benefits. We’ll help you serve more customers so you’ll be around long enough to pay us. Ask about terms to fit your situation.

What kind of rigging do you use?

We don’t source rigging from tent rigging providers because it’s too ‘tenty’ conventional – lots of white straps and ratchets and frame-tent parts.

Instead we draw more from our yachting and climbing background. Miami Cordage is our vendor of choice for double braided rope & stainless steel hardware. US Made (mostly) and quite responsive.

Hogan Tent Stakes makes some stout tent stakes up to 42″ x 1 1/8″ for any conditions. We’ve yet to have an anchor fail. If you’re purchasing a Tentrix Tent, we’ll provide you with full rigging, training how to use it, and connections direct to the manufacturers if you ever need more.

Do you offer "rain insurance"?

You have an event scheduled, you’d prefer to be under the stars, but need a weather contingency plan. Yes, we charge a standby fee to have a canopy reserved for your event. You give us 12+ hours notice if you’ll need it, in which case we’ll charge you for the pitch. If you don’t need it, we get paid for not working. That works. Ask for a quote.

Do I need a permit to pitch a tent?

Maybe. Requirements differ with each county and/or municipality. We can assist with the process. Temporary canopy permits are often handled by the Fire Department. We’ll work with you to complete the application and secure the necessary permissions.

Does the tent collapse if an anchor fails?

No. We rig redundantly, so loss of one or more anchors will not lead to the collapse of the tent. It may lose some tension if an anchor fails, but it won’t collapse. In practice, we’ve never had an anchor fail.

What kind of poles do you have?

We use aluminum poles for our rental inventory, with an upcharge for wood – locally sourced Spruce, Fir, Pine are best. Aspen can work, but it’s structurally inconsistent so we must oversize poles.

Can I attach a tent to a structure?

Yes.

For a temporary pitch we’ll look for a strong anchor that will not damage the structure.

If a semi-permanent, we might use a series of pad eyes or keder.

Keder mount on structure

Keder rail on building to attach semi-permanent canopy

I have a tree in the middle of my patio. Can you work around it?

Yes.

Tented cafe with tree

Stretch canopy customized to work around trees and other obstacles

Do you have sidewalls?

We have limited sidewalls available for our rental service. For semi-permanent applications, yes, we can provide roll-up sidewalls.

Stretch Tent with clear sidewalls enclosed

Must the pitch site be flat?

No. In contrast to a conventional framed tent, we can work on varied terrain, around obstacles, attached to structures.

Do you ever sell used rental inventory?

Yes. Right now we have a few 33’x50′ canopies available. Ask.

Do you offer clear-span tents without king poles?

Yes – usually with flying masts mounted on box truss framework.

Clear Span Canopy

Do you rent or sell furniture as well?

Yes, indeed we do. Our staff suffers from off-season mission creep and an aversion to plastic chairs and pressed wood tables under stretch tents. Hence, we made 20 handcrafted pine tables and 40 benches to supplement the tents. Then, we rekindled our latent carpentry genes and brought in a shipment of laminated oak truck decking. We firmly believe that the world needs very long oak tables, bar tops, counter tops, islands, and more.

So yes, if you’re building out a public space, give us a chance to review some build-out options with you.