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Show tents

OK! I am getting ready to do my first outside show and need comments
on tents for protection. I have received from easy-up
tents and they have a slew of different styles- dome etc, and can’t
begin to figure out what the heck I need. Unfortunately I also just
missed their spring sale to this is going to cost me a bundle. I
thought I had read on this board that some brands of tents are better
than others and there was a major preference on brands. I am
thinking that I would need a 10x10 white with three sides. (I wasn’t
going to get sides until I went to check out a bunch of show and saw
that everyone had them and realized that protection of my inventory
would be better plus I would be protected from the wind.) What do
you use and do you have any plusses or minuses? Since I will be
dropping lots of $$$$$ I do not want to make an expensive mistake.


Some years ago we bought an ezup wish over and over that I had
spent a little more and gotten a craft hut which is much more sturdy.
There is another one that is good, but I cannot remember the name of
the company. If you are going to continue doing shows outside, it is worth the investment.

Elle, I’ve been using an EZ-Up for 7 years now; I’m on my second one.
Just after I bought my first one I found out that they are also sold
through Walmart and Sam’s Club. They are much less expensive
purchased that way. They last well; you should make an effort to get
the UV-proof one; they’re extra money, but definitely worth it for
the future health of your skin.

Jim Small

I have a white easy-up with sides and I like it a lot. It’s heavier
than I would prefer, but light for its size, and not bad for one
person to put up. I like the one-piece design, and didn’t want to
spend half an hour fiddling with poles. White is essential- I had a
green tent and stones look just awful under a green tent. Sides are
important too; it only takes one good gust to send some of my displays
flying. And as far as I’ve seen, it appears that easy-up is the least
expensive of the major brands.

Janet Kofoed

Consider changing that to a 10’ x 10’ with 4 sides.

When you are doing a two day show and want to leave the tent up over
night, like everybody does, you take out the valuables and then zip
the sides together to make it weather tight. The 4 sides are helpful
when its raining and windy. The center zippers on the sides are handy
when you are alone and rolling up a whole wall by yourself can be
difficult. You can roll it up in 5’ sections that way. The cheap
sidewalls that velcro shut tend to be flimsy and not stay attached in
any wind.

Now the tent types. The three biggies in the midwest are EZ-up, craft
hut and light dome. I had the medium priced EZ-up for 3 years ($300)
at Sams club. By the end of three years it was completely beat. The
dome EZ up is NOT even worth considering as it takes very little wind
or rain to trash it. I staked my tent, weighted it, put hoops in the
corner to keep rain from puddling in the top (which is a big problem
with them) and used big old clamps on the corners…I still lost my top
several times a season. This is what you get when you are
brave…don’t intend to leave the tent overnight or can’t afford
anything else. By the end of year one by top leaked badly…my legs
were wobbly. By the end of year two a couple of the feet had fallen
off and the leg adjusting buttons were cranky. I do 10-16 shows a year.

I now have a light dome. It is 2 1/2 years old and no problems yet. I
could put it up on my own in 1/2 hour when I was 8 months pregnant,
faster now. I love it, but you do pay for the increase in lifespan,
sturdiness and good looks. The options of sunshades on the sides is
nice with jewelry so that it doesn’t get to hot to handle on sunny
days. There is also a skylight option for a sunnier booth, but it will
warm it up in there. It will run $800-$1400 depending on how many
bells and whistles you want…I could be off on that price as mine is a
couple of years old. Creative energies sells it (800) 351-8889, tell
them I sent you and I hear they will give you free straps or

Craft-hut owners love them. But they do have alot more parts and take
longer to assemble. They claim they are sturdier in a bad storm. I
can’t say one way or another, I think they run a few bucks more. I
talked to as many people as I could before buying and went with mine
because I couldn’t find any single females putting up the craft-hut on
their own, although I am sure there are a few.

Don’t forget weights & straps, different ones for grass or pavement.

Out of time now but if you have any more questions E-mail me directly.

Karen Seymour-Ells

Ellie: After researching tents I decided to go with Flourish Company.

