Need ideas for canopy weights

morgan_5(z8OR)June 21, 2005

What do you use to weigh down the legs of your canopies when you are on concrete and can't use stakes? I need something I can manage alone, when my hubby isn't with me. Thanks!!

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neil_allen(z5/6 Chi IL)

E-Z Up sells bags that you can fill with sand and that have a kind of clip that slides through a pair of holes at the bottom of their tent legs. We use them, but as I recall they're a little pricy for just a nice nylon bag with a clip. The plus side is that they're pretty compact and easy to fit in the truck if space is tight recause they aren't rigid.

The homemade solutions we've used and seen others use all involve tying weights that at the tops of the legs, with the weights hanging there or down on the ground. Some people take lengths of 4" pvc pipe and attach end pieces, others use 2-gallon plastic jugs and in either case fill them with sand or concrete. I've also seen weights from a weight set and plain concrete block used.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 9:58AM
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Well, I use five gallon water in the middle if the wind is not that strong....but most days I'll have two on the back side.
The sand bags were just to light for my conditions..

I have to have water to wash up for sampling and I have a PVC pipe flower holder so I pack twenty gallons and at some markets I share the jugs so other vendor can tie down with me...

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 12:30PM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

We tie ours to our vehicle or, if no van, tie the EZ-Up to heavy coolers and/or the table itself with bungi cords. If the wind can flip the tables it is probably time to take thing down and go home.

A few years ago Growing For Market had an article on ways to hold down an EZ-Up. on was 4' long PVC pipes filled with sand or concrete, capped and hung off the EZ-Up

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 4:54PM
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Thank you all for the great ideas!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 11:58PM
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At farmers markets in NYC, where wind is vicious in the urban canyons, the farmers use different weights. Sandbags get wet and dirty and dogs pee on them. Bunjee cords break under wind stress.
Most of the farmers make their own weights using a 5 gallon pail that they fill with cement, they anchor a pvc pipe in the wet cement and put some eyebolts through the pipes.
A lighter-weight but similar solution is to take a 3 foot segment of pvc pipe and fill it with cement, then anchor a long eyebolt in the top of the cement.
If the wind starts to lift your canopy resist the urge to grab it. It can lift you several feet off the ground.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 12:34AM
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Ron_and_Patty(z7 GA)

In the camping section of the sporting goods store we found weights that look like a barbell weight but with a slit large enough that the weight fits over the base of the leg. I can't find a picture of ours, but this site shows a couple of other types:

We don't normally get a lot of wind so these have worked for us, and they are only 5 pounds each. But we probably need to get another set and stack them. A set of 4 was almost $30. But they are very easy to handle.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 9:43AM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

I use the 4" PVC pipe filled with mixed cement. There is an S-hook attached to one of the capped ends. I use bungee cords to attach them to the top and two around the pipe per leg. My husband made them a bit "too heavy and long" - 4' - so, is going to make them shorter for me this year. We have found in our very, very windy market site that weights lower to the ground are more effective. My canopy actually moved one foot last year when I had one sidewall attached!

Other vendors actually have made their own cement blocks that the legs of the canopy can screw into and have also added drawer pulls to them so they can carry them.

Two weeks ago the wind was so strong we had three or four vendors "lose their canopies" so I suggest at least 35 - 50 pounds depending upon where you are!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 2:05PM
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check for canopy weights. seem like they're very similar to ez-up weights, but cost only $25 for the set. i filled mine with pea gravel & they work great!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 9:12AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

It depends on the wind. I keep plenty of bungee cords and rope in my truck. I will tie to my truck often and have a cinder block and half cinder block with me. I usually have 2-3 jugs of water too which can also be used to water the plants. Sometimes I also strap onto the neighbor's canopies too. We have had some days that were too windy to put up the canopy! And also had a day where a wind came out of nowhere and destroyed all our canopies. I prefer the kind that don't go really high in the middle.

Also worth mentioning is there is a woman at my market that takes a different approach. She bungees the back of the canopy loose to the truck and leaves the rest free and lets in move about in the wind. She prefers that.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 11:03PM
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Just wait til her canopy folds back onto the truck, I've had that happen to one of mine. It was attached to a van and the front was basically free. It bent it back flat against the van and totally destroyed it.

