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Out in the Windy World

It’s ALMOST summer, where tents are going to be out in full swing. Soon sweaty days will be all the eyes can see. Since we’re still knee-deep in spring, however, it behooves the avid installers to pay close attention to the more erratic weather conditions. Yup – this week we’re talking about wind!

Easy, Breezy, Pretty (avoiding that copyright 😉)

The basic construction of tents and similar canopied structures make them very susceptible to the effects of moving air.  Large, spread out masses of fabric pre-lifted with enough space for air to flow within? What you’ve created is basically a pre-made kite ready for flight. Luckily, the basic staking that is outlined in the manual for each shelter should be enough to offset the additional stresses from common breeze and standard wind conditions.

It’s important to note that the staking given in the manual for a given tent is the MINIMUM amount of staking suggested – if your event site doesn’t meet approval standards for this level of staking more will have to be added. This is the case for windy days in addition to ground effects such of water saturation and gravel or sand, which has less holding power.

Winding Up

Once up and kicking around, a strong wind will begin to pull more and more on your shelter and really start to test the amount of staking you have in place. At this point additional staking may not be possible, depending on when the wind arrives in the timeline of the event and whether the actual installers are present to add the guy lines and stakes. If stronger winds are expected, this additional staking can be added during the installation phase – better safe than sorry.

Be aware that having sidewalls installed on a tent increases the amount of pressure from the wind that your entire structure will experience. Depending on your tent’s use, you may want to keep your sidewalls up to protect merchandize or customers. If this is the case, the sidewalls themselves should be staked by running a rope line through the bottom edge grommets, then staking this line to the ground.

Storms

In the event that a storm kicks up, every tent needs to be evacuated to ensure the safety of your guests. Regardless of how well you have the tent installed, personal safety dictates that guests find shelter in a permanent structure instead of trying to ride it out under a canopy. This is the rule for any storm with strong winds that cause flying debris and ANY TIME lightning is present.

If you are made aware that such a storm is approaching, the safest course of action (even with additional staking) is to remove the fabric from the tent. Sidewalls and fabric tops should be taken down and stowed in a building or bagged to keep them from being blown away. This is easier for frame style tents since the framework can remain in place and staked, since pole style tents require full striking to remove the fabric. Knowing the time frame is key – canopies should be removed if there’s time, but if not make sure all people have evacuated to keep them out of harm’s way.

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As always, we suggest that installers err on the side of caution when it comes to installations. If there are strings of storms that are popping up hit-or-miss as happens with spring weather, it never hurts to add additional stakes at each location just to ensure that the structure is safe through whatever the days ahead have planned.

Looking for more info on staking, installations, and tents in general? Visit the Celina Knowledge Center, our compendium of tent usage information. We can also be reach by calling (866) 438-8368, or by emailing Sales@CelinaTent.com. We’re happy to help out!