Why We Proudly Manufacture American-Made Pop-Up Tents
TentCraft chooses to control the quality of your custom tent and not import it.
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By Andrew Dodson | TentCraft
To say a majority of pop-up canopy tents are manufactured and built overseas would be an understatement.
Nearly all pop-up tents you find at big-box stores, like Home Depot, and more professional online retailers are imported from China or elsewhere. The custom canopy may or may not be printed and fabricated in the U.S., then the total package is shipped to you, the customer.
That business model keeps costs low, but hinders quality and turnaround times.
We know that because we used to follow that business model. When TentCraft launched in 2007, we imported aluminum frames from Europe, and printed, cut, and fabricated canopies at our Traverse City, Michigan production facility.
After a decade of growing the business, though, we knew change was needed. Custom orders were slow, quality issues outside of our control were persistent… we knew we could make it better.
We could deliver a better solution if we controlled the quality, instead of importing it.
To that end, TentCraft is the only company that manufactures and sells a 100% American-made custom pop-up tent. Some companies may assemble a tent model in the U.S., but they’re not putting in the work that goes into engineering and handcrafting a pop-up tent.
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We purchase raw aluminum from a Midwest supplier and fabricate it inside our production facility. Our production team then assembles the custom frames as orders come in using schematics designed by our in-house team of professional engineers. While that’s going on, our robust art and print teams ensure your company’s artwork prints perfectly on our proprietary Duranti material. That material is specifically designed with a higher tensile strength and thread density to reduce water pooling — while following strict California and national fire rating certification rules. Our expert team of sewing professionals then fabricates that canopy to fit the frame like a glove. And then our final inspection team makes sure everything meets our high standards before we ship it to your doorstep.
If that sounds like a lot of steps, you’re not wrong. Honestly, that’s the condensed version of a normal order.
But don’t worry. Every TentCraft customer is guided by a dedicated project manager through the entire process. There’s no guessing where your custom tent is in the process.
We’ve perfected this process and are built for speed. Most custom jobs ship out in three to five days.
While we love supporting American manufacturing, we don’t choose to handcraft our custom pop-up tents in Northern Michigan just for the sake of helping our local economy and being a top employer in town. That’s certainly a nice bonus, though.
We do it because it’s a huge advantage for our customers who require top-tier protection of their people and their brand. These are the main reasons why we manufacture our pop-up canopy tents in the U.S.:
Because we follow the efficient build-to-order business model, your tent doesn’t exist today. For the customer, that means we initiate the production process immediately upon receiving an order and there’s no delay in retrieving and shipping pre-made inventory.
When supply chains are tight, companies that import tent frames might have to push lead times out — like they did during the COVID-19 pandemic — while their frames sat on shipping containers.
We Control The Quality
Our hands touch every part of your tent through the entire process. If we see something that’s wrong, we can fix it in its tracks without sacrificing an insane amount of time. This is why we feel confident offering lifetime frame warranties on our heavy-duty pop-up tent models.
Build-to-order allows for customization that isn’t possible with pre-made inventory. We’ve created the barbecue bump-out and the ability to install a large rigid sign on top of your pop-up tent thanks to the fact that we have engineers and metal fabricators who are smart and flexible enough to meet our customers’ requests.
When you work, live, and breathe the world of custom event tents and structures, you start to come up with ideas for new products. We started with pop-up tents, but now offer innovative structures, like our event dome and our portable MONARCHSTALL.
Top-Notch Customer Service
Our customer service team can walk downstairs and actually look at your tent being made. This is a huge advantage for customers depending on intricate custom projects to come to fruition. We’ll make sure your project stays on track for your event.
Supports American Manufacturing
We’re really proud to support American manufacturing. But for the customer, this means you can rest assured the highest standards of safety and regulations are protecting the workers that made your pop-up tent. We think that’s VERY important.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
When you remove the cargo ship from the occasion, our custom pop-up tents have a smaller carbon footprint than the competition.
Cost. Labor and raw materials are cheaper from countries like China compared to the United States. If you purchase an imported tent, it’s going to be cheaper in price.
More options. There are several options for imported tent frames. That allows you to shop around and find the best deal.
Quality control. Monitoring quality is challenging when production is outsourced to overseas manufacturers.
Supply Chain & Inventory. Supply chain can be bottlenecked and increase the time it takes to receive your order. There’s a chance your tent frame could spend months on a warehouse shelf collecting dust, impacting its quality.
Environmental impact. Long-distance transportation contributes to a higher carbon footprint.
Less innovation. Having less control over production means less control over new innovations and custom projects.
At the end of the day, TentCraft follows a different business model than its competitors. We feel by controlling the quality of your entire custom pop-up tent, we can offer a better product and customer experience.
That being said, we know TentCraft isn't a good fit for everyone.
Our custom tents are likely going to be more expensive than competitors who import frames and canopies from overseas. The durability of our products may even be overkill for some customers. In other words, you might be OK settling with an imported pop-up tent!
We acknowledge that because we're not trying to find the best sale — we're trying to find the best fit. And if you're not a good fit for TentCraft, we've published a list of the best custom canopy tent companies that we would recommend to help get your project to the finish line.
