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Sidewalls and Backdrops – What’s the Diff?

When you’re looking for accessories to attach to your Tent or Canopy, adding wall sections is the easiest to work into a design scheme. Many of our customers have used both Sidewalls and Backdrops to their advantage, adding custom printing to their set up and creating easy-flowing venues with entrances, exits, and display areas.

When you are trying to decide whether to outfit your tent with a sidewall or backdrop, it can be a little confusing on what exactly the difference is. Looking from here, it’s even hard for me to see!

Flip and Flop

There is one major difference that is easily explained through printing. When you print a sidewall, the artwork is intended to be facing out from the tent. This allows passers-by to see your branding and know exactly what your tent is about. Thus, the back sides of hems and the direction of the snap hooks will be toward the interior, away from the printed side. Customized sidewalls also connect together (with different means depending on the tent style) to form a complete perimeter around the tent.

A backdrop is created so that your imagery is facing the interior of the tent. Your pictures and branding are intended to be displayed toward your guests as opposed to those passing by. The snap clips and hem, just like on the sidewall, will be on the opposite side of the backdrop, therefore facing out of the tent. Edging along backdrops don’t allow you to connect them to other pieces – either additional backdrops or directly to sidewalls. This is because backdrops are primarily for decoration or display as opposed to use as a barrier around the tent.

A Matter of Style

Just as sidewalls are different when you consider the different styles of tents, backdrops also change between styles.

Classic Series Frame/Pole

Each sidewall has three different styles of attachment. Along the top of each wall are spring clips; these are connected to the rope line on the fabric top of the tent. Side release buckles along the sides (though not all the way on the edges) are used to connect sidewall to sidewall. Finally, the bottom edge has grommets that allow you to install rope lines which are staked to keep the bottom of the walls in place.

Backdrops also have the spring clips along the top to attach to the rope line but lack the side-to-side connections and grommets along the bottom for staking.

Fast Shade Pop Up Canopy

Sidewalls that attach to Fast Shades do so with a strip of hook fastener along the top, which matches to a strip of loop that is installed along the valance of the Fast Shade. This hook strip is on the front or print side of the sidewall, so that the printed edge faces out when installed. There are also hook and loop straps along the sides to wrap around the tent legs, and zippers along the vertical edges for wall-to-wall attachment.

To connect, the backdrop attaches its strip of hook fastener to the loop fastener on the tent just like the sidewalls, but the strip is attached to the back of the backdrop so that the printed portion faces into the tent instead of out. The backdrop also has hook and loop straps to wrap around the tent’s legs and secure it in place. Backdrops for Fast Shades do not have zippers.

Pinnacle Series Cross Cable Tents

To connect to a Pinnacle tent, the sidewalls have a series of alligator straps around the sides and top. These are straps that have an alligator clip on one side of the strap; the other end is wrapped around perimeter tubing or legs and fed back through the clip to secure it. Each sidewall connects to other sidewalls with hook and loop strips along the vertical sides. Similar to standard sidewalls, the bottom has a series of grommets for rope staking.

Using backdrops on Pinnacle series tents is very similar to sidewalls, with alligator straps/clips around the top and sides to wrap around the frame hardware. These straps are attached to the rear of the backdrop so that the printed side will face in when installed.

Armed with your new-found knowledge about Sidewalls and Backdrops, you’re sure to be the interesting centerpiece are your next party! Ok, maybe not, but knowing the difference between the two styles will definitely come in handy the next time you decide to decorate for an event. If you have any more questions about hanging shelter fabrics or any of our products, send us an email at Sales@CelinaTent.com or call us during normal business hours at (866) 438-8368.