Canopies - EZ Up & EZ Down

From time to time someone asks about canopies. I’ll never find this
link again so I thought I’d post it now, so it will come up in a
search. This is a story of woe about an EZ Up canopy and how rain can
take them out.

I hope this is helpful to someone


I had an EZ Up my first 3 years as it was all I could afford.

I did ALL the tricks people taught me…I clamped the sides to keep
it taut and create rain gutters, I “hooped” the corners to prevent
puddles, I staked…I resorted to praying.

My top collapsed any time there was even minimal rain, it flew up
into the trees. Two of the feet on the bottom of the legs broke off.
I had to repeatedly seam seal it which results in an ugly yellow

None of the storms I was in were very big ones, ONLY the EZ-Ups had
a problem. I now have a light dome…I even made it through tornadic
winds in Indianapolis in that. At the same show I saw an EZ-Up fly
OVER a building. If I had known then what I know now I would have
begged and borrowed to start with a better tent.


This is a story of woe about an EZ Up canopy and how rain can take
them out. 

Thanks for posting this, Carla. People need to realize what the
problems are with EZ Up. There are hoops available that can be put
in the corners to help prevent the water pooling, at least to some

Part of the problem, as the link suggests, is that these canopies
are a hazard to the people around them. At the last show I did, I
was next to one, and it rained, and (once again) the owner
periodically pushed up on the inside to dump out the pooled water–
causing the water to splash explosively into my booth. He asked,
“Well, what am I supposed to do?” My only answer was “Get a better

My Light Dome is a pain to put up alone, and takes a lot more time
than the correctly-named EZ Up. It cost twice as much, too. But it
doesn’t ever collect water, it didn’t suffer at all when other tents
were sailing into Lake Michigan in a storm that had the rain going
horizontal (literally, no exaggeration), and it has a sky light, and
sides with zippers at the corners and in the centers for maximum
versatility. Oh, and the frame can be used indoors without the top,
to make any rectangle from 10x10 down to 5x5. I’ve even managed to
rig it as a triangle.

If this testimonial convinces you to go out and get one, tell 'em I
sent you-- I think they pay a thank-you fee.



This is one I feel confident to reply to. I had a similar experiance
to yours with the rain although Not quite as drastic and being less
then a mile from home it worked out ok. BUT I was relating this
experiance to a potter that was set up next to me at an art fair
several weeks latter and he showed me a trick he learned at a show
in texas on each corner between the canopy and the frame you stick
an old fashion hula hoop ($2.00 at the dime store) this kinda
spreads the canopy a little better causing the rain to all run off
rather than forming a baloon. I was really skeptical about this but
being really lucky for over a year (no rain for shows). the weather
report was for rain over night and once again being close to home I
went and bought 4 hoops stuck them in the corners before I went home
that night the next mourning I was one of the few that did not have
problems. I’m not positive this is a garentee but for the little
space these take up in my viecle I will take them to every outside
show from now on.

Richard C. Bayer

I had to laugh, After using the EZ up from Sams Club for about 5
years, I too, went through a disaster with the EZ-up. What happened
to me was - during a thunder storm too- the canopy filled with
water, I kept trying to push the water out with a broom by lifting
the top, but when the rain was heavy, nothing was fast enough to get
rid of the water. All of a sudden “Niagara Falls” had spilled a lot
of water over my head and body, I was wearing leather shoes, so my
feet were orange for a week (dye stain!) The next time there was
rain, the canopy didn’t hold up at all and totally collapsed. Thank
goodness metal isn’t damaged by water, but I had to relable and
re-price EVERYTHING I had in my inventory.

Oh, the EZ up was totally destroyed when my husband used it for
displaying photos, thankfully his walls were up, but the photos
weren’t up at the time of a storm, the entire tent twisted and was
totally unusable after twisting - of course, we couldn’t find the

I have been using a Lite-Dome for the last 5 years

From time to time someone asks about canopies. I'll never find
this link again so I thought I'd post it now, so it will come up
in a search. This is a story of woe about an EZ Up canopy and how
rain can take them out. 

