EZ-Up Tents on the Playa

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EZ-Up Tents on the Playa

Postby peterakabob » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:28 pm

I fully realize the kite potential of an EZ-Up pop-up tent, however, if one were to anchor that bad boy down really well and maybe use somewhat heavy-duty canvas (the kind you lay down when you are painting) for walls, do you guys think that would be an effective structure?

I am driving in a Ford Explorer from Seattle so we are trying to be as practical and space-saving as possible given the amount of room in my vehicle.
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Postby TomServo » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:42 pm

I've used one with good results, however it died during a 10 hour dust storm in 2008. The folding cross bars simply bent and the whole roof eventually started to cave. You might be better off using one of those $20 canopies you find at RiteAid. Whatever you use, anchor it good!
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Re: EZ-Up Tents on the Playa

Postby kman » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:01 pm

peterakabob wrote:I fully realize the kite potential of an EZ-Up pop-up tent, however, if one were to anchor that bad boy down really well and maybe use somewhat heavy-duty canvas (the kind you lay down when you are painting) for walls, do you guys think that would be an effective structure?

I am driving in a Ford Explorer from Seattle so we are trying to be as practical and space-saving as possible given the amount of room in my vehicle.

Pop up tent, or shade structure/canopy?

I had the roof torn clear off one of my EZ-Up canopies a few years back in winds FAR lower than I've seen at BM, while on a camping trip in the mountains. Ripped right out of the little velcro closures.

Image

If EZ-Up is making actual tents, I haven't seen them so I can't answer you.

But if you like your EZ-Up canopy and want to use it again after the burn, or if you really really need it to stay in place and provide shelter throughout the event, I'd consider something more beefy.

You never know how things will go from year to the next... you could get lucky. If there are no big winds that take out your canopy, you're golden. OTOH, if Murphy strikes...
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Postby peterakabob » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:23 am

Yes I am referring to a pop-up tent like you have pictured above. Do you think if I made reinforcements to the frame and used canvas for walls, that'd work? This has just been my tentative idea for a shade structure, and with the canvas walls, that might provide some refuge from dust storms... Or at least that's the idea.
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Postby Stickygreen » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:16 am

instead of replacing the fabric with some thick canvas, use something that will let the wind pass thru, like camo netting, or alumni net. You'll still need to anchor the shit out of it, but you'll have a better chance of taking home the canopy in re-usable condition.
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Postby teardropper » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:05 am

A couple of guys put one up in our camp. It lasted, as put up, 2 or 3 days. They then lowered the top down to about 4 or 5 feet and it stayed the rest of the time. But we had no big winds. And it wasn't all that usable down like it was. I've seen 'em, frame and all, tumble down the playa. Obviously, that one wasn't staked down very good, but heard about the tops coming off and the supports bending. I use one for other camping sometimes, and think it might be worth a shot to stake it down good. It would probably still bend if it got real breezy, though. What's your back up plan?
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Postby Token » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:31 am

Ez-up canopies have a high failure rate on the Playa.

Some use it for years, others fail in days, but most end up in the middle with progressive wear and tear, things bending a bit here and there.

The most common failure Ive seen is in the accordion trus on the top. It is made of thin metal and buckles under the wind.

Guying one down actually aids in creating a catastrophic failure since none of the poles can take the added tension the guy wires create.

The best results are obtained when you use it as part of a larger structure, like attaching it to a car port or other rigid frame solution.

A good compromise solution us to use rigid conduit taped to the legs, then guy the conduit down heavily. This way the guying forces are absorbed by the conduit.

Overall though, a car port is a much better solution for not much more weight/bulk/cost.
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Postby EspressoDude » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:56 am

EZ-UP = EZ-DOWN

camo net or shade cloth cover is better

also T-stake fence posts at the corners, the legs attached with duct or gaffer tape. quick saran wrap first to keep the tape from being a permanent mess
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but ...

Postby Lucian » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:14 am

If you are willing to take the sides off and the roof loose when you are not in camp it will be fine. If you are a raging alcoholic you probably won't be able to consistantly remember to do this.

