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The Best Craft Show Tents

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Do you struggle with canopy tents at outdoor events? Perhaps you don’t have a ton of cash to invest, but you also don’t want to have to replace popups constantly?

I’m going to share with you not only the types of canopy tents we prefer but the steps we take to ensure our canopies have the longest lifespan in all kinds of weather.

Choosing the Right Pop-up Canopy For Your Needs

Every popup canopy tent will have its pros and cons. Some are definitely built sturdier than others, but even the most robust tent can and will break in the right conditions. So, it’s not only important to shop for the best quality but to also know the best techniques for ensuring your canopy will last as long as possible.

First I’m going to share with you the last canopy tent we purchased in March, 2017. We are still using it, but we have definitely have some mixed opinions on it. This one works for us because we only set it up outdoors a few times per year. If you set up outdoors on a regular basis, this may not be the model for you.

This is an off-brand canopy we purchased because we loved the look of it. We do get many compliments on it and it allows us to create an inviting space at our events. The windows are a nice touch and give a boutiquey appearance and feel to our booth.

This canopy is definitely budget-friendly but is not as durable as the EZ-up brand we’ve used in the past. However, with proper set-up and maintenance, we can honestly say it was worth the money spent. When we purchased this it was right at $100 Prime.

The pros: It’s beautiful, gives a great look to our booth and is extremely budget-friendly. The walls are lined to provide an insulating effect and it really does work.

The cons: The hooks on the outside designed for hanging tear off easily as do some of the wall straps which are quite thin and not sewn well. You’ll do better if you reinforce these a bit with a needle and strong thread.

The legs are ok but not as durable as other brands, the rest of the frame is also a bit fragile. You have to be VERY mindful to properly weigh this canopy down. The walls have small gaps and are not a perfect fit, but this was not an issue for us really. It is worth mentioning though.

Resist the urge to hang anything with any weight on the arms or on the hooks of this canopy. It is not durable enough and the arms will bend and you’ll get tears in the cover.

EZ-UP The Industry Standard For Good Reason

Prior to this canopy, we had an EZ-UP brand with no walls, just the canopy. This brand is pricier, but we bought ours gently used and kept it for 5 years before the frame bent on us in a storm.

There is a reason this brand gets the best reviews and is the industry standard. They are far more durable and have thicker legs and arms. The set pictured above comes with weights which are an absolute must if you are outdoors. If you don’t weigh down your canopy, it doesn’t matter what brand you invest in, it will break sooner than later.

Sadly, EZ-UPs get pricey when you add the walls which are sold separately. For us, walls were essential because I did soaps and other products that couldn’t be exposed at all to sunlight.

If you do a lot of outdoor events, an EZ-Up is a good investment. If you only do a few a year, you’ll do just as well with a less expensive setup, provided you set them up properly.

I’ve seen SO many vendors who have lost canopies simply due to not knowing how to set them up properly.

Here are our tips for keeping your canopy in tip-top shape.

  • Canopies should always be weighed down at the bottom of the legs. Even when you can’t stake them down, you need to have sandbags. It doesn’t take a very strong wind to snap a canopy if it catches them just right.
  • Make sure you weatherproof your cover yearly to keep it water-resistant.
  • Avoid hanging items from the arms, even items that don’t weigh very much. Over time the arms will bend and get weak.
  • Consider that walls can act like sails at times. You’re better off putting up all the walls than just one. Be sure to pay attention to wind direction/speed when deciding whether or not to set up your walls.
  • Be sure you are not overextending the legs when you pull your canopy out to set up. The legs should be straight, not at an angle when you stake your canopy down.

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