Knowing Your Tent Style: Frame versus Pole Tents

When fielding calls from customers, we try and work our way down to what they are looking for starting in general topics and drilling closer to individual products. Once we know they’re looking to buy a complete tent, we get one of our most frequently asked questions we receive – What is the difference between Frame Tents and Pole Tents?

While the answer is super obvious (Frame Tents having frames, and Pole Tents being supported by poles), the implications extend past the obvious, each choices having drastically different installation times, amount and type of work involved, and end-result tent appearances. Let’s make an easy-to-use overview!

Frame Assemblies

Using the interchangeable West Coast Style Frame system, Celina’s frame tents are assembled using pieces from a base set. Each tent size uses a different combination of tubing lengths and number of fittings to create the framework that the tent top is attached to during installation. The entire tent frame is assembled and the top attached and is a free-standing structure from that point on (though it requires that any tent, regardless of style, is anchored to stakes to keep it from blowing away).

  • Freestanding Construction: The viability of the tent isn’t tied to the anchoring system, allowing you to adjust it at your leisure and not having to worry about loose lines causing the tent to topple.

  • Ample Interior Room: Because there is no need for center poles, the entirety of the space underneath the tent is open for use.

  • Easily Replaceable Fittings/Tubing: Because of the West Coast Style Frame system, replacement pieces are simple and easy to find with 100% compatibility.

Pole Supports

Pole supported tents are some of the oldest tent styles around. With one pole ever 10’ (3m) along the perimeter, little else is needed to keep the tent aloft. Once the side and center poles are inserted into the reinforcement grommets on the tent top, anchoring lines (most commonly ratchet strap assemblies, though some still use ropes and tension bars) attached to the side poles give the right amount of pull across the tent top to ensure stable construction.

  • Fewer Pieces: Pole Tents require center and side poles, the tent top fabric, and stakes and anchoring lines.

  • Appealing Look: The tall, sloping tent top is the first mental image most people generate when “tent” is mentioned.

  • Faster Installation: With so few pieces of hardware to connect, pole tents can be installed in less time (the bulk being used to ensure proper tensioning across the tent fabric from side to side).

It’s important to note within both the Frame and Pole categories that there are different sub-sets. Of Celina’s entire catalog, frame and pole tents encapsulate:



Classic Series Frame Tents

Classic Series Pole Tents

Master Series Frame Tents

Presto! Series Pole Canopies

Master Series High Peak Frame Tents

Premiere I Series Poles Tents

Classic Series Gable Frame Tents

Premiere II Series Poles Tents


TP Series Tents


Any items that you can’t find on our site is available for shipment from our US facility – just call us at +44 115 794 0041 and we can get you the products you’re looking for!