I went with them for several reasons.

  1. Stability ( I wanted a strong structure. Which I was thankful for
    when I was at the La Quinta Show with 65 mile an hour gust of wind and
    still standing)

  2. I liked the versatility and can use the frame both indoors and

  3. I can change the size of the indoor booth to fit my needs. I
    just had my machinist husband cut up some 1 in pipe drill holes in
    the ends and voila an 8’ x 6’ indoor booth! Flourish sells different
    sizes of pipe that you can attach if you don’t have the tools to cut
    your own, but they recommended that I make my own and save some money.
    You can buy the extra clips (the clips are to attach the pipes to
    each other) from them for small change.

  4. I purchased the Archtop Canopy because I liked the idea of the
    overhang which has saved me in hot weather. It also allows my clients
    time to buy without overheating and actually draws people to my booth
    to stay out of the sun (hey every little bit helps)

  5. It comes with 4 sides and I can zip up my tent at night when I
    leave the show. This keeps the moisture off my cases, adds the
    illusion of security and protects against wind or rain.


  1. The poles are heavy and unloading them is a strain but after that
    the dolly takes over. 2. A lot of pieces to put together, but those
    pieces give me flexibility for an indoor show. 3. I need someone to
    help me raise the frame up. I am unable to master this one on my own,
    though some people can do it.

The Archtop is 795.00 and remember shipping can really add up and so
can the accessories. This unit doesn’t come with carrying bags and
leg weights. I again had my husband make my leg weights and I still
use the original box as my carrying case. It has seen it’s last day
though and has been abused by duck tape, so time to check the local
Army surplus to check out their prices. I didn’t want to spend the
120.00 price they are asking for their pole and tent bags. Overall I am
satisfied with my purchase.

Good Luck and hope this helps.

Linda Crawford Linda Crawford Designs Willits, CA “Experience is something you don’t
get until just after you need it.”

If you buy an easy up tent you will be making a big mistake. Buy a
Craft Hut or a Showoff. They are the two best available but will cost
about $1000 depending on the options. Look at the craftsreport
discussion board for much talk on this subject. Good luck.

We’ve used EZ Ups for over 4 years now, but we do use the commercial
ones. They are much more sturdy than the lightweight ones sold by
Sam’s, etc. We purchased ours from Van Raalte & Co. in Garden Valley,
Ca. 800-286-0030, website= driveonline. com/EZUP/ No connection
with us, just very pleased with his customer service. He goes to
Tucson every year; located by the big tents off of Congress St. Also
recommend his soft sided coolers; keep ice longer than any we’ve

Marcia Ingham

We’ve had 3 different kinds of canopies for years so I think I can
make fairly valid comparisons. I do arts & craft shows in the midwest
so think rain and wind.

  1. KD canopy - similar to the EZ up. We have the 2 different tops.
    The fabric top (polyester?) does not stay on in the wind. On at least
    3 occasions (i.e. everytime we had wind) at least one corner of the
    tent came off. If you didn’t catch it right away, more corners blew
    off. Each time my stuff got drenched because the top didn’t stay on.
    We don’t use this tent anymore for outside shows, but the frame is
    good for inside shows beacuse it has nice feet. I use it inside
    without the top because the frame is good from which to hang lights.
    We also have the heavier vinyl top but I don’t like it because it
    doesn’t let enought light through, espicially on the cloudy day, and
    you need light to see jewelry.

  2. We have had a craft hut for 10 yrs. It has lasted quite well
    plus we have ordered extra doo-dads for it (side awnings, back porch
    etc) and the people are quite nice about making sure everything fits
    well and zips well. However, it does take forever to set it up and
    take it down. At least 1/2 hour. It handles very well in the wind
    and the rain. We are talking high wind, too. We take it when we know
    the weather is going to be bad, but I really hate setting it up and
    taking it down.

