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July 04, 2022American Tent Life

Weather can have disastrous effects on all kinds of structures, and tents are no exception. In this article, American Tent’s very own Tent Guru-Pete McVey, who made it his mission to design and provide the best tents possible, gives you a quick look into the effects of weather and mother nature on a tent. 

When it comes to rain and the effects of rain on a tent, there are a couple of things you need to know. First, water is heavy and it's not designed to accumulate on top of a tent. When it does, it creates a situation called ponding. Ponding will eventually lead to a collapse of a tent or the destruction of the fabric because it stretches so much to accommodate the weight. 

The ways to eliminate ponding on a tent are numerous, and most of them have to do with proper setup. When we say proper setup, we mean:

  • The web guys are tensioned correctly, nice and tight;
  • The web guys are attached to the stake;
  • The stake is driven all the way into the ground;
  • The side pole is resting on a pull pad or mud block.

If this is done at all locations around the tent and you tension the tent correctly, you should end up with a piece of fabric that is perfectly flat and sheds water so there’s no way that it can accumulate water. In comparison, a tent that lacks the proper tension and set up will have wrinkles, the fabric will move around, and there will be a space for ponding, increasing the likelihood of damaged fabric and the poles sinking. 

Ponding is an issue of correct setup — no tent should ever have a water ponding problem if they are set up correctly, tensioned correctly, stayed correctly, and have mud blocks. 

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