When it's windy, I don't put the canopy up as high as other days.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 5:32PM
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I use gallon milk jugs filled with small stones, They weigh about 16-20 pounds apiece and we use 8 total 2 per corner with 1/4 inch boaters nylon rope.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 6:57PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yes on windy days I go to the bottom holes but tall customers hit their heads! Maybe since I will have a better one this year it won't be so rickety.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:30PM
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My DH made four weights - filling 2 liter Coke bottles with quick drying cement and putting in a large eye bolt at the top. He ties nylon rope to the eye and the other end is tied to the leg above the corner pin gizmo. The bottles hang down so they just barely touch the ground.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 1:33PM
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nancedar - I have been saving gallon OJ jugs (opaque, thicker than milk jugs). What do you think about those with cement? Too heavy for the plastic handle? Do they have to hang or can they touch the ground (with no slack in the line)? Do people bump into them? I'm thinking they could see the bright orange jugs, but afraid if hanging people will bang their shins. Need something for Friday - my first time using the canopy I bought last day of market in Sept when it was threatening rain (and never put up, rain held off til I was driving back to store to return it and it got soaked in back of the truck).

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:46AM
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How are those black zippered weight bags? WM has them, free ship to store, I have gravel I can fill them with (or sand is cheap if I want clean play sand), some reviews complained about the zippers but most were favorable, but do they work? Do they last?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Don't use the OJ with handles filled with cement, the handles will not hold up. The black bags will work ok, plus they only are trippers instead of bangers of legs. I had some that came with my commercial EZUp that had velcro instead of zippers. You could use old pillowcases tied shut about the same way, just put them over the little feet on the legs, or attach a bungee between the pillowcases and canopy top. I've used 2-gal buckets with lids filled with sand, worked well for several years until the plastic that the metal bails were attached to started to break down.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 6:50PM
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Plastic buckets with lids sound good, but my 2-gal I use for fermenting have plastic bails, and somehow lots of the lids to 5 gal Sheetrock buckets went missing. I also have cinder blocks and half blocks but again don't want people to trip over them and bang their shins - that would really hurt. Alas, only 2 pillowcases I'm willing to sacrifice - got rid of all the old linens when we moved 5 yrs ago, more went to animal shelter last year.

OJ jugs filled with sand (water's not heavy enough)? Or just spend the $25 for the King bags?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 7:31PM
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how about a yard sale for the pillowcases, or thrift store. I would pay the money. Or use the OJ jugs with water. 1 gal of water weighs about 8 lbs, if I remember high school. You might put 2 jugs on each leg, if you have enough. With water you can alway pour it out at the end of market, when you're exhausted.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 7:44PM
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Yes, 1 gal weighs 8 lbs (and I found last summer I can't lift 40 lbs over the lip of a 55-gal drum LOL). Might be able to get away with 1 jug if I fill it with peastone or sand, just won't be able to pour it out at the end of the day. I'm not sure I have 8 (I used 1 for fish fertilizer), but I do have 8 counting the screw-top milk jugs as well. They'll do for Friday, not sure I can get the bags and get them filled before then since they're not in stock.

How much weight do you need on each leg? I saw some weights but they were only 5 lbs each so didn't seem worth it.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:24PM
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I have the 'official'weights that weigh about 5 lbs. I put 2 on each leg, then attach the back of canopy to vehicle. If the wind lifts that, then I take the canopy down. I've had a canopy lift with 2 concrete blocks on each leg, so I don't think there is a weight that will keep it down. If it does, the top won't stay on.

Go ahead and use the milk jugs, they will hold up for about 6 months, which is long enough for 1 season.

I like the ones I have since they are flat pieces of metal with a cut out for the legs, then they are coated with plastic (which does come off after a few years).

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 8:32AM
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Ace has these

but at $32 a set, and using 2 sets (10 lbs on each leg) that's about twice as expensive as the zippered bags even if I buy sand, and I can fit 40 lbs of sand in each bag.

Even a single gallon of water weighs almost as much as 2 weights, and that's free! I'll have to see how many jugs I have in the garage - won't have another OJ jug empty in time for market on Friday, but will have another milk jug (or 2).