Use some rebar and add guylines to the corners. Then when you leave camp take the roof and sides loose so you don't have to worry. If you want to leave it up (and worse with sides attached) you will worry when you are out playing and a wind storm hits.
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How to make it bomb-proof

Postby MarkM3 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:20 am

I have the same e-z up that I have used for 4 consecutive years on the playa without failure.

The secret: 4 x 10' pieces of 1/2" emt conduit from your local hardware store used to reinforce each horizontal side, spanning from 1 leg to the other, and then strong tie-downs to 'tension' the entire structure.

The method: Erect the canopy, then slide 1 piece of conduit horizontally through the 'triangular' area formed at the top of each leg, from 1 leg to the other, then attach heavy duty tie-down wrapped around each leg & conduit, and run the strap down to an anchor point a few feet away. Use nylon zip ties to secure the middle sections of the emt to the canopy sides. The emt will form a square shape that matches the square shape of the canopy. Be sure that the tie-down straps secure both pieces of emt to the canopy leg.

Sorry if my description is confusing, but the setup works really well.
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Postby peterakabob » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:17 pm

Thanks for the replies, guys! :D

I am starting to think that forgoing the EZ-UP is probably what I should do. I think I'll go the craigslist route for something sturdier.

Any recommendations on a good, solid structure that would provide a comfortable space for up to 4+ people (and a hookah or two)?
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Postby Token » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:42 pm

Image
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Postby peterakabob » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:26 am

Never mind, I'll just bring my M1 Abrams.
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Postby Sail Man » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:23 am

Token wrote:Ez-up canopies have a high failure rate on the Playa.

Some use it for years, others fail in days, but most end up in the middle with progressive wear and tear, things bending a bit here and there.

The most common failure Ive seen is in the accordion trus on the top. It is made of thin metal and buckles under the wind.

Guying one down actually aids in creating a catastrophic failure since none of the poles can take the added tension the guy wires create.

The best results are obtained when you use it as part of a larger structure, like attaching it to a car port or other rigid frame solution.

A good compromise solution us to use rigid conduit taped to the legs, then guy the conduit down heavily. This way the guying forces are absorbed by the conduit.

Overall though, a car port is a much better solution for not much more weight/bulk/cost.


This is the technique I have used. I use 3/4" emt dropped over 4' rebar pounded in right next to the leg bases and then duct tape the emt to the leg to add strength to the ez up legs. I did guy over the top the 1st year when I had no windbreak. Last yr was next to my rv so no guys over the top, just down from ea corner. Another thought, though I havent tried it, is to use something (2x4?) to reinforce the scissor braces that go from leg to leg up top, under the lower edge of the fabric. May help to strengthen them. Attach with duct tape or zip ties?
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Postby C.f.M. » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:21 am

There's at least one other thread on this, started by me last year, but I can't find it through "Search."

I was very glad I didn't take the EZ Up. I don't know how I would have kept the walls down, in those winds.

I was advised to put rebar up the legs. And tie it to the side of a truck.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:02 am

C.f.M. wrote:There's at least one other thread on this, started by me last year, but I can't find it through "Search."

I was very glad I didn't take the EZ Up. I don't know how I would have kept the walls down, in those winds.

I was advised to put rebar up the legs. And tie it to the side of a truck.


Mine died, but it was just a $50 knockoff. I had some neighbors that had one though and it lasted the whole week. Not sure if they reinforced it or not, but I'm guessing they didn't. They did have guy lines on it.

NPPT this year, and tarp off the truck as a backup. :)
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Postby AntiM » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:14 am

Ours is heavy duty, anchored between two carports, and uses double camo netting instead of the canopy. The joints are complaining about the playa dust after a few years, but so far, so good.

Free-standing? Hell no, I wouldn't trust it as far as the winds could toss it.
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Postby viajera80 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:12 am

Try the REI Alcove, mine has survived four years of pretty bad winds (esp. 2007 and 2008) and it's still wonderful. Get it with the windwalls and it will really only run you about $150. It's not very big, but when I stake it with 18 inch rebar stakes and so some reinforcement with duct tape it hardly moves.

I can't tell you how many imploded EZ-Ups I have seen at BRC.
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