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March 24, 2021Best In Tents

How Much Weight is Needed to Hold Down Your Tent

Properly securing your event tent is an essential step in the set-up process if you want to ensure your tent doesn’t accidentally fly away in inclement weather. Yes, even a sturdy frame tent can be surprisingly prone to get ripped from the ground in high winds and rain if there aren’t enough weights securing every corner. Luckily, figuring out how much weight is needed to hold down a tent for your event is relatively easy, and there are quite a few options out there to make sure your event tent stays in place. Keep reading for our expert advice on the types of securing methods you can use, how much weight for canopy tents you’ll need, making your own tent weights, and more!

Tent Anchors vs. Tent Weights 

There are two basic options when it comes to securing your canopy tent; anchors or weights. Anchors attach to the tent’s canopy and get staked into the ground, whereas weights simply hold down and secure the canopy with their weight alone and do not have to be staked into the ground.

The main difference between tent anchors and tent weights is versatility. Tent anchors must be staked into the ground, making them impossible to use if you are setting up your canopy tent at an outdoor venue with concrete, or a venue that does not allow staking into the ground. It is essential to contact your venue ahead of time, be it for a festival, outdoor market, or vendor fair, and ask about the area your tent will be set up in.

Tent weights, on the other hand, are a versatile option that can work anywhere and at any budget. Not only can you purchase convenient, size-effective commercial tent weights, but you can also create your own for a minimal cost. The main downside of tent weights is, well, the weight. With recommendations of providing at least one 40-pound weight at every tent leg to secure a small, 10x10 tent, you will have to put in extra labor and planning to transport and set up tent weights compared to tent anchors.

So, what’s the best way to weight down your canopy tent: anchored or weighted? If you are going to a venue where you can’t stake into the ground, you’re going to need tent weights, no question. They are also a cost-effective, simple option that will work in high winds and rain. We recommend choosing tent anchors if you want an easier set up and transportation of your event tent that doesn't require packing and lugging around multiple heavy tent weights.

Types of Tent Weights

Types of Tent Weights

Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks are a low-cost option that can be used to secure your tent and are generally fairly easy to transport and set up. They don’t look the best, but for a trade show venue event where people will be looking at the inside of your tent as opposed to the outside, concrete blocks work perfectly to secure your tent.


Sandbags are the ultimate tent weight when it comes to disaster relief and have been used for decades to provide fast and lasting security for temporary shelter in times of need. They can be used in extreme weather and can be fairly cheap, but if you do expect to use them multiple times and expect they’ll be rained on, ensure you invest in high-quality, weatherproof sandbags.

Water Weights

Water weights, such as Giffy Ballasts from American Tent, can be purchased online and might answer the problem of transportation that some tent weights cause. They stack well and are easy to transport and anchor. This means if you have access to water at your venue, you’ll be able to bring in virtually-weightless plastic cases that become weights when filled with water.

Weight Plates

Weight plates are similar to water weights and may come pre-filled with sand or another weighted material, or arrive empty so you can fill the weights at your venue or with your own weight material. They can attach to your tent frame and blend well into the overall look of the tent.

Homemade Canopy Weights vs. Store-Bought Weights

If you’re trying to save some money when it comes to securing your event tent, there are various options that work to keep your tent secure in high winds. While there are various methods of how to make weights for canopy tents on your own, it’s important to ensure you’re choosing an effective method.

Two of the most popular and effective canopy weights you can make on your own include weights created out of buckets filled with water or sand or PVC pipes filled with concrete. The buckets will work in a pinch, especially if you are setting up an emergency relief tent in a remote location, but you’ll likely want to choose filling PVC pipes if you’re having a more eloquent event, so your guests aren’t staring at ugly buckets at the corners of your event tent.

How to Make Tent Weights at Home

How to Make Tent Weights at Home

Whether you’re looking to save money or simply want an easily-transportable or customizable tent weight option, here are two methods of how to make canopy tent weights of our own.

To make your own bucket tent weights, simply invest in no less than four quality buckets that can be filled with either sand or water. If you are planning on leaving your buckets empty and filling them on-site, we highly encourage you to test filling the buckets beforehand to ensure you bring more than enough sand and have access to enough water, to fill them to the proper weight. Buckets can also be filled with concrete, though this will mean they will not be something you can empty and transport as easily.

To create PVC tent weights, you simply need 4 PVC pipes long enough to hold 40 lbs of concrete or any number of smaller-weighted PVC pipes that equal the weight you’ll need to secure your tent. PVC weights can be easier to transport if they are made smaller, typically take up less room than buckets, and can be easily secured to the tent’s legs, where they will blend in seamlessly.

Is It a Good Idea to Make Your Own Tent Weights?

While you can certainly make a canopy tent secure with home-made weights, you will want to double-check your work, have a test run in the wind, and make sure your weights will sufficiently secure your event tent! Keeping your guests safe is of the utmost importance, and an airborne tent at high wind speeds can be a very real threat at an outdoor event. If you have event insurance or are renting a spot at an owned venue, make sure you understand what their requirements are for securing your tent.

Tent Ballasting Guidelines

Tent Ballasting Guidelines

Determining how much weight you’ll need for your canopy tent is very simple. American Tent manufacturers recommend 40 lbs at each tent leg for a small, 10x10 tent. Anything larger than that and the number doubles. Simple!

If you have invested in event insurance, we highly recommend you stick to manufacturer recommendations on the weight you use to secure your tent, as you may face troubles if an accident occurs and you were not using the correct amount of weights. However, when going to farmers’ markets, craft shows, and other similar events, the required tent weight is usually lower than manufacturer recommendations. Here are the tent weight recommendations to help you determine how much weight is needed to hold down a tent for your event.

Product Type Manufacturer Weight Recommendation Farmer & Craft Show Weight Requirement
10 x 10 Tent 40 lbs 24 lbs
Larger than 10 x 10 Tent 80 lbs 48 lbs
Umbrella 50 lbs  40 lbs


Properly securing your outdoor event tent can mean the difference between an unforgettable experience for yourself and your guests, and a complete catastrophe. Luckily, there are various tent weight options to ensure your tent will be effective in providing shelter from harsh conditions. At American Tent, we pride ourselves on assisting our clients in every part of ordering and operating our event tent products. If you have further questions on how to properly secure your event tent, give our team a call - we’re happy to help!

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