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When you’re getting started in craft fairs, one of the most expensive initial investments are the basics for your booth. This includes tables and a canopy tent. Below is some canopy tent advice and reviews based on my experiences doing both indoor and outdoor events. Canopy tents are perhaps one of the most important choices you’ll make and there are several points to consider.
- Does it withstand weather well?
- Is it easy to set up? (even alone?)
- Is it flame retardent?
- Does it block wind effectively?
- Does it do a great job of highlighting your products?
- Does it travel well?
- Does it come in a standard size? (most shows are 10 x 10 spaces)
You’ll also want to consider the venues where you are setting up. If you are doing mostly indoor events, you may not worry as much about waterproofing for example, but if you do juried events, you may want to consider that sometimes part of the rules require that your canopy tent be solid white or another solid color.
Outdoor events require craft fair tents that are more rugged, made of thicker material and should always have side walls to protect you in case of inclement weather. Outdoor events also require your tent to be weighted down more heavily due to wind. You may find most outdoor shows do not allow you to stake your tent into the ground, so you’ll also need to come up with weights.
For the money and the high quality; I have most enjoyed the EZ up canopy. The first few times I set it up; it was a pain until I got used to it and it loosened up and was easier to slide and lock the legs in place.
It fits nicely into a rolling carrying case which is long, but narrow, so easy to transport. I can fit it between my vans seats easily.
My EZ up has a striped top, which I found out the hard way is not acceptable to some juried shows. This year, I will be purchasing a new one in solid black and then dressing it up accordingly.
This set is a little over 200 dollars for the canopy, the rolling bag and set of sidewalls – a very good deal over buying the walls separate.
I think the black is very stylish and will go great with many of my products. White sets are also available.
Another option are the “party tents” that have the windows you can see out of. These could be a great option to dress up more like a little retail store. They have the same benefits as the other EZ up canopies. My only concern would be controlling sunlight coming in through those windows. If you create items that don’t do well in direct sun; it could cause a problem.
Prior to my EZ up I had another inexpensive canopy by Unique Imports that I didn’t like nearly as well. The legs were more angled, making it hard to fit into my spaces properly. It was also less durable and the wind liked to get underneath it.
Whatever tent you choose; I recommend getting a can of water-proofing to seal it. Even though the EZ up says it’s water resistant, I found that it wasn’t always able to withstand hard rains without leaks. If you don’t want to run the risk of drips at outdoor events, add another layer of protection.
Otherwise, for the money an EZ set can’t be beat for durability. I have had the same one for 8 seasons and I am just now getting ready to replace it. It has definitely served me well.