Pop Up Canopy Buyer's Guide
Has the purchase of a popup canopy tent been on your mind? Before making this important buying decision, it's important to know everything you can about popup canopies. What they can be used for, how to choose the right size, and how to install and maintain one are all important factors.
Popup canopies are a great way of adding shade to your home, a business, or an event. In this article, we'll help you make this important decision by discussing the different types of canopies available. We'll also cover some common features and what makes each product a great choice. By the time we are done, you will have the foundation needed to purchase the best popup canopy for your application.
Things You'll Want to Know Before Selecting a Canopy
Benefits of Pop-Up Canopies
A pop-up canopy offers a wide range of benefits. It provides shade around the home while still looking stylish and inviting. Many people use canopies for weekend events or one-time purposes. But, the instant shade and extra space canopies provide make them multi-functional. Whether you are planning for a picnic, needing shade on your deck or around the pool, or simply desiring more storage, these canopies can add extra space to the home.
For business or event use, a pop up canopy tent offers shade and shelter for vendors, picnic areas, and important displays. Businesses also have the added advantage of using pop up canopies for advertising purposes! This is super easy when adding custom graphics offered by many canopy brands.
Finding the Right Size
The first step in deciding what size canopy to purchase is to determine exactly how it will be used. If you are hosting a party or an outside family gathering like a barbecue, you'll need a canopy large enough to accommodate the people you invite. A good way of estimating the size you need is to allow 10 to 12 feet of space per person you plan to host. This is only a guide on how much space may be required but is a great place to start.
When selecting a canopy for a lecture or sit-down type event, it's important to know how many seats you plan to add. Once you have this number, you can then estimate five to six square feet per chair as the amount of space needed to make guests comfortable.
When estimating for a meal type event, you must keep in mind the different types of tables that can be used. Each one is estimated differently. When using round tables its best to estimate 12 square feet per person. When using rectangular tables, 10 square feet per person is the closest estimate to use.
For business or commercial use, choosing the size canopy you need is a bit different. For craft tables, event booths, or other types of event needs its best to measure the items that will be displayed instead of measuring for people.
Canopy Parts and Materials
Polyester — Polyester is considered the most commonly used material for pop-up canopy tops. This material is durable and water resistant and often costs less than its counterpart, vinyl.
Vinyl — Vinyl is considered the more expensive canopy top but offers extra protection from the UV rays that polyester does not. Also, durable and waterproof, vinyl tops can be made flame resistant and are considered easier to clean.
Another thing to consider with your fabric choice is the denier of the fabric. This is the measurement of how thick the material is. It's determined by measuring the weight of 9,000 meters of thread in grams. If, for example, 9,000 meters of a particular fiber weighs 550g, then its denier would be 550. It's important to note, though, that you can't always assume that a higher denier indicates superior strength if you're comparing two different materials. Every material has a unique strength-to-weight ratio.
There are two frame materials in the canopy industry — steel and aluminum. You'll want to choose your frame material both for what sort of climate you'll be using it in and for how portable you intend your canopy to be.
Steel — Steel is the sturdier of the materials used for canopy frames. This also makes it heavier and less portable. Steel also has the issue of being able to rust. Many frames come treated to avoid oxidation. Steel framed canopy package deals tend to be a little less costly than aluminum versions.
Aluminum — Aluminum is the lighter of the frame materials that can be used, but this means it can bend easily. When aluminum corrodes it forms a substance called aluminum oxide which can prevent the material from corroding further. Aluminum framed package deals can be more costly, but are easier to relocated and are longer lasting overall.
There are two types of leg options you can choose for your instant canopy. Although each gives a unique look to your canopy, it's important to note they contribute greatly to the amount of space and stability each canopy offers. Slanted legs are the least stable of the two and take up more space while providing less coverage area.
Straight-leg canopies are sturdier and provide considerably more space than a slant leg pop up shelter, but the issue with these legs is cost. Choosing the sturdier, roomier, straight-leg option costs more money out of pocket for the canopy you've chosen.
