As an American manufacturer of custom pop-up tents, we love innovating new solutions that push the envelope of the experiential marketing space.
But we’ve also made decisions to not pursue certain solutions when we believe it’s not in the best interest of our customers.
That’s the case with a 20x20 pop-up tent. We receive a handful of requests each year for this large pop-up tent, causing us to explain why we choose not to manufacture that large of size. We then recommend customers purchase four 10’x10’ pop-ups (as long as they’re OK with a center pole) or introduce them to our lineup of frame tents, which are better suited for larger sizes.
RELATED: How We Designed a 15x15 Pop-Up Canopy With a 20x20 Footprint
My name is Ryan Gemmell and I’m one of the engineers at TentCraft. Today, I’m here to explain a handful of the unique challenges with 20x20 pop-up tents that simply don’t make it a customer-friendly solution.
(Don’t worry, our marketing gurus have edited out my engineer lingo to make this easy to understand.)
Problems with a 20x20 Pop-Up Tent
When we market pop-up tents, we assure our customers their custom solutions can easily be transported and quickly set up at an event. The whole idea behind a pop-up tent, after all, is portability and a 20x20 is anything but portable.
Most durable pop-up tents feature a single scissor connection point between the frame and the peak pole. On a 10x10 pop-up tent, those scissor mechanisms are about 5 feet long. When the tent is folded, the tent is about 6’ (due to the peak pole) in height, which is manageable for transportation.
So, if we engineer a 20x20 pop-up tent with the same single-scissor setup, the scissors would need to be 10 feet long. That means when it’s folded up, the tent will be more than 10 feet tall — the height of a regulation basketball hoop! Obviously, that’s not portable and complicates transportation.
Why Not Multiple Scissor Points?
A natural next question is, “Why don't you just make multiple scissor connection points that are 5 feet long?”
The main problem is durability and stability. TentCraft pop-up tents are some of the best in the business because we’ve engineered these structures to feature a nice, taut canvas and peak around a frame that’s battle-tested against heavy wind and rain. A big reason for that is because we minimize the number of connection points between the peak pole and the frame.
Each connection point between the scissors and legs has “clearance” around the bolt holes, which weakens the structural integrity and allows for looseness. The peak pole is responsible for supporting all of the tensions in the canopy and any forces from rain and wind on the canvas.
In other words, the more connection points, the shakier your tent will be!
How about a 20x20 With Four Peaks?
Another way to prevent using a center pole and keep the transportation height of a 20x20 pop-up tent within check is to have four peaks. If you’re married to the idea of a traditional, single-peak canopy, that’s not a bad idea.
Unfortunately, it’s not practical. Four peaks create the perfect little pool on top of your canopy for rain to collect in, ultimately ruining your tent. So, that’s a no-go.
Let’s say you’re cool with lugging around a 10-foot tall pop-up tent or you’re willing to deal with the instability of a tent with multiple scissor connection points. The weight of a 20x20 would require at least 4 strong people to carry and set up. Combined, the canopy and frame would easily weigh more than 300lbs — and that’s using aluminum, which is a third of the weight of steel! That’s an absolutely ridiculous weight for a pop-up tent.
Finally, most people who want a 20x20 pop-up tent don’t want a pole in the center of the tent, even though it improves the structural integrity of the tent.
If you’re OK with a center pole, it’s much better to purchase four 10x10 pop-ups and install our gutter system to prevent water from pooling. This setup gives you the flexibility for future events when you may only need a 10x10 or a 10x20 setup.
Learn More About Custom Pop Up Tents
A 20x20 pop-up tent is out of the question, but TentCraft can help you come up with a custom solution for your event or application. Contact us today and one of our tent experts can guide you in the right direction.