Decision: I was originally
captivated by the Kelty, but ended up abandoning it in spite of its advantages because it
felt a little claustrophobic and I am a social creature so I like to share with my
friends. The E-Z Up and Quik-Shade are probably a toss-up, but since the Quik-Shade got
favorable feedback and it is available locally, that ended up being the best choice for
me. I have more use for that style beyond dog shows also, since I can use it on RV camping
trips as a gazebo.
Put to the test: Here's how it worked last weekend in the pouring rain at Hayward. Under my canopy, we had the following: my 42" x-pen with six 2' panels in a rectangle, a 6' square pup-tent, a #500 metal crate, four people with chairs, and three 26" dogs. The pup-tent stuck out the back, and with creative use of tarps clipped on as sides, we all stayed cozy and dry.
Follow-up: I bought the Quik-Shade, and it hasn't been perfectly trouble-free, but through no fault of its own: the first one looked like it had been seriously dropped during shipping - one of the corner pieces that holds the whole thing together had completely exploded. I returned it to Orchard Supply and they exchanged it without question. The second one also has a problem, but it was my fault - I tried to open it without reading the instructions and understanding the physics - one of the roof support bars got stuck outside the framework, I tried to force it up (not realizing how easy it SHOULD be), and I broke one of the connectors. But it still works reasonably well.
Repair Update: My broken strut part (see Follow-up above) finally bit the dust and is no longer usable. I called the 800 number and talked to a very helpful woman, who immediately faxed me a diagram of the frame with part numbers for each piece, as well as an order form with prices. I found what I needed and called back with my order - total cost, under $5.00 including shipping. The part arrived within a couple of days and installation was a snap. Excellent service if you ask me.
Warning!!!: If you are thinking about buying the EZ-Up clone that Costco is selling, please beware of the following review that I was sent by an unsatisfied customer: "In a light rain it collected water in small puddles near the corners. Another rain that night resulted in a dip forming in one corner that held more than a quart of water. I called the company, Caravan Instant Canopies (1-877-922-6679) and was informed that the Costco version is a "sun shade" and it was recommended that it be taken down whenever it rained! If you want the "waterproof commercial version" you can buy a replacement top that will fit on the existing frame for $210 plus shipping. The person on the phone even informed me that if left unattended in the rain that eventually the sagging/stretching would occur in all corners and so much water would collect that the entire structure would collapse. Needless to say, mine is going back to Costco as soon as possible."
Last updated 11/07/2010
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