Jugs of water are perhaps the simplest and least expensive to create. They are easy to stick in odd
corners of the market vehicle, don't mar items they are packed against, and at around 8½ pounds per
gallon, provide significant anchoring if a large enough jug is used. Although a single gallon is not enough
for any but the lightest winds, it does provide some anchoring, and multiple jugs can be used at each corner. To create a heavier
jug, fill it with sand before filling it with water. But beware that plastic will photodegrade eventually, so
be prepared for the day when your water jug breaks apart. Truly heavy water weights, such as 5 gallon
buckets (~45 lbs. each), tend to be large and may be obtrusive in your display area.
From left to right, Snakeroot ('07), Living Earth ('07), Argyle Acres ('07), and Mineral Springs ('06).
Iron is the heaviest weight for its volume, so iron weights can be small yet very heavy. Custom construction my a metal
shop can create a slot that fits neatly around the tent leg and install a lifting handle. These designs tend to run into the hundreds
of dollars for a set of four, and weight 40-50 lbs. each, are fairly unobstrusive in use, and will last
practically forever. As you can see, in a pinch almost any piece of iron will fill the bill.
From left to right, Freyenhagen ('07), Peacemeal ('07), and ?? ('07)
Many members use the old reliable concrete block in one of its many forms, while others prefer a more custom
designed approach for better looks and ease of handling. Because concrete is heavy, it makes a good anchor.
It can be made into almost any form, allowing full sway to the member's creativity. Note that if using a
plastic bucket as a form for your contrete weight, the anchor bolt, and not the much weaker bucket handle, should be where you tie down.
The plastic-pumpkin-full-of-concrete weights were made by Argyle Acres' Galen Young, who offers them for sale. In the late fall,
pumpkins-wieghts can get confusing!
From left to right, ?? ('07), ?? ('07), ?? ('07); second row: Cornerstone ('07), Meadowsweet ('07), Wickett ('07); third row: Freedom ('07), Worcester
('07), Argyle Acres ('07); fourth row: Argyle Acres ('07), Fail Better ('08).
If your display table is loaded with heavy products at the start of the day, tying your tent to the table is a
tempting solution. But if the day's sales are good, or if your products are light, a sudden gust could bring you
Rocks can certainly be heavy enough, and have a definite "home made" look, but require a relatively long time to properly tie at each market
and can be awkward to lift and pack in the vehicle.
From left to right, ?? ('07), Barkwheats ('08).
Notes on Tying Down Your Tent.
- Properly tying down your tent should be considered serious business. Some thought and effort need to be
applied to just how to do it responsibly. It may be exciting to a four-year-old to see a gust of wind turn
your tent into a kite, but you will consider yourself lucky if your wind-driven tumbling mass of metal struts and
canvas misses that Lexus, that baby stroller and that elderly couple—and only results in the destruction of
your tent, your display and your pride. In other words, you want to be sure your tent isn't going
- A steady wind or a gust of wind will tend to move a tent in either of two ways. One will be sideways so the
tent "walks" a few inches. This is usually not much of a problem as long as it doesn't upset your display
or threaten the integrity of your tie-downs. It is, however, an indication that your anchors are nearing their
limit for today's amount of wind. The other way is that one side or one corner of your tent will lift vertically. This
is the most dangerous motion, since the tent will now catch even more wind and the lifting effect of the wind will
be even greater. This is often the precursor to your tent flipping over and/or blowing away completely. Therefore, when
anchoring your tent it is most important that the wind cannot lift any corner of your tent at all. Having your
anchoring lines taught helps prevent the wind from even starting to lift a corner. Once your tent
is anchored, try lifting a corner leg to see just how well it is anchored.
- It is becoming common for people to use their market vehicle as an anchor for two corners of their tent.
This has the advantage of requiring only two further weights to anchor the tent, and you know that at least
two corners of the tent aren't going anywhere. Bungees make this quick and easy, as you can anchor to a
bumper, wheel well, roof rack or other fairly sturdy section of your vehicle.
- If using water jugs, a single one-gallon jug at 8½ lbs. is not enough weight to hold down the corner of
a tent. Larger 2½ gallon jugs are available, and at 25 lbs. each when filled with water, provide
considerably more security. Filling jugs with sand before adding water increases their weight still further.
- If using bungee cords, don't use the weak fabic covered ones, as they will stretch allowing your tent
to lift off the ground. Plus, they don't last as long in the sunlight as the black rubber ones, and the
hooks are weaker. The best bungee cords are the black rubber ones; use the ones that have two ridges on one side and
are square on the other since these are much stronger and last longer than the cheaper oval ones. They are available at truck
stops and better hardware stores, and cost $2-4 each, depending on length. They are worth it.
- If using two bungees to obtain the proper length, remove one hook from one and insert the hook
from the other bungee into that hole; you now have a one-piece bungee which will reduce fumbling during
setup. Also, bend all the the S-hooks closed enough so they won't slide off the bungee, but not so tight that you are
pinching the rubber.
- Advice about using ropes:
- If using rope for your tie-down, use parachute chord or other nylon rope if you can. It is strong, doesn't fray, and will last
for years and years. Cut your rope to the lengths you'll need at market then melt the cut ends over a match or
candle to keep them from fraying.
- Cotton clothesline weakens and frays with age, and is miserable to untie when wet. Polypropylene rope is very
stiff especially when cold, and also becomes rough with usage making it difficult to untie.
- Practice tying and untying your choice of rope a few times at home to be sure you've chosen the right size and
stiffness. A good size rope is about the width of a pencil or slightly thinner.
- When using rope, learn how to use a trucker's hitch, also known as the power cinch knot for tying your canopy to your anchor, rather
than using a clove hitch or double half hitch knot. Not only is a power cinch quick and easy to tie and untie, but
it makes getting your line taught much simpler.