Pop up canopy?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by jmac64, Aug 18, 2012.

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  1. Aug 18, 2012 #1

    jmac64

    jmac64

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    I need some help findng a quality canopy for launches. I know I want a 12x12, but I need some help finding a quality strong tent. I have been through 2 canopies in Argonia that were destroyed by the wind. I figured I would ask around before I invest any more money on one.
    Thanks
     
  2. Aug 18, 2012 #2

    dixontj93060

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    I have found quality pop-ups at Sam's Club. I bought the one I have now about 5-years ago. The brand is EZ-Up and it is the kind with completely vertical legs--heavy duty hinges and a thick white canopy. Was at Argonia for LDRS30 and when many pop ups went flying, especially when we had that rain come through overnight, mine stayed in place (I lower mine down to its shortest setting but don't take the canopy off when I leave for the night). Unfortunately, shifting over to the Sam's Club site, it now looks like they changed brands since the last time I purchased, so I cannot vouch for what they have on the shelves now.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
  3. Aug 18, 2012 #3

    El Cheapo

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    EZ-Up with steel frame, not aluminum is about as bullet proof as you are going to get in a pop up. Buckle up because they are 3x the cost of an aluminum frame unit. This is not the one you want to drag from the car to your kids soccer game every weekend. They are heavy so keep that in mind.As suggested there is no substitution for knowing its limits. Lower it at night or if unattended and stake the sucker down. If the wind is really bad, pack your stuff up and pull the canvas.Not as easy to set up but much less expensive, check out a company called Shelter Systems. I did one off the side of my 30' race trailer. It was 20x30, assembled on the ground, a bear to put up so nice once it was. They're 10x better than the awning off your RV or toy hauler and can be free standing. Good luck.
     
  4. Aug 18, 2012 #4

    cwbullet

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    First-up or easy-up, but I would suggest getting one with string tie downs.
     
  5. Aug 18, 2012 #5

    SAC of MMMSClub

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    I have got two 10x10 first ups from Wallmart around $100.00 each and they are great, tie and pin them down. forget the wall kits they are a waste of money and time they become a sail in the lightest wind.

    Scott
     
  6. Aug 18, 2012 #6

    Brent

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    The Easy Up I bought at Wal-Mart has far out lasted the expensive one I bought at Dicks Sporting goods. The one from Dicks lasted about one and a half years and the frame broke. I am going on about seven with the one from Wal-Mart
     
  7. Aug 18, 2012 #7

    stealth6

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    Mostly echoing the previous posts.

    I deal with these things for a living, so I'm very familiar with their strengths and limitations. Simply put - ALL "pop-up" style tents will shred in moderately heavy winds. You must NOT use them in heavy wind situations. Period.

    That said, the actual EZ-Up brand are generally much better than most other options you find out there. They do make different grades. Stay away from "consumer grade" - these are essentially expendable. The "commercial" or "pro" grade ones are definately worth spending more for. About the best deal I've seen is at Sam's Club for $199.99. This is the same model that sells for $250 plus elsewhere, and comes with a decent bag, walls, awning, stakes, etc.

    Beware of other brands that use terms like "commercial/pro grade" though - especially if the price is $79.99 or something. They are lying.

    One interesting option is Coleman. I have no direct experience myself with these, but they do look like they are well made. The Giant Leap (Colorado) guys use them, and they tell me they've been really pleased with them. Apparantly you can buy them at Walmart.

    So, what do you do IF it's windy? Like mentioned above, pulling the canvas off overnight or when the winds kick up is a good idea. Also pull the walls - they definately add to the sail factor. Basically, if it's really windy you end up going without a tent - ironically right at the time when a tent would be really nice to have! But that's the nature of pop-ups. However, BEFORE you get to that stage, making sure you stake it down really well, using corner outrigger ropes (tied to the top corners), and lowering/angling down the upwind edge, will help keep it standing in moderate winds.

    I find that it's usually easier to fold the whole thing up rather than pulling the canvas off for overnight myself.

    Other than that, you can move up to a much more rigid structure (non "pop-up") that can easily stand up to heavy winds. Brands such as Tentnology, Warner, or Aztec. But these will cost more, be much more work to set up and tear down, and won't pack anywhere near as small. Where you compromise is up to you.

    s6
     
  8. Aug 18, 2012 #8

    Uncrichie

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    Just remember a 12' won't fit in a 10' spot that some clubs insist on using, just to cram more flyers into the front row. If this isn't the case with your launch sights please disregard.
     
  9. Aug 18, 2012 #9

    cwbullet

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    Walmart carries first-up primarily. I agree with the comment on commercial canopies. They do tend to hold up better. I have two standard first-ups. One is 8 months old an d the other is 2 years. I had one that lasted 3 years but a wind gust took it out.
     
