Tent Sidewalls Options Guide : Quality by Design

So, things are coming along. You are nearing the finish line for your event. 

Everything is almost perfectly in place. Selected the right event tent supplier?

” Check. ” 

You know what event you are holding and how many people will be in attendance, so you have a good idea of the space you need. 

” Ditto.”

Maybe you read our previous post on Frame Tents vs Clear Span Tents, and after that, you took our advice, did your homework, and selected the appropriate type of tent that fits your function. 

” Of course.”

Look at you. You are going to pull this off without a hitch!

But what could make things even better? Maybe something to transform and protect this outdoor space, but with comfort and style, maybe a little pizazz?

” Absolutely. “

That would help seal the deal.

And a great way to do exactly that is through the use of tent sidewalls. 

In this post, we will talk about sidewalls and what they are, exactly

We’ll explore the types of tent sidewall designs available, how they can benefit outdoor events, and ways you can customize them to suit your needs!

What are tent sidewalls?

Tent sidewalls (or tent side panels) are walls that you can attach to the tent frame that can be completed with windows and a doorway or other accessories, for added protection from the elements.

You need tent sidewalls to protect and provide shade for customers or guests attending an outdoor event. It is one of the most important parts of any tent structure, and they’re available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials.

Depending on the type of event, different types of commercial tent sidewalls can be used. These vary from galvanized steel with a powder coat finish to lightweight vinyl banners – all depending on the kind of shelter needed.

Sidewalls add value to a tent’s overall look and feel by creating an atmosphere perfect for any occasion such as weddings, concerts, or graduation ceremonies. 

To choose the right type of sidewall for your event, it is essential to understand all your options when it comes to choosing among different types of tent sidewalls.

Do tents need sidewalls?

Tent sidewalls are an important component of tents, providing shelter and protection from the elements. They also come in a variety of materials and styles to fit different needs, including sideline tent walls with or without windows, screened sidewalls, vinyl sidewalls with or without windows, and economical canvas sides. No matter the need or budget, there is sure to be a side wall type available to fit any tent’s needs.

Commercial tent sidewalls often require special options that are long-lasting and able to withstand more abuse than residential tents. This is where durable high-grade vinyl sides come in handy for high-traffic events. 

Different types of tent sidewalls also exist for all types of weather conditions from mild windscreens to thick insulation-based canvas walls that block out the cold during winter months. 

These sidewalls even feature variations like visibility panels that enhance live performance events or sports activities inside a tent structure.

Types of tent sidewalls include:

  • Solid White Sidewalls
  • Clear Sidewalls
  • Door Sidewalls
  • Drapes Sidewalls (Tent Curtains)
  • Window Sidewalls
  • Mesh Sidewalls
  • Kedered Sidewalls
  • Dual-clip Sidewalls

Solid White Sidewalls

Solid white sidewalls are an industry standard and worth the investment. They have been used year after year for everything from school check-ins to outdoor dining and will most likely be used for years to come. Durable, and cost-efficient, they do the trick; keeping the people in and the weather out!

Clear Sidewalls

When you want something a bit more transparent, clear sidewalls are what is called for,  adding beauty and style and more importantly, visibility even when being used as a barrier. 

They are made of transparent plastic material and come in different sizes and various opacities so that you can choose the level of visibility that best suits your needs – from fully clear to a one-way mirror that allows your guests to see out but not in. 

Not only do these clear panels protect from inclement weather, but they can also allow more light into the space making it brighter inside the tent during the day.

Clear tent sidewalls allow sunlight in without letting wind or debris inside, and the added visibility you gain by using clear plastic tent walls helps make it easier to watch out for your family or guests during festivals or other large gatherings.

Door Sidewalls

Most door sidewalls are dual-clip walls with a high door opening and alternately, have two vinyl zippers on each side that roll up and are secured at the top with straps and buckles.  

They tend to be used for outdoor festivals and large community events, for the most part.