I only just purchased my first EZ Up (an Encore II at Sam’s Club)
last June when I decided to move from wholesale to retail and try
some tradeshows. One of the very first things I noticed on almost all
the other similar canopies in my very first show was a collection of
either hulahoops or pool noodles stuck up under the metal works
inside the canopy. When I inquired, I got the same response across
the board: that they kept the canvas from sagging from the weight of
water (I got a few horror stories along the way). Fortunately, all
my outdoor shows have been just absolutely gorgeous, so it hasn’t
been an issue. But, the first time I saw hulahoops for $1 each at the
local dollar store, I grabbed four of 'em!

Additionally, someone in my newly formed artisan guild stressed the
importance of weights; so I immediately went out and got a friend to
help me construct four sturdy versions from PVC pipe, cement, and a
large “eyepin” kinda thing stuck into one end for a rope attachment.
They weight about 25-30 lbs. each. Haven’t had to use them yet, but I
carried them with me for each and every outdoor show, despite the
hassle of carrying them around.

Better safe than sorry! : )

Your problem with the waqter pooling neighbor is very unique. I’ve
had one, acutally two with a guttter, for over 10 years. The only
problem people I know have EVER had is when they don’t put them all
the way up. We have neighbors, at hundred of festivals, fairs and
pow wow who use them as well. the only problem we have ever had is
when we use extra taps as extenders and awnings and can’t ahcle the
wind. the EZ-Z Ups are wonderful, your neighbor obviously does not
know how to use his or you have no room between vendors. The dome
are not any better and the price is outragous. Hope you have better
luck with your nieghbors, Aquarius Custom Jewelry, specializing in
colored genstone and precious metals

To second Noel’s previous response get a Light Dome or similar. Using
a n E-Z UP endangers your neighbors. and really upsets your neighbors
by dumping the collected water if it rains. At TRAF in Pittsburgh it
often rains, sometimes storms, the EZ UPs take off like

umbrellas in a high wind. Most others remain grounded. There are
often Light Domes for sale used by those who have decided fairs are
not the life for them. If you are in CA you are exempt; it seldom
rains outside of the usual rainy season.

K Kelly

Hmmm, I tried every trick I heard, the hoops, clamps etc. and I
ALWAYS had water pooling with mine…and many neighbors at shows as
well. I too have had numberous water dumping splashes from EZ-Ups.
Never had either with the Light Dome.


I have been doing craft fairs since 1994 with an Easy-up. It has a
heavy reinforced after market top that cost $500 and does not pool at
all. It was manufactured to not pool. Contact me for the maker if you
want to. The frame has lasted as well. It is a professional craft
tent that Easy-up does make. The only way to go is to use a
professional tent supplier and spend the money to protect your work
and others. I do hate those cheap Easy-Up tents that sell at Costco
or Sam’s Club. I am reminded of a line I heard when I was buying a
helment for my motorcycle, "If you have a $2 head, get a $2 helment."
Your merchandise is worth protecting. The tent is an investment in
your business. It is not worth scrimping.

I only do a few outdoor shows a year, and only one of them has been
on a surface where I couldn’t stake my EZ Up directly to the ground.
had to drive quite a distance to get to that show, and I didn’t want
to haul a bunch of extra weight that wasn’t stock or tables. So I
bought four collapsible 5 gallon water jugs from a local army surplus
store. Cost was about $5 each. When I arrived at my destination, I
filled them up with water at my motel the morning I set up my booth.
I clipped them to my booth where the sandbags would attach at the
bottom of the legs, using short heavy chain dog leashes from a dollar
store. The jugs weighed 40 pounds each when full (one gallon of water
weighs 8 pounds).

