Clear Span, Frame and Pole Tents – What Are the Differences?

Whether you need a tent for expanded seating at a restaurant, warehousing or a retail expansion, you’re probably wondering what type of tent you need. If you’re unsure, don’t worry – Lafayette Tents has you covered!

We have a 75,000-square-foot warehouse at our Lafayette, Indiana, headquarters, and we guarantee to have a tent for whatever your specific needs are. We’ll ask you questions – such as your square-footage needs, what environment the tent will be set up in and what the tent is needed for – so we get a better idea of how to best serve you.

At Lafayette Tents, we’ve been in business since 1913 and have supplied tents nationwide for fairs, concerts, storage, manufacturing, restaurants and large corporations. We’ve also provided tents for expanded medical facilities, coronavirus testing sites and outdoor breakrooms to promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Lafayette Tents today. When you become one of our customers, you can rest assured that we’ll treat you like family and assist you each step of the way.

What Are the Different Types of Tents?

Clear Span Structures

You can’t go wrong when you rent a clear span structure. Our line of clear span tents are our most sought-after inventory because of their durability and versatility. Some of the benefits of clear span structures include:

  • Versatility. They can be erected in any type of environment, including on grass, gravel, concrete and over and around obstacles. There’s really no limit to where these tents can go.
  • Size. Clear span structures can accommodate any event, no matter how many attendees. Clear span structures come in all sizes, which makes them a great choice for temporary warehouses, to store manufacturing equipment or host large company events.
  • Durability. Clear spans are manufactured with a sturdy, aluminum frame. They can withstand winds of up to 60 mph and three-second bursts of 90 mph. They can hold up no matter what Mother Nature throws at them!
  • Spacious interior. Clear span structures are manufactured without interior poles, allowing for more usable space. People can move about freely because there are no obstructions, which makes the tents easier to navigate.
  • Customizable options. Clear span structures can be combined with other structures such as waiting areas, grand entrance ways or walkways between structures.

Frame Tents

Frame tents are constructed with the metal support system first before the canvas is stretched across the top. Frame tents have many of the same similarities and benefits as clear span structures. Most notably, they have no center poles that allow for more open space and no obstructions. Lafayette Tents can also add a sidewall to frame tents for protection on a windy day or to increase privacy.

Frame tents are durable and can be customized to include an HVAC solution. Frame tents are often used in conjunction with clear span tents and can be connected to the main clear span structure.

Pole Tents

Pole tents are a classic and timeless tent option. Pole tents are supported by a series of interior and side poles, they require a larger footprint for installation and have less interior space than clear span and frame tents.

Pole tents are great for backyard parties, family get-togethers, company picnics and festivals. Lafayette Tents has an inventory of pole events in all shapes and sizes. They are also easy to install.

Contact Lafayette Tents for All of Your Tent Needs

When you work with Lafayette Tents, we help guide your decision-making process by asking pertinent questions about your event – including the number of attendees, type of event, square-footage needs, etc. – to determine the type of tent you need, whether it be a clear span structure, frame tent, pole tent or a combination.

After developing a site map, the team at Lafayette Tents delivers all the materials to your site, sets everything up and will even keep staff on site or nearby to ensure everything runs smoothly. If you need a tent for your business, restaurant or university, contact Lafayette Tents today for more information.


Keven and his team at Lafayette Tents & Events provided a completely seamless experience. From beginning to end, they communicated well, paid attention to our needs, and exceeded every expectation. Can't wait to work with them again next year.

G.D., Owner of Event Management Company

I want to tell you how very pleased I was with both set-up and take-down of the tents. The installers were freindly, helpful and all around great guys. It was raining and muddy during the take-down, yet these guys were great! Thank you for all of the help.

M.A., Event Coordinator at Fortune 500 Customer

Contact Us Today for More Information and Pricing