Safe Tenting Resources

Foundations of Safe Tenting Course

Safe Tenting Course - American Rental Association

This course was created through a partnership between the American Rental Association (ARA), Manufacturers and Tent Renters Association (MATRA), and Advanced Textiles Association (ATA). The goal of this course is for tenting professionals to recognize the basic terminology, practices, and procedures that produce safe and efficient tent installations and dismantles.

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Tenting Resources

ARA is committed to putting forth initiatives that increase awareness of best practices around tent safety, tent ballasting, and tent education.

To support our members, ARA has developed tools, resources, and training videos that can be accessed by ARA members to help put safe tenting into practice.

ARA’s new Safe Tenting Resources include:

  • A customizable Tent Ballasting Tool for non-engineered tents. The new Tent Ballasting Tool was created in partnership with the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) Tent Rental Division
  • Downloadable Tent Ballasting charts
  • A new 8-part video series in RentalU highlighting the use of Block and Roll tent ballasting technology and other safe tenting practices
  • Updated Emergency Evacuation Plan for tented events
  • Fire extinguisher safety training
  • Safe Tenting Webinar in March 2023

This tool was created in partnership with

IFAI Tent Rental Division

Safe Tent Ballasting

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Frequently asked questions

  • Will ARA be releasing additional tenting resources?

    Yes! Over the next few months ...

    Yes! Over the next few months ARA will be releasing multiple training and education documents as part of our Safe Tenting Initiative!
  • How can I learn more about the ballasting study that was completed by ARA and ATA (Advanced Textiles Association)?

    Modeling of Ballasted Non-Engineered Tents ...

    Modeling of Ballasted Non-Engineered Tents

    Vincent Y. Blouin, Architecture / Materials Science and Engineering, Clemson University

    Clemson University was contracted by the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA), formerly IFAI, to develop a tool for determining the wind loads applied on non-certified tents. The wind loads can be used to calculate the ballast weights required to safely secure any non-certified tent under any wind speed, terrain, ground surface, and ballast configuration.

    A tent is defined by a set of parameters (such as length, width, and roof pitch) and operating conditions (such as wind velocity and direction, terrain, and ballast configuration). The failure modes of the tent are sliding, uplift and overturn and the failure modes of any ballast are sliding, uplift, and tilting.

    The full technical report is intended to provide the theory and the detailed description of all calculations for estimating the wind loads and the corresponding ballast weights.


    The objective of this project, funded by ATA (formerly IFAI) and the American Rental Association (ARA), was to develop an analysis method for calculating the minimum ballast weights needed to safely hold down a wide range of non-certified frame and pole tents under any predefined wind velocity. The tent is defined by a list of parameters that dictate the wind loads applied on the tent. The parameters include: the type of tent (i.e., frame vs. pole), tent length and width, heave height, roof type (i.e., gable, hip, pyramid), roof pitch, bay width, wall configuration (i.e., open/enclosed), and ballast configuration, among others. Once developed, the analysis method was implemented into an online tool accessible to ATA’s membership, specifically the Tent Rental Division (TRD) for obtaining the recommended ballasts weights of non-certified tents.

    Two methods of wind load calculations were considered for estimating the corresponding ballast weights:

    • Method 1 – as prescribed by code ASCE 7-10
    • Method 2 – based on exposed surface area

    The wind loads applied on the tent include the horizontal sliding forces, the vertical uplift force, and the overturn moments corresponding to the two main wind direction (i.e., parallel and perpendicular to the tent length). The wind loads are then converted into local forces of moments applied on the ballasting system. Failure modes of the ballast (i.e., sliding, uplift, and tilting) are then considered to calculate the recommended ballast weights.

    This report describes the two methods of wind load calculation and their assumptions. Both methods are assumed to be applicable to frame and pole tents. The difference between tent types comes into play in the ballast weight calculation specific to each ballast configuration. Six ballast configurations are considered:

    • Conf. Fixed-to-plate – Upright and ballast are connected to a steel plate with guy line between ballast and upright
    • Conf. Fixed-to-pole – Ballast against upright with guy line between ballast and upright
    • Conf. A – Upright and ballast on a steel plate (no guy line)
    • Conf. B – Upright and ballast on a steel plate with guy line between ballast and upright
    • Conf. C – Ballast at a non-zero distance from upright with guy line between ballast and upright
    • Conf. D – Ballast on steel plate with guy line between plate and upright

    While all configurations are applicable to frame tents, only configurations Fixed-to-pole, B, C, and D are applicable to pole tents.

    The results of all calculations suggest that configurations Fixed-to-plate and Fixed-to-pole are the most advantageous as they consistently offer the greatest resistance-to-weight ratio.

  • Does ARA have an emergency evacuation plan for tented events?

    Yes, visit RentalU and search ...

    Yes, visit RentalU and search "Emergency Evacuation" to download this guide. If you’re already logged into RentalU, click here and it will take you directly to this resource.