What Makes a Great Canopy Design?
A quality event canopy is essential for any gathering. Event canopies provide shelter, create ambiance, and attract attention — all benefits for organizations like sports teams, nonprofits, businesses and other groups at events large and small. Whether you are attending a sporting competition or state fair, trade show or street market, a high-quality event canopy will help ensure success for your team, exposure for your brand and comfort for all those under your roof.
Unfortunately, not all event tents are created equal. Many sacrifice quality craftsmanship for price. Others are uninspired assembly-line products with no custom options available. Others still offer only the bare bones with no accessories and limited company support. By contrast, the best-of-the-best event tents and canopies feature industry-leading craftsmanship, high-quality materials, performance-driven innovations, and functional accessories. Today’s top manufacturers also offer flexible selections, custom options and unwavering support for their event tents. In this guide, we discuss all of these must-have features in depth. Read on to learn what makes a great canopy design and find the perfect event canopy for your needs from our trusted manufacturers here at Extreme Canopy.
A high-quality event canopy starts with high-quality materials. The better the materials, the better a tent will perform and the longer it will last. A difference in frame composition or fabric can often mean a lifespan disparity of several years. Better fabrics and frame materials also contribute to better performance, reducing frustration and set-up time for users.
For canopy frame materials, there are several factors to consider when judging which material is “best” for your canopy. Durability and weather-resistance top the list, especially for those users who are using their tents regularly and may be experiencing inclement weather. Weight is another important factor to consider, as heavier materials make transporting tents much more difficult. In terms of both durability and weather-resistance, aluminum and galvanized steel are the best choices. Both are resistant to corrosion, though aluminum is the only truly rust-resistant material. Steel is not rust-resistant; however, galvanized steel features a protective zinc coating applied through a process called hot-dipping to block out water. (Another option is powder-coated steel, which features a powder coating applied through an electrostatic process to achieve similar water-resistant properties.) Aluminum is also lightweight and incredibly strong given its weight. However, though it has impressive load-bearing capabilities, it may bend if bumped from the side with enough force. Galvanized steel is much heavier, though it is also less likely to bend.
Following a canopy’s frame material, fabric is perhaps the most important material factor in determining a canopy’s overall performance and durability. Today’s top event tents feature one of two fabrics: polyester or vinyl. While both materials are durable and water-resistant, polyester is more flexible and often more affordable, though typically less sturdy. Vinyl (also known as PVC) typically offers better UV protection and weather resistance. When choosing your fabric, be sure to choose a denier (or thickness) that meets your needs. As a general rule, a higher denier will provide more strength.
Materials may be essential, but even the best materials on the planet are nothing without expert engineering. Great canopy design depends on execution from engineers and manufacturers to make materials come to life. Today’s top tent engineers use both innovative designs and rigorous tests to ensure that the tents they create lead the competition in both performance and reliability. So, how can you tell if the canopy you’re considering is engineered to the industry’s highest standards? Read reviews. There is no better testament to a tent’s performance and reliability that the reviews it receives from those who use it. See what others are saying to start your search, and continue by reading up on information about materials, manufacturing, honors and awards, and more directly from the manufacturer’s website.
From expert engineering, ergonomic features follow. Many of today’s top tents feature a host of innovative, ergonomic features designed to optimize use and ensure lasting performance. These features can range from aesthetic additions to structural supports, each implemented to help the tent itself do its job at a higher level. Some ergonomic features to look for on tent frames include straight legs, which are more stable and space efficient than slanted legs, and legs that are height-adjustable. For tents with expandable frames, smooth and sturdy truss bars and connectors are also crucial for overall functionality. Those looking to outfit their tents with fabric walls in addition to their fabric roofs will benefit from tents with slide-in keder walls, perfect for easy attachment and lasting hold.
