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The evolution of tents: from shelter to special occasions

Peg and pole tents have served many different purposes over the centuries. Historically providing shelter and comfort for the survival of nomadic people, now a versatile setting that can transform any space for a modern-day soiree. Let’s take a look back at how these structures have evolved over time:

The original

The oldest tent known to historians was erected during the Ice Age around 40 000 BC. The tent was found in Moldova, a small Eastern European country neighbouring Romania and Ukraine. It was constructed from animal skins and mammoth bones (a now extinct, ginormous elephant-like animal).

Many different lives

Tents were the shelter and homes for history’s nomads who travelled across land and sea, in pursuit of favourable places to settle and build. The Roman Empire from 27BC were one of the most prevalent people to conquer new lands, using stretch tents as temporary dwellings between battles. These tents were essentially the ‘breaking of the ground’ for the cities that would soon follow in their place.

The Vikings, like the Romans, invaded and settled across the world from 700AD, travelling far and wide in search of foreign riches and land. As sea-strong people, the Vikings would have tents on the boats for shelter for themselves and their supplies as they set off to raid North America, Europe and Central Asia.

The stretch tent, also known as the Bedouin tent, originally got its name from the traditional Bedouin people in Northern Africa and Middle East. These nomadic groups lived in the desert rearing camels. Their self-named tent was a beacon of hospitality and a place of much-needed rest for weary travelers crossing the desert.

Material evolution

Today, we use technologically advanced materials which are waterproof and sturdy. We’re also able to create different shapes and easily adapt to any space. While much has changed, one thing remains constant when it comes to stretch tents – the warm open feel. Peg and pole tents have and forever will be spaces for generous hospitality, erected anywhere at any time, inviting people to join, celebrate, rest and enjoy.


MPR Hiring are leaders in marquee and peg and pole tent hire. We can advise on the ideal structure for any space, and any budget. Chat to us to get a custom quote for your next event.