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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.



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Comment by Karole Bowlds on July 6, 2015 at 3:36pm


Comment by Bobby Weiss on July 3, 2015 at 11:23am

Enjoy the wedding and vacation!

Comment by Karole Bowlds on July 3, 2015 at 10:13am

Thanks!! Yep, I may be tiny, but so is dynamite, as my Dad would say!!! Actually, a lot of these tips were gleaned from my Da and Granda. Both were mechanics/mechanical engineers. Granda, bless him was in the military...and Da is, as we say here  "wicked smaht, like a fox". We did a lot of camping when I was growing tents, and campers had to be secured. I just took all that knowledge gleaned from my years as kid helping get camp sites set up, and applied it to my booth. No outdoor shows this season....we are taking a two week family cruise right at the height of the season, and my daughter gets married in much to do with that, and with recent family losses, and weird weather, it just isn't feasible. When I do get my tent out, I will try remember to record a vid and upload it....peace out, peeps and enjoy your show season!!! 

Comment by Bobby Weiss on July 1, 2015 at 12:59am

Thank you very much! Would be interested to see you setup just for curiosity sake! Built like a tank!

Comment by Karole Bowlds on February 25, 2014 at 1:51pm

So good to see all these responses and comments! Glad this post was a help to those that wanted and needed it. Currently, we still have about 4 feet of snow on the ground, and it's still winter here....ugh! I am planning my schedule and trips for this seasons shows.....plan to stick a little closer to home this year... mostly the summer festivals, as we have so many here (they don't call it Vacationland for giggles). I had to retire my old Subaru last October... the mechanic said to "put her out to pasture", so we did. I now have ANOTHER Subaru... a Forester this time... a little more room inside!!! So a new packing plan is in the works, when we aren't experiencing all that Old Man Winter has to throw at us!! I will be VERY happy to see green grass and flowers blooming again....Well, out for now... into the studio.. I have today and tomorrow off and am addicted to my new beadweaving designs....Happy Days Peeps!

Comment by Karole Bowlds on February 25, 2014 at 1:33pm

Good for you Becky!!! Some of the Show Directers and coordinators here, bring new peeps over to my tent for meet & greet... so they can pick my brain for tips!!! It's too funny!! The biggest problem I have is getting the darn thing back into the bag after a's taller than I am, and I am usually very tired by then!!! LOL!!

Comment by becky blair on February 24, 2014 at 9:58am
I see this was posted sometime ago, but I just saw it and got a kick out of it, Karole. I am your size and 56, and have been asked a few times if I needed help with the tent. I always say, "thank you, I'm good... I am used to doing it alone." Once i set up next to two men who arrived before me and were putting up the same tent. I emptied my car, set up the tent and weights, moved my car to parking and returned, and they still didn't have theirs up. Another time a man offered to help as I was schlepping the tent to my space. I gave my usual response, and after I had mine up, he asked if I could come and help him. ;-D. I wish I could get my display set up as quickly as the tent!
Comment by Karole Bowlds on July 17, 2013 at 10:23am

Thanks...good idea...I'll check them out! My picture uploading is the thing that falls through the cracks...between day job, house, family, dog, and the business....something has to give, and for me the picture uploading is it. Hope you are having a great season out there...try not melt, or get eaten alive by the bugs!!!

Comment by Lisa Riley on July 17, 2013 at 2:33am

Karole, I hope you dont mind but since many of the tips for my set up were gleaned from you, I'm taking the liberty to share my album of my booth evolution.  The last 5 pictures show my booth/tent in the process of being set up.  These were taken last year and when I do shows next year I'll be adjusting my set up again.  This album is on FB, but is set up as a public album so anyone should be able to view it.!/SophisticatedHippie/media_set?set=a.102...

Comment by Karole Bowlds on July 16, 2013 at 8:59pm

Thanks Carla....I will have to look through my numerous pictures to see if I have any of the actual setting up.... I have some somewhere in my passport of the booth  all set up...but most of the weights, stay bars, etc.   are hidden! I disguise all the nuts & bolts stuff as much as possible! I hope it will help with some of the questions and difficulty people were having with their Ez-ups. Another little tip...use WD-40 on the frame joints where they scissor, and the push  buttons for legs at the beginning of the season. I find mine is a little stiff the first time we dig it out after storing all winter...but the WD-40 helps lubricate. I will look through my photos and hope to post pics soon!!! Have a good  season! 

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