If you found this page you probably just scheduled for first outdoor event for when warmer weather finally returns. Now you have no idea where to start. Obviously what you need for an outdoor event greatly differs from your indoor events.
Hopefully my recommendations will set you up for success. I can not stress enough how important it is to plan plan plan!
Trust me! I learned from experience that it is always best to be over prepared for whatever Mother Nature can throw at you. Don't make my newbie mistakes.
Like many of my vendor friends I lost a canopy due to very high winds a year and a half ago at one of my shows. I was by myself and just couldn't win that battle. I want you to hopefully be more prepared than I was.
So what do you need to have a successful outdoor event? I'm glad you asked.
I have included below those supplies that have worked best for me in my outdoor shows. Check back often as I will update the list as I find new products to make my life easier.
Buy the best and strongest canopy you can afford. Wind is not your friend here, so don't skimp on this one.
I started out with a cheap Wal-Mart 10x10 canopy. While it was easy to transport and put up it was not able to stand up to winds. I went through a freak windstorm and this lighter weight canopy buckled as a result of it. If you only plan to do a couple of outdoor shows the cheaper canopy may still be worth it though.
For those of you planning to book lots of outdoor events I recommend the ABC canopy. It is more costly but it is also heavy duty.
Did I mention it is heavy! It weighs at least 50 lbs. It is also easy to put up if you have 2 people. I have been able to put it up by myself when on concrete, but grass I have not mastered yet. I always bring help for that very reason.
I purchased the canopy that came with the roller bags, weights, stakes/rope and sidewalls. Sidewalls are a must especially if you do multiple day events so you can close up your booth or for rainy days.
Don't let the weight deter you though. I have been through some windy days with this canopy and it barely moves. Can't say the same for my vendor neighbors with the cheap canopies, they were struggling to hold theirs down and a few even got destroyed. No thanks! I've done that one and will never again go cheap. Well worth the money if you ask me.
Regardless of the kind of canopy you decide on you will need weights. Most Festivals require that you have at least 40 pounds per leg. I totally agree! Don't go any less. You'll thank me later.
My canopy came with weights but it still doesn't provide enough weight, in my opinion. Always plan to add more weight if needed. You just never know what Mother Nature will throw at you. It's better to be over prepared than not prepared at all.
You be the Judge on this one, but you may want to lower or completely take your canopy down if the winds are going to be 40 or above. It is not worth it.
You run the risk of damaging the canopy and you could actually injure someone if the canopy is not weighted down enough. I have been at outdoor shows where canopies got caught in the wind and they go flying. This is very dangerous and you want to try your best to avoid this to the best of your ability.
It is much better to play it safe when it comes to dealing with wind. Lower that canopy!
I have the cheap 4 inch ones. I like to use these to stake my chair down during windy shows. Works great! 🙂
I also have the 6 inch heavy duty stakes that I use on the canopy to tie the canopy down. If it is really windy I will use the stakes and weights when I am in grassy area. I always have extra stakes just in case one gets bent or I loose one.
Purchase strong rope. This can be bought at Walmart in the camping section. You can use the rope on the corners of the canopy to help anchor the canopy down even more. Just be careful that it doesn't become a trip hazard for your customers or yourself. You may want to consider tying bright colored ribbon to the rope so it can be more noticeable.
This goes without saying. You need a comfy chair for when you need to take a short break or sometimes a customer needs to sit down.
I am a big fan of being able to fold up tables for easy storage and transporting. I use three sizes. 4 foot, 6 foot and a 2 foot.
I really like black tablecloths because it makes the product pop more.
Downside of outdoor shows - you have to deal with the weather. Depending on the time of year you may need to purchase fans or heaters to help with your comfort during the show.
Keep all of your supplies in one place. You will want the basics like extra pens, band aids, scotch tape, duct tape, string, clothes pins, calculator, extra paper, receipts and bags.
Tip: I use clothespins on the bottom my clipboards to keep my receipts from blowing around when customers are trying to sign.
Extra Comfy Shoes and Socks
You just never know when your get may get wet. Wet feet are unhappy feet.
Tip: Ladies this is not the day to wear those heals. You want to be comfortable all day long.
Bungee Cords and Zip Ties
Cooler for extra water, lunches and snacks
Outdoor extension cords
Power packs for charging phones
Ponco or Raincoat for those freak rain storms
Cheap ones from the dollar store. These come in handy if it rains and you need to cover stuff. I also use these tableclothes when I do multiple day shows and need to cover stuff up at night. It helps keep the morning dew off of your paperwork and product.
You are not always close enough to a trash can so these come in handy to keep all of your trash in one place.
Comment below if have supplies that you love using that you think I will enjoy?