Sides up or sides down?

I love my sidewalls and have already benefitted from having them, but at my last show, I found them to be getting in the way more than they were helping. This was particularly because in the beginning I set my tent up in the wrong direction (aghh!) so discovered my "front" had to be opened in a different direction than I had planned. I ended up taking down all but one wall (to have some version of privacy for personal items).

The day was not "that" windy, but there was a steady breeze in the afternoon, and I began to wonder if it was better or worse to have walls in such conditions. My jewelry displays were having a kind of hard time in the breeze - I had more than one get knocked down, even after I had taped down everything in sight. But there were also times when it was clear that letting the air go through was much better than blocking it off. 

I read in a different thread on this site that sidewalls can really make your tent act like a kite in truly windy conditions - so would like to hear some different ideas on this. I have the Impact Canopy (if it helps to know that), and it's not easy to just throw the sidewalls up or down in a hurry.

I have even seen vendors using the 4th wall, aka, "door" and have been curious about this too - usu. I see them tie back the sides for business, but it still seems like they would really be in the way. I have always left my 4th wall completely off. (I do also have a little awning though, which is really nice, that is, if I'm not stuck under a short tree.)

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  • Being able to roll up the sides is not always easy if you are having to set up at a show that provides just barely 10 feet of width for each booth setup. I have a Trimline and my sides roll up easily from the outside but I cannot always get to the outside sides when sandwiched in.

    It is sure nice when shows provide that little bit of extra width foe much more convenient

    We do have the back door setup and often roll up the two doors and keep the 4 ft center section in place.

     Using mesh panels and also having display tables inside doesn't allow me to roll the walls up from the inside. I would be nice to have tend side walls that could work like those bamboo shades that just require pulling on the cord.

    • Greg if you have find any sides that roll up - please post. : )   It sounds like sidewalls are so complicated but we won't know until we try this next weekend.

  • I just gave a talk on setting up tents for shows.  The one thing I said about sidewalls was to always put them on first, before raising your tent to the height you want it (I was mainly referring to pop-ups).  You can roll them up, or leave them down, but always attach them.   Leaving them off is inviting a sudden rain burst!  Having them rolled up makes it really easy to just unroll them in case of rain, or when you are done for the day.  Down and zippered may make "lift off" more likely in a high wind.  Usually when shutting down, I take the sides off before removing my gridwall panels. 

    One problem with sides, especially on pop-ups, is that they flap in the wind.  A lot of wind can pop zippers, or even cause them to unzip.  I solved this by wrapping bungee cords around the tent.  You may need a second person to hold one end while you stretch them tightly around the tent.  Be carefull not to shoot them across the way when you undo them.  During the day if it's windy I just use the bungees on 3 sides.  I bought packs of 2 48 inch bungees for less than $4 at Lowes.  It takes 6 48 inch bungee cords to wrap around a 10 x 10 tent, if you stretch them tight.  I've found about 2-3 feet off the ground is the best location.  When I did a show on the VA Beach Boardwalk, I used a second wrap a little higher. 

    • HI Dave:  My daughter and I will be doing our first official show next month. We have put up our tent a few times for one day events but this is the first time we have to leave it up for three days.  We have never put the sidewalls on the tent.  We tried to put one up at last show for the back drop and we could not figure out how to attach it. I am wondering if we will ever figure out how to zip it at the end of day.   Of course now I can see that you say to attach before raising the tent.  I have a couple questions.  FYI: We have a Caravan 10 x 10 Classic Commerical Grade Tent.

      1.  After you attach side wall and want to roll up instead of leave down, how do you keep it up.  Do you use velcro to attach it after you have rolled it.  I am going to buy some supplies and thought I would get my list together before going to Lowes.

      2.  Do you think I should invest in some Tie Down Screws. I saw some on the Trimline site. Our tent came with four stakes but they could easily be lifted out of the ground.

      3.  Is it important to have sta-bars at the bottom.

      I appreciation all the tips you have already given. We live in Coastal Jekyll and the event will be on Jekyll Island on the River side not the beach side of the island.

      I am also going to post a question about suggestions for displaying framed art without the expensive walls.  If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them too.  Lisa

      • If you look at your sides, you will see that one side has an attachement---mine is clips, yours might be velcro.  When you roll up the sides, there will be a method for holding it up.  It is important that you know what side is the "outside" so that you can roll them up easily..  Also, be sure to attach the top of the side firmly so that you don't have big "gaps between the roof and the sides.

        I always had a few clips around to cover the problem gaps and bits that stuck out.

        Be sure that your tent is square--I bring a level with me,  If the legs are even a little bit off, you will have trouble with the zippers.  For instance if one leg is an inch further out than the others, the zips will not work---the sides are fairly tight.

        I use sta bars and like the extra security they represent---the tent does not sway from side to side in a windstorm.  They also help to make sure the tent is squarely 10 x 10.

        Tie Down Screws do work better, but lots of parks with sprinkler systems will not allow you to put them into the grass.  Also, they do not work on the street, obviously.  I carry one with me and have been known to use it in the center of my tent at night---but all of the shows that I attend will not allow anything into the ground.

        So, in my art fair bag, I carry extra bungee cords---yes, you can wrap them around your tent at night in a windy situation.  extra "auto" clips to close the sides if the zippers do not work and shims so that I can level the booth if necessary.

        I use Pro panels for my paintings.

        • Kelly - thank you for good information.  We are going to practice at a small one day market this weekend.  We hope we will be prepared enough for the next weekend 3 day event. We sure need the tent to be secure at night when we leave it. 

          I am getting nervous about trying to figure out how to hang the art. We have been on a limited art budget but I believe we are going to have to bite the bullet and go online and at least purchase one pro-panel  - maybe for the right side of tent.  I will let you know in the next few weeks how it goes.

  • As for acting like a kite, I have learned the hard way to always take down the side walls before taking down the pro panels.  Some friends were helping me break down at a very windy show and I asked them to get the work down quickly because it was bouncing on the walls.  They took both the work down and the pro panels and I zipped off one side.  The tent, still with 45 lbs of weight on it, lifted up in the air.  It got to about a foot off of the ground before, thankfully, other people around noticed it and grabbed it.  It took several people to hold it down while I got the rest of the sides off.

  • Thanks for the replies, this is and interesting discussion. Anyway, it did kind of throw me when I discovered that the front that I was expecting (toward the street) was not the front at all, but the front was supposed to be toward the grassy area behind. Live and learn & note to self to ask next time :). So I moved some tables around, and I actually enjoyed the open atmosphere of being able to open up the perimeter, and people could browse from other angles than I had planned. I also had my best selling day so far, so I feel that I learned something important. It's just that the wind was a bit more than I was hoping. 

     Anyway my next show is one of those where tents are lined up in front of storefronts on the street - the positioning is a bit more obvious, and unless there is an actual "wind tunnel" effect (horrors!) we should be somewhat protected from wind by the position of the buildings themselves. 

    • The first thing I do now after wrestling my tent out of the bag, is locate the "Front" has the awning pole holes!! Get that oriented properly then start expanding it, and the rest!!!

      • In this case it would have been helpful if I had been told by show staff aka volunteers that the front was not toward the street - this is sort of the way I'm more used to working. I decided not to hold a grudge on this point though - stuff happens, and people are busy. I'll just learn to ask next time :)

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