  10. Aug 18, 2012 #10

    terryg

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    As stated above, lowering the edge faceing the wind helps in moderate windy situation. Take the fabric down if it really blows.

    For real resistance to the wind and easy replacement of parts build your own not-so-easy up:

    http://www.ysbw.com/
     
  11. Aug 18, 2012 #11

    SAC of MMMSClub

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    Do some clubs dictate your floor space? :confused2:We have always said snuggle up so we do not stretch on forever, but we do not care how much floor space you use. It is more about keep your rockets safe from missteps by the kids or the clumsy.

    some peoples whole operation is one chair ringed by field boxes. no tent or ground sheet.
     
  12. Aug 18, 2012 #12

    BEAR

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    I had an EZ-up that I paid about a hundred for. It did not last long and was bent up pretty good after a cold front came through last October at Oktoberfest. I could have repaired it but replacement parts cost more than I paid for it. I researched and found one I liked at Sams Club, on line. It was 12 X 12 commercial grade for $300. I just could not stomach the price. Then one day I am at the local Sams Club Warehouse and they have an EZ up commercial that was 10 X 10 for $200. I bought it and it has been great. It came with not only the bag with wheels, and stakes, and a side wall for shade, and an awning that sticks out a couple of feet, but it also came with footers that you could put sand bags on to help hold the thing down. I put water in 5 gallon buckets and used those for ballast at each foot and it worked real well. It even survived 2 days of 25 mph winds without any stays to help hold it down. I am sold on it.
     
  13. Aug 18, 2012 #13

    stealth6

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    This is the model I mentioned earlier. And yes it is good quality and a good deal.

    It is, however, STILL a "pop-up", and will therefore not hold up to really strong winds (none of them will). But if you pay attention, secure it down well, and scramble when necessary, it is still the best deal going with quality and price in mind.

    Oh, and you got lucky on those 2 days at 25mph. I've used this same model in lots of conditions, and I HAVE had them hold up to similiar conditions and worse, but I've seen a lot of them shred as well.

    s6
     
  14. Aug 18, 2012 #14

    troj

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    On a whim, I checked CostCo's website, to see what they have to offer. They have a "professional" canopy 10x10 for $289. It's aluminum, and one of the pictures shows the extrusion used for the legs -- it's not a hollow square tube. Instead, it's more of an oval, and it has interior components, as well. Looking at the legs, I'd say they're not going to be easy to bed.

    -Kevin
     
  15. Aug 18, 2012 #15

    stealth6

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    It's generally not the legs that bend (on the good EZ-Ups). The weak point is what's called the "outer truss". These components are the X braces that span from the top of one leg to another. On some models there are two of these X's per side, and on some there are three. The middle point of the X, where two bars meet and are held together with a couple squarish plastic pieces and a bolt through them, is far and away the weakest part of the structure. These can easily get bent if someone is just a little rough setting it up or tearing it down. And once they have a small bend/crease in them, it's just a matter of time, and a little bit of wind, until they fail completely. Comparitively the legs are bombproof.

    If EZ-Up could engineer this component better somehow, and beef up this major weak point, they would have a vastly superior product. As it is, their's is the best on the market (in their class), but it's still a lousy design. Everyone else's, as far as I know, is even worse.

    s6
     
  16. Aug 18, 2012 #16

    stealth6

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    By the way, at Hellfire17 a couple weeks back, I was the only one that left my tent up with canvas on it overnight (it was one of the aforementioned $199 Sam's Club units). Everyone else (dozens of them) at least pulled their canvasses off.
    And yes, we did have some moderate to strong winds throughout the night. I had secured my tent as described earlier, and even left one wall on (doubled up though), and sustained zero damage. It can be done.

    s6
     
  17. Aug 18, 2012 #17

    o1d_dude

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    Tethers from the top of the corner frame down to the ground work pretty well. I've seen some folks using cargo straps for this purpose and they weigh a lot less than sand bags.

    My Ez-Up took a tumble a while back but I was able to buy the replacement parts for Ez-Up Direct.

    I have also seen the pipe portable garage type shelters tumble end over end. The wind was so strong that it took an extremely heavy portable grandstand and put it 50 feet up in a tree. This was called a "dust devil" by the weather authorities even tho it did a ton of damage to the fairgrounds. It also stripped all the orange crowd control netting we'd spent all morning putting up and it landed in a tree about a mile away. Hard to miss the bright orange "snake" in the treetop.
     
  18. Aug 19, 2012 #18

    dlazarus6660

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    Old camping trick, use spikes (12")to anchor your shelter.
     
