A couple years ago, I visited to the winter farmers market in Burlington, VT. It was the last even of the year which means many vendors are gearing up for the outdoor market. The outdoor market brings more challenges. Wind, rain, cooler weather, can make late in the year events less enjoyable as a vendor. To make matters worse, only the most dedicated farmers market visitors show up for the last hurrah of the year when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
How are you going to hold your tent down?
You probably use the EZ-Up 10×10 white tent. It’s basically the farmer’s market standard to shelter you from wind, rain, sun, and the occasional sleet.
But how do you hold your tent down?
That question was posed to me at the winter farmer’s market by my talented jewelry-making friend, Marsha. After all, she didn’t want the tent to fly away!
Holding a tent in place can be extremely challenging when you can’t setup your tent on grass. Maybe you’re on pavement or half on a sidewalk. You don’t have the opportunity to simply stake down. This means you’ve got to do something to keep it from taking off. One windy day and your tent is going for a trip. I’ve seen it happen five times.
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As a result of this common vendor challenge, I wanted to share a few tips I’ve learned from my years selling mustard at different farmers markets and fairs.
4 solutions to hold down your tent:
1. Gallon jugs filled with stones
This is how we’ve been holding our tent down for three years – and it’s never failed. Save up some old gallon milk or vinegar jugs. Run to Home Depot and pick up a bag of stones (surprisingly inexpensive). Fill the jugs with stones and screw the top on. Suspend with rope from all four corners of your tent and you’re good to go. Does it look pretty? Not really, but it gets the job done.
2. Weighted plates
Have some old plates from you or your husband’s lifting days in the garage? Grab a couple of ten pound weights and hang them with rope from your tent. Finally putting those dusty weights to good use. You can find weighted plates at the typical online retailers like Amazon or a sports department store.
3. Screwing the tent legs into cement-filled buckets
I’m sure the employees at Home Depot would love you. Buy four small buckets and fill them with cement mix. Drill two holes (to match the bottom of the tent leg) and grab some screws from your work bench. A tent screwed into cement? It’s not going anywhere. This is a solution might even solve your problem if you decide to vend during a hurricane. But I wouldn’t test that theory!
4. EZ-Up weighted bags
These are going to hurt your wallet – $54 on Amazon. Plus the cost of sand to fill the pockets. They combine for 40 pounds of weight, so they’ll definitely hold a tent down. My opinion? They’re hardly worth the money. Get creative with one of the solutions above first before trying this out.
Once you find a solution that works for you, make sure to bring these weights with you as you travel from market to market. You never know when the weather could turn for the worse at an event that started the day with a weather report of 70 degrees and sunny. The last thing you want to do is be chasing down a tent that’s headed for a busy intersection. I’ve seen this happen before!
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