Drapes Sidewalls (Tent Curtains)

Though maybe not a true sidewall, and maybe more in the realm of decor, drapes sidewalls, or tent curtains (as they are sometimes called) add a touch of elegance to a  gathering, especially if it is formal or semi-formal, adding various sheer fabrics to decorate the solid white sidewalls of a tent. 

Maybe they are not strictly a wall at all (hey that rhymes!) but all in all, drapes sidewalls are a nice finishing touch that class up any event.

Window Sidewalls

These are pretty self-explanatory; tent sidewalls with windows.  Either one or a series of windows are part of the actual commercial tent sidewalls, and they are usually made from vinyl that is UV, fire, and water resistant. 

Mesh Sidewalls

A mesh sidewall has a lightly woven screen(s) that serve as a barrier against pesky bugs while also permitting air and light to move throughout the tent. Useful in the summer months and warmer climates.

Kedered Sidewalls

Kedered sidewalls are premium sidewalls, of higher quality and durability, that hold the heat in and stand their ground against higher winds and colder temperatures. 

A must for fall and winter gatherings, kedered sidewalls fit inside the frame of the tent and lace up in the middle, so they can open and close like a curtain, giving that subtle air of sophistication while being functional. 

Available in solid white or clear.

Dual-clip Sidewalls

Dual-clip sidewalls are lighter-duty sidewalls, that fasten with straps to the perimeter and legs of the frame of the tent. They are more economical for those on a budget, and like all tent sidewalls available from Elevation Tents they are flame retardant and follow all local fire codes.

In conclusion, tent sidewalls are a must-have accessory for any outdoor event. They offer protection from the elements, provide privacy, and add style to your event. 

Whether you are looking for sidewalls for a wedding, festival, or corporate event, it is important to consider factors such as material, size, and ease of installation when choosing the right sidewalls for your needs. 

With the right size and style, tent sidewalls can help to create the perfect atmosphere for your guests, no matter what the weather brings!

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Frame Tents vs Clear Span Tents

clear top tent night time with light

Okay, then…You are officially doing this. You are in charge of planning an event. That event, whatever it is, needs a tent ( at least one, hopefully, so that you know that you are in the right place !)

If you have read our previous post, 5 Keys To Choose A Reliable Event Tent Rental Supplier, you know that finding the right tent for rent is crucial.

clear top tent night time with light

After selecting the right tent rental service, the planning begins!
You have selected a supplier. You know what event you are holding. …And you have at least an idea of the number of people expected to be in attendance.
Great! This gives you a number to play with concerning how much space might be required.
So how do you figure out what kind of tent you need? People often think of an old-school tent, like a pole tent, for instance. You may remember them from when you went camping as a child.
They often provided very limited space. Plus they had a center pole obstructing some of the areas under the tent cover. They were usually a bit cramped, but back then, it just seemed cozy.
Tent technology has come up leaps and bounds since those days.
Modern tents are very spacious inside. They have no obstructions and are made with rugged yet lightweight cutting-edge materials.
Of course, you will want to make the most informed decision we can for your event. That being the case, let’s take a look at two of the most common types of event tents for parties and other functions: frame tents and clear span tents.
This way you have all the criteria you need to figure out which is the best for you and your event.

frames tent outdoor

Frame Tents

Unlike a pole tent, a frame tent is a free-standing structure. It doesn’t have obstructions like a center pole that blocks off interior space.
This makes a frame tent fast and easy both to install and take down after an event without tools.
This fast and straightforward setup and smaller size often translate to a lower cost for a frame tent. They also tend to be used for short-term events like weddings and company parties.
Frame tents, with generally a smaller size, compared to some clear span tents may be more susceptible to the outside elements.
You can adapt to this by adding side walls to block out the wind and increase privacy if that’s what you need.
This is true for both frame tents and clear spans as well. You can even add special lighting, drapery and specific flooring to decorate for that personal touch! (For more advice specifically for outdoor weddings, check out our post on How To Choose the Perfect Outdoor Wedding Tent to get more in-depth info. )
You can set up a frame tent easily on a variety of surfaces, for example,
  • Grass
  • Asphalt
  • Concrete
  • Hardwood
These surfaces can function as a patio, a stage, or even a dance floor. To deal with uneven or muddy ground, you can even request special flooring to make your tent complete.

