Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tents

The first year we did Farmers Markets, we used a Market Umbrella and a heavy stand. It was Ok for short term use, but I was constantly chasing the shade and it was truly inadequate for any REAL weather. When I finally decided to get a tent, I did a lot of research, there are a lot of ways to go. Tents go by a lot of names, they are referred to as tarps, EZ ups (regardless of brand), shades, shelters, and pop-ups. There are others I'm sure but that will get you started. There are a bunch of brands too, the most common ones are Caravan (my own personal choice), EZ UP, California Palms, California King, Quick Shade among many others. You can get them as cheap as around $60 up to a couple hundred, remember you get what you pay for! Beware of the tents that say 10 x 10 (that's the standard size for one space at the Farmers Market) but are 10 x 10 on the bottom and 8 X 8 on the top, this is accomplished by having slanted legs, like this I like that this one they actually tells you how big it is. The thing I have seen with tents of this type, is that they are generally not made well and will not last you long, there are exceptions, but they are generally really flimsy and I wouldn't waste much time with one. My son refers to them as "Janky Ups" because they are a waste of aluminum! Caravans and any of the other brands are made much better and should last you much longer with proper care. My own tent is 12 years old and my friends all call it the "Dinosaur". This particular tent has had 5 tops on it! You can by the way get replacement tops, in different colors, mine is purple, although remember that some events or Markets require white, so if you're buying one do check that out first. The replacement top I use us from www.california-Palms.com. I get 2-2.5 seasons out of a top. That's pretty good when you figure that for me that's 3 Markets a week year round. Here's your standard 10 x 10 tent If you can find one of the tents with the center support, I prefer this, in a good wind there's something to hang on to, and putting them up is much easier, you get underneath and push up from the center, way easy! A couple of things to do to help your tent last: One is when you're putting it up and someone is helping you, stay on the same side of the tent at the same time, in other words, you don't want to be doing "kitty corners" because this can weaken the truss, that's BAD. You'll also want to inspect the joints/screws now and then, make sure nothing is going to fall off! You can get replacement parts if you need to, this is good to know because when they get old, the rods will sometimes break and it's nice to know you can just replace the rods rather then having to buy a new tent altogether. You can also spray a little WD-40 inside the legs every now and then, it helps lubricate things so the legs arent fighting you when you're trying to put the tent up. Most modern tents are made of aluminum, which is good and bad. It's good when you have to carry it, bad when you're in a wind, which brings me to the next topic, tent weights! See you for that one next week! Feel free to ask any questions if you have them!

1 comment:

  1. That's a good tip about the ones that are "10 x 10 on the bottom and 8 X 8 on the top." I'm selling at farmers markets on Saturdays and I don't have any shade right now. I'm in Georgia so that's clearly going to be a problem, and I'm saving up for a canopy. Thanks for all the great advice here!

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