By Sigrid Tornquist
One of the biggest costs for tent rental companies is labor, and Fred Tracy is always looking for labor-saving ideas to use to improve the tent rental industry—in his early days as a tent manufacturer, he became known as “Inspector Gadget.”
One such labor-saving innovation Tracy came up with is the “No Jump Rope” side pole. The traditional method to connect the tent top fabric to the side pole is to tie a “jump rope” between them. With more and more pole tents being installed with keder-style side poles, there is very little room to safely tie the jump rope to the side pole once the sidewalls are installed. Tracy developed a side pole that uses a toggle-style pin on the top. The toggle swivels, so once it’s inserted in the tent top, it can’t come out without manually swiveling the pin. This prevents the tent top from “jumping” off the side pole when the fabric moves. The device saves an estimated one to two minutes per pole—and with 28 side poles for a 40-by-100-foot tent, that’s 30 to 60 minutes shaved off labor.