Surviving the Elements: Weather Proofing Your Pop Up Tents

No matter how much we plan for successful outdoor expo events, the one thing we can’t predict is the weather. One thing we can do, though, is prepare. With all the different weather variables, it’s hard to know what is coming, but there are still ways to ensure that your booth, your custom pop up tents, your team and your products are protected.


Nothing will ruin an event faster than having your tent blow away, especially if it injures someone.  To avoid this, there are several factors to consider.  No matter how you secure your tent for the wind, you want 30lbs of weight per leg. You will want to find out what terrain you will be on as different methods are better for sand, asphalt and grass.

Stakes – Stakes are essentially the best security kit to have as an exhibitor because they are affordable and light weight.  Stakes are ideal for surfaces such as grass and sand and provide excellent resistance when staked correctly together with a rope and ratchet. For a useful guide on how to use stakes properly and safely, please download a copy of IFAI’s Staking Pocket Guide which you can find and the end of this article.

Weights, Sand Bags and Buckets –Weighting the corners of the tents is a good method because it can be used on any type of surface. They do not require extra work, but obviously do not travel well. Of these three we have found weights to be the best choice because they don’t take up a lot of space and don’t aren’t as potentially messy as a bucket filled with water or sand.

Rain and Thunderstorms

To prepare for the rain, we recommend that you use weights that are at least 50lbs just in case there are wind variables. You may also use stakes together with a rope and ratchet, however, this also depends on the surface where you will be placing your tent. Additionally, we suggest that you add side walls to prevent the water from coming into your booth. And, if you have multiple tents that are side by side, then using rain gutters is a must to keep the water from accumulating.  You need to have a system that keeps the water continuously flowing out so that it does eventually cave your top in. During thunderstorms, we recommend that you pack and leave. Unless you have a heavy duty engineered tent that will survive many weather variables, however, if you have a pop up tent, these are not designed to withstand thunderstorms so don’t risk your chances. Safety should always be your priority.

Extreme Heat or Cold

I went to an event in Las Vegas in the spring when it should have been nice and warm.  The weather went south and the event’s main party was essentially ruined by the cold.  Instead of enjoying all the great things the party had to offer, everyone was crowded around the two heat lamps.  You can be a rockstar at your next event simply by bringing water bottles, sunscreen and sunglasses to give away at a hot event or blankets and hoodies for cold ones.

For your protection, always take extra precautions.  We recommend that you always secure your tent, regardless of how heavy or high quality it may be. If it gets dangerously windy or there are extreme weather conditions, we recommend that you take down your tent, regardless of how securely weighted down it may be.

IFAI Staking Pocket Guide