Ultimate Guide for Custom Tents

Ultimate Guide for Custom Tents

Custom event tents are a great way to attract attention and help your company stand out from the crowd. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the available options and take the guess work out of choosing the right custom tent for your needs.

1. What are the different types of custom tents?

When it comes to trade shows and other marketing events, it’s all about making a strong brand impression. Custom tents are among the most popular and dynamic-looking event displays available, and they come in many different forms to meet the diverse needs of all kinds of brands.

    Custom Pop Up Tents: These square and rectangular custom pop up canopies feature a branded fabric top over a frame of steel or aluminum. Custom pop up tents with logos typically come in 10'x10', 10'x15', or 10'x20' footprints.
    Custom Inflatable Dome Tents: Inflatable tents can sometimes be easier to transport and set up than metal-based tents, and offer a much more impactful look against the sea of custom pop-up tents.

    Custom Star Shaped Tents: With a more complex look and set-up, these custom canopy tents are referred to by their unique shape. Star shaped custom canopies are the best option for large-scale event spaces where smaller structures won't cut it.

Traditional pop-up tents are the most common type, and there’s a huge offering in the market with a wide range of durability, material, and quality. While they’re many brands’ go-to choice, a 10x10 or even a 10x20 classic pop up tent isn’t always the right fit for some occasions.

For instance, if you prefer something that is easy to set up, an inflatable tent is the ideal solution, and they are commonly available in bigger sizes - like 18’x18’ or 26’x26’. Those who prefer something with more structure and protection with a unique look may want a star shaped tent as a stand out option sure to make a lasting impact on event guests. Star shaped tents offer much larger footprints, like 72’x50’.

2. How to design a custom printed tent

2. How to design a custom printed tent
Shown above: This birds' eye view of two custom pop-up tents showing how differently you can design a canopy!

After choosing a type of tent, the next step is to decide how you want to design it. Based on the custom tent manufacturer that you choose, there are a couple of ways to approach this.

Design the tent yourself with downloadable templates

Some print providers allow you to download their digital print templates so that you can set up a design yourself in programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. You may be able to include the design at the time of ordering, or send it after the fact. This is a great option for design-savvy buyers who want more control over what their tent looks like and making sure it remains consistent with the rest of their branding.

Let the print provider set up the design

Conversely, other suppliers will offer artwork assistance - simply send them your logo and some guidance on what you'd like the tent to look like, they'll set up a design and send it back to you for approval before it prints! This process might take longer than DIY, depending on your skill with digital art programs and the complexity of design that you're looking for. Some companies also charge extra artwork set-up fees if you choose this method.

Here at MVP, we're happy to offer both options with free digital proofs no matter what - and we never charge set-up fees.

Other key tips for designing your custom tent

One important factor to keep in mind when shopping for custom tents for events is how much flexibility you will have in terms of printing. For instance, many custom canopy providers price their products based on individual design features, such as color or artwork placement. This can significantly drive up the costs and make the process of ordering a custom tent complicated and downright frustrating.

To prevent this, look for a supplier that offers transparency and provides flexibility with their tent printing options. Sometimes limited print options may be a better choice if you’re looking for something simple, but the option to print on the entire tent at the same cost will give you the best bang for your buck.

Double-check that your prospective supplier offers color matching with Pantone colors, ensuring your brand look stays consistent across all of your marketing materials. Pantone colors are part of a universal color matching system to ensure the closest consistency across a range of different mediums and textiles - kind of like paint chips when you're panting a room in your house!

3. What kind of custom pop up tent is best?

3. What kind of custom pop up tent is best?
Shown above: NXT Lacrosse uses custom printed tents with steel frames for their tournaments and clinics.

The best kind of custom pop up tent is the one that meets all of your brand's requirements for effective marketing. Many suppliers offer different models or tiers of pop up canopies to fit different needs and budgets. So while you're shopping around, there are three main factors to consider when comparing custom pop up tents. These factors include its:

Size (most popularly 10’ x 10’ or 10’ x 20’)

Denier (strength and thickness of the canopy fabric)

Frame material (often steel or aluminum)

The good news is, there are custom pop up options available to suit just about any need and budget.

Beginning on the most affordable side of the spectrum, entry-level custom tents with a lower Denier count like 200D or 300D, and a thinner-walled square steel frame around .30mm tend to be less expensive and are often a great entry option for brands that may not need a fully-loaded custom pop up tent.

These types of tents are best when you don't have a big budget, or when you're only looking to use your custom printed tent on an occasional basis, but keep in mind they may not last as long as some other tougher tents on the market.

Many suppliers will then offer a mid-level option, which will typically feature a custom tent top that may still have a lower denier count - such as 300D or 500D - but a more robust tent frame. Stronger tent frames will usually have hexagon shaped legs with a thicker diameter, like .40mm, and be made from steel or even aluminum. It's common to see a supplier offer more extended warranties as you go up the levels of their custom tent offerings, so for businesses that may need to use their tent more frequently or are looking for longer protection, these mid-level models are often the most popular choice.

