I'm upgrading from a decent EZ-up and I've been pouring over people's opinions and advice about this brand and that of higher end display canopies throughout the discussions here but I'm still teetering between two major brands. I do my set-up solo - am of a 'certain age', who wants set up and tear down to be a breeze. You know, I want the world - in a display tent!
- 1 person set up
- 10' x 10'
- zipped high quality side panels
- front and back vents
- high quality
- replacement parts available
I'm attracted to the lightweight portability of the aluminum frame components of the Show off but love the guys at Flourish who make the Trimline that has taken over and improved on the Crafthut experience.
My research here through the forums and posts has found that there are enthusiastic supporters of every brand out there. I decided to compare apples with apples to get a handle on how things stack up! All prices shown are from the websites of each individual company as of today August 28, 2012. At first I thought there were wild ($300ish) price differences but then I looked into the add-ons and found they all come in very close to each other price-wise.
Comparing with: upper vents, 4 sidewalls, skylight, front awning)
- comes fully loaded
- shipping extra (~$80 - 100)
- heavy (steel)
- 36 main components to frame
- Many components = time consuming set up
- Very Stable
- Many replacement and upgrades available
- Great Service
- Comes with anchoring kit
- Awning Add $125
- Carry Bags Add $52
- BONUS: Awesome sales support - thorough online presence with tons of info
- Bottom Line: $1152
- 'free' shipping
- light (marine grade aluminum)
- The top canopy goes on the roof frames while still on the ground - maybe not so easy for the person who finds it difficult to squat or bend over
- 16 main components to frame
- easy solo set-up
- Comes with 2 carry bags
- 2 center zip walls included
- Said to be super stable
- Good web site with plenty of info (not as much as Trimline folks though) responsive to email inquiries
- Bottom Line: $1170
CraftHut = TrimLine (were bought out)
- Finale configured comparably $1069 + Shipping (+ $80 - 100)
- (Note: doesn't include skylight as they say their tent material transfers light well)
- Aluminum Frame
- Top canopy must slide onto roof frame with legs partially extended - maybe not as easy for the shorter person
- 21 main components to frame
- do-able solo set up
- Has some tremendously enthusiastic users many of whom attest to its rain and wind worthiness
- Replacement parts and upgrades available
- Carry Bags included
- All 4 walls come with center zip standard
- of the 2 Finale seems to have an edge over the Light Dome
- Not the best web site. Actually pretty 1990's-ish, lol - but a nice gal answered the phone when I called.
- Bottom Line: ~$1150
Suggested additional Upgrade: get a center zipper in each sidewall so solo roll-up is do-able without a special tool
Another Thoughtful Recap
An artist/blogger by the name of Ron Frazier went through this process a couple of years ago and recapped his thinking here: http://ronfrazier.blogspot.com/2007/08/upgrading-to-better-canopy-p...
Be sure to read the comments. They're making me lean towards The Finale as of this writing.
Add YOUR opinions below if you like:
- What canopy do YOU use?
Brand and Model if you know
- What do your LOVE about it?
your top 3 features.
- What do you wish was better?
(if anything) about it?
What I Chose:
I went with the SHOWOFF. Here's WHY:
- fewer overall parts
- The top is set up before the legs are raised - so no struggling on a step ladder to get situated
- Tons of customizations available (I added zippers to both sidewalls so I can roll them up easily without using a contraption or a neighbor - I also purchased the rear awning fittings but not the pricey vinyl lean to - I intend to either clip my back sidewall up when my booth is open or add a lightweight tarp as necessary)
I didn't ask for nor did I receive any % off from the seller for announcing this choice.
All three main companies make excellent tents that work great for folks with slightly different needs.
If your needs are similar to mine and this post helped you decide to also go with the SHOWOFF please mention me (Marti McGinnis) as your referral when you buy yours. They'll give me a little rebate. Then when you tell people about your purchase you'll get one too!
Comment from Discussion (that I closed and moved here)
I bought a Light-Dome earlier this year and set it up exactly once: one time was enough to make me realize it was NOT a one-person operation (not this one person anyway).
I really like the ease of a popup tent so I started researching what the food and sponsor guys were using at shows. I found out about TentCraft (tentcraft.com) but at ~$1,000 it was more than I wanted to spend. Then I came across a knockoff by Eurmax: http://www.eurmax.com/ProCanopyPackage10x10.html. I LOVE this tent. My favorite features:
Eurmax PRO 10'x10' Package
- Hexagon, NOT square legs that are over 2" wide made of thick aluminum
- Heavy duty, but light enough to put up easily and quickly on my own
- Good side panels included
- Side panels attach at top with a velcro border -- no straps/excess shows and it's quick to install
- Replacement parts available
- Nicest tent bag of any I've owned
- Price - under $400
I can't think of any improvements. I don't use an awning but I did buy side rails to add stability, and in the future I might use them to display graphics in my tent.