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After five years with my EZ-up (in the Chicago area, no less... can you believe it made it that long? and it was actually waterproof for the first three yrs) I am finally going to put on some big girl pants and invest in a better canopy.  I'm fairly new to fine art after years in the "stuff on a stick" craft show circuit.  I keep reading discussions and trying to tell whether light dome or trimline is the best.  I will be putting up my canopy BY MYSELF.  I think I've heard that light dome is easier to assembly alone.  This is a big investment that hits this starving artist where it hurts, but my business is worth the investment, so here goes.  Please help!!!

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I have a Showoff, which is a barrel-top style canopy similar in design to the Trimline. I set mine up by myself with no difficulty. Over the years I have set up next to just about every style of canopy there is, and observed.

2 things to consider:

How tall are you?

With the Lightdome the vinyl canopy top is put on over the top frame while the legs are standing up, though not fully extended at that point. This means it is stretched up and over 2 curved crossbeams which are over your head. Plus, before you put the top on, the metal corners are connected while the legs are standing up, which means doing a balancing act to get them connected.

Are you flexible?

The Trimline/Showoff design requires bending, kneeling, or squatting. With the Showoff and Trimline the vinyl top is pulled over and clipped on while the top frame is resting ON THE GROUND. There is a picture on their website that shows how this looks. Once the top is attached, then you put the legs in and raise it. I do this by myself easily. It’s a bit heavy but quite manageable. This is the only part where help is useful: to hold up one end while you stuff the legs in one at a time. That just saves you all of 5 minutes; I don’t bother to interrupt anyone else, and just do it. I use my tall step stool to prop the end up while I put each leg in. Even that is not really necessary.

After watching both of them, I decided I did not like the Lightdome design of pulling over the top. I am about tall enough, 5’ 7”, but this was too much of a hassle, especially if windy. I have seen shorter women literally jumping up and down to get it over, or running around with a stepstool every few feet.

If you have good knees and back, the bending to put the arch frame of the Showoff and Trimline together, then put on the top is no problem. If it is windy while putting up, also less of a problem. When it’s low to the ground the top is less likely to blow off before it is fastened. I am getting to the achy stage of life and still find setting this up is no problem. If I’m more tired, and I’m on grass, I might kneel to do it rather than bend over.

So it boils down to…do you want to stretch up over your head, or bend over/squat? If it weren’t winter it would be useful to stand next to a Lightdome going up and check the height. As I recall…before legs are extended the horizontal bars are about shoulder height on me. The top center of the arch, then, is maybe 3 feet higher than that. That’s what you have to pull the top over. Effortless if you are a tall man.

In both cases you can zip the sides on before the legs are fully extended. You will get used to setting up either in no time, and become fit, if you are not already.

BTW...for what it’s worth, I used my old KD canopy (like am EZ up) for 10+ years in Chicago! Hold onto your old canopy: it’s useful for one day shows or as a backup in case your new canopy is damaged and awaiting a part.
WOW!!!! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Who makes the Showoff? That sounds like a good choice. I'm 5'5 and have no problem kneeling or bending over. I should have done more research during the season. I'm grateful for your feedback.

I love your name... the national flower of Sweden. It's my niece's name too.

Best of luck to you and thanks so much.

Linnea Lahlum said:
I have a Showoff, which is a barrel-top style canopy similar in design to the Trimline. I set mine up by myself with no difficulty. Over the years I have set up next to just about every style of canopy there is, and observed.

2 things to consider:

How tall are you?

With the Lightdome the vinyl canopy top is put on over the top frame while the legs are standing up, though not fully extended at that point. This means it is stretched up and over 2 curved crossbeams which are over your head. Plus, before you put the top on, the metal corners are connected while the legs are standing up, which means doing a balancing act to get them connected.

Are you flexible?

The Trimline/Showoff design requires bending, kneeling, or squatting. With the Showoff and Trimline the vinyl top is pulled over and clipped on while the top frame is resting ON THE GROUND. There is a picture on their website that shows how this looks. Once the top is attached, then you put the legs in and raise it. I do this by myself easily. It’s a bit heavy but quite manageable. This is the only part where help is useful: to hold up one end while you stuff the legs in one at a time. That just saves you all of 5 minutes; I don’t bother to interrupt anyone else, and just do it. I use my tall step stool to prop the end up while I put each leg in. Even that is not really necessary.

After watching both of them, I decided I did not like the Lightdome design of pulling over the top. I am about tall enough, 5’ 7”, but this was too much of a hassle, especially if windy. I have seen shorter women literally jumping up and down to get it over, or running around with a stepstool every few feet.

If you have good knees and back, the bending to put the arch frame of the Showoff and Trimline together, then put on the top is no problem. If it is windy while putting up, also less of a problem. When it’s low to the ground the top is less likely to blow off before it is fastened. I am getting to the achy stage of life and still find setting this up is no problem. If I’m more tired, and I’m on grass, I might kneel to do it rather than bend over.

So it boils down to…do you want to stretch up over your head, or bend over/squat? If it weren’t winter it would be useful to stand next to a Lightdome going up and check the height. As I recall…before legs are extended the horizontal bars are about shoulder height on me. The top center of the arch, then, is maybe 3 feet higher than that. That’s what you have to pull the top over. Effortless if you are a tall man.

In both cases you can zip the sides on before the legs are fully extended. You will get used to setting up either in no time, and become fit, if you are not already.