  19. Aug 19, 2012 #19

    BABAR

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  20. Aug 19, 2012 #20

    jderimig

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    Has anybody flown either the Dick's or Walmart easy ups?
     
  21. Aug 19, 2012 #21

    stealth6

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    I think "flown" is a good choice of words.

    I don't know about Dick's, but the ones I've seen at Walmart are truly one-time expendables quite honestly. Yes, they are dirt cheap, and yes you MIGHT get lucky and get some use out of them, but really, they are basically junk. If you MUST have something cheap that you are only going to use once or twice I suppose they would do, but otherwise do not waste your money.

    s6
     
  22. Aug 19, 2012 #22

    luke strawwalker

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    That's a good name for those... Not so easy up... course the counterpoint is, they're not so easy down either... LOL:)

    Seriously these can be REALLY tough and if you're looking for something to stand up to the wind, this is it... no lightweight pantographs to collapse, twist, or break, or bust the plastic ends and steel pivot pins on... no telescoping legs to bite you or bind up, and the canopy is a simple tarp you can get at any hardware store or ag supply store... either the cheapy blue tarps or the fancier "reflective" silver and white ones... All you really need are 4 of the 3-way 90-degree "pyramid" corners and 8 lengths of pipe to make the frame and legs. They can even be all the same length if you want. If it's prone to rain in your area, it's probably a good idea to have a ninth pipe to go across under the tarp in the middle-- it doesn't HAVE to be mounted up high to make a "peaked roof"... just something to keep the tarp from collecting water and turning into a trampoline/swimming pool as it sags and water works its way to the middle... they'll fill up with about 50 gallons of water and the tarp will eventually rip and deluge anything underneath them. A pipe or board running across the top the others underneath the tarp will create just enough "pitch" to prevent the tarp from sagging and holding water... might hold a little near the edges, but that's easy to dump... and it can't fill up with dozens of gallons of water and rip the tarp.

    These are probably THE longest-lasting and cheapest bang-for-the-buck solution, and probably THE most resistant to wind damage I've seen... being nearly flat, they have MUCH less wind resistance and are far less likely to fly away (though it's always best to stake them down no matter what your using!) and they do work...
    They're just not quite as handy to haul, store, and set up, but there's ways around that too... My BIL and nephew and I set one of these up at the 4H fair in Indiana a month or so ago in about ten minutes, from pipes laying on the ground to pegs hammered in and tied down, and it was one about 10 X 16 or so with a peaked roof (which has extra roof poles and center roof peak poles and "T" joints as well as the corners, sides, and legs... VERY quick going up... heck we even moved it by untying the legs and pulling the pegs out, and doing a "funeral procession" with six guys each carrying a leg of the erect shelter, carrying it down to the Pork Producer's Food shelter for their smoked pork chop dinner... (which was OUT OF THIS WORLD by the way!!!)

    Later! OL JR :)
     
  23. Aug 19, 2012 #23

    luke strawwalker

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    That's the "pantograph"... basically a series of hinged interlocking "Xs" that link together and fold together... Like "XXX" stretching and shrinking. The "slop" in each joint magnifies as you go down the pantograph so they're really pretty flexible by the time you get to the end of it-- the more joints it has, the more flexible it is (because there's more joints with slop in them, and all that "slop" adds up.

    Making them stronger would probably involve making them out of thicker wall STEEL tubing and brazing or soldering in steel bushing tubes and making the connections with 1/4 x 20 bolts and locknuts... but that would make the whole thing heavy and expensive... they can make them out of aluminum or thin wall rolled steel tubing (like curtain rods) MUCH cheaper, so that's what they do. This also keeps them light. The plastic bushings they use on them don't hold up very well either and are prone to failure, especially compared to the stronger steel bolts or pins at the pivots and the aluminum or thin steel tubes into which they attach...

    If you really want a more permanent and cheaper solution, get the three-way 90 degree corners and some steel conduit tubing from the hardware store and the tarp type shades someone else posted above... That's a steel-on-steel joint... these can be found around if you look for them... Harbor Frieght might have the parts... I know I've seen them at the flea markets and some tool sales up in Indiana before...

    later! OL JR :)
     
  24. Aug 19, 2012 #24

    luke strawwalker

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    See, what I don't understand is why some sharp cookie working for EZ UP company or a competitor hasn't come out with an "EZ UP that, instead of using a complex pantographs to the center pole to create the peak, doesn't simply use these long flexible carbon fiber rods to create a "dome" shaped cover on top of the four legs... might still need pantographs to connect the four legs together, but it COULD have telescoping tubes that unlock from the adjoining leg and fold down, telescoping up like the lower leg to make the thing compact for travel... you grab the canopy, slide the rods together and slide them into the canopy, grab the legs and spread them out or unfold and telescope them out, lock them together, and slip the CF rods with the canopy on top of it and lock it in place...

