View Full Version : EZ UP Canopies

10-09-2013, 01:32 PM
For those of yall that use these for comps....can you tell me the difference between the express line and sierra line. The express is $120 and the sierra is $50. I'm just trying to determine if the express is worth the extra $70. If yall use any other brand I'd like to hear about them as well.

10-09-2013, 01:42 PM
I can't tell you what the difference is, but they both look pretty lightweight construction-wise. Don't skimp on a canopy. I prefer the Caravan brands that are made for craft fairs. The legs are bigger and sturdier and the canvas is thicker. They are not light but they are very rugged. A good canopy should cost about $250. Take a look at eCanopy.com

10-09-2013, 01:44 PM
Stay away from the Sierra line

10-09-2013, 01:45 PM
From the looks of it, the sierra is a light weight model. In my opinion, not worth the $50 because the first big wind gust or rain storm that you encounter will collapse it. This is the one we have and have used for the last few years: http://www.samsclub.com/sams/e-z-up-instant-shelter-canopy-10-x-10/prod711059.ip?origin=search_page.rr1&campaign=rr&sn=SolrSearchToView&

It's nice because it comes with sides, a little canopy (good if you're vending out of it) and a roller bag. It's stood up to 2 tropical storms and countless thunder storms.

10-09-2013, 01:49 PM
I have the Sam's bundle also and I've been very happy with it for what it costs.

10-09-2013, 02:05 PM
As you go up in the EZ-Up family, you get sturdier frames and thicker vinyl, and longer warranties.

They should have specs on the EZ-Up website. I got mine from BuyShade.com, and they listed the specs for all the canopies.


10-09-2013, 02:08 PM
fwiw....i found the caravans to be more sturdy than the lowend ezups. got mine at costco 4 years ago and still going strong.

10-09-2013, 02:14 PM
Using an EZ-Up 12x16 Escort and 12x12 Sierra II. Both have slant legs and have held up for 2 years of comps (16). Think the Escort was $90 and the Sierra II $75 when purchased. The only advantage of the slant leg is they are harder to blow over if not anchored than the straight leg versions. The Sierra II looks like it's being replaced with the Vista next year. There are no side walls availabe for the 12x12 Sierra II only the 10x10 version. Next year will be purchasing the Sams Club Bundle. Having sides walls has become a nesessity. You never know about the weather.

10-09-2013, 02:21 PM
My take:

Only the product lines E-Z Up lists on their own website (http://www.ezup.com) represent their top quality stuff. You will also find a lot of private branded canopies that carry the E-Z Up logo, but those are built to the specifications of the reseller (Sears, Academy Sports, Sams Club, etc.) and are almost always of lower quality. Not that they are necessarily bad, but when you buy a hundred dollar canopy, it matters little if the name on it is QuickShade, Caravan, Ozark Trail, Coleman or E-Z Up.

For that money you are going to get a lightweight frame and tent material that will likely give you about 3 years of moderate duty service. If you want something more robust you will have to spend over $300 to get a canopy that will deliver about 5 years of heavy duty service. Neither will stand up to a strong thunderstorm - the instant-up design simply can't handle 60mph winds.

At the end of the day you have to decide if you'd rather go for a cheap model that you will have to replace sooner or a pricey model and take the risk that your $600 canopy may take to the air two months after you bought it.

10-09-2013, 02:41 PM
another vote for Caravan from me.

Blazing Cattles BBQ
10-09-2013, 03:09 PM
We use a Sierra II, I think it was 89 on Amazon and tie it down to a couple buckets filled with water. Not perfect but it held up well to the weather this past weekend at the Royal.

10-09-2013, 04:02 PM
I've had many of the elcheapos & they all have one thing in common, they normally will break in any decent wind. I've had 1 Express that has lasted all of those & got 7+yrs usage out of it. It's well worth the $120 to get it. IIRC the differences are that the Express has an internal frame brace w/ the frame being a little thicker grade metal whereas the Sierra has a frame that goes around the outside of the canopy & is thinner metal.

10-09-2013, 04:21 PM
Take a close look at Costco's "Undercover Professional", only available through Costco online when I got mine. Very sturdy, a spring loaded strut to tighten the tautness of the top so rain doesn't pool and designed to handle with only one person.

