Outdoor gazebo tents offer plenty of benefits for many different occasions. For personal use, patio gazebo tents provide a shady place to sip coffee and relax with a good book or a place to gather with family friends. For commercial use, outdoor tents are ideal for weddings or other special occasions.
If you’re thinking about buying tents for outside use, you may feel overwhelmed by the options. If you search online, you’ll find everything from screened gazebos, gazebos with netting, small gazebos, patio gazebos, and much more. Outdoor gazebo tents come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so you’ll need to think about how many people will be using the gazebo at any given time.
However, the most important considerations include how you plan to use your gazebo tent, how to find the best budget gazebo tent, and making sure you choose the best quality outdoor tent.
1. What Style Are You Going For?
If you’re going to invest in an outdoor gazebo tent, you’ll need to determine what tent style will work best for your intended purpose. In addition to shape (i.e., round gazebos vs. square gazebos), you’ll need to consider different types of tents.
For shelter on the go, nothing beats a pop-up tent. Sturdy yet lightweight, durable yet easy to set up, pop-up tents are the ideal solution for your coverage needs from the elements.
Advantages of a pop-up tent include:
Also known as “marquee” or “high peak,” cross cable tents offer an elegant profile. Peaks are created with tension from cables pushing up on a center mast, allowing for abundant usable space underneath the tent. These tents are also easy to assemble and dismantle--no frame jack required!
Advantages of a cross cable tent include:
- Look of a pole tent with the functionality of a frame
- Easy to set up
If you want a dramatic silhouette for your outdoor gazebo tent, consider a pagoda tent. Differing in pitch and set up from their cousin, the cross cable marquee, pagoda tents achieve their show-stopping peaks thanks to a lofted frame supporting a center cone. Requiring just two people and a frame jack, or four people without a frame jack, pagoda tents go up easily and are a stately fixture on the horizon.
Advantages of a pagoda tent include:
- Solid, dependable & fashion-forward
- Keder walls fit perfectly
- Zipper openings
- Curtain opening capabilities
Whatever you decide, don’t settle for cheap gazebos. Remember that you get what you pay for.
2. What Material Should Your Gazebo Tent Be Made Of?
It is important to do your research when thinking about what material will best suit your tent needs. The lifespan of tents can depend on the materials used to create them, so knowing the best tent gazebo options can be crucial.
Laminated vinyl is a durable and popular option. It’s exactly what it sounds like — vinyl covered in a laminate. The scrim is placed between layers of PVC film then fused together in a laminating machine through heat and pressure. This lamination process increases material weight, UV protection, abrasion resistance, and glossiness. It is fire retardant, water-resistant, and is less costly than coated vinyl.
Polyester can also be a good option because its ability to stretch makes it more resistant to outdoor elements. While polyester is relatively durable, you will still want to think about waterproofing and thread count options based on your planned use. Luckily, these setbacks can easily be solved by coating polyester in PVC (also known as polyvinyl chloride), a protective layer that increases the tent’s protective capabilities.
If you need a waterproof gazebo that can withstand wind and rain, you are definitely going to be best off choosing a coated or laminated material.
As the foundation for a heavy-duty gazebo tent, a high-quality frame is essential. Look for American-made tents with aluminum or steel frames for the best quality. These frames are sturdy, mildew resistant, and strong enough to ensure your frame tent withstands whatever harsh weather comes its way.
Along with the general frame of your tent, tent poles are also important to ensure they are made with high-quality materials. Aluminum tent poles, as well as steel tent poles, are heavy-duty and ensure your tent is sturdy and can withstand inclement weather.
3. What Size Of a Tent Do You Want?
Once you’ve decided how you want your tent to look, feel, and function at your event, you might be left wondering: what size tent do I need?
At the start of the tent-hunting process, many customers believe they’ll have to go only off their guest count to determine the correct tent size, but this is only one part of the equation. While the amount of guests you have at your event is essential information you’ll need to take into account, if applicable, a seating arrangement is also just as instrumental in determining the size tent you’ll need for your outdoor event.
