Tents, weights and other important outdoor stuff...

Upon my acceptance to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition I immediately ordered the tent of all tents, the TrimLine Canopy. Upon my acceptance to my first One of a Kind Show I ordered my awesomesauce hard walls from Pro Panel and have NEVER regretted the decision. That's how I roll.

Purchasing this tent was a priority for me this year, so the saving/budgeting began long ago. Here are the benefits to me:
  • It's waterproof, not water resistant like most others (also the seams are welded). I will be miserable if I am being dripped on, or worried about being dripped on:). I won't even mention my level of misery if any of my work gets water damage.
  • The top has a frosted skylight running front to back (still waterproof, just lets the light in). As there is no electricity available at most outdoor shows this will be a major boon to the lighting in my tent. My art is VERY tiny, so I need all the illumination I can get.
  • The top is an open barrel, so the tent appears spacious, as opposed to the umbrella type ribbing that most others have. Anything that makes my tent inviting is worth it to me. Also, rain will not pool in the corners, but should roll off.
  • The top has vents at either end that will allow the wind to go through on windy days and help with stability.
  • There are StaBars around the bottom, which adds HUGELY to the stability. If you have another type of tent, this option can also be adapted....people highly recommend it.
  • I have purchased the mesh walls with the tent. I have to have hard walls to hang my art on and these have a nice, tight, clean look. They fold up and roll up so are easy to transport, and quick to attach. I will be using my propanels just near the back, so I got mesh for the side walls. Yes, they also sell these to function with other tents. Also, without the outer walls of the tent down, they look more solid than grids, but the wind can pass through and they have a nice translucent appearance. With the walls down it's a more opaque look. Ohhhhh....options:)
Although this tent is not as easy, breezy to set up as a pop-up, I am blessed in that the set-up makes perfect sense to me and I really enjoy putting stuff together. Remember, I've watched the set-up video 4 million times:)

I plan on buying a few metres of sturdy canvas and some webbing and sewing simple bags to hold all of the poles, etc. They are too heavy to carry all at once, but multiple bags will be great. Ease of transport is terribly important to me.

I will also be weighting down each corner with concrete weights that I will make. I found this great link which describes how to make them. Yep, I even enjoy this stuff, but husband might possibly enjoy it more, so it's his job:) I won't be making each weight 40 lbs as they suggest, but will split into 2 x 20 lbs. I have to be able to carry them myself. Don't make them heavier than you can comfortably carry.

As I have mentioned numerous times, I do every possible thing I can to be able to sleep peacefully during show time (I even take sleeping pills for the show duration so I do not have one sleepless night. Forgot to refill my prescription for the Spring OOAK, and boy did I suffer...1 hour sleep each night cause I was so wired!). No, this tent will probably not survive a ridiculous freak tornado, but short of building a concrete structure it's my best possible scenario, so if it starts to storm in the middle of the night (not that I'll hear it in my coma), I won't have to worry quite as much.

One last thing, remember to keep everything off the ground, or in rubber storage totes. Here's a pic of a show in Windsor last year that had to be cancelled the second day due to a freak storm/flood. If stuff was on the ground in cardboard boxes, it was doomed!

Sooooo, long story short, get whatever tent you will be most comfortable with and best fits your budget, use heavy weights, get rubber totes and consider stabilizer bars. It pays to be as prepared as possible. you get to laugh.....aren't I quite the authority.... AND I'VE NEVER DONE AN OUTDOOR SHOW!!!!!!!!!! Bah, hah, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....


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