Monday, June 16, 2014

Tent Weights – Who Needs Them?

By Elizabeth L’Eplattenier of EBL Designs
Photos courtesy of Donna Anthony of Donna's Delights

With the Summer markets  just around the corner, I wanted to remind everyone of the importance of proper tent weights.  The First Friday Indie Market clearly states on its application: “Tent weights are a MUST. You can purchase them at any sporting goods store or make your own. A good weight for EACH LEG is about 20 lbs.”  As you can see in the photos throughout this article, the Market had good reason to make tent weights a requirement.

My very first outdoor craft show required tent weights; in fact, they wouldn't even let you set up your tent without inspecting them first.  I thought that was a little harsh until the first big gust of wind came.  It doesn't take a lot of wind to lift your tent off the ground – it’s basically a 100 square feet of a kite! 

As I signed up for more and more shows, I just assumed it was required to have tent weights.  Then I was at a show in May 2013.  I think I was one of the only vendors with tent weights, and I was definitely the only tent that didn't take off!  Throughout the day, I watched people frantically hold down their tents in order to keep them from flying away.  Then the unspeakable happen.  A tent literally flipped over and through the space taking out tables, merchandise and even a couple of people.  Luckily, no one was hurt, but a lot of damage was done to that seller’s stock.  I know I can’t afford to lose everything in my tent, can you?

If you’re planning on making your own tent weights, just know, milk/water jugs with sand or gravel will not give you enough weight, nor will cinder blocks that are not attached to the tent.  You need to have at least 20 lbs per leg with the weight tied to the canopy in order to significantly secure your tent.  I personally like to use at least 25 lbs per leg.  Just resting the weights on the feet of your tent will not work - it needs to be tied down.  All legs must be tied down and not just one or two - in fact, all legs should have 20-25 lbs on each and tying the rope just around the legs will not properly secure them either.  The weight needs to be attached either through the frame of the tent or to the canopy.

The First Friday Indie Market has a new rule in regards to tent weights.  If they do not consider your weights to be enough to hold the tent, then you will be asked to remove the canopy to your tent.  This rule is in place to not only protect you and your merchandise, but other vendors, market guest and the public.  Just think - a fly-away tent could be the least of your problems with it happens.  It could damage other vendors merchandise, customers, cars, windows to building, and I could go on, but I hope you get the point.

For more information on how to make your own tent weights or where to buy:

1 comment:

  1. I love first Fridays and I haven't missed one since April. I'm also an artist and I'd like to know whom I should contact about contributing my own work