How about taking 2 jugs, a 4ft bungee cord, attaching 1 end to 1 jug, looping it through top of leg where it meets the roof (I'll have to look for a spot), then back down to other jug - see how far down the jugs hang? Or use separate bungee for each jug if 1 isn't long enough. Or is non-stretchable poly line better? I think we still have some from when they pulled the electrical and phone lines to the house (660 ft x 2, I'm sure we haven't used it all up yet!)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 8:42AM
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Those are exactly what I have, glad to see them at Ace. I got mine at Menards (local hardware big box store) on clearance for $11 per box (total $22). I bought these after several years in the business. I've bought lots of supplies and equipment over the years, due to tax deductions and needing to lowering income.

For people just starting out, go cheap UNLESS you find deals, but if you're going to keep doing this, considering buying the good stuff.

I attach a 4' bungee (sometimes 40") to the weight on one end and the other end I loop thru the arm/leg joint and hook back into bungee. The weight DOESN'T have to be all the way onto the ground. Actually if it isn't, it will sway when people hit it (and they will), just make sure the weight is more than 1/2 way down towards the ground.

You'll find out more as you work this business. Your way may not be the same as my way, experiment some.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 8:52AM
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Yeah, it was a cheap canopy too, impulse buy at Big Lots (I had been pricing them all summer and knew they were the cheapest, plus caught it on clearance end of Sept). I had actually bought an EZ Up earlier at a different Lot but it was really too heavy for me, even though it had a nice wheeled case, so I returned that. IF I can manage to stay in business and have enough profit some year I will buy better stuff but right now DH is financing everything and wants to go the cheapest way possible (I'm sure he didn't even want me to buy the tent) even if it's not the most cost-effctive in the long run. Which is opposite to everything we do for personal finances, but I'm not in a position to argue for buying the best for business right now til I can show a profit. I'm getting good at finding things on Freecycle but no one wants to give away decent fencing or irrigation. At least I got all my pots for free (just had to buy trays and flats)!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:09AM
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If I had known that you spent your money on one of those, I would have STRONGLY tried to discourage you. Don't put more than 10 lbs on those legs, they may collapse with it. Nothing is like the commercial EZUp canopies. At least look for one of them, and hope you can get by this year with what you have.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Well, if I just put a cinderblock on the leg instead of hanging something from it, would that be better? Sorry, like I said it was kind of a panic buy the last day of market (that ended early due to severe T-storm warning). At least it was half of what the EZ Up cost me, and I can lift it into the truck by myself.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:16PM
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It's not really going to make much difference, I'd stay with the jugs or bags, instead of block. Blocks make a bigger bruise on people. Just be sure that if the top starts to rise, grab it. Don't be surprised if the metal supports don't support as fast. I remember you mentioned that situation, but I forgot it.

We had one vendor that had a cheap one, and it lasted a few years, until we got a big rain and the rain actually caused the roof supports bend from all of the rain collecting on the top.

If you can lift a concrete block, then you should be able to lift one of the EZUps from SamsClub, they weigh almost the same thing. I don't lift it, more like roll it over to vehicle, tip it over the tail gate, then lift the rest and slide it. I have 'man-handled' it in earlier years, but figured out I don't have to.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 9:00AM
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aka_rach(5b Ontario)

At our market it's really windy some days. I've learned now just not to put up the canopy.

One day the wind was really blowing and everyone had strapped down really well. So well that there was no give in the tent of a neighbouring vendor that the tent just buckled!

Sometimes too much weight can be a bad thing.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 6:18PM
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Has anyone tried to use cut off jean legs filled with sand?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:34PM
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They will work for awhile, but not long. Keep in mind that you have to have a certain amount of weight in a container will hold up in any kind of weather.

Your jeans might last 1 season. Depending upon your market's rule, they might not accept them as appropriate weights, I know some markets are starting to require certain weights.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 1:06PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I know this isn't high tech or expensive, but I use a gallon jug filled with water on each leg. I just loop bailer twine through the handle and tie it tightly in a bow to the leg. It works fine. And if you have access to water there at your market, you can keep empty jugs there in your truck and fill them up there if needed. In a pinch if you're selling plants like I am, and you can't get away, you can always steal a little water and water what's wilting too!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 6:14PM
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Plus the water jugs aren't sharp. We have a vendor that coffee cans filled with concrete. BIG winds came up, lifted canopy and slammed their weights into her, broke skin and she should have had 5 stitches. We were able to find bandaids enough to patch her up and she didn't go to the doctor until too late. She now carries a small scar as a reminder.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:40AM
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