    Later! OL JR :)
     
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  25. Aug 19, 2012 #25

    cwbullet

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    Not the easy up but I have "flown" a first up. I had an easy up prior to that and it collapsed in a down pout, but it was the model with corner post ties.
     
  26. Aug 19, 2012 #26

    BEAR

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    I have used those spikes for 40 years and they work in 95% of the situations. Last year at NCR's Oktoberfest, we knew we would be in for some weather during the 4 days of the outing. Friday was good, Saturday was wind, rain and snow, Sunday morning was more of the same, Sunday afternoon was great, and Monday morning after the ground level clouds burned off, it was spectacular. But come Sunday morning we realized that the wind and the rain had taken a toll. The ground had become saturated and with the wind, our 12" stakes had pulled out of the ground and so our frames with out the fabric were beat up and destroyed. I even had a Coleman stove get damaged when my fold up camping table that it was sitting on, which was on the leeward side of the car got blown over and the stove went flying in the middle of the night. I think we may have had gusts up to 50 mph, and so things got destroyed. Sure it was not flying weather, it was not even good camping weather. It was endurance weather, waiting for the blue skies to come and which eventually did. Now I carry, in addition to the 12" 50p spikes/nails, a bunch of home made stakes that are 24" long, have a hook on the top end and made from 3/8" re-bar. If I need something bigger, I do not need to be there. I also find my water in 5 gal. buckets does a good job of holding things down, even though sometimes I need to hold them down too!
     
  27. Aug 19, 2012 #27

    JStarStar

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    Well, 57 inches is 4-feet-9 so unless you are very height-challenged, you couldn't stand up inside it, and while it would be POSSIBLE to fit a chair and a very small table (i.e. a toy table) in there, you'd barely have room to get up out of the chair without knocking the whole thing down.

    I would say for adults you almost have to go with at least an 8x8-foot pop-up canopy to get enough room for a couple of chairs and a card-table under the cover.

    I have an 10x10 I back up to the open hatch of my Jeep which provides 'work table' space and enough room for two people to sit comfortably.

    Bungee cords and tent stakes can keep it tied down in moderate breezes, but if you get gusts into the 30+ mph category, it's gonna take off. If wind is gusting that high, probably better just to pull down the popup while you still can and call it an afternoon.

    You can't do much rocket launching in 30-40 mph gales anyway.
     
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  28. Aug 20, 2012 #28

    terryg

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    The life span of the delicate "pantograph" framing can be increased by using lengths of pvc pipe attached with velcro strips to stiffen them. You can use this approach to use semi trashed easyup's at a few more launches before they give up the ghost.
     
  29. Aug 20, 2012 #29

    AlphaHybrids

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    I've found these style tie downs work really well:

    http://www.stormforcetiedowns.com/

    Also, I make a tie down from a 36" concrete stake with a chain link welded on the end of it. The smooth chain link lets you run rope through without worrying about abrading it.

    I've held down just about anything with a combination of the two.

    Edward
     
  30. Aug 20, 2012 #30

    Wayco

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    About ten years ago I paid what I thought at the time was an exorbitant price for a steel framed pop-up canopy from a place in Calif. After seven years of hard use I bought another one for the same price and felt like I was getting a great deal. My first one survived sustained winds in excess of 50 mph all night long. It was tied down to my flat bed trailer and my GMC Sierra 3/4 ton 4x4. No damage. Never took down the canvas top or the side panels. Here is a shot of our two day launch set-up:
    [​IMG]

    Another shot with Sharon holding her big Starburst and little Wizard:
    [​IMG]
    These canopies are 8x12 and weigh about 50 lbs. each. They set up faster and easier than any easy-up I have ever seen, and I can do it myself with no help. If you only want to buy one canopy that will not blow away, this is the one for you. I stake them down with 12" stakes and tie them to my truck whenever I set them up. If it looks like it's gonna blow, I park my Jeep and my flat bed trailer next to them and tie them down there. Torrential rain? No problem, just go out and push the trapped water off. The canvas is very durable, but after seven years of frequent use, the old green one does leak a little. They come with side panels that velcro on and are adjustable. Best ever pop-up canopy ever, but you will pay for them. The company will make them custom to your specifications. The old name was West Coast Supply and the canopy is called "Fold-A-Canopy"
    The company has changed it's name recently, but here is a link to them:
    http://www.eideindustries.com/index/freestanding/fold_canopy/gallery.htm


     

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