Frame Tents, Pole Tents, and Frame Tents


Commercial grade Frame Tents have pipes or beams that are joined together with steel fittings to create a frame that holds up the tent top fabric. A frame tent will essentially stand up without any tie-downs or stakes – that is, until the wind blows. Safety dictates anchoring all frame tents to the ground with stakes or some kind of extremely heavy weight at each upright (or leg).

Because of their weight and design, commercial grade frame tents must be installed by trained tent installers with special installation tools.


Traditional Frame Tents:
Traditional frame tent designs require the installers to put the roof framing together first and then attach the tent top fabric to it. The frame and top are then lifted into position with special jacks, and the legs along with bracing are connected to the roof frame. Finally, the frame tent is staked to the ground around its perimeter.

Wind can be a issue during the critical installation and removal phases, so the installers have to pay special attention to the weather, prevailing wind, and tent location to avoid any problems. Special precautions have to be taken at these critical times to ensure safety.

Integrated Frame Tents: (see photo above)
A new type of frame tent requires the installers to construct the entire frame first and stake it to the ground. The tent top fabric is then pulled through channels in the frame to attach it. The tent top and frame are interlocked as each panel of fabric is installed. The top becomes integrated with the frame in this design.

There is no way for the frame and top fabric to be caught by the wind during installation and removal with this type of frame tent as the frame is always staked to the ground.

Should there be a storm forecast with high winds, requiring the tent to be taken down, only the top fabric has to be removed. Having the ability to leave the frame up saves hours of time. This is an extremely important benefit when the re-install has to be done on the same day as the event. Traditional frame tents would have to be taken down entirely.

This integrated frame tent is also a more formidable structure than traditional frame tents (especially in 30 or 40 foot wide sizes). The frame consists of beams, rather than pipes, and has far fewer pieces. This means there are fewer legs, rafters, braces, and pins. This makes for a clean uncluttered looking tent. It is also a much quieter tent, because it has fewer parts to bang and jangle in a moderate wind. The design of this tent is such that once it is staked, it hardly moves at all in a wind. It will also take a snow load that would crumple traditional frame tents making it an ideal tent for winter installations.


Frame tents can be installed on surfaces that pole tents cannot. A brand new parking lot might not be the best place to bang stakes in – water barrel weights can easily be used to hold frame tents from moving around. In situations where there is some stake-able surface and some non-stake-able surfaces, water barrels and stakes can be mixed.

On sites where there is not a lot of room, frame tents can literally be placed right next to buildings or obstructions.
Pole tents need to be staked out away from the perimeter of the tent so the guy lines have enough resistance to hold them up.  This effectively increases the space required for pole tents by about twelve feet in both directions. A 40 x 40 pole tent would need 52 x 52 feet to allow for staking. A 40 x 40 frame tent would need much less – maybe 45 x 45 – because you need a little extra room to build the frame and then lift it into position. (Note: a traditional frame tent (TFT) needs more room than an integrated frame tent (IFT) because the TFT roof is built on the ground and when it is lifted to put the legs on, they stick out diagonally making it wider. The IFT is built in place with the legs and rafters all attached.)

Frame tents are clear span tents that do not have any supporting center poles. You can put any furniture and other equipment anywhere you please. A dance floor can go exactly in the center of the tent. Pole tents may have a center pole in the spot you want to put something.

Pole tents can be much nicer looking than frame tents. By the nature of how they are constructed, frame tents tent to be rectangular. Some types of pole tents have high vaulted ceilings (high peak style) and are preferred for events such as weddings.

Pricing on frame tents is higher than pole tents because of all the extra labor involved in carrying and assembling the frame. A typical 40 x 40 frame tent may have 18 rafters, 16 eave/ridge beams, 14 legs, 14 leg stakes, 16 cross cables, and the tent top. While a 40 x 40 pole tent has one center pole, 16 side poles, and the top. Both tents have additional stakes & tie-downs to secure it to the ground.

Mark Saponaro Email me


  1. Great post, so informative. Tents are used in different occasions and events, it fits in any weather. Also, if you are planning to have an outdoor party, hire a marquee to make it beautiful, especially if the weather is not too good.

  2. This blog is really very helpful for us. Many party planners professionals and individual person will be benefited from this post. After reading this post.


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