  3. The EZ-up is my favorite because it is so quick to set-up and
    take down. We just got a new top after about 5 years. I don’t take
    my top off - I leave it on all the time so as to make set-up and
    tear-down quicker. The top has 4 gromets in the middle of each side
    to it stays on better than the KD. My husband hates it because it’s
    not as good in the rain and wind as the craft hut. It keep sthe rain
    out fine if you don’t have a pin prick hole in the top - you also
    should spray it with 3m water proofing stuff. We just had a windy
    show 2 weeks ago - up to 60 mph overnight. The tent held up ok
    because we lowered the legs as far as possible when we went home that
    night and we had weights for the legs. It was still standing the next
    morning unlike others which had twisted frames and had tipped over
    (various kinds of canopies but the main problem was that these people
    didn’t use weights).

I hope that this has been helpful.

With regards to the person asking advice on ‘tents’ for ourdoor
shows, I was just surveying my friends about the same thing and the
names Advantage and The Light Dome were recommended as the best.
They have withstood the wind test many times when the KD’s and
Easy-Ups were in the trees. Also, a domed
top is less likely to have rain puddle on it than the peaked top. Dina

As you can see, everyone has a different opinion on what tent is
best. I prefer the Easy-Up with the heavy duty frame (that light one
crumples too easy), and four sides that zip rather than velcro on.
Make sure that you have enough weight holding the tent down. Here in
Colorado, one needs a minimum of 80 lbs per leg, and if you’re in a
windy area, 100-120 lbs per leg would be smart. Weight will determine
if your tent ends up as a kite, or sits still when the wind comes
(and it always does at an outdoor show!).

In windy Boulder, CO

I have an archtop canopy from the Flourish company ( I think they
also make the Craft Hut??) They have a website, try .
It has a sunroof and a built in awning . I bought the lower bars
that add stability. It’s been through quite a few storms and has held
up perfectly while my neighbor’s tents were completely wiped out. I
can also convert it to an indoor booth. I think it cost just under
$950 with all the bells and whistles. If you can’t find thier
website, I know they advertise in Crafts Report. The only drawback is
it takes a little longer to set up than most, but the extra protection
and good looks are worth it. Wendy Newman

Hello all you show folks, Just a note on the weights necessary to
secure show tents/canopys. All that weight is a bummer to drag
around. I have four weights, BUT, I also carry about 8 empty plastic
milk jugs with caps and extra bungee cords. Most show sites have a
source of water, so I fill and cap the milk jugs. They now weigh 8.5
pounds each and have handles for easy carrying. Bungee cords go
through the handles and connect to the tent frame. A quick extra 68
pounds of weight. When you tear down, empty the water at the base of
a handy tree, and you’ve done a good deed too!

Thanks to all you sharing Orchidians. Have a great show this holiday

Judy in Kansas where we GOT RAIN!!

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681

    OK! I am getting ready to do my first outside show and need

Elle-- You’ll probably get lots of (conflicting) advice, but here’s
mine! First, go on and get all four sides. You’ll need to be able to
close up overnight, or for REALLY bad weather. I used to use an
Easy-up, and they are that, but they collect water something awful. I
switched to a Light Dome. It was expensive, and takes much longer to
go up and down, but weather has yet to cause me any trouble, when
others had their tents collapse or sail away. Plus, I got one with a
skylight, which gives a lot of extra visibility to my work (it’s
called “Jeweler’s Dream” or some such). Another plus is that the frame
can be used indoors to hang curtains, and without the top, it can be
adjusted to fit any rectangular size from 6x6 to 10x10
(6x8,7x9,whatever). Altogether, I’m very happy with my investment,
though it does take an unfortunate amount of time to put up. Good luck!

This year it was time for me to purchase a decent craft show tent
too. I asked colleagues all over the country what the preferred tent
was. The Light Dome won hands down. Sure enough, its easy to carry,
assembles with no trouble, sheds water, and looks fine. If you are a
jeweler, they have an option called a “jeweler’s window or panel”.
It is a less opaque quadrant sewn into the canopy top that allows more
light through. Its an investment, but I think well worth it if you
intend on doing a lot of shows.