Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Hi all. There are certainly lots of vendors who use each of these brands, but I'm curious about the pluses and minuses of each. The Showoff website has their own comparison, but there's nothing better than real-life input.
I've been using an Undercover pop-up with Pro Panels for three years. It's kind of shaky in the wind and although I haven't had any issues with the set-up yet, I have an opportunity to buy a barely used Trimline for a very good price. I've also sold my Pro Panels and decided to switch to mesh panels. Before I buy the panels, I need to make sure which tent I'll be using.
I've certainly seen lots of folks with Trimline and understand they're really sturdy, but also a pain to set up. The Showoff website makes it sound like it's as sturdy as Trimline, but since it's made out of aluminum, I'm skeptical.
Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I have a Showoff.
I set mine up by myself with no difficulty. Over the years(30+) I have set up next to just about every style of canopy there is, and observed what I thought were the advantages and disadvantages.
I think the biggest difference is the weight. My Showoff weighs about 85 lbs in the bag. I have Sta-bars as well, in a different bag: I don't always use them. I believe the Trimline weighs much more. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing. I am always by myself and wanted something I could carry.
I have 2 weight systems: one at 60lbs per leg, attached at the bottom (foot weights) and another I can add when it’s extra windy. I believe the Showoff top sways more in the wind. That’s when I add the weights that hang from the corners, and that takes care of it. If you are using ONLY hanging weights and they are heavy enough, you may not have any sway. Hopefully others can “weigh” in on this.
The showoff has telescoping parts which means sections do not have to be fully disassembled before packing. I believe the Trimline has more parts. More to keep track of.
Some other factors to consider, since you have not had this type of canopy before:
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. This is why I decided against a Lightdome, with its design of pulling over the top.
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.
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.
In both cases you can zip the sides on before the legs are fully extended.
Linnea - thanks for the thoughtful response. A few questions...if you don't mind....
1 - Their site shows 'spreader bars' and 'stabilizer kit'...which do you have and how many? And they're used on windy/bad weather days?
2 - do you have any canopies? Are they just as easy to attach?
3 - do you have a banner you attach to the top/front of your booth? (I do...just curious if I'll still be able to use it.)
4 - do you have the front/back air vents? If so, do you feel they're helpful for heat and/or helping to keep the air flow going through when it's windy? Or are they supposed to be closed when it's windy?
5 - do you have a skylight? I understand the Showoff brand used to have a problem with it turning red after a while but believe they've fixed that already.
I understand the Trimline is much heavier but I do have a dolly I can put the bags on to carry in when my other half isn't present. I suppose that would work. I do have an issue with two discs in my back that have herniated in the past and wouldn't want that to happen again putting up a heavy tent by myself. Thus my dilemna with switching to safe and study VS light and not-so-sturdy.
Is what I have. Set of 3. If little wind is present I skip putting it on (I DO have hundred of pounds of weight on my canopy) . It also helps prevent sway. You DON’T have to place them at the bottom, though that’s best for stability. I’ve seen people raise them up and hang something on them during the day. I do leave the fittings on the legs at all time so I can change my mind if need be, and add them.
My first Showoff top skylight DID turn all brown. It’s not just the ugly color: it became porous. I had to order an all new roof. I opted to play it safe and get it without the skylight. It is significantly darker without the skylight. That’s already maybe 8 years ago. I would ask other people who have had a Showoff skylight purchased, say, 5 or more years ago, and see how theirs is. Maybe start a post with that in the title and / post on FB artist forums.
I opted for front and back vents but feel that that was really a waste of money. I do it when I know it will be hot all weekend, but I have no objective way to tell if it helps. Plus, you really have to roll them up before the canopy is at full height. I have a good step stool, but feel pretty shaky if I try to do it as an afterthought. You would really need a ladder. The only way any breeze would get through is if you hung a fan right in front of one. I did do that at Ann Arbor once.
I don’t have a banner. I’d like to. I’d have to attach Velcro to the top in some way.
A couple of years ago I saw someone with my same model with the front vent. She had used the Velcro that runs along the side of the vent opening to attach a small banner the size of the opening, that covered the opening (with the vent panel fully rolled up. I thought that was genius but have never acted on it myself.
I made the mistake of ordering a show-off this spring--biggest mistake I ever made in my long art show career (my first dome tent after years of ez-ups). I went all the way and ordered one with full awnings and rear lean-to; but Chris--who runs the canopy manufacturing side of the company botched checking the order before it went out the door--it was missing several parts and one was damaged. After a month of going round and round in circles over the telephone and e-mails--and promises of refunds and shipping missing parts--and still nothing has been done by the company to remedy the situation. I know lots of people think they are fantastic; but you are in real trouble if you need help after the sale IMO.
Hi Carol, I am going to be listing my Trimline for sale soon and I am just down in Charleston, SC. I am ordering a taller canopy because I am crazy:) and will be selling my other canopy- it is 7'- really good shape- awning in the front and large/lean to awning type shade in the back.
I will get all the photos and price together soon- PM me if you might be interested.
Thanks Amanda but I drove to MD in March to buy a whole Trimline set up. Now we just need to learn how to put it together in less time. Have had two trial so far and think we’re getting the hang of it. :-)
Good luck selling yours.
Enjoy your setup time reduction study.
Mine takes me about 5 1/2 hours.
Yes, that is for the complete setup, doing it by myself.
If you get it down to 1 hour for two people, you can be my heroes ;-)