Flexible Selection and Sizing
A big part of finding a great canopy design is finding a canopy design that works for you. There are a number of different event canopies available on the market today, each with their own unique characteristics and advantages. The best-of-the-best tent manufacturers offer a flexible selection of all tent types available in different sizes to fit spaces large and small. Here are some of the most popular types of canopies on the market today:
- Instant Canopies. Portable, versatile and easy-to-use, instant canopies are among the most popular types of canopies on the market today. Also called “pop-up tents,” instant canopies earn their name due to their short and simple set-up process. Engineered with expandable four-legged frames that require virtually no assembly, plus easily-attachable roofs and walls, these tents can be set up in mere minutes with a team of two or more. Instant canopies are available in sizes ranging from 10’ x 10’ to 20’ x 20’.
- Inflatable Tents. Also incredibly easy to use, inflatable tents are the newest type of canopy on the market today. As the name suggests, these tents use pressurized air to stand up, which means they require no assembly. Users need only turn on the electric pump and stand back. Inflatable tents can also be folded up into small spaces between events for easy transportation and storage. Plus, since they don’t use solid frames, they can be manufactured in virtually every shape and size imaginable.
- Star Tents and Arch Tents. Star tents and arch tents are creatively-shaped canopies great for catching attention at any event. Star tents earn their name from their distinctively star-like shape created by their fabric sides staked in a star formation around one or two center poles. As these fabric sides can be staked at varying lengths and angles, star tents are great for fitting into spaces large and small. Arch tents feature a classic arch shape ideal for welcoming in guests and creating a very “open” feel within a canopy. They are typically available in arch sizes ranging from 16’ to 25’.
- Pavilion Tents and Pinnacle Marquees. Similar to pop-up canopies in frame design and overall shape, pavilion tents and pinnacle marquees are great choices for those looking to add a bit of classic elegance to their events. Pavilion tents feature taller, more spacious roofs that pop-up canopies, giving them a distinct “pavilion” atmosphere great for ambiance and extra storage. They are available in sizes ranging from 10’ x 10’ to 20’ x 20’. Like pavilion tents, pinnacle marquees feature an enhanced roof, though the pinnacle less spacious and terminates at a sharper point for a classic and elegant look that still offers more space than a pop-up canopy. Pinnacle marquees are available in sizes ranging from 10’ x 10’ to 33’ x 33’.
- Crest Tents. Those in search of large, customizable tents will find their solutions with crest tents. These spacious tents feature a modular bay design, which uses “bays” (addable tent bodies) to increase tent size. Available in clear-span widths ranging from 20’ to 66’, crest tents can be extended to virtually any length using bays of either 10’ or 16’. Crest tents can also be outfitted with a number of add-ons to improve their overall performance as well as the comfort of those inside.
Accessories and Add-Ons
Adaptability is another central component of great canopy design. Today’s top tents feature a number of accessories and add-ons that help them adapt to their users’ individual needs. These accessories range from the aesthetic to the functional, helping improve the overall performance of a tent and its appeal for both users and guest alike. Popular accessories include wheels and weight bags for increased mobility and anchoring strength. Walls and interior lining are also popular additions, as they improve comfort, protect against the elements and give tents an enhanced “indoor” feel. Other accessories include tent gutter systems, floors and carrying bags — each of which improves distinct areas of canopy performance and the canopy experience as a whole.
Last but certainly not least on our list of canopy design factors to consider are custom options. Today’s top tent manufacturers offer a host of custom design features to help users create one-of-a-kind canopies tailored to their specific needs. A custom canopy may feature custom sizing or shaping options to meet a user’s exact spatial requirements. More common, however, are custom printing options for custom canopy products. Custom printing enables users to outfit their custom canopy products with custom colors, texts, graphics and even photographs to create a truly unique look to represent any organization. If you are in search of a tent product tailor-made to your specifications that will catch eyes, turn heads and stand out from the competition then look no further than a custom canopy.
Expand Your Canopy Knowledge and Shop With Extreme Canopy
Interested in learning more about what makes a great canopy design? Visit our About Us page and explore our website here at Extreme Canopy to see great canopy design in action. Have questions about our products or event tents in general? Contact us to speak with a member of our expert team directly and have your questions answered. Ready to order a high-quality, custom canopy with us? Follow the links above or shop with us here to place your online order today!