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September 30, 2020Best In Tents

There are many ways to anchor a tent. Some of them are good, some of them are very bad. We chatted with Pete McVey here at American Tent HQ and discussed what are the best ways to secure an event tent. We are pleased to share some tips about how to anchor your tent the best and safest way.

How to Secure Your Tent

Ideally, you want to be able to drive a stake into the ground and then anchor to the event tent with a ratchet strap (or web guy and some sort of a tensioning device).

Safety first. You need to drive a stake into the ground well after you've called your local "One-Call Center" or "Call-Before-You-Dig" service and confirmed that you're able to do so correctly.

In some situations, driving stakes may not be possible. For instance, if you're setting up on a pavement surface that you don't want to puncture, or on a green or brownfield reclamation area where there may be underlying pollution. In these cases, using dead weights for anchoring may be necessary.

Deadweights for Tent Anchoring

There are many ways to do dead weighting. Some of them use concrete, some of them use water. There are safe ways to do water and there are very bad ways to do water. We at American Tent have one of the best systems for small tents for anchoring with water - the Giffy Tent Ballasting System.

Giffy Ballasts for Tent Anchoring

The advantages to this system:

  • It’s lightweight - weighing only 30lbs when empty
  • It’s compact - ability to stack barrels inside one another
  • It’s portable - fits comfortably in the back of a pickup
Tent Anchoring

While you may see concrete blocks being used to anchor a tent, it is important to consider the disadvantages:

  • Weight - concrete is heavier than plastic barrels
  • Transportation - requires equipment to move
  • Delivery costs - ordering concrete blocks can result in high shipping costs

The ballast system that we at American Tent offer to our customers sets itself apart from other ballasting solutions in several ways. First, the system relies on a supporting leg pole which is connected directly to the barrel using a metal baseplate, providing a secure and stable connection.

Additionally, the bottom of the barrel features an anchored ring where the ratchet strap can be attached, creating a triangular support structure that connects the bottom of the barrel & the top of the leg pole. This well-engineered design guarantees that the barrel is more secure and less prone to tipping over, as the strap is fastened below the barrel's center of gravity and attached to the top of the tent pole.

And when you fill the Giffy ballasts with water, they have places to put flower pots and decorations. You can dress them up, they don't have to just be a big water bath.

Tent Anchoring

When it comes to ballasting tents, it's important to do it correctly to ensure safety. While some methods such as using 55-gallon drums of water, 5-gallon pails of water, or cinder blocks may seem like easy solutions, they pose potential risks and should not be used to anchor a tent.

The two ways to choose from when securing a tent are staking or ballasting - if the ballasting is done completely correct. Staking is the first recommended way to hold these tents down.

You can also use a combination. You can also mix stakes and ballasts anywhere you want on the tent providing, again, it's done correctly.


We will be the happiest people in the world if these tips help you use your tent more safely. And if you need to buy an event tent, we are always here to help you choose from a great selection of high-quality USA-made tents. Just give us a call and get a tent of your dreams!

Tony Ehrbar's headshot

Tony Ehrbar

Owner & CEO

Tony's entrepreneurial spirit is woven into the fabric of American Tent (an Inc 5000 company), shaped by his experience running a successful event venue & tent rental service. His recognition as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 is a testament to his impact & dedication to his community. As the Co-founder and CEO of Renegade Plastics, Tony is leading initiatives in the tent industry to integrate eco-friendly, recyclable materials. Contributing as a board member for the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) & the Green Bay Area Public Schools Foundation and being featured by Entrepreneur, Oracle, & Modern Weddings, Tony plays a pivotal role in enhancing the growth and success of the textile industry.

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