If you use your pop up canopy a lot, it's inevitable that you'll encounter some bad weather. Don't assume that your canopy is under warranty for damage caused in storms. Because it can be so dangerous to have your canopy up during a storm, many warranties don't cover canopies that have been damaged by rain, hail or other natural causes. Be sure to double check your warranty to see what it includes and doesn't include.
Before buying a portable pop up canopy or folding tent that you plan to use often, measure the trunk space in the vehicle you plan on transporting it in most. Make sure that the pop up canopy you purchase not only fits in your vehicle, but leaves adequate room for the other supplies you plan on carrying with you.
For large events that require many canopies or for very small events where you won't have a lot of help setting up, pop up canopies are a great choice. Pop up canopies can be set up by as few as two people in as little as 30 seconds each. This will save you time that you can spend arranging your wares or relaxing and enjoying the scenery in the shade.
Of course you'll want a lighter canopy if you're planning on carrying it around a lot, but don't let weight be your only factor in choosing a portable canopy. You still need to make sure that the canopy has a sturdy frame. A durable portable canopy will specify commercial grade aluminum in the frame as opposed to regular aluminum, which is hollow. A commercial grade aluminum frame typically uses a higher gauge of aluminum and 100% pure aluminum as opposed to using a cast aluminum which can be weaker. Commercial grade aluminum will add to the total weight of your canopy so look for a company that makes up for the weight increase with lighter fittings.
If you really want to stand out from the crowd or if you have an unusually shaped object to cover, you may want something more than the standard shape, color and size of pop up canopy. Contact the canopy company and ask about their custom canopy options. Chances are, they'll be willing and eager to work with you to develop a custom canopy that is just right for the task you need it for.
Because the best arts and crafts shows are outdoors, you are going to need a high quality canopy to withstand heavy wind and rain. These are well worth the cost because of the added durability, but may not be realistic for your beginning crafter's budget. If you aren't sure whether you'll be sticking with arts and crafts shows or aren't ready to invest in a high end canopy for whatever reason, consider partnering with another beginning crafter to buy a canopy. You can alternate canopy use, or share the space at the same shows.
If you need all the space to yourself and you want to show every weekend, ask around for someone who is willing to sell their lower quality canopy to you at a discount. When you make enough money to buy a better quality canopy for yourself, return the favor by selling your canopy to another beginner.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|