WITH COST, LABOR and safety cited as continuing concerns among clients, tent-makers are improving temporary structures from the ground up.
BETTER WITH KEDER
“The biggest improvement to event tents in terms of a basic small frame is the addition of keder tops and walls,” says Pat Moughan, national sales manager for Frederick, Md.-based Losberger U.S. He notes that keder technology — where components slide into frame rails rather than lacing up, reducing setup time and improving tent stability — is no longer the exclusive domain of European clear-spans. Among his company's most popular keder tents he names the expandable Uniflex, which can accommodate domes, apse ends and glass walls.
Suzanne Warner of Surrey, British Columbia-based Tentnology counts her company's keder-style Techno Span structure as one of its hot new properties. Available in 40- and 50-foot widths, the Techno Span features leak-proof joints, a catenary edge and, like all Tentnology structures, an International Standards Organization quality assurance designation.
While keder systems boost frame tent capabilities, Carol Cundey of Binghamton, N.Y.-based Eureka! The Tent Co. says her company's new swivel corner bracket has raised the bar for tension tops.
Designed to work with the company's Vista peak-top frame tent, the new bracket “really cuts down [on setup] time, especially when you get to the bigger sizes,” she explains. “When you put the top on, because it is a tension top, it's usually very difficult to get that last corner on.” The swivel bracket eliminates the need for extra tools to pry the remaining corner, allowing a 10-by-10-foot Vista to be installed by one person in less than 15 minutes, according to Cundey. The new development is especially advantageous among Eureka's rental-store clients, where “labor issues are No. 1,” she adds.
WEATHER OR NOT
Where climate is an issue, easy tent setup is only part of the picture.
If wind is a worry, Los Angeles-based Academy Tent and Canvas' new QwikTrac promises a sound solution, says marketing and business development director Bob Carey. Available in 10- to 50-foot widths, the structure features snap-button frame construction, tracked tension top and walls, and a tension valance. “With the ability to be engineered to a 70-mile-per-hour wind load, the QwikTrac will meet permit requirements and will stand up better in adverse weather conditions than standard frame tents,” according to Carey.
Norah DeBekker of Kennesaw, Ga.-based De Boer Structures says it's the northwest European climate that inspires her tents' weatherproofing features. Designed in Holland, De Boer tents are developed with the region's frequent storms in mind. Features including overhanging roofs, hard PVC wall panels and a raised floor system make her company's structures a good bet in bad weather anywhere they may be used, she says. Also, she adds, weatherproof structure connections “keep you from having wet wait staff, water in the food and grumpy band members.”
Academy Tent and Canvas, 800/228-3687; De Boer Structures, 877/5-DEBOER; Eureka! The Tent Co., 800/235-2607; Losberger U.S., 800/964-8368; Tentnology, 604/597-8368