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I did as much research as poss...
on 5 June 2012
Having had several gazebos in the past I did a lot of research before eventually buying two of these. I didn't want them to bend and break under the slightest wind or rain.
We had an 18th birthday party so put them together in the garden. The party was on the Jubilee weekend 2012 and the weather ended up awful.
As I made the purchase several weeks early I hoped the weather would be good but no such luck (hence I'd done the research in advance).
I didn't want to spend hundreds and hundreds so wanted to buy the most robust cheap gazebos I could find.
Here's how the purchase and performance went...
Firstly the two gazebo marquees arrived very quickly, though the extra set of ground pegs promised in the advert weren't there. I sent an e-mail and the seller sent them straight away. They're the little ones you sometimes get with football goals or cheap tents and adequate for the job.
I disagree with the recommendation (which shows when you're ordering) that you should check the product before signing the delivery form though - this isnt practical when buying something so big with so many parts, though miracle of miracles Citylink did deliver them without either smashing them to bits or not turning up at all - as is my usual experience with the worst delivery organisation on the planet.
Putting them up was easy. My father in law helped and he's the type who'd try and mend a pane of glass with a hammer, but we had no problem (attach the roof straps to the top hole on the legs though otherwise they won't reach).
I only used a couple of the ground pegs for each leg in the end, though the father in law did one of his usuals by bending half of them to absolute buggery - so be careful pushing them into the ground. Using a hammer makes it easier to get them in without bending them - and put them in at different angles so the wind can't just rip them out.
We put the two gazebos side by side and put plastic sheeting on the floor because the rain had started, and a load of cardboard on top of that to soak up the rain which was dripping between the two gazebos.
The sides are nice and the doors have outside and inside zips, but the panels and doors stop a couple of inches from the floor. It would be nicer if they went all the way down - but then again if they did then the wind would be a far bigger hazard than it is. Because the gap is there and the side panels flap about a bit if it's windy, it does mean that the whole thing doesn't fly off like it would if everything was rigid.
When the rain was really heavy the bars/structure didn't bend, though the water did collect and the roof would sag round the edges. We kept an eye on it and would tip the water out every once in a while, though if it got really saggy you had to be careful that you didn't accidentally tip the water on the inside!
If it had got much windier or rainier things could have got nasty, but 40 teenagers enjoyed themselves and enjoyed the risk of getting wet every time they walked between the two gazebos where there was the occasional gush of water.
I left them up until the next day and they survived the rain and wind - neither of which was too heavy overnight.
A few bits of roof were sagging with rain but none of the bars were bent. The only damage was where one of the velcro straps that hold the panels to the side bars had ripped off the panel. This could have been because of that wind, possibly because of the people just being a bit boisterous - nearby was a rip through the panel a few inches long but it looked like a clean cut so probably done by someone rather than stretched by the wind. And in any case the velcro strap had pulled out from the seam so I'll end up sewing it back in.
I have seen other gazebos which were similar but some of the bars on this gazebo are thicker and I think this helps a lot.
One of the products I saw on amazon came with a trolley bag and I would suggest that it would be great to have this as well, but I've changed my mind now because when I took the gazebos down I quickly folded up the panels and roof - and they end up much bigger than when they arrive. I'm sure that if you spend a while trying to flatten and fold the panels you can get them really small but I really didn't have the appetite to do that with so many panels so everything went back into the boxes that they were delivered in, and whatever bits I couldn't squeeze in went into a big black dustbin bag.
So yes, I would recommend this gazebo. It does cope with wind and rain but you have to use your brain and avoid really bad weather - after all it's only a few metal bars and plastic sheets held together with clips and velcro. In nice weather it's brilliant, in unpleasant weather it's ok but in really bad weather I wouldn't use it. If you want a gazebo/marquee that will cope with a really bad spell of weather then there's no cheap answer - you'll have to get one of the really expensive ones, however if the rain isn't really terrible and it's just a bit windy I think this one will cope better than all the other cheap ones.