hip end style clear span tent

Clear Span Tents

Clear span tents are similar in structure to frame tents but have a wide range of sizes, with a professional aesthetic look that enhances any event. They stand up to adverse weather well and are perfect for longer-term and larger-scale events.
Tents are very versatile, so it is easy to change the tent’s dimensions and they can even be made larger, to function as a temporary warehouse or a vehicle storage facility.
They can even be installed on rooftops, patios, in gardens and over outdoor pools! At many events, frame tents are often paired up with clear spans to provide walkways between the larger tents.
Clear spans are much more rigid than frame tents. Their framework of aluminum arches gives it shape underneath a roof made of incredibly durable fabric.
This makes them extremely wind resistant (with some able to withstand winds approaching 80 km per hour with the appropriate anchoring). Not that you would ever need it, (we hope!) but it’s nice to know you have a structure that can hold its own with the elements. While they may require a higher price range than frame tents, the value added is clear, especially for larger events.
Any venue that has special requirements for height, more elaborate decorations, or a higher number of guests would be well served with a clear span.
Clear span tents are very economical compared to the high cost of constructing temporary buildings and can be combined with other structures like frame tents to create waiting areas, entrance ways or walkways.
The possibilities are endless!

Take a clear look at what you (exactly) need

Now that we have covered both frame and clear span tents, a few differences between them appear, differing on the event you may need the tent for.
Generally speaking, frame tents are smaller and easier to install and remove, making them useful for shorter-term events. Clear span tents are more expandable, take a bit more time to set up and take down, but can be used for a longer duration. Sometimes though, it is hard to get the feel for a solution when you are looking at a lot of various factors.
It makes sense to take a look at all the things you might require, then go from there. To that end, we have boiled everything down into the chart below:
Criteria Frame Tent Clear Span Tent
Wind resistance    ★★★ ★★★★★
Interior space   ★★★ ★★★★★
Price range   ★ ★★★
Ceiling Height   ★ ★★★★★
Quick setup? Yes Fast to moderate ( Varies according to the size selected )
Build on any surface? Any surface Any surface
Customization ★★★★★
Long Term Use ★★ ★★★★★
Elegant and professional appearance ★★★ ★★★★★
Are guy ropes needed? No No
Installation Time ★★★★★ ★★★
Is it easy to modify the size? (variety of individual sizes) ★★★★★


The above chart will give you a rough guide on what you are looking at when you’re making your decision. Happy event planning! Now go get ’em!

Have more questions about getting started with your event tent rental?
With your questions and our expertise (gained over many years of experience !), why don’t you click subscribe and let us help make your next event a smashing success!


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How To Choose The Perfect Outdoor Wedding Tent

clear top tent with clear walls

Our second post is ready to keep things rolling!

So you have just decided on the venue for the perfect outdoor wedding: right now there are roughly seven bazillion (technical term) ideas floating in your head about the theme, decor, seating, all the way down to what types of flowers might go where.

You have gone ahead and picked a reliable tent rental supplier (if you haven’t already, make sure you check out our aptly named “5 Keys To Choose A Reliable Event Tent Rental supplier”)and you are ready to get kick this soiree into high gear.

So now what?

A wedding in the Great (but let’s be honest, not always perfect) Outdoors is a big deal, so of course, there are always going to be concerns.

40 x 60 with leg drapes wedding tent

What will the weather most likely be like? Many tents are reinforced to protect from rain and snow. Some have partitions, both clear and opaque, to help deal with the wind. When you are checking the weather report, think about the kind of extra features your outdoor wedding might need. 

