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EZ-up, Secure Tent Set-up, The Maine Way!

40 minute Secure, Weather-proof EZ-UP Tent Booth Set-up Process by Karole S. Bowlds

  1. Remove tent from bag
  2. Center in spot
  3. Walking around all sides, extend all sides outward
  4. Duck in under/inside- place Frisbee (or other similar item) on top of peak pole

     (I use an old chip/dip dish- the center fits perfect over the top of my pole)

  1. Using 30x30 sheet clear plastic sheet, center between canvas top and Frisbee, extend to

       Scissor framework on all sides, clamp in place if necessary. This is your water shield.

       NO tent is completely waterproof, and I prefer prevention, rather than damage control.

  1. Pushing upward on center framework, fully extend tent.
  2.  Lock all ring pins at each top of each leg. DO NOT EXTEND LEGS at this time.
  3. Attach sidewalls, awning (optional) and any outside banner. DO NOT ZIP SIDEWALLS YET.
  4. Using 10x10 white tarp, attach to scissors framework with ball bungies, forming a ceiling. This prevents wind blowing into peak of tent, which causes tip over. This will also act as insulation, keeping your tent cooler in hot weather, warmer in cool weather.
  5. Attach top hooks of 6 long bungies, one at each corner of the two sides and back walls. Leave bottom hooks loose for now. These should be inside the sidewalls.
  6. Attach top hooks of 3 ratcheting tie downs, one at each center of scissor framework on sides and back walls. Leave bottom hook loose for now. These should be inside the sidewalls. (If you use any curtains for décor, attach to frame at this time also) Doing this BEFORE extending legs, prevents you having to stand on step ladders or chair later.
  7. EXTEND ALL LEGS to desired height, one leg/notch at a time. Make sure tent is relatively level.
  8. Attach stay bars to sides and back walls. (Run bars through cinder blocks first, if using weights. 1 per leg, two per bar, on two side and back walls. These should sit on ground, close to legs, inside sidewalls)
  9. Check zippers at each corner, to assure they operate freely, without splitting, making sure walls are taught, but not in danger of tearing. Unzip til final step.
  10. Using bottom hooks of bungies from step 10, attach each to the opposite leg at the bottom,

       Forming an X on each side and back wall.

      This prevents wind from blowing the sidewalls in, which will damage your displays and product.

  1. Using large screw stakes (if allowed) screw into ground at center of two side and back walls.

       If not allowed, skip this step.

  1. Attach bottom hook of ratcheting tie down to screw stakes if allowed, or alternately, to the stay bar.

When attached to the stakes, this prevents tent from rocking and moving, eliminating the need for weights. Ratchet til taught.

 If attached to the stay bars, it will prevent rocking, but you will need to use weights on staybars. I use cinder construction blocks on the rare occasions when I need to use weights, I just put one or two near each leg, and run my stay bar through the holes in blocks, before attaching staybar.

IF using Armstrong panels or gridwall panels, Install now.

  1. Zip up all walls, and Door. You now have a dry, relatively wind proof, temporary storefront!
  2. Set-up your displays and decor- this will depend on your product and preferences.
  3. To secure at night for multi-day shows- Pack up all electronics, your purse, cash box and receipts, your personal/valuables for removal. Lock in vehicle. Install stay bar to FRONT of tent. REMOVE AWNING. If no security is present, PACK YOUR PRODUCT. If security will be present, secure product from weather damage. Lower tent legs to lowest possible settings (this will depend on your displays), re-tighten ratcheting tie downs. I zip all zippers, and secure with zip ties, in the closed position to staybars. Use padlocks if you feel the necessity. Have flashlight handy- unplug surge suppressor from main electrical supply. Secure Door.
  4. To re-open: unlock, or cut all zip ties, remove FRONT stay bar. Install Awning. Loosen all ratcheting tie downs.

Extend legs to desired height, ratchet tie downs taught, plug surge suppressor into main electrical supply, and set up cash box, electronics, personal care stuff (lunch, wipes, tissues, etc) Set up any product you packed/stored. OPEN front wall/door- you are once again ready for business.

When packing up after show, take your time and store all items appropriately, with care. This keeps your equipment and goods in good condition, making it easier for unloading, and all will be ready for next show, saving you time later.


I am 46 y/0, 5 feet tall and weigh about 100 lbs, and do this set-up ALONE, every show. My product is jewelry.

Please note: I MOVE when doing my setups, I tend to be very energetic!

