Jump to content
dangerouspottery

Best Tent For Craft Show?

Recommended Posts

Apologies if this has been covered in other areas -- but I'm looking for advice on buying a white tent to use for the outdoor craft show season.

 

I'd like a 10x10, white, rain-resistant (if not totally waterproof), and most importantly, easy to transport and set up by myself.  (Sometimes I have help, and sometimes I don't.)

 

I've read dozens of reviews on Etsy/Amazon, and gone through some of the posts here -- the leading contenders at this point are Undercover, EZ Up, or Caravan.  Would like to spend $200 or less.

 

Can anyone offer advice on what to buy or what to avoid?

 

Many thanks, in advance.

 

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago, I had an EZ Up, and it held up very well for me doing over 7 years of craft shows. It only failed one time, when used for a wedding reception where the people that put it up did not have it level or staked in the wind. Blew over and bent one of the cross members. They had to replace it.

 

 

best,

Pres

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have two tents, and pop-up for doing one-day shows and a Light Dome for doing multi-day shows.

 

My pop-up is an Undercover, and I am really pleased with it. I chose it over other pop-up models because the the roof is vented at the peak. I think that makes a big difference in how the wind will affect it. All of its parts work very smoothly, and the carrying case is great too.

 

All pop-ups in the $200 range are somewhat vulnerable, compared to the $1000 tents, but all tents can be helped a lot by having proper weights on the corners. Any tent can become a kite when not properly weighted. The amount and type of weights you need depends on your region and the types of shows you are planning to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The last time I used it there was a downpour for about an hour, and it did not leak at all. I have the lightest-weight model of an Undercover, and I think some of their sturdier models are built more weather-proof than mine. Lucky for us, pottery does not get damaged by water anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own 3 easy ups-One is new in box as backup. I like the lighter weight ones.I use heavy corner weights-I like a FAST setup and take down-I often have a double booth so two canopies are the norm at those shows.

I'm not familiar with undercover brand.

I think in the midwest and and east when serious weather sets in the light dome and similar brands (not popups) is a better set up-it just takes longer.I never bought them.

I do not use a canopy at every show. I do two local shows and do not use them-One show in a park in a small town out of state and I do not use one assist a safe (no theft area) and under a huge shade tree.

I think the Costco Caravans are not made very well for long term use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is one thing you need to have with you with whatever tent you get.  a tape measure.  if the tent is 10x10 make sure the posts are inside that measurement.  also pull down the zipper at least 6 inches so if it does start to rain, you are not trying to zip a 10x10 tent onto poles 10 feet plus an inch or two on each corner.  

 

wonder how i learned that..................... :wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would never go to a show with a $200 canopy. They just aren't strong enough. I've been using a  Caravan popup for the last 6 years, but it's worn out and needs replacing. THIS is the canopy I'm buying this week. It's going to cost me $800, but it's got 2" legs, 1.5" cross bars, aluminum brackets, and is totally waterproof. I would also never use a popup without additional stabilizer/cross bars. You can get them from Flourish and they're worth every penny. They make your booth way more stable. Even the heavy duty canopies won't survive without them. You'll also need heavy weights for the corners so your booth doesn't blow away in wind. I use 35lb. cast iron dumbbells. You really can't go cheap when it comes to your booth. Even with all that I've had my popup crumpled in 80 mph winds, although it didn't blow away, unlike many of my neighbors. Several heavy duty canopies got crumpled that day, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Location really matters in this case. Neil is in the midwest where the weather can be unpredictably severe. He needs to be prepared for anything. I'm in the midatlantic where things are more predictable. For a one-day show where the forecast looks reasonable, I feel totally comfortable with my $200 pop-up. For multi-day shows, I will use the sturdier Light Dome, because its dicier to rely on a forecast for more than 8 hours. And unlike Mark C., I don't think I can ever go canopy-free, but his climate is different too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I go canopy free in my local shows when there is no weather other than the usual fog then clearing. The temperature is in the 60's so shade is not needed.My works looks best in sunlight.In 43 years I have used a canopy maybe 3 times during rain locally.

I do use a canopy or two in 80% of all other shows.

The show in a park where I do  use one out of state can be just plain to windy to have a canopy-The shade is the huge tree and I can walk away with pots out and not have theft. Its a unique setting and in most places in the USA you cannot leave your work out as some of it can disappear overnight.

I use side panels for security at night-mine are custom made and a bit wider with more velcro than standard models.They cost $75 each15-20 years ago and they are still working great I have 6 of them-bigger heavy-duty zippers.

I wish I have bought more as these may not last my whole career .

My corner weights are killer heavy and made from lead filled steel tubes.

