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Michael K
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Hazleton, PA
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Now I don't want to start an argument about EZ tents. I understand their love of flying, the pain it causes, and the necessity of multiple stakes. But I am wondering is there is a style or model you would recommend.

Is the EZ-Up brand the best or is there a cheaper or better alternative?
If EZ-Up is the way to go, then what model? Eclipse, Pyramid, Enterprise, Express, etc?
Weight is an factor. Lighter is better.

Now that I have my Zibit I'd like to get the rest of the parts together and I don't know anything about tents. As much as I enjoy Doug's work as art, I do want to take it out sometime. Not much time between my day-job and my homebrew store, but I want to try Doug's method when I can.

Thanks for any advice.

P.S. I'll be ordering more from Doug as soon as funds permit.

Michael
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Doug Higley
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My point for using and recommending the Ez-Up the system is for when you are just getting started...to get one you can afford and is EASY to set up and slough. As the show makes money you can move up to a different system if you like. Get one you can afford. Check around. With the show that I have in the How-To you could easily make the cost of the top back the first couple of days or even 1st afternoon at the right market and if the plan is followed to a T.

Best bet is to go to a big Flea market and SEE what is being used. Ask questions.

EZ-Up is a tried and true brand name and makes sturdy (as they can be) product. But the thing is to get something and get WORKING. What ever you get weight the thing down as best you can. look...ask what people at your market are using. There are many big Flea markets where the Pipe system is sold and works fine as well. (just more work in setting up.) What ever you use, you need 10x10 or 8x8...3 walls. A 4th wall to zip in if you want to pee and close up for a few minutes.

There is a model (no idea which one) that comes with walls and a nice Headline Banner thing that you can attach your top sign to. I recommend WHITE (never that Blue tarp crap). Sam's Club seems to be a good place to look from what I hear.
If you are secure in that you want to do this then get a professional market system. Read the lit on the web...look and ask.

Have fun!
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Rod Pringle
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Hi Micheal:

Just some comments on the EZ up. The model Doug talks about is the Embassy II by EZ UP. Its sturdy, and comes with all the 4 sides,sidewall , an entrance awning, and a banner set up , where you can slide a sign in a sleeve in the banner, if you want to change signs down the road. This unit is built especially for flea market vendors , etc.


The unit is well built and will troupe well. You will need an extra person with you, its a two person setup, and YES by all means stake it down or if working on asphalt, etc. weight it down, in a wind this thing will take off like a kite.

All in all the EZ Up is your best product, well built to last on the road. You can see all of the EZ up products on their website.

Good luck ,I wish you blue skies, plenty of tips, and heavy spending.

Rod Pringle
Doug Higley
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Thanks Rod!

That 4th side is important and worth the extra $$. As most know my set up idea is for a fully open front...but that 4th side comes in real handy when you need to zip up to grab a burger or take a leak.

The entrance awning is also a nice touch YOU will appreciate.
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Josh Peters
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I own the Embassy II and have put it up relatively easily by myself many times. One thing about EZUP - wind. I know this has been mentioned before so pay attention. WEIGH IT DOWN. Stake it down. A company called flourish.com sells an add on that helps to stabilize the EZUP. I've put an order in and expect it next week for a show next weekend. The same company sells a tent called a Trimline which has excellent reviews on the web, but is about 4X the price as the Embassy.
Josh
Rod Pringle
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Thank you Doug:

I always appreaciate your advice and sharing of info on magic Café. I am presently saving for a ZIBIT from you. I will be in touch with you soon. Thanks again,

Rod
Rod Pringle
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Hello Hairysmoo:

Good to hear from another Embassy II owner. Thanks for the great advice on the weights, I will check out Flourish.com for the weights. You mentioned putting up the Embassy II by yourself.

Could you tell me what method you use to do this? I have used two people to open up the unit, do you get inside and push up on the peak first?

Thanks again for your input on the EZ Up.