BTW...for what it’s worth, I used my old KD canopy (like am EZ up) for 10+ years in Chicago! Hold onto your old canopy: it’s useful for one day shows or as a backup in case your new canopy is damaged and awaiting a part.
You’re welcome! Before you decide, you will need to compare point for point between the Trimline and the Showoff. I know there are some differences, but I don’t remember what they are. I think one of them might be steel frame vs. aluminum frame. The Showoff has the aluminum frame, telescoping sleeves, push buttons with internal springs to lock them in position. Maybe someone will weigh in on the relative benefits. I’m sure they each have their fans.

The Showoff is made by a company called New Venture products. I just googled Showoff canopy and their site came up. http://www.newvp.com/

Before you buy, decide on weights, too. I don’t recommend the sandbags a lot of canopy companies sell. The hanging PVC tubes filled with concrete that most artists have, work better. There is greater side-to-side stability (less top sway) in hanging a weight from a higher point in the frame like a corner. I have foot weights too (white buckets filled with concrete, a bolt in the center going through the hole in the foot of the canopy), which I discussed in some thread earlier, where someone was asking about securing a canopy at night. I normally use those, because for my display the hanging ones get in the way a bit. My racks go all the way into the corner where the hanging weights normally go. But if wind will be 20 mph or more, I use both. You can never have too much weight!


“I love your name... the national flower of Sweden. It's my niece's name too.”

Yes, I am Swedish (and Norwegian). It’s a family name; someone in each generation has it. Unfortunately it’s almost universally mispronounced, which gets annoying. (When I am in Minnesota, with a large Swedish population, that doesn’t happen, And when I worked at a natural history museum, they got it right as well. ) Your niece will get used to it!


Wendy Zumpano said:
WOW!!!! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Who makes the Showoff? That sounds like a good choice. I'm 5'5 and have no problem kneeling or bending over. I should have done more research during the season. I'm grateful for your feedback.

I love your name... the national flower of Sweden. It's my niece's name too.

Best of luck to you and thanks so much.

Linnea Lahlum said:
I have a Showoff, which is a barrel-top style canopy similar in design to the Trimline. I set mine up by myself with no difficulty. Over the years I have set up next to just about every style of canopy there is, and observed.

2 things to consider:

How tall are you?

With the Lightdome the vinyl canopy top is put on over the top frame while the legs are standing up, though not fully extended at that point. This means it is stretched up and over 2 curved crossbeams which are over your head. Plus, before you put the top on, the metal corners are connected while the legs are standing up, which means doing a balancing act to get them connected.

Are you flexible?

The Trimline/Showoff design requires bending, kneeling, or squatting. With the Showoff and Trimline the vinyl top is pulled over and clipped on while the top frame is resting ON THE GROUND. There is a picture on their website that shows how this looks. Once the top is attached, then you put the legs in and raise it. I do this by myself easily. It’s a bit heavy but quite manageable. This is the only part where help is useful: to hold up one end while you stuff the legs in one at a time. That just saves you all of 5 minutes; I don’t bother to interrupt anyone else, and just do it. I use my tall step stool to prop the end up while I put each leg in. Even that is not really necessary.

After watching both of them, I decided I did not like the Lightdome design of pulling over the top. I am about tall enough, 5’ 7”, but this was too much of a hassle, especially if windy. I have seen shorter women literally jumping up and down to get it over, or running around with a stepstool every few feet.

If you have good knees and back, the bending to put the arch frame of the Showoff and Trimline together, then put on the top is no problem. If it is windy while putting up, also less of a problem. When it’s low to the ground the top is less likely to blow off before it is fastened. I am getting to the achy stage of life and still find setting this up is no problem. If I’m more tired, and I’m on grass, I might kneel to do it rather than bend over.

So it boils down to…do you want to stretch up over your head, or bend over/squat? If it weren’t winter it would be useful to stand next to a Lightdome going up and check the height. As I recall…before legs are extended the horizontal bars are about shoulder height on me. The top center of the arch, then, is maybe 3 feet higher than that. That’s what you have to pull the top over. Effortless if you are a tall man.

In both cases you can zip the sides on before the legs are fully extended. You will get used to setting up either in no time, and become fit, if you are not already.

BTW...for what it’s worth, I used my old KD canopy (like am EZ up) for 10+ years in Chicago! Hold onto your old canopy: it’s useful for one day shows or as a backup in case your new canopy is damaged and awaiting a part.

Hi Wendy, after all these years, which tent did you decide on?
thanks, Lisa

I did get the showoff and I've loved it!  It's a great tent.  In retrospect, I would have chosen a top with vents and optional awnings for the sides as well.

Glad you still like it, Wendy! FWIW, I use front and back awnings constantly. I don't think side awnings were an option when I bought mine: but a good choice for someone with 2D art.

 

The vents I seldom use. You pretty much have to decide whether to open them before the canopy is raised. I would need a taller stepstool than the two-step one I have to open them once the canopy is raised. The one I have barely fits in the van. Therefore if there is any chance of rain, I leave them closed for the duration.

 

My first top came with a skylight. Over time, tree sap ate pinholes in that, making the skylight section alone porous. I had to order a new top  after maybe 10+ years of use. I ordered my second one without a skylight. It is slightly darker, but I can live with that.

This is SUCH great information to read. Making that jump right now to dome type tent and have been dragging my heels because I am unsure what will work for me. I am a very fit 58 yr old so bending etc is not a problem but was concerned about height etc. The ez ups have been so easy and while I have lead weights that work like a charm, I feel the need to upgrade so I look the best and most professional I can. Thank you guys for taking the time to write such a detailed description. I was wondering about the skylight and how much more light it lets in. I don't do that many outdoor shows because I have a big studio at Sawyer Yards in Houston TX (and we get good traffic) but for the 5 or 8 a year that I do, the skylight sounds good. I do colorful saturated 2D art. Wondering if I am only doing 8 shows a year, it would last a good while before I get pinholes in it?

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