Now a lot of this will depend on where in the country you live and the time of year. Will it be a beautiful fall wedding in southern Ontario lake country, with a vibrant backdrop of changing autumn leaves? Or a summer wedding by the beach in Vancouver? 

Your location will be part of the vibe you are looking to create. 

Besides where in the world this wedding will take place, you will need to think about where exactly this tent is needed. 

Are you up in the mountains, or beside the pool? The tent could be in a difficult spot with limited road access, either because it is so remote, or it could be near a downtown core, where parking is scarce.

All of the above could come into play. 

Do your plans have the flexibility to change? Contingency plans for less-than-ideal weather like having outdoor heaters on hand, etc. are necessary when you deal with outdoor venues.

You likely have already picked out a theme, or motif for the decor, or have a planner that has provided you with several different options and price ranges.

Will the look you choose be funky and New Age, or more rustic and traditional? 

You can always choose to push your creativity for a wedding that is completely outside the box or opt for an event for the whole family to remember that is classic and timeless. The choice is yours.

Now we get down to the wedding tent itself. Considering all the concerns we just went through, what type of outdoor wedding tent makes sense for this event, and what types of factors might weigh in on your decision? 

Let’s dive in! 

30x30 white tent with clear gables

1. Permission to party, your honour? Decide if you need permission to have a tent at your venue/location.

Deciding on a venue for your outdoor wedding with a tent is crucial.
When you are picking your venue, many locations will require you to receive permission before placing a tent of a certain size, or perhaps any size, first.
At this point, either you or your event planner should approach the venue host (respectfully and well in advance) and ask if permission is needed.
Next, the nitty gritty details: What are the exact dimensions of the area where the tent will be placed?Is the ground level?
Modern event tents are extremely versatile and structurally very strong, so if there is an area with uneven ground, it should not be much of a problem with the right choice of flooring.
Lastly, you should think about whether or not you need to secure the tent itself. Is it possible (and desirable) for the tent to be staked into the ground?
This may require a little or a lot of additional prep time, so make sure to take this into account when you are looking at the timeframe of preparation leading up to the wedding.

2.So how many people are coming to this thing? Track the number of guests expected.

When planning outdoor tents for parties, an event planner will usually have an approximate idea of the number of guests expected.
This number (let it be known far and wide) is not written in stone.
There are those pesky cancellations and other guests that seem to get added to the list at the very last minute.
40 x 60 clear top wedding tent
You might be shocked to learn that the average Canadian wedding consists of 120 guests! So don’t be surprised if that list fluctuates quite a bit in the lead-up to the big day.
You and your planner or event planning group will most likely have a pretty good idea of the number of guests that are expected. When you have an idea of the number of guests, you get an idea of the number of tables you will need on the day (or night).
Usually, as a rule of thumb, each person will require anywhere from six to fifteen square feet of space each (six being the personal space per person for a wine and cheese party, fifteen being a formal sit-down dinner) so you start to get a good idea of the total space you are looking at.
The number of tables is the biggest factor in calculating the approximate square footage you will need for your tent, along with whether or not you have a stage, a long table at the front, or an anteroom where people can prepare food or arrange decor.

3. Everybody report to the dance floor. Wait, do we even have one? Make sure you have enough floor space.

You and your planner, when going over floor plans and seating, will likely come up with a rough figure on the square footage you need. so go with that and maybe add an extra 5-10% of your total to your estimates, just to be on the safe side.

Nothing is worse than moonwalking across the dance floor… only to find you have run out of dance floor!
40 x 60 clear top ourdoor wedding tent
Many weddings will have personal touches that can make the event, like elaborate walkways for guests with floral arches or special lighting rigs.
Besides the reception space, people may want a fully stocked wet bar, or a stage big enough to host a full rock concert!
There are often extra prep areas and waiting rooms where the real behind-the-scenes work gets done to make the event go smoothly, so it helps if everybody has enough elbow room.