10-09-2013, 04:27 PM
I see you are from Texas. When I think of Texas I think of wide open spaces, lots of wind and huge thunderstorms. I would get the sturdiest one I could get my hands on. I use a Sierra 12 x 12 with slant legs and there have been times I've held down the legs just in case

10-09-2013, 08:57 PM
I have 25 contests on my Walmart "First Up" canopy. I like it a lot. It looks like they have changed the name, but when it is time for me to buy another, I will buy this.


Good luck.

10-09-2013, 09:18 PM
We have an Undercover brand that has been through more storms and heavy wind that I can remember, but we don't push it. It it's obvious that there are heavy winds coming we tend to take it down until it is past, but that's not always possible.

This year I bought a heavy duty EZ-Up brand because I wanted to use their leg extenders to get it high enough to go over the ramp on our toy hauler and the extenders are only available for the heavier models. The canopy is built like a tank but it is so heavy that it is a problem for my wife and I to move around and set up. We've only used it twice in 8 competitions.

Rub'n Wood BBQ
10-10-2013, 08:33 AM
I really like my 10 x 10 ez up from sams. Not the 200 full package, but just got the 89 dollar canopy without side walls. Good quality for the price. I used to have a 10 x 10 sierra with the slanted legs - not a big fan as it was hard to gang them up with other canopies.

10-10-2013, 08:54 AM
Back to the OP's first question, "What is the difference between the $120 and $50 EZ-UP's?" The $120 version is a full 10 x 10 of coverage, while the $50 version opnly covers about an 8 x 8 area because of the slanted legs. As others have stated, the higher you go up in price, the better the quality you will get, although, I am in my second year of comps (11 so far) and my $50 Sierra II has held up nicely. A couple of other local cook teams are using the Wal-Mart brand Ozark Trail with side walls have held up very well also. These are available for $94 with the walls purchased separately for $50.

10-10-2013, 11:59 AM
get strong ones and get them from craigslist. there are always people that just needed them for one event then sell them almost new. you just have to be patient.

Bark like a Hog BBQ
10-10-2013, 12:41 PM
I bought a commercial grade eurmax on ebay 10 x 10 with walls. Has a door and window in one of the walls. Outstanding heavy duty. I was able to set up on my own. Used it last weekend in my first comp. Was very breezy but no problem.

"if it ain't got no bark, it ain't worth the bite"
UDS, Trailmaster mod for now......

10-10-2013, 08:33 PM
have a caravan love it

10-10-2013, 08:36 PM
Still using the Caravan AlumaShade I got from Costco for $189 back in 2007.

I've been collecting frames off craigslist and have even used one brands struts to repair another and they are still going strong. I prefer Caravans but have had the EZ-Up Eclipse II's but sold them. Also have an aluminum frame Caravan and a commercial EZ-Up that fold down to @4' tall. I buy heavy duty 600 denier replacement tops from Garden Winds for $89-much better quality!

To be honest-if I had your $$ I'd look hard at the Coverup models from Costco, I like how the sidewalls and tops have velcro all the way around.


I snagged some 5'x5' Norstar pop ups that myself and a couple other teams are using on our trailer ramps.



10-11-2013, 12:30 PM
Get the most expensive one you can afford. Built quality is better as you go up through the EZ-UP line. Not all the stuff is visible..for example the higher end shelters have internal bracing in the tubes, so less likely to bend and snap.

I got tired of replacing tents every season (even when I was doing 3 comps a year) so I got the singing and dancing high end aluminum frame model, and it's now been through about 60 comps. Not everyone wants to drop that much cash on a tent, but even at the lower end you will see benefits from going one model up.

10-12-2013, 10:12 AM
We have 2 of the $99.00 units that you get from Wal Mart. They have served us well using them in comps and camping at the beach. They are not very stable and I know if a good wind catches them while they are tied down to the ground, they frame would snap. It almost happened in Winchester a few months ago. If my wife and me had not been holding them when a storm front came thru, they would be scrap metal.

Also, we went to buy side panels. They were $15.00 each (I think that was the price) from Wal Mart. So, if we bought 4 panels at $15.00 each, well, you can do the math. Just a little short of the EZ UP from SAMs. The SAMs unit is much sturdier, thicker frame parts, and has the walls included.

While the cheap ones have lasted a good while, we will be purchasing the SAMs unit before next years comps.