Finally, you'll see a supplier offer their top-of-the-line model. This will likely feature a fully printed canopy with a thicker denier like 600D, and feature weather-resistant coating to protect against rain, fire, and UV rays fading the print. The frame will likely be made of aluminum since it's less susceptible to rust than steel and is a generally more expensive material, and the thickness will be around .40mm to .50mm. Top-model pop up tents often carry the longest warranties, from 10 years to even lifetime. These tents may range from $800-$1,500 or more depending on customization options.

For example, our Forever Flash custom pop up tent custom pop up tent features a fully printed 600D weather resistant canopy, a .40mm aluminum frame with a lifetime warranty, and a deluxe rolling carry bag for $899 in the 10'x10' size and $1,399 for the 10'x20' size.

4. What sizes do custom pop up tents come in?

4. What sizes do custom pop up tents come in?
Shown above: different vendors of a lacrosse tournament utilize 10x10 and 10x20 tents for merchandise sales and team areas.

The most popular size options for custom pop up tents are 10x10 and 10x20. As mentioned in the previous section, one of the main features to consider in a custom canopy is its size. Getting this right is important for the comfort of your guests and to ensure a smooth flow of traffic through your display area. Determining which size is right for you will depend on four key factors:

How much space you’ll need to effectively showcase your products or services

How much space will you be allotted at the event (What you need isn't always what you get!)

How many people you hope to accommodate during the event

What kind of budget you are working with

It's important to remember that 10x20 tents are always going to be the more expensive option, but are well worth the investment if they'll improve guest experience with a smoother flow in or around your custom tent.

5. Accessories for custom pop up tents

5. Accessories for custom pop up tents
Shown above: This colorful 10x20 tent for Central Jersey Tri Club gets extra brand exposure with a big 20ft printed sidewall.

Another important thing to think about when deciding which custom pop up is right for you is whether or not you plan on accessorizing. A few of the more common types of pop up tent accessories include:


• Rail skirts/Half-walls

• Weight Bags

• Storage/Carrying Bags

These accessories can be incredibly beneficial, particularly when it comes to factors such as wind and weather. For instance, sidewalls can help protect against the elements while anchoring options ensure that your tent will stay put, even on a breezy day.

Look for custom tent suppliers that will include essential accessories with your tent order such as storage/carrying bags, and tools to secure your tent like ground stakes or weights. Quality accessories are critical to caring for your custom canopy tent in the long term.

6. Custom pop up tent packages and kits

6. Custom pop up tent packages and kits
Shown above: Riptide Builders sets up their branded tent kit with a pop-up tent, table cover, tent walls and advertising flags.

Are you looking for a more dynamic setup, but not sure what accessories will best complement your new custom tent? Oftentimes, you can actually save when you buy a tent and accessories together instead of ordering a-la-carte over time. Some custom tent suppliers will give you discounted rates when ordering multiple types of branded display products at the same time. Some of the most popular custom pop up tent kits can include:

Printed tent walls or half-walls (also called railskirts)

Custom printed table covers

Advertising flags

Adding extra branded items to your custom tent can really heighten the overall look of your setup and attract more customers to your event area.

Here at MVP Visuals, we offer custom pop up tent bundles with that include some of our best-selling branded display products at a discounted rate so you can boost your marketing for less! Click the title of any products below to shop.

7. Star shaped tents

7. Star shaped tents
Shown above: A custom printed star shaped tent.

Custom star shaped tents are designed to offer optimal space and maximum protection from the elements while promoting your brand in a big way. Plus, they're just downright cool looking.

If the size and durability of pop up tents aren’t suitable for your needs, investing in a higher grade custom canopy tent may be a better choice. Star shaped tents are extremely robust and durable, tailored to bigger events and frequent use. They often feature water, flame, and UV resistant canopies along with rust-resistant hardware.

Most star shaped tent models come in single or double pole options, based on the area size you are looking to cover, altering the base and shape of the tent. Here at MVP Visuals, our single-pole star shape Summit tents cover areas from 26’ – 52’, while double-pole Summit tents offer up to 72’ of coverage!

Custom star shaped tents are made up of a large printed canvas top and aluminum support poles. They do require more set-up than your typical pop-up tent, but can still be put up in about 30-40 minutes with only a couple of people, thanks to an easy-up lever pulley system. This positions them as a fairly easy and convenient option for large-scale promotional event needs.

Have a big guest list for your next event? Let's see if a custom star shaped tent will work for you!

Get a quote for a star shaped tent

8. Sidewalls for star shaped tents

8. Sidewalls for star shaped tents
Shown above: Custom printed star shaped tents with and without sidewalls for an adventure run company.

As with pop up tents, the option to accessorize is also available with larger custom tents. Not only are sidewalls practical in that they prevent wind and rain from disrupting your display, but they also provide additional space for marketing your brand. Crowds are more likely to notice your brand's logo when it comes down to their eye level, encouraging potential customers to take a closer look.