Rod
Josh Peters
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Rod,
When I set this up myself I walk around the tent, pulling out from the center of each side, opening it a bit further each time, until I am able to lock the top into the legs. I then slide the legs on one side then the other. It takes about 5 minutes to set it up.
The Stabar kit from flourish isn't weights. It's 3 extra bars that attach at the bottom of the three closed sides. It will keep the legs from moving around so much. I haven't been able to find a satisfactory way to weigh down the ez up. Even with 30 lb weights attached from the top corners to the ground my tent still moves around in the wind. Staking it down works best, but isn't always possible. I'm going to try the stabar kit with 40lb sandbags and see how that works.
Hope this is clear, it's a bit difficult to explain.
Josh
Big Jeff
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I had major wind problems last weekend. I knew it would be breezy so I bought some 5 pound weights and a screen wall set. I set everything up and put the solid walls inside the screen walls and when the wind started I took the top off and the solid wals down and that helped. I had to take the signs down and you know how key they are, I have an idea for extra signs that I will try next time it gets windy.
Doug Higley
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I know I've mentioned this before...but I used heavy concrete blocks that were sort of pyramid shaped (no peak though) flat on top with a large steel hook in the top. I used to buy them at the building stores. I forget what they call them (sorry) but they worked well and I never lost a top. Again I didn't have an easy up but had built my own out of PVC so it was really flimsy and sucked but it didn't fly away. Smile I think they were called Piers?? Oh well...VERY heavy and easy to attach to the legs with the hooks.
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Josh Peters
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Doug, that's what I used for weights as well. It would keep the tent from blowing away for sure, but it didn't keep the legs in place as much as I'd like. Also if the wind is strong enough it seems to move the blocks as well. The blocks I think you're talking about are for building a deck on.
One fair I attend doesn't allow ezups unless you have 25 lb weights for each leg. I don't think 5 lbs is worth anything. Taking the top off will definitely help.
Rod Pringle
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Hello Josh:

Thanks for the info on setting up an EZ up by one person. I will definatly give it a try. Yes, I see now that they are stablizers., and not weights..good idea!

Thanks again!

Rod
Josh Peters
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I'm not sure how well they'll work. One of the problems I've had is the legs moving out of square, and the stabar from flourish should alleviate this. I'll know next weekend.
erichall
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I have the Embassy II. I got mine at Sam's Club. It was in the scratch and dent section. Nothing was wrong with it, someone probably bought it to tailgate and then returned it. I got it for just over $100! I was not even a member of Sam's Club, I went in with a friend, who spotted it and knew I was in the market.

It's a challenge to set it up by yourself, but you'll figure it out. The biggest challenge is weighing it down! I've seen people with 5 gallon paint buckets filled with cement, and this seems to be the minimum. That's a lot of cement to cart around! My buckets are much smaller, but the thing shifts in the breeze..

I had my "over the top" banner made to replace the sunshade. You have to reinforce it in the center so the vinyl doesn't sag (it's heavier than the nylon). I made a pvc frame to keep the main banner up, and put pockets in my side banners for pvc pipe to go into. This keeps them tight, and narrows your entrance.

Walmart sells plastic heavy duty tables that are perfect for the tank to go on (with a black cloth).

Do it up right and you will be set.
sethb
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Lots of vendors use E-Z Ups, they are pretty much the standard for crafters, for lots of good reasons. The pros are that they are very durable and have legs that are perpendicular to the ground, which makes it easier to secure them, and it also looks a lot neater and cleaner. The con is the weight (I believe E-Z Ups are made of steel). I did look at and consider an E-Z Up at Sam's Club (about $200 if I remember correctly). But I work alone and figured I would have a tough time hauling an E-Z Up around, let alone setting it up.

I finally settled for a 10-foot tent that I got on sale at a sporting goods store, along with a rear sidewall that can cover the back and one-half of each side. Total cost was about $100 ($65 for the tent and $35 for the sidewall). If you wanted 100% enclosure, you would just get a second sidewall. The tent came in a wheeled carrying case that just fits sideways in the back seat of my Jeep.

