You may be a market veteran, or you may be working on gearing up for your first market, but it never hurts to revisit the topic of tent weights. Tents weights are addressed on the Vendor Info page on each of our market websites, and they are referenced in the set-up emails that go out to vendors each week. This email, however, provides more detail about methods for weighing down your tents.
WHY ARE TENT WEIGHTS IMPORTANT?
Tent weights aren't really intended to protect YOUR tent. They do, in the face of reasonable gusts, keep a tent from flying away, that's true. But when a tent flies away, the least of your worries should be "oh no, I lost my tent". The larger potential problems include tents busting the windows and property of nearby businesses, your tent smashing into the tent of another vendor and destroying their inventory or injuring them, tents going through car windshields, tents causing traffic accidents that could injure or kill people, or indeed, a tent hitting and either injuring or killing someone.
In a high wind situation, your tents weights (as we learned recently thanks to Artmageddon 2013) are actually likely to damage your tent...however, they will help to prevent property destruction and injuries.
SO HOW DO I WEIGH DOWN MY TENT?
There are many ways to weigh down a tent. All tent weights must be attached to the tent. That means clearly and firmly attached to the weight AND clearly and firmly attached through the tent frame, not just around a leg. Rope, clothesline, bungee cords, nylon strapping and many other strong materials can be used to attach them.
- CINDER BLOCKS. They're not pretty, and you do need to take care to keep them out of the path of walkers, but they are cheap, and in a pinch, they're easy to tie to a tent frame (not the legs...the main part of the frame). If the weight is not indicated when you purchase them, you will need to weigh them. CLICK HERE TO SEE A PHOTO OF CINDER BLOCKS, SECURELY ATTACHED TO A TENT FRAME.
- BUCKET OF SAND/GRAVEL/CEMENT. Buckets are inexpensive and easy to find. They also have handles, which makes them easier to carry AND easier to tie them to your tent. Also - you can often buy gravel/sand in bags that have a weight clearly marked on them. This makes it easier to determine if you have enough weigh. CLICK HERE TO SEE AN EXAMPLE OF A BUCKET WEIGHT.
- EXERCISE WEIGHTS. These are often easy to carry, and because they are compact, they can be easier to pack into a full car. The shape of the weight does not matter, what matters is that you can securely attach it to the frame of the tent. CLICK HERE TO SEE AN EXAMPLE OF THE ONES THAT VENDORS SOMETIMES USE.
- MANUFACTURED TENT WEIGHT BAGS. These are easy to find online, and are specifically made for the purpose of weighing down a 10 x 10 tent. CLICK HERE TO SEE TENT WEIGHT BAGS.
- DIY PVC PIPE WEIGHTS. These are the most attractive option, and they are also very durable. CLICK HERE FOR AN EXCELLENT TUTORIAL WITH PHOTOS.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT DO I NEED? Concord Arts Market and Kitty Productions,LLC requires at LEAST 25-lbs of weigh on EACH LEG of your tent. Many other events require a higher amount (if you have 40-50 lbs on each leg you should meet the requirement for most events).
CAN I JUST REST MY WEIGHTS ON THE FEET OF MY TENT?
No. This will do absolutely nothing to secure your tent when a gust comes through.
CAN I JUST TIE DOWN A COUPLE OF LEGS OF MY TENT?
For best results, you need all legs weighted.
CAN I JUST TIE THE ROPE AROUND THE LEGS?
No. This will not secure your tent. The weight must be attached through the frame of the tent.
BUT I CAN'T CARRY 25 - lbs OF WEIGHT?!
Neither can I. That's why you will want to bring larger numbers of smaller weights. Make your weights lighter and just make more of them, so that you achieve the cumulative weight.
WHAT ABOUT JUGS OF WATER?
You can use them. Some people find that large, office sized water dispenser jugs work. You can also use gallon jugs - however, you need to know that a gallon of water weighs just about 8 - lbs. That means you need at least four of them tied securely to each corner of your tent frame. It looks like a giant cluster of grapes if you hang them, and it can create a trip hazard if you pile them on the ground. I would not call this an ideal option.
OMG, THIS ONE TIME, MY TENT TRIED TO FLY WITH WEIGHTS ON!
True, it can happen. There are two ways to deal with this type of situation.
- First, pull the fabric top of the tent off. In windy conditions, the canopy acts as a sail. If you remove the "sail", the tent is easier to manage.
- You may also try lowering the tent - but DO NOT REMOVE THE WEIGHTS UNTIL THE TENT IS DOWN and you know that you can safely remove them. If you have not already, you may want to remove the tent canopy to reduce the likelihood of the tent talking flight.
Contact the market if you have any questions about how to weight your tent.