When determining the kind of tent you would like to use for your event, there are certain factors that will influence your decision such as venue type and aesthetics.
Pole tents are characterized by their high peaks and valences. These peaks are a result of the center poles which support the canopy. Not only do these poles provide support, they can also be used for decorating and lighting.
In addition to the center poles, there are side poles placed around the perimeter of the tent. These poles are secured into place by driving stakes into the ground, thus pole tents are not compatible with hard surfaces such as wood, concrete or asphalt. These stakes typically extend out 7′ feet outside the tent. When measuring an area for a pole tent, always add 14′ additional to take in account the side pole staking (For instance, a 20′ by 20′ pole tent requires an area 34′ by 34′)
Frame tents do not use center poles; instead they are supported by a steel frame. Without center poles, the event layout is not compromised by limited space.
While a pole tent can solely be anchored with stakes, the frame tent can be anchored with stakes or water barrels so they can be used on both hard or permeable surfaces. Water barrels are typically utilized for venues which are located on hard surfaces that do not want stakes impairing the ground surface. Frame tent side poles do not require the same distance as pole tents for staking, which allows frame tents to be used in tighter spaces.