The tools and equipment that tent rental companies can’t live without.
Though décor items still hold the title for the hottest-selling items in the industry, there are a few new tools on the block and plenty of old favorites to keep tent rental teams working smoothly throughout the year.
Sharon Mertens at Tentwares Accessory Catalog acknowledges that decorative lighting is by far the most ordered item, but she says the electrical items the company offers are also a staple for tent rental companies. Extension cords and brackets are a must-have for many tent customers. “People are always looking for ways to hang things, whether they be lighting or fans, in the different styles of tents,” Mertens says. She also says that asphalt plugs, which cover holes left by stakes, are arguably the most popular non-décor item the catalog company sells. “Most people are pretty upset when you leave a hole in their asphalt,” Mertens says. The asphalt plugs dissolve directly into the pavement to alleviate clients’ and officials’ concerns.
Quick fixes are generally a good idea for tent rental companies, and Mertens says a quick-patch system that Tentwares offers is a common choice for clients. The patch saves tent teams from having to replace an entire panel when a hole finds its way onto the tent fabric. “It’s a fabric that acts like a Band-Aid,” she says. “It’s a great temporary patch, and it can be a little more permanent as well if you’re careful with it.”
Another quick fix, the new keder repair tool from the SEC Group, was introduced earlier this year and has so far proven to be a hit. George Smith of Mahaffey Fabric Structures likes the new tool because it allows you to open the keder track and fix the tent frame without ruining the end of the rafter. “Once the end of the rafter is broken, it will chew up your fabric, and there is also a high likelihood that your tent will leak,” Smith says. “Normally, you would break out a hammer and claw the track open, which usually ends up breaking the keder. With the keder repair tool, you can gently tap the crushed track open and save the rafter.”
The SEC Group also counts its tent jack among its best sellers, and Darrin Petersen, of Signature Party Rental in Idaho, is a fan. Petersen says the jack’s key component is that it uses a different crank than other suppliers’ jacks. At Signature Party Rental, everyone fights over the tent jack. “You turn the crank only about a third of the number of times to accomplish the same lift as the other ones, so it makes it easier,” he notes. The SEC Group says the jack is able to lift about 1,000 pounds, and the company recommends one tent jack for every 20 feet along the horizontal length of a canopy tent.
Petersen also likes the SEC Group’s Truper Sledge, an extra-large sledgehammer that works well for pounding stakes. It may look like a toy, Petersen says, but it gets the job done. “I like the hammer. It’s just as heavy [as a traditional sledgehammer], but you’re not as prone to missing, because of the size of it,” Petersen says. He says the only downside to the hammer is that the way the weight is distributed means it’s not as effective in highly compacted soil as a traditional sledgehammer.
When working with powered stake drivers, Smith likes to use his new portable air compressor from Con X in Canada, which is small enough to fit in the back of a pickup truck but powerful enough to run a 90-pound air hammer. Smith says he has got quite a bit of use out of the compressor since he bought it at the Rental Show in Atlanta. “It saves a lot of time when putting a lot of stakes in the ground,” he says. “It’s a huge timesaver for any tent company that puts up a lot of pole or large clearspan tents.”