The tent frame is aluminum, which is much lighter but probably less durable. However, I have used the tent 2-3 times a month for two seasons now, and it has given me good service without any problems. But it does have the angled legs, which are a little tougher to secure, and they also tend to make you overshoot a 10' spot at a show. I haven't had any problems with neighboring vendors yet, most are pretty good-natured about it, but it could be a issue.

I totally agree on securing the tent. No matter what brand it is, these things are great parachutes on a breezy day! If I'm on grass, I stake each leg and then also stake a guy line at each corner, using heavy steel hooked stakes I got at the same sporting goods store (the little ones that came with the tent were a joke.)

If I'm at a street festival and have to set up on concrete or asphalt, I use four cinder blocks, total cost was about $10 at the local lawn center or hardware store. I lashed a 1-foot piece of 2x4 to the top of each cinder block and drilled a 3/16" hole in the center of each one. After I get the tent set up, I put a cinder block under each leg, which has a flange at the end, with a hole in the center of it. Then I just screw each leg to the 2x4-topped cinder block with a 1/4" stove bolt, using a socket wrench. For what it's worth, I also run the guy lines from each tent corner to the adjacent cinder block (front to back on each side, and criss-crossing in the rear).

In addition to making your tent about 6" higher, this arrangement is very secure; I've been in some pretty windy shows and never had a problem yet. My guess is that each cinder block weighs at least 20 lbs., so you have more than 80 pounds holding the tent down. I also have half-size cinder blocks that I use to secure the center and sides of the sidewall, using small bungee cords. It is extra stuff to cart around, but it gives me peace of mind. And in my opinion, it looks a lot neater than those 5-gallon plastic buckets filled with concrete, or the 1-gallon antifreeze bottles filled with sand hanging off the tent legs. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Rod Pringle
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Hi Seth:
You have some terrific and very useful information here!! I really like the idea of the cinder blocks and 2X4 set up. The real plus is the extra 6" in height to the EZ up. I use the joint built from Don Drivers DVD, and I am also on a riser in the back of the joint, so I am IN THE AIR,plus, I am 5' 8" tall. I have been wanting a little more head room at the entrance. this will fill the bill for me.
Once again Seth, your detailed information has been a great help.

I appreaciate the time you took to write this all down , Thanks again.

Rod
Doug Higley
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Pitchmen Helping Pitchmen...gotta love it!!! The Café is King.
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sethb
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Rod, glad you found the information useful, and I hope it helps.

I'm sure I'm not the first guy to think of cinder blocks, or the only guy out there with a jury-rigged cinder block gizmo, but I've never seen anyone else using them. Too bad I didn't patent the idea as the "Sta-Put" Tent System, huh?

By the way, get a pair of those cheap brown cloth gardener's gloves to handle the cinder blocks with. The concrete can be rough on the hands and will scrape them up in a New York minute if you're not careful.

Finally, one typo in my post -- although I said a 1/4" stove bolt, I meant a screw, since it has to screw into the wood. But the top of that screw has a big fat hexagonal head just like a stove bolt head, which makes it easy to screw in or out with a socket wrench. And make sure the screws are galvanized, so they don't rust in your garage between shows! If you visit your local hardware store or Home Depot, I'm sure you'll find something very similar. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Rod Pringle
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Thanks Again Seth!!!! Have a great season!

Rod
Michael K
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Just ordered the Embassy 2 with sidewalls and rollerbag. Also ordered "Pro Quality King Weight Bag" and once I get it in I'll see about the "piers" or concrete blocks at Home Despot for more weight.

Wondering how well the "Stabars" are working?

Thanks for your advice. I'll follow up with a review as soon as I can.

Michael
"Doubt whom you will, but never yourself." -- Christine Bovee
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