What is the best fabric for your tent top?

Get to know the common fabrics for tent tops

Tents are one of the oldest forms of shelter solutions known to man. A simple sheet of any fabric hung with rudimentary poles. But nowadays, tents have come a long way. Tents today incorporate features such as frames, sidewalls, and many accessories. And they are made out of a wide range of fabrics: top vinyl laminated, polyester, nylon, polypropylene mesh and vinyl coated mesh fabrics.

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Most common tent top materials

Today’s tent top fabrics are synthetic rather than muslin. Synthetics provide a stronger structure that is easier to maintain and aesthetically more pleasing. Your options are going to be dictated by the kind of event tent you choose. The market offers various options such as coated, laminated, and composite fabrics using various coatings and films, and fabric substrates. But, in some instances you may not have any choice for the tent top material. Usually, you will find two common types of fabrics available in the market:

Polyester tent top

Polyester is a woven material that is both water-resistant and durable. Its water resistance is created by applying chemical coatings. This means that the fabric will keep water at bay for a reasonable amount of time, but it will not keep it out forever. There are many varieties of polyester, and each fabric’s overall strength depends on the thickness, which is determined by looking at its denier. The higher the material’s denier, the stronger it’s going to be. Keep in mind that a top with a higher denier will also be heavier, so if you’re looking to maximize portability, a thinner material may be a better option. Polyester is the least expensive material used to make party canopy tops, and most commonly used in pop-up tents. Still, occasionally you will see it offered for pole and frame tents.

Vinyl tent tops

Vinyl tops are made of polyester that has been given a vinyl coating. Most commonly seen on large commercial canopies due to their waterproof benefits. If you’re planning to buy a pole, frame, or tension tent, this is probably going to be the only type of top available. Because vinyl fabrics provide better UV protection and weather resistance than standard polyester tops, many manufacturers prefer them. They’re also very easy to clean, and most of them have been certified flame resistant. However, the downside of this material is that vinyl can be quite heavy. Also, vinyl is more expensive than other materials such as polyester, polyethylene and nylon.

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Wondering what a Denier is?

A denier is a unit of measurement for the thickness of a fabric. A single denier is measured as 1 gram per 9,000 meters. For example, 9,000 meters of a particular fiber weighs 440g, then its denier would be 440. That’s why a 350 denier polyester tent top would be stronger than a 250 denier one. The general rule of thumb is the higher the denier, the tougher the fabric. But, take into account that you shouldn’t always assume that a higher denier indicates superior strength if you’re comparing two different materials. Every material has its own strength to weight ratio,  so it’s possible for a 250D fabric to be stronger than a 375D one.

If you need expert advice on manufacturing of high-quality event tents and fabric structures for industry, business, residential, and recreational use, keep informed in our blog to find out more about tent types, accessories and fabrics to meet your tent requirements.