They were tested the first night of the show, when the area was hit
with freak storms as we closed for the evening. I emptied my booth
because I’d forgotten my sidewalls, but I left the tent up. I lowered
the top down as low as the legs would go. The next morning my tent
was intact and had not moved. The top was holding quite a bit of
water, but no damage was done to the roof fabric. When the show was
over, I dumped the water out of the jugs, collapsed them and put them
in a large plastic bag for the ride home. They took up about as much
room as a suitcase, and weighed less than 5 pounds when empty. And
the best thing about them was if someone tripped on or kicked one of
the jugs, they didn’t break their toes because the flexible jugs have
some “give”.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Jewelry

To stake my canopy (a KD Kanopy), in addition to stakes straight
down through the leg holes, and roped stakes set at an angle about a
foot out from the legs, I have 2 steel U-shaped steel fence posts,
which I use on the side which will face the prevailing wind. These
posts come with a spade attached, which must be whacked off with a
hammer. That is fairly easy to do, as they are only spot welded. I
drive them into the ground, hugging the canopy leg, and strap them on
with 2 plastic cable ties. This will really hold your canopy down! We
learned this trick from an old-timer, now gone from this earth, who
happened to be our neighbor every year at a show. Thanks, Keith,
wherever you are!

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA

It would be nice if Susan would put the name of the manufacture on
an email so all orchidians can have it.

Despite the one response supporting the use of EZ up tents, I have
to say that I have never seen one survive a serious wind or rain
without dumping on or damaging a neighbor tent.

I’m in Colorado, and we do have weather during the show season -
wind, rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc. On the 3rd of July this year, in
Breckenridge at 9000 feet in our mountains, we had a minor seasonal
storm which left us with 4 inches of hail on the ground. The EZ ups
were destroyed or nearly so - and at least 4 were blown away. Those
of us that take our shows seriously and have purchased sturdy dome
tents and that use weights were all ok. I use a Showoff with 75# of
weights hanging from the top of the tent on each corner. To do a show
without weights is thoughtless. If staking is allowed, that might
save your tent.

When I started doing shows 10 years ago, I too purchased an EZ up
from Sams. After I replaced it twice, and repaired it once, it became
obvious that the design is simply not sturdy enough for Colorado
weather. Maybe the rest of the country doesn’t have wind and rain.
We do, and the investment of $1500 for a proper tent has served me
well. My booth looks professional, and is a haven for shoppers in
nasty weather. Incidently, my best sale in Breckenridge this summer
was when the weather turned nasty and folks took cover in my tent -
they shopped, and paid, and said thanks.

Judy Hoch in Denver with a fabulous fall day in the 70s, and way too
many tomatoes.

Despite the one response supporting the use of EZ up tents, I have
to say that I have never seen one survive a serious wind or rain
without dumping on or damaging a neighbor tent. 

I am so happy to see that others are as concerned about this as I
am, and I’m not just one wierdo worried about being next to EZ Ups
when there is bad weather. It is one thing to decide to risk your
own display and inventory because a good tent is expensive, and
another to make that decision for whomever fate puts next to you at
a show!

If you are stuck with an EZ Up and there is rain, at the very least,
take some precaution, together with your neighbor, before dumping
water, so that it doesn’t end up damaging the display next door.


Hello all.

I purchased the top from John Mee Canopies if you Google it you will
get a catalog online. The replacement top is on page 4. I ordered the
10 oz vinyl so it was more expensive. I have had the top and the
duty professional easy up style canopy since 1994. The frame is heavy
duty square metal and very sturdy. I purchased the frame from John
Mee also in 1993 and changed the top the next year. Still using the
same. Being in the south I have survived many winds and rains. No
puddling. I tie down and the tent stays in place.

Happy trails,


You are right, an easy up from Sam’s is only a sun shade. Much like
an umbrella. I have seen the collapse of the Sam’s style easy-up
tents. Mine is not that at all. The company makes, or at least used
make professional tents, and that is what I have. I looked up the
invoice. I paid $976.00 in 1992 and replaced the top and sides with
the 10 oz reinforced vinyl in 1994. I have been using the set up ever