4. Accessories, accessories, accessories.

You’ve gotten your permission(s), you are starting to nail down the approximate numbers of guests and tables involved et cetera, and in turn, you have got a good idea of the floor space, so what’s missing? 

Flair. Panache. Maybe a set of double doors? A retro look, velvet curtains, maybe a clear window to take in the scenery and revel in the moment. 

Doors, windows, archways, whatever the mood, it’s all about the accessories

wedding tent

5. Here today, gone tomorrow. Scratch that; make it next week. Estimate accurately how long you need the tent to be in place.

Will you need this beautiful masterpiece of tent architecture for a few hours or a few days? 

Nowadays a few days to a week is not out of the question. 

When looking at their construction, a frame tent is relatively lightweight and easily constructed, suitable for a shorter timeframe. 

A clear span tent may be a stronger, more durable choice for outdoor weddings that last over a few days. In the end, it all comes down to the timeframe that you need.

Anything is possible when it comes to a couple’s special day (or days) so make sure to consider everything.

40 x 60 clear top ourdoor wedding tent

Decision time

So now you will begin to have a clearer picture of what you need from:  getting permission to have a tent in place, taking account of the number of guests expected, and making sure you have an ample amount of square footage for your tent. 

This will allow you to zero in on the right size. 

You have looked at the type of accessories you want (and need) and also figured out how long you need the tent for, whether it be over a few hours or a few days. 

Clear span tents and frame tents are two options that comfortably cover both ends of that spectrum.

When making your choice, remember that it’s okay to think outside the box, and anything is possible on a couple’s special day. 

One of North America’s premier event tent rental providers, Elevation Tents can help make your outdoor wedding a smashing success!

 Elevation Rental’s professional staff can assist you with custom orders based on your unique vision, as well as computer-aided-design (CAD) drawings of your venue, and a comprehensive site inspection. Contact us today to learn more!

Like what you just read? 

Then subscribe to our blog for more tips on planning outdoor weddings, finding a reliable event tent rental supplier, and more!

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5 Keys To Choose A Reliable Event Tent Rental Supplier

Let’s face it: people don’t like to leave things to chance when it comes to planning events. From the lighting to the music, all the way down to the tent rental. Especially if that event is outside.

Imagine this: A beautiful summer wedding. Under a wide canopied tent, lush arrangements of flowers adorn every table, giving off the fresh scents of spring.  The venue is beside a pond; the breeze is warm and inviting and the sunset is one for the ages.
The bride and groom enter, both of them looking radiant and very much in love. Everyone stands with a look of anticipation and celebration on their faces. Speeches are read, the wine flows, and the dancing continues until the wee hours of the morning.
And if instead, after sunset, dark clouds come rolling in off the pond and it starts to rain, they are prepared.
No matter what Mother Nature may have in store for your special day, you can have peace of mind knowing that you took the steps ahead of time by preparing for the elements.
Imagine if you didn’t?
A simple thing, right? One of those million little details that can get lost in the shuffle; but sometimes it’s the little things that make events the most successful.

So what goes into picking a tent rental supplier?

It all boils down to five keys that seem to come up time and time again, namely, the supplier’s service area, their experience, their budget plan, safety, and their reviews. Feel free to steal this info (we saw nothing!)
Wedding clear frame tent
Wedding clear frame tent

1. Confirm that your tent rental supplier provides service in your area

Ugh….collecting quotes is,  let’s be honest, not the way anyone likes to spend their free time. So let’s give you some tips to take more of your free time back, and get you started on the right track.
Case in point: A quick Google of “tent rentals near me” or something like “Vancouver tent rental”, or “tent rentals Vancouver” (or whatever area you are in) will pull up a list of outdoor tent rentals in your local area. Now you have a rough idea of what’s near you and you can start to whittle it down.
Not all tents are for weddings and fancy soirees, there is a whole other side of tent rentals. We call it “utilitarian.” Whether it’s a film studio tent for AV or holding to a full-on construction site that needs covered space for crew breaks or team meetings. Knowing the industries and areas your tent supplier services will give you a head start on who to connect with.


