When it comes to choosing the best canopy tent for an outdoor show, there are a few things you need to know right off the bat.
1. You get what you pay for
2. Not all canopy tents are created equal
3. Always pick a white tent
4. Having the right weight is just as important as having a good tent.
Lets jump right in
1.You get what you pay for
Learn from our mistake, and do not pick the cheapest canopy tent you can find for your first show. Our first tent was less than $100 from Walmart, and it barely got us through our first show. Small gusts of wind throughout the day made the frame bend, and that was the end of it. Find someone with a good tent you can borrow, or buy a good one and you can always resell it if you decide outdoor shows are not your thing.
This is what a super duper cheap one looks like. Do not buy this one.
While being set up at our first show and realizing what a piece of crap tent we had, we talked to some other vendors. Everyone suggested this white commercial style canopy tent from Sams Club which ran about $200.
We bought one the very next week. And then another one when we wanted to do a 10x20 display. And a third one when we decided to do 2 shows at once.
They were all decent tents for the price, and I would still recommend them to this day, had they not recently changed the design on them. They are as of now (Fall 2018) not the same tents they have been over the last few years.
That said, I was on the verge to find a new and improved canopy tent. That led me to Amazon, and the reviews made me give ABC Canopy a try. To my surprise, these tents are actually better than the Sams Club ones.
2. Not all tents are created equal
There is another style of tent, that is a pole kit type of tent. The poles are made out of steel (not plastic) and if the wind blows this sucker ain't moving. And if it is moving, you should probably be moving too, really fast....to a safe place like a car or actual building. Because all hell is about to break loose.
Anyways, these types of tents are the cream of the crop. And, as with all fine things, they cost a pretty penny. We haven't invested in one of these yet but hope to in the near future. A company called Flourish makes them and you can get more info about them here.
The only disadvantage to this type besides price, is that it takes a few extra minutes to set up vs a pop up tent. Well worth it though for the peace of mind throughout the event.
3. Always pick a white tent
White is the brightest, and lets the most light in. Any other color is either going to block light from coming in, or cast colorful hues onto everything inside. So if you love hot pink and don't mind your products having a hot pink shadow or looking like a Flamingo, then by all means get a hot pink tent. Otherwise, get the white tent and find other ways to tie your colors in.
4. Weights are important
As much as you can carry, no less than 25lbs. per tent leg. Our weights average 40-80lbs. Sand bags are great, but they can be hard to keep dry and clean. Constructing your own out of PVC and concrete is a great option. Whatever you do, make it look pretty (I'm talking to you, cat litter bucket reclaimers) and make it heavy. Stakes are great too if you can use them, but never rely on them as your sole source for anchoring a tent.
I hope this information was helpful to you and you learned something from our mistakes!