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What are the different kinds of weights that can be used to secure a tent?

It is important to ensure tents are safe when being used.  You certainly don’t want them to rise up in a wind storm or to even topple over.  This is a liability concern for the event planner who rents the tents!

The main factors when securing a tent

  1. What surface is the tent being secured to or down on?
  2. What is the size of the tent?
  3. What is the expectation of the weather forecast?

Holding power

Experts recommend installing tents so that the holding power is 1 ½ to 2 times the forces imposed on the tent. In a 70 km-per-hour wind – much less than that produced during a severe thunderstorm – a tent withstands about nine pounds of force per square foot of area. For a 20-foot by 20-foot frame tent, that’s 400 square feet and 3600 pounds of force, so the minimum holding power needed is 5400 pounds!  Luckily we don’t see winds like that too often.

Using stakes to secure a tent

  • 30-40″ steel stake – The ground must be soft enough – but not too soft. Stakes are the least expensive option as they can be hammered into the ground quite quickly with at least one stake per tent leg.  Stakes can be secured to the tent either with a rope from the top of the tent leg at an angle to the ground or through the metal loop right at the bottom of the tent leg.  For the greatest strength, the best option is to have the securing line coming away from tent.

Using cement to secure a tent

  • 250lb concrete blocks.  Blocks are placed at the bottom of each leg and secured to the tent using rope. The actual number of blocks per leg will depend on the size of the tent. Typically it is one per leg but this can vary if the tent has walls and/or is in windy area.  This also means that the delivery of your tent will require a truck with a lift to transport the blocks!

Using sand to secure a tent

  • 25lb sandbags. Sandbags are placed at the bottom of each leg and can be secured to the leg using rope or velcro straps but often are just stacked against the leg. But remember, if the bags are not attached to the leg, a wind gust can move the tent.  The actual number of sandbags per leg will depend on the size of the tent. Bags can be used in any location and are easy to transport.
  • 5 gallon bucket filled with sand. A 5 gallon bucket can hold between 50 and 70 lbs of sand. It all depends on if the sand is wet or dry.  This is a very easy option for weight as when the bucket is filled and the lid closed, it is a clean way to transport weight. One issue that you need to check is how strong is the bucket handle. If you are securing the tent to the bucket handle, then that is the point that is taking all the pull should the wind be an issue. If the handle is not very strong then it doesn’t matter how much weight you have when that handle gives way!

Using water to secure a tent

  • 4L milk jugs filled with water.  A 4L milk jug filled with water only weighs about 8lbs.  This might be ok for a 10×10 pop-up but that still will depend on the wind situation!.  Although this is in-expensive, this is not an ideal option.
  • Water barrel –  Water barrels are light weight to transport as are filled with water once they get to the site. A barrel is placed beside each tent leg and is secured to the leg of the tent. This also means that there needs to be access to water and a hose. Also…Don’t forget the water must be able to be drained away post event too!   Each water barrel once filled with water weighs just under 500 lbs.  This sounds great, but one issue with water barrels is that they are smooth on the bottom and therefore in a wind are subject to sliding.  Some event insurance companies will not insure an event using water barrels. So consider concrete – a block the same size as a water barrel weighs 3600 pounds and has double the friction coefficient of plastic!

Using rubber weights to secure a tent

  • 25lb rubber weights. Rubber weights are placed at the base of each leg and rest over the metal base of the leg.  They are most commonly used with 10 x 10 pop up tents. The actual number of rubber weights will depend on the wind forecast. Rubber weights can be used in any location and are easy to transport and can be stacked on top of each other to add more weight as required.
Rowe Services have over 25 years of experience in the installation of tents. Let us help you decide the best way to help ensure the safety of your guests.
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