My Tent is an EZ-up Encore II, purchased on line in 2008. I have been using this set-up for three years,

My outdoor season is April to October, here on the coast of Maine. I do shows in: heat, cold, wind, rain, sleet, hail, thunderstorms, lightening storms, on the beach, in parking lots, on farms, street fairs, parks, Festivals and Agricultural Fairs. I do one day, to week-long events.  My tent has never blown over, walked, jigged or danced. It has leaked in severe rain, for the first time this year, (2011). During winter, I pack it away after cleaning, and waterproofing. I rarely use weights, UNLESS the show requires them.  I carry a gym duffle to store the sidewalls, banner, stakes, ratcheting tie downs, bungies, clamps, etcetera, and plastic sheet.

I do not use Armstrong panels or grid wall- if I did I would install them between steps 17/18.

 I do not use flooring- that is my purchase for this coming winter.

Every spring, I practice my tent set-up procedure til I can do it in 30 o 40 minutes or less.

Every time I add a new display element- I practice and rehearse in my yard.

All my purchases have been sales items and purchase during winter, when prices are lower.

I use checklists for packing- display totes, sales totes, and vehicle packing list.

My sales desk is a 3 drawer wheeled cart. This holds all my boxes, bags, office necessities, electrical, lighting, and small clamp fan. I never unpack this, just inventory and restock it. It can be stored under my worktable, or used separately.

 I plan my space layouts in advance on graph paper. However, weather and ground terrains require flexibility.

 I have an EMERGENCY milk crate, with hammer, screw drivers, wrenches, spare plastic sheeting, duct tape, wooden blocks (for shimming table legs), S hooks, etc.

 I ALWAYS load my car the day before a show. My electronics, and lunch/personal bag goes with me the morning of the show. If allowed to set up the night or day before, I do. This makes for a less hectic show, and allows me to dress more professionally, without having to change!


 With planning, and preparation, common sense and care your booth can be safe, inviting, and secure environment, without stress, major financial investment and hassle for you.



Views: 5630

Comment by Terry McCray on October 10, 2011 at 10:35am
Wow!  I wish you had posted this year ago.  I am printing this out and including it in my festival binder. Great little mini course for those of us new to the festival venues and for EZUp owners.  Got Pictures?
Comment by Jennifer Simpson on October 10, 2011 at 10:39am
LOTS of great ideas in there!  Thank you so much for taking the time to type all this out :).  I especially love the waterproofing idea, I really needed that.
Comment by Wendy Zumpano on October 10, 2011 at 10:41am
How wonderful that you have shared all this hard work and EXCELLENT organization!!!  I'm so impressed!  One idea that I've been meaning to implement is to sew pockets in the side of my tablecloth so that some of my supplies can be stored there, readily available without digging through drawers, etc.  My husband packed an emergency toolbox for me too, and boy has it been helpful!  So many EZ ups have died violent deaths.  It sounds like you've really figured out some great ways to protect them.  Good for you!!!
Comment by Marti McGinnis on October 10, 2011 at 10:58am

This is in a word: Brilliant!

I'm going to print and copy too.

Thank you for this amazing share of information Karole!

Comment by Debbie Sampson on October 10, 2011 at 11:36am
great advise, can you post pics of the plastic on the inside of the tent looking up so i can picture it if its not to much trouble? I've been doing this 30 years and thats a great idea. I have lupus so it is very, very painful for me to set up my 'show-off' canapy which I do myself (yes it can be done, I'm 5'3, 118 pds) and have an ez-up for smaller one-day shows but it takes me 3 hours to set up the show-off and 1 hr 45 min to break it down. Love the rolling piece, I'm getting one! Thanks!
Comment by Robyn Terwilliger on October 10, 2011 at 11:40am

Yes, thanks for helping all of us be more organized and for sharing a method that has worked for you!  I too plan on copying this for the future. 

What exactly does the frisbee/or bowl do?  Keep the center rod from poking through the plastic?

Comment by Terry McCray on October 10, 2011 at 12:59pm
Karole, I am in the process of making a list of supplies and show necessaties for next year and the tarp idea sounds good.  Are you able to attach overhead lights to your ceiling if you have the "ceiling tarp" ?  I'm having trouble visualizing without pulling out my tent that I just put away for the winter.
Comment by Lisa Riley on October 10, 2011 at 1:46pm

This was my first year of doing outdoor shows.  Some of the tips you mentioned I've learned by trial and error, mostly error,lol.  The tip that really stood out to me was the frisbee.  I had been going over ideas in my head for the center post but just couldnt think of anything that would work.  Thanks for saving my brain from overheating!  This was awesome info and I've saved the tips too.  I'm sure I'll find more that will be equally helpful.

Comment by Lisa Riley on October 10, 2011 at 1:48pm
I forgot to add, I think you should change the post title from the Maine way to the Right way! ;-)
Comment by Annette Piper on October 10, 2011 at 4:10pm

Fantastic Karole - I'm sure this will help streamline my process next time I use a tent!  Thank you!


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