For additional help choosing the right size tent, check out this sizing guide.
4. What Additional Features Do You Want to Be Included?
Tent sidewalls take your tent from good to great, from exposed to sheltered. Whether you’re planning a wedding, backyard bash, tent sale, or beyond, sidewalls can help you get more out of your tent and keep your guests comfortable.
These canvas walls are usually available from your tent rental company and fit your tent so that instead of being open, it will be a more enclosed space. Not only will this help you regulate the temperature of your event, but it will make it feel much more formal and elegant.
Sidewalls can be see-through, have small windows, or be completely closed-off. This way, you can choose how you want your tent to feel. Incorporating sidewalls can also make it much easier to add other elements as well. Lighting will reflect off the walls, flowers and greenery can be draped from ceiling to floor, and decorations can be added to enhance the look of your event.
When stakes aren’t possible, ballasts are a fast and easy-to-transport solution for securing your tent. Features include:
- Lighter--much lighter--than cement blocks; they weigh only 30 lbs when empty
- Easy to transport--nothing more than a pickup required
- Stackability maximizes your storage space
- Recommended for tents 30-wide or smaller
Finally, the setup and take down process can make or break a tent--literally. Placing your tent tops for gazebos directly on the ground is never a good idea. A tent on the ground is at extreme risk for pinholes, dirt, and other disasters. Be sure to protect your investment from damage with a quality drop cloth.
5. What Stability Is Required For Your Gazebo?
Stability is important for any size or type of gazebo. Even the sturdiest of gazebo tents can be at risk of blowing away unless they are set up and weighted properly. It’s important to do your homework and choose the best option for securing your tent.
The first option is using anchors, as you would when you set up a camping tent. Anchors need to be staked into the ground, which means they won’t work if you are setting your gazebo tent up on concrete or in an area that prohibits staking into the ground. The primary advantage of anchors is that they are easy to transport.
A second option is tent weights. This is a more versatile option since they offer excellent stability on any surface and are also economical. In fact, if you’re on an extremely tight budget, you can even make your own if you wish. Some different materials for tent weights include: concrete blocks, sandbags, water weights, or weight plates. The disadvantage of tent weights is that they are not nearly as portable as anchors.
6. How Easy to Install Should It Be?
One of the biggest advantages of a gazebo tent is how easy it is to install versus a permanent gazebo. Portability is also a big advantage. Installation is relatively easy, based on skill level. For folks who are not so handy, hiring a professional tent installer is probably the best choice.
But, if you have some basic DIY skills - and ideally, an extra set of hands or two - you can easily install your gazebo virtually anywhere. The good news is that taking down your gazebo is also a simple process. A quality tent manufacturer will ensure that tent installation is fairly intuitive. Tents should also come with easy to understand instructions. Even better, some manufacturers will provide video installation guides so you can actually watch the process from start to finish.
7. How Much Maintenance Should Your Gazebo Require?
If you purchase a portable gazebo tent, you want to make sure that you get the most from your investment. Start with purchasing a high-quality tent from a reputable manufacturer. These tips for gazebo tent maintenance will help ensure that your tent lasts for years in the future.
Always follow directions for your tent installation. Inspect your tent materials periodically to make sure that the canopy top and straps are free of holes or tears and in good condition. Also, keeping your tent clean will help increase its lifespan. Before you take your tent down after use, make sure to brush off any dirt or leaves. After the outdoor gazebo tent is taken down, gently sweep it off to ensure it is free of debris.
Rinsing your tent after use will also help keep it clean and increase its longevity. Be sure to use non-abrasive cleaning materials to avoid damaging the tent’s coating. Be sure your tent is completely dry before you store it.
Speaking of storage, make sure you store your tent in a cool, dry space. This will help prevent the growth of mold and mildew. A little TCL goes a long way in ensuring that your tent will last for many years to come.