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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Garden Winds Canopy - White Replacement Top for First Up

Thought I would create this post for anyone with the Wal-Mart First Up brand canopy tent. Currently they are selling these in the store and online for $97. They are very sturdy, easy to put up (you can do it alone, but easier with someone), and most importantly have wind vents in the top. The wind vents are incredibly important as most tents do not have these - although why I don't know. In heavy rains, you may have a few drops leak in around the vents (middle of the tent), but it's not much. Throw a small tarp or plastic on the center of your display if needed during a storm. The drips will only come with heavy, sustained rain.

Anyhow, Wal-Mart no longer carries the white top for this tent. Unfortunately many art shows require white topped tents only. Perhaps they think that makes them look more arty? I can see maybe not wanting the name branded tents (think college names or beer names emblazoned on the top), but solid colors don't seem like a bad thing. I mean does it really matter what color your canopy is if you have a great product and well layed out booth? Anyhow I prefer the eclectic craft shows with multi-colored canopies. Besides I don't get in to too many of the white-topped shows (I think my product is too crafty and not arty enough), but every now and then I will find myself at a white canopy only show. So I searched everywhere for a white top online for the First Up frame and could find nothing. Finally I called the manufacturer and they informed they had discontinued the white tops, but referred me to a company that might still carry them. Garden Winds is the name of the company and the website is here. The replacement white canopy at $79 is almost as much as the frame/canopy itself. The good news is that Garden Winds ships very quickly and allows returns for up to 60 days. The bad news is that this tent does not fit the First Up frame tightly. It's pretty loose at the top (the frame is not tall enough). Also while there are velcro strips to secure the tent to the bars, there is not velcro in the corners to secure the canopy to the corner frame. I guess you could sew in some velcro if you are up for that kind of excitement.

Overall I would not recommend the Garden Winds replacement canopy for the First Up Frame. The replacement canopy itself is good quality, but is just not a good fit to the frame. Unless you are willing to make quite a few adjustments (we're talking some sewing and adding velcro and who knows what else), it's just not going to look that great. Just my thoughts. Apologies if you came here looking for a white First Up replacement canopy - but if you ever find one or have one you want to sell, leave me a comment!

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