I suggest solid square steel stock  2x2 for weights -about 36-40 inches long with a eye wielded on the end or a hole drilled thru the stock with a rope loop.To attach canopy to hold it down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hoping to get an update from Neil on the tent he ordered.  I need to move on from the very fragile EZ-Up tents. 

A friend recently ordered this tent, but it does not look like much more than the EZ-up but more than twice the price:

http://www.eurmax.com/beyond-10x10-instant-canopy-with-enclosure-walls.html

Does anyone have any experience with the Eurmax Beynd tents?

Thanks,

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should add that I do my shows in the summer in the Midwest, so that means lots of thunderstorms and high winds.  Does anyone have experience with the Trimline tents?

I would rather spend the money once on a good tent than deal with repairs.  One tent cashing could damage thousands of dollars in pottery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, fergusonjeff said:

Does anyone have experience with the Trimline tents?

IMO Trimlines are the best tents in terms of weather-hardiness. I used to own one but it was too heavy for me to hoist by myself. It took me 45 minutes and my arms would be very tired when I was done. So I sold it and bought a Light Dome, which is also a very hardy tent. It’s made of aluminum so it’s not quite as sturdy as the steel framed Trimline. But I can set it up in 20 minutes without breaking a sweat. 

I am an average sized female. I have seen others setup a Trimline in 15 minutes as if it was nothing. So jealous! Trimline and Light Dome cost about the same ($1000 ish), so if you think you can lift the steel parts, get the Trimline. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GEP, thanks for the info.  I am about 6'4" and in decent shape, so I am not too worried about set-up. 

Just looked at the light dome.  It is a pipe construction which I think makes much more sense than the expansion style like the EZ-ups.  How does your tent do in the wind?

With the awning, stabilizer bars, and shipping, the Trimline is almost $1400.  The Light Dome is a few hundred cheaper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I had the Trimline, I opted for the bottom sta-bars and these made the tent very rigid in the wind. When I bought the Light Dome, I did not buy the bottom sta-bars, in an effort to streamline my gear. The Light Dome without sta-bars does sway in the wind. I solved that problem by adding crossbracing straps (you can see them in the attached photo). Now it is very rigid in the wind. I prefer the straps, because they pack small, but either is a good solution. I have seen Trimlines swaying in the wind too, I’m assuming they did not have sta-bars. 

Compared to accordian-style tents, the advantage of the Trimlines and Light Domes is not for wind resistance, except that they are reliably well-built, and accordian-style tents come in a wide range of quality from strong to crappy. Every tent becomes a kite in the wind. The real advantage of the Trimline and Light Dome is that the roofs are designed not to pool water. Pooling water is more likely to leak through the roof, plus it’s very heavy and can collapse a cheap tent with its weight. Or accidently spill off and soak you or a customer. The other advantage of Trimline and Light Dome is aesthetic. The vaulted ceilings make a more professional impression.

A5F4F904-C3E3-4778-B0CE-83519D9AAF63.jpeg.15b48e6f329a747f6b2c1c0866bfe650.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The strongest tents as mentioned are Trimlines and light domes-If you can choose aluminum over steel get the aluminum as they are so much lighter .

The top fabric is very taught and water runs off well.

Depending on where you live doing shows is also a factor. Out west where I am the weather is a bit milder . I have used KDs and EZ ups for my career .

I Like the aluminum commercial line of these pop ups. I never wore the Fram of any of them out just the top fabrics .

Not sure about the blue text the morning??Oh well. I use pop ups at 90% of my shows but if I am local or at a safe rural venue I do not use any top. Makes for better looking wares in sunshine and quicker exits.

With any canopy make some assume weights-I like 2x2 inch solid steel bar stock-30-36 inch long with a hole drilled thru top end or a steel loop wielded to top to attach a line up to canopy .35 to 40# per leg.Use weights no matter what the wether looks like.

Edited by Mark C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are also in the Midwest and also have two canopies, an ancient craft hut that is heavy beast, but is extremely durable. I also have a cheap "Quick Shade" that I picked up on clearance at Home Depot several years ago. I have used it for small one day event where there is little chance of weather. It does have a vented top which helps in the wind. It did okay during a wind storm a couple years ago, but don't think my heart slowed down for a couple days. The only reason I bought it was for an indoor show that required a canopy with lights, and for the $60 I spent it was worth not hauling and setting up the Craft Hut.

A word of caution for inexpensive canopies, at a show two summers ago the dumpster was over flowing with the remains of at least a dozen canopies that did not survive the overnight thunderstorm. The two that were near me, one was in a twisted pile, the other the top inverted.one was an EZ up, the other was a caravan. 

Check around you may find great used ones,  my craft hut was $200 from a retiring Potter. I know my FB feed occasionally has used canopies from the various groups I'm in. 

