Cross-truss vs. Pyramid Canopy Tent

We explain the structural differences between the two main types of canopy tents available today as well as the pros and cons of each.
Posted by Eric Warsaw on Aug 14, 20199

//Cross-truss vs. Pyramid Canopy Tent

If you are purchasing a pop-up canopy tent, one of the buying considerations you will need to have in mind as you compare products is the structure of the frame. Two main types of structures are common among pop-up canopy tents. These are called “cross-truss” and “pyramid” frames.

To help you figure out which may be most suitable for your needs, let’s talk about what these two different types of frames are along with their advantages and disadvantages.

What is a Pyramid Frame Canopy Tent?

It is easiest to explain the different types of canopy tent frames with the help of images. You can see what a pyramid frame looks like in the image below:

Pyramid Frame

As you can see, there are cross-trusses which provide support across the structure of the square. This helps to reinforce the shape of the tent and reduce the structural weakness which comes with using a square in a tent’s design. It would be much harder to deform or collapse this tent by applying force to the corners.

The name “pyramid” comes from the long supports which start at each of the four corners and then converge to form a raised point in the center. These provide the canopy with its pyramidal shape. Truss supports meanwhile wind around the canopy’s perimeter. The majority of pop-up canopy tents feature this frame design.

Pros of Pyramid Frames

This is a popular type of frame because manufacturing it is affordable. The amount of material required is less for this type of frame than it is for a cross-truss frame. This helps keep the cost down for you as the buyer as well.

Cons of Pyramid Frames

The principle drawback of a pyramid frame for a pop-up tent concerns the lack of cross-trusses (as you might have guessed already, if you have intuited the function of a cross-truss from its name).

Looking at the picture, you probably noticed that there are no supports at the level of the square which span across the structure. There is only empty space.

To picture why this is a structural weakness, imagine that you are able to press against two opposite corners of the tent, pushing them in toward one another (something which could feasibly happen with some wild winds whipping at your tent). The tent would easily fold in half.

When Should You Consider a Pyramid Frame Canopy Tent?

Even though it is possible to deform a pyramid frame canopy tent, it is not likely to happen under mild conditions. That means that so long as you are not expecting to need to use your tent in moderate to harsh winds, you probably are going to be just fine with a pyramid frame.

What is a Cross-Truss Frame Canopy Tent?

You probably can more or less picture what a cross-truss frame looks like just based on our discussion above regarding the pyramid frame. But here is a picture for you:
Cross Trussed Canopy Frame
As you can see, there are cross-trusses which provide support across the structure of the square. This helps to reinforce the shape of the tent and reduce the structural weakness which comes with using a square in a tent’s design. It would be much harder to deform or collapse this tent by applying force to the corners.

Pros of Cross-Truss Frames

There are two structural benefits to cross-trusses. The first is the one which we have just discussed above. It is harder to deform the square by applying force to the corners of your tent.

The second is that it is also harder to damage the sides of the square. If wind or another force presses on the sides of the tent, the cross-trusses will help counteract those forces, providing support for the frame. With a pyramid shape, you don’t have this, and the sides can deform or snap. This may be particularly problematic if the tent is built out of lightweight, flimsy metal to begin with.

So what you have is a sturdier tent which can stand up to more wear and tear, potentially lasting longer. This longevity may actually make it more cost-efficient given its long-term performance.

Cons of Cross-Truss Frames

Cross-trusses obviously require extra material, which means three things: more bulk, more weight, and added production costs. That adds to the cost to purchase a cross-truss frame canopy tent as well.

It is also worth mentioning that a cross-truss frame may be sturdier than a pyramid frame, but that doesn’t mean that it can stand up to a whole lot of abuse. Really harsh conditions will still probably damage your tent. So the question you need to ask yourself is whether the extra sturdiness you get is worth the higher price.

When Should You Consider a Cross-Truss Frame Canopy Tent?

A cross-truss frame canopy tent may be a good idea if you expect your tent to take a few more knocks than it should. For example, if you’re regularly hauling around your tent in the back of your truck, it’s less likely to be damaged if you have to hit the brakes. Or if you want to use a canopy tent during moderate wind conditions on a regular basis, a cross-truss frame might be worth the extra expense.

Conclusion

The Ideal Type of Pop-Up Canopy Tent Frame is the One That Fits Your Budget and Needs

Now that you have had a chance to look at images of both pyramid and cross-truss frames and learn what the difference are between them, you can understand their pros and cons and how they impact the structural integrity, weight and cost of a pop-up canopy tent.

Which is the right type for you? Think about locations where you will set up your tent. Will it be subject to moderate winds or harsh gusts on a regular basis? Or do you expect to use it only during mild conditions? Is it important to you that the tent be as lightweight as possible? How big a factor is your budget? Head over to our buying guide to check out some more information that might help make your decision easier.

Once you have weighed all of these considerations, you will be able to decide whether the extra weight and expense of a cross-truss canopy tent is worth it for you, or whether a pyramid canopy tent might better fit your budget and requirements. Either way, you can explore our site for recommendations for high-quality pyramid and cross-truss pop-up canopy tents.

By | 2019-08-26T03:31:18+00:00 August 20th, 2019|