(866) 438-8368

A Fascination with Fasteners

Tents are amazing pieces of equipment. It’s not often that people take the time to consider exactly how it is that they stay up, especially how the different styles of tents operate. Tension-style tents, such as the Classic Series Pole Tent, use the anchoring system to maintain the amount of pull to keep the tent top lofted.

Frame-style tents take a little bit more to stay up. Each of the rafters, spreaders, and beams that make up the support system need to be secured at each end to another tube or fitting in order to create the desired shape. These areas of both the tubing and fittings have a series of drilled holes to serve as the securing points. How do they secure it? With fasteners – the style of which is up to the installer – that are inserted through both sets of holes in order to keep the two pieces together.


The Contenders

Fasteners come in a few different styles according to how easy or fast they are to install and the amount of ultimate holding power they have in the end. Let’s compare a few!

  1. R-Pins

Usage/Speed: Easy/Fast

Holding Power: Standard

 Tent packages purchased from Celina Tent have all of the hardware you need for installation, and that includes the basic R-Pin. Each pin is shaped with a long end for inserting through the holes in the tubes and fittings, with a curved portion that curves around the side of the pole holds the pin in place.

 R-Pins are the simplest fastener to use. The only issues that can occur happen when the curved portions of the pin isn’t installed so that it is facing away from tent fabric. In that case, any wind or tension that causes the fabric to come into contact with the pin may cause scraping and eventually put pin holes in the tent fabric.


  1. Pin and Bail

Usage/Speed: Average/Average

Holding Power: Advanced

 The Pin and Bail is similar to the R-Pin in the “pin” sort of way. The pin has an attached, curved or angular portion that wraps around the tube. Once the pin is inserted through the holes, the bail is reconnected to the protruding end, providing better holding power than that standard pin.

 Celina Tent offers different styles of Pin and Bail; this blog is mainly referring to the type with the rounded bail for wrapping around tubing. The Square Pin and Bail is used for installations where the tubing is elongated (hybrid installations), and the Pinnacle Pin and Bail is used exclusively to lock the center mast of a Pinnacle Series High Peak Pole Tent onto the cross cables.


  1. Bolt and Nut

Usage/Speed: Easy/Slow

Holding Power: Strongest

 Putting a bolt on a nut is a fairly rudimentary skill. You spin and spin and spin until it’s tight – pretty simple. The bolt and nut assembly is also the strongest out of all of the fasteners we offer. It’s the standard fastener on tents with hybrid frames, where double tubing is also used in order to impart even more strength to the framework.

 The obvious drawback is the speed; for each and every connection you have to feed the bolt through the holes, put on the nut, check that it’s tight, and so on. When you get into larger tents, this process can eat up vast amounts of time. A 40’ by 40’ frame tent requires 120 fasteners alone!


The Choice

Making the decision to use a specific fastener comes down to the amount of stress you think the frame tent will be under. For longer-term installations with the possibilities of bad weather, the bolt and nut may be the simplest way to ensure that no problems occur from the frame-stability end of things. For the bulk of most weekend or event situations, however, the R-Pin is more than strong enough to make sure that your guests are safe and sound.

Want to know more about installations or frame tents in general? Celina Tent’s Knowledge Center is a compendium of tenting know-how that is available online. Check it out!