Say ‘Yes’ to America’s Pop-Up Tents.
Uniquely handcrafted in the USA. Custom-made to absolutely stand out.
(And strong enough to have 8+ adults dangle from the frame without it breaking!)
There is an endless number of custom pop-up tent configurations we can build when you consider all the factors that go into your solution. From size to canopy design, to printing and accessory options, we’re confident in saying your tent doesn’t exist today.
But when the time comes to build it, it’ll be handcrafted using one of our two main frameworks:
MONARCHTENT: This is our heavy-duty frame that features seven different canopy designs.
mightyTENT: This is our medium-duty frame that offers great protection at a lower price.
Let’s dive into each pop-up tent and show you what sets it apart from the competition.
MONARCHTENT is our custom heavy-duty pop-up tent that offers top-tier protection against wind and rain, and a guarantee to stand out at your next event.
We like to say MONARCHTENT is event armor that offers relief from all the issues you’ve dealt with in the past by purchasing cheap tents.
Our skilled metal fabrication team handcrafts 2mm-thick aluminum octagonal leg profiles for your tent that are robust and beefy. Attached to the bottom of each leg is a cast aluminum footpad that’s about a quarter-inch thick. Cheaper alternatives use steel plates that are about ⅛” thick, which won’t hold up after dragging your tent across parking lots for a season.
The beauty of MONARCHTENT, though, are the different canopy designs. The entire collection consists of seven different designs, from a traditional standard peak (which tops out at nearly 12 feet — the highest in the industry) to a billboard-style canopy we call MONARCHSTOREFRONT.
MONARCHTENT is an American-made pop-up tent that lasts a REALLY long time. We are so confident in this tent that we include a lifetime warranty on the frame.
A pair of custom, American-made pop-up tents for REI.
mightyTENT: A Medium-Duty Pop-Up Tent Made In America
Starting at $1,999
mightyTENT is our American-made medium-duty pop-up tent that’s aimed at balancing cost and quality. The aluminum frame leg profiles are slightly smaller than MONARCHTENT, and instead of anodized aluminum connectors, mightyTENT uses engineered plastic.
mightyTENT offers two canopy designs: standard peak and flat roof.
mightyTENT is a great fit for business owners who want a professional-grade, American-made pop-up tent, but don’t require the top-shelf solution.
How To Tell If a Pop-Up Tent Is Truly Made in America
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Real quick: Open a new tab on your browser and search, “American made pop-up tents.”
Hopefully you see this article at the top, but nearby you’re going to see some interesting results.
First, you’ll likely see some sponsored ads at the top from companies like Banner Buzz and Stomp Stickers. We saved you a click to those sites and can tell you with 100% certainty that the frames of those pop-up tents are very likely imported from China and the canopy is printed and fabricated somewhere in the U.S.
This is where things get a little confusing, though.
You’ll likely see a result from Impact Canopy USA, which touts itself as the No. 1 canopy manufacturer in North America. The company, which sells 10x10 pop-up tents for under $800, does print and fabricate custom canopy (toppers), but imports the tent frames from overseas.
Next, you’ll see an “American made canopy” option from E-Z UP, which makes most of its revenue through the sale of cheaper recreation-grade pop-up tents. In an effort to win more government jobs, they released an “American-made,” Berry Compliant pop-up tent called Freedom83. This tent meets the minimum requirements for government purchases.
In the product description of this canopy tent, E-Z UP writes, “Assembled in California with top-quality, U.S.-made materials.” That’s your first clue.
The wording “assembled in” can mean many different things. A tent frame could arrive intact and only require a single screw be installed. Voilá! You’ve assembled a tent in America.
So, how can you tell if a pop-up tent is actually made in America?
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Determine if the company has an in-house engineering team that designs the tents to be safe and secure.
Look for (or ask for) photos of the production facility where the tents are being made. If you can see workers fabricating metal, sewing canopies, and assembling tents, there’s a good chance it’s made in America. If it looks like a warehouse, you’re likely dealing with an imported frame.
Can your sales representative or customer service agent call you on Facetime and take you down to the production floor to show the progress of your tent? (We do that often with our clients!) That’s the ultimate way of telling where your tent is made.
Price! If you’re buying an American-made pop-up tent, you can expect to pay a little more. Don’t trust the $699 10x10 pop-up tent that claims to be made in America.
Reviews & Feedback
If buying American-made is important to you, then you’ll want to hear what some of our customers have said about TentCraft.
Inside Our Traverse City, Michigan, Production Facility
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The photos below are from our headquarters and production facility in Traverse City, Michigan, where between 80 and 100 people work building the strongest pop-up tents in the industry.
Make The Right Investment: Buy American-Made
At the end of the day, investing in an American-made pop-up tent is going to cost you more money in the short term, but will save you time and money down the road by not having to replace a cheap tent.
You’re investing in something that’s built to last. And if something goes wrong, we’re a phone call away to help make it better. (Our reviews back that up, too!)
So, after you receive your quote, take some time to digest the price, but also the broader implications of your purchase. This practice is especially true when ordering custom structures that could only be done by an American manufacturer like TentCraft.
We can’t wait to hear from you and help make your event a success.