You have to know a company can make it to where you need to be, with no problems. 

Elevation Tent Rentals proudly serves the entire Greater Vancouver Area.
Elevation Tent Rentals proudly serves the entire Greater Vancouver Area.

A forward-thinking supplier will qualify their customers before the request for a quote comes in, specifically by mentioning the area they service.

Nine times out of ten it will be on their website. This is going to save your time as well as theirs.

Once you have qualified the area, that should narrow down your list of potential suppliers to something more manageable.

Let’s chisel down that list and let the quotes fly!


2. Make sure your tent rental service has years of experience

Hmmm…to use a rookie company…or not?

While it is not necessarily true that a company being around longer means they’re better, we’d personally want to know that a company has experience with a few different kinds of shindigs (well, maybe more than a few.)

Vancouver Aquarium Maxi Frame Tent
Vancouver Aquarium Maxi Frame 10 x 40 Walkway Tent
Have they done only tiny venues for a couple of years? Or have they worked on premier events for decades? Have they had people coming back to use their services?
Whether they have a lot of repeat business shows whether clients love working with them.  Or not.
They likely will have serviced many different industries and different types of events. They should know how various procedures at venues work, how to manage access, et cetera.
You can’t go wrong with a strong track record, though we suggest that you look out for any supplier that immediately says “yes!” to all requirements sight unseen. That could be the first sign of trouble.

3. Know that your tent rental supplier is trustworthy and has a good plan in place – for everything

“Hmmm…is this company being straight up with me?”
We guarantee you this will cross your mind at some point (as well it should!)
If they are taking the time to explain any fees and the fine print and seem to know their product (tents) backwards and forwards, you might have yourself a straight shooter.
 A good tent supplier should also have the knowledge and know-how to perform site inspections and be able to produce visual drawings.
So ask for them to show them to you or run through an inspection. That’s going to show them that you aren’t your average run-of-the-mill client and know how to do your “homework.”

4. Safety is key

Before an event, nerves can be the worst. What will the weather be like on that day? Will it rain? Will it be windy?
Since tents are set up outside, the tent rental company will have guidelines to abide by what each venue requires for outdoors.
Tent Building on Pool
30×40 Mzxi Frame Tent Building on Backyard Pool
Event rental company standards and rules direct staff members to make sure the tent has been installed correctly, accounting for different surfaces and providing a sheltered area for the event.
And if the unforeseen does happen, it’s nice to know that a good tent rental supplier will have multiple avenues of communication to support any of their clients.
Your tent supplier should have a tried and true procedure for walking you through key things to look for after your tent has been set up to ensure everything runs perfectly.

5. Reviews

And…finally, make sure to do your due diligence. It couldn’t hurt to see what others think about the company, right?
Every company has a track record, and nowadays, it is all online.
We pride ourselves on our Google reviews. It is a great place to start and read what others are saying. How many reviews do they have, and does the tent company respond?
Think about the last commercial tent you were in. Let it be a wedding, dinner soiree, or construction site meeting.
We love a good word-of-mouth referral. So ask the organizer what their feedback is on their experience with the tent as well as the supplier.

Final thoughts

Make sure to get to know who you are working with, and take the unknown out of the questions.

Just for a quick little recap, the five keys to choosing a reliable event tent supplier are:  confirming the supplier’s service area, their experience, trustworthiness, safety, as well as verifying their reputation through word of mouth. These steps have saved countless hours of frustration and we hope they will do the same for you!
The basic takeaway from this is one simple piece of advice for anyone planning a tent rental: make sure to get to know who you are working with, and take the unknown out of the questions.

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