 

 

Edited by Up in Smoke Pottery
Additional

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@fergusonjeff I used my Pro Expo all last summer, and it is great! It's super sturdy. The walls and top are totally waterproof and very thick, so they don't flap about in the wind. With the stabilizer bars (I made some myself) I would say it's every bit as durable as a Light Dome or Trimline. The case is junk, though. Mine came unstitched the first day, so I had to fix that, and the wheels are worthless. They rub against the side of the case, and they're so big that they add several pounds and bulk to the already large package. I took my wheels off. It's not really an issue, because at most shows I can just unload at my tent. For those that I can't do that, I just throw it up on my shoulder and carry it. It is heavy, like 75 pounds, so small folks would probably have a problem with it. The other issue with the case is that it doesn't fit very tight. There's lots of open room. They said it's because they don't want the top to get pinched and cut by the frame. That makes sense, but it does take up a lot more room in my truck than my old popup. Performance-wise, I have no complaints. I've had it up in several major storms with craploads of wind and rain, and it has performed perfectly. Plus I got the red frame, which is totally cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Undercover here, used for several seasons now and rode out a few storms with it. We were in the Northwest and it rained during the bulk of our shows outside of August and it has always been fine. Also followed Mark's advice and added a 2nd one as backup.

Initially bought the cheaper EZ up style with the intention of upgrading later. Being an equipment junkie I was disappointed and envious of the better tents at first but after watching some of them being set up and using the less expensive ones for a few seasons it does not bother me anymore. Still love the look of a nice ones like light-domes but will probably stick with the cheaper ones and these two may well last another 5-6 seasons. 

  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to point out that not all ezup brand tents are the same grade of tent some are more for the afternoon bbq not a weekend show. And no ezup is gonna compare to a crafthut or something similar. That said, i have an easy up. Its going on 5 years of weekend service, I did waterproof it my first year and have never had a leak. I do weight it down with 40-60 pounds a leg tho i normally do not stake as it is mighty hard to stake in marle which is common where i do shows. I'm a 5'2” female and get the tent up by myself  with minimal effort...i often help the guys out their first forray out into bringing their tents up in the dark of the early morn. Its not that it is hard but if you get the steps in the right order its easy. I bought mine at sam's club. I do not think as a solo seller i could put up and take down a nonfolding kind of tent in the time most shows allow.

there was one weekend tho i was so glad i had a lovely crafthut next to me acting as a windbreak, the tents on the other side of the circle were being trashed but i was guarded by my neighbors crafthut and partially by the festival's beer truck and i was not even wiggling in the breeze.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crafthuts are tanks, but heavy and bulky like one too. Ez-ups=ez-downs too (not in the good way either). There are some pop up style canopies which are beefier and worth using, but in general, if its under $2/3/400 its not worth the risk for your work, or the liability, should it blow away. That's not to say that I dont own one, and use it on occasion (esp. one day shows where setup is crunched), but when I do Im conscientious of the weather and make sure to secure it with proper weights, or anchors into the earth when possible. My go to tent is a Light Dome; it's withstood pretty serious weather, but I have lost one at VA Beach. However, at that show so did another 40+ booths, of all makes and models. I prefer it over the trimline as the number of parts is simplified, and easier to assemble. Pound for pound, id say the light dome is stronger.

Another thing many folks dont consider much when it comes to their canopy is how it looks, and how it will hold up/look over 2-20 seasons of shows. A lot of the pop up canopy tops are waterproof, but more fabric than plastic. They stain more easily (also easier to clean, still a pain though). The goal of being at the show is to sell work, and professionals (who LOOK professional) sell better than the rag tag canopy that's barely standing up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is someone, somewhere nameless, trying to sell a craft hut today on potterbarter for $200.  why won't people say where they are???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll prolly get flamed here but I settled on an Abba 10x10 because I was in a hurry and needed something for a local benefit.

It seems fairly sturdy for the $95 price tag shipped.

I've never used a tent at any kind of sale, always used an open display of some sort. But that was many moons ago. I guess having a tent is part of the new millenium...

IMG_8839-XL.jpg

Edited by Rex Johnson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Rex Johnson I'm going to use your tent photo as an example of what to watch out for when buying a popup tent. I hope you don't mind. It'll give you an idea of what to watch for as you use that tent.

First, take a look at the truss system. See how it has multiple trusses crossing in 'X' patterns down the sides, and has the same trusses extending from the corners up to the peak? Those are not as strong or stable as frames like THIS, which has only two 'X' trusses along each side, which are connected to a center pole from the middle of each side. Also notice how low the peak of the top is, and how loose the canvas top is? That means water will puddle on the top when it rains. Water is very heavy, so in no time it will puddle enough to either collapse the top fabric or the entire frame. You can deal with it while you're there during the day by pushing up from below to get the puddles out, but it's a pain. With overnight rain you'll arrive in the morning to find your canopy in a pile due to the water weight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.