New Shelter?

I’ve been bringing the same 26-foot-diameter wooden dome to Burning Man for 12 years. While I could continue to bring it for years to come, it takes much time to assemble and take down, and its cover is not dust tight. Since The Cupcake Cafe needs a dust-free environment, either the dome’s cover needs to be improved or else the entire shelter needs to be replaced.

One idea is to replace the dome with a frame tent. If you’ve ever seen a Harbor Freight portable garage, then you know what frame tents are like: an interior frame and an outer cover. But the frame tent that I’m looking at is much larger than a portable garage and uses better components. Here’s a comparison:

Dome, round floor, 26 feet in diameter

Frame Tent (walls will be added), square floor, 30 feet by 30 feet
Floor Area
  • Round
  • 500 square feet
  • Square
  • 900 square feet
  • Future expansion to 1350 or 1800 square feet
Frame Components
  • 65 wooden 2x4s
  • 36 metal brackets
  • 230 wing nuts
  • 24 aluminum tubes
  • 17 metal brackets
  • 48 pin fasteners
Hold DownsNone needed
  • 16 stakes
  • 16 ratchet straps
Cover Material
  • Aluminet shade fabric and cotton canvas
  • Blocks the sun's heat well
  • PVC-coated polyester fabric with blackout layer
  • Unknown whether it blocks the sun's heat

Renting a tent like this for a week costs about the same as buying one, and so if I decide to replace the dome with a frame tent, it makes sense to buy one outright.

The only open issue is that I don’t know if the synthetic cover material will block the heat of the sun as well as the dome’s Aluminet/cotton cover. To answer this question, I bought a piece of the synthetic cover material, and I’ll compare it to the dome’s cover by holding each piece of material between me and the sun’s warmth. If the frame tent’s synthetic cover fails to shield from the sun’s heat, I can add an interior cotton canvas cover, just as I do with the dome.