Fully customizable sidewalls for star shaped tents can offer single or double-sided digital printing options and come in three styles – solid, door, or window. The sidewalls attach to the canopy with buckles for easy set-up and are available for both the single and double pole custom star tent models.

Download templates to start designing your custom star shaped tent with sidewalls!

9. Inflatable dome tents

9. Inflatable dome tents
Shown above: a custom inflatable dome tent for the Branson, Missouri Convention and Visitors Bureau paired with a printed table cover.

For those interested in a custom canopy that offers fast and temporary set up, an inflatable dome tent is a great option. These quick-and-easy custom event tents come in a wide variety of sizes and style options, offering maximum flexibility for your event needs.

Custom inflatable dome tents are usually offered in a larger range of footprints than the standard customized pop up tents, available in sizes that range from 10’x10’ all the way to 26’x26’. These inflatable tents set up in less than 10 minutes with the help of high-powered transportable air blowers.

In addition to flexible sizing, custom inflatable dome tents are made to achieve a higher level of customization than some of the other members of the custom tent family. Again, it can vary dependent on the supplier you choose, but most inflatable dome tents allow you to customize everything from the fully printed canopy top to the print color of the inflatable tube legs, releasing you from a standard black-or-white choice.

Inflatable dome tents are the perfect way to uniquely showcase your brand and save set-up time! Ready to see if they're right for you?

Request pricing for an inflatable dome

10. Inflatable dome accessories and add-ons

10. Inflatable dome accessories and add-ons
Shown above: an inflatable dome tent with a printed sidewall, awning, and awning banner.

One of the nicest features of inflatable dome tents is how much they can be accessorized. Adding custom accessories to your inflatable dome gives you the chance to create a striking and memorable event space for your guests and customers to wow over.

For instance, you can customize your inflatable dome with everything from:

Printed Sidewalls: Similarly with star shaped tents, these custom inflatable dome walls can come in full, window, or door options to make your dome tent setup totally unique to your needs.

Printed Awnings: This front-facing accessory to your custom inflatable dome attracts attention while offering more overhead coverage from the elements. These usually have the same level of customization as the canopy top and printed sidewalls, so you can match them as much or as little to the rest of the tent as you'd like.

LED Lighting Fixtures: Don't be afraid to say yes to nighttime events! Battery-powered LED lights underneath the roof of your tent offer you an extra bit of versatility.

Water Weights with Printed Covers: Safety doesn't have to be an eyesore. Some custom inflatable dome suppliers offer fillable water ballasts with printed covers to increase your tent's stability while adding a little bit of extra branding. This is a great option for when your tent is going to be installed on surfaces where ground staking isn't an option, such as on asphalt or indoors at a convention center.

11. Best uses for custom tents

11. Best uses for custom tents
Shown above: Bone Hook Brewery uses their custom 10x20 pop up tent for a variety of uses, including sheltering live music acts from the hot Florida sun.

The best use for any custom tent is to be a great return on investment as an essential marketing tool for your business.

That being said, the next important point to consider is what type of custom tent canopy is best suited for which purpose.

For instance, if you only plan on participating in one or two events per year or the events you’ll be attending will be mostly indoors, choosing a more basic option may make the most sense.

Custom pop up tents provide cost-effective, traditional display settings with basic protection against the elements, and can be used indoors or out.

For more frequent and/or extended outdoor use, it’s probably a wise idea to invest in a sturdier model of pop up tent that comes with a lifetime warranty, stronger hardware, and/or premium accessories.

Inflatable dome tents are great for easy installation and a temporary setting at events where you want to stand out from the sea of traditional pop up tents.

Star shaped tents are best for larger-scale events or those that require a stronger structure and maximum protection from the outdoor elements.

Determining which of these types of custom event tents is the right option for you will ultimately depend on what you plan on using it for, how frequently you plan to use it, and what type of durability/protection you will need - all under what kind of budget you're working with.

12. Benefits of add-ons and accessories for custom tents

12. Benefits of add-ons and accessories for custom tents
Shown above: typical accessories for a custom pop-up tent include a carrying or rolling storage bag, tie-down ropes & ground stakes, and weight cover bags.

As mentioned earlier in this guide, there are a number ways to accessorize your custom canopy tent, and each of these accessories can provide additional benefits.

Printed accessories

For instance, including sidewalls, half walls (rail skirts) and awnings can increase the protection inside your custom event tent while also maximizing your brand exposure.

Utility accessories

It’s important to consider investing in utility accessories, like weight bags or water ballasts add stability to pop up tents and inflatable domes to make windy days a worry of the past. Meanwhile, carrying or rolling bags make transportation and storage of your custom tent a breeze.

Lastly, special LED lights allow any customized tent to boost your impact after dark, providing an easy and convenient way to stand out and attract more attention for your brand. You can purchase these directly from your tent manufacturer, or find easy-to-install LED light strips from online retailers like Amazon.

There's so much more to custom tents for your brand than just a canopy and a frame. Ready to amplify your tent experience?

Request pricing today

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