When choosing accessories for your pop up tent canopy, you'll find that they fit into two categories. Some are considered structural additions while others are used to make your canopy more convenient. Both categories of accessories will help to achieve lasting satisfaction from your purchase.
Sidewalls — These accessories do what their name implies. They enclose some or all your instant canopy to protect you from weather or to provide privacy. These sidewalls come in various configurations, depending on the manufacturer and style of canopy you have. These include mesh walls, half walls, full sidewalls, and for some, food service walls.
Stakes — To protect your canopy from weather issues, you can use stakes that drive into the ground to hold your canopy in place.
Anchors — Wind can be a big issue for pop up shade canopies. Therefore, anchors are important. These go into the ground and twist to gain complete stability.
Weight Bags — These are bags of additional weight that can be used to stabilize your canopy to keep it secure.
Travel Bags — Travel bags make transporting your canopy much easier. There are several types to choose from including those with wheels and those with hard, outer shells. The main thing to remember is to choose a travel bag that is well constructed and has sturdy handles.
Graphics — Having custom graphics is a great way to accessorize your instant canopy. This is also a great way of advertising. eCanopy offers three types of custom graphics. These include screen printing, digital printing, and digital patch printing.
Package Deals — These package deals are becoming quite popular for those who choose to purchase instant canopies. Although they offer several accessories in each package, it is important to do the math and ensure you are getting a good deal before buying one.
Who Makes the Best Canopies?
When choosing the best pop up canopy for you, it's important to consider all the brands available. Below, we will take a look at a few to help you make your decision.
- Undercover — Undercover has one of the smaller selections of canopies available. However, they still have the right canopy for whatever your needs may be and offer outstanding value for the money.
- EZ Up — EZ Up offers a multitude of options for those in need of an instant canopy. This means their canopies can be used for several purposes. They also offer both slant-leg and straight-leg canopies.
- Eurmax — Eurmax has a wide selection of some of the most popular types of canopies available. They primarily focus on the straight-leg variety and often use polyester that varies in denier.
- Caravan — Caravan offers one of the widest selections of instant canopies. They allow customers to select preferred frame materials, canopy tops, and straight or slant leg designs.
How Will Your Canopy be Shipped?
Smaller pop-up canopies and their accessories are often shipped parcel but will most likely arrive in several boxes. These would be canopies that are 10' x 10' or smaller. Keep in mind, however, that these boxes may weigh as much as 60 to 70 pounds. This means they may require more than one person to carry them.
Canopies that are 20' x 20' or larger will arrive by LTL freight. The freight company will contact you to schedule a delivery date and time. The canopy will arrive on a pallet, which means two people may be needed to accept the package. Upon arrival, check your package carefully for damages since most warranties are limited.
Installing and Setting Up Your Canopy
Many people choose pop-up canopies due to the ease of setup or assembly. These types of canopies only require two people to install properly. No tools are needed. If you find that the pop-up canopy you've purchased requires tools and extensive steps for setup, it is not a true instant canopy.
Making Your Canopy Last
Once you receive your pop-up canopy, it is imperative that you read all warranty and manufacturer information. This will give you the best information on how to properly care for your new instant canopy. Follow these instructions carefully and avoid doing anything that is not recommended. Going against the provided information may void your warranty. Note that each canopy company has different time frames and instructions for warranties. Keep this in mind when taking steps to protect your product.
Extending Your Canopy's Life
With intentional care of your canopy, you may find it can last for up to ten years without issue. Keep in mind, that the fabric is most easily damaged during handling, transportation, setup, and break down. Proper handling and disassembly of your canopy before the onset of severe weather will help prolong the lifespan of your product.
Fabric Care — Wash the fabric with soap and water. Allow it to air dry, off the ground. Sunlight will help speed up the process. Do not use bleach as it will fade the fabric color. Once dried, refold along the creases to retain natural shape. If you find tears or holes, seek out repairs immediately.
Frame Care — Only wash the canopy frame when it's set up. Allow it to completely dry before storing. Water may cause rusting. Consult your owner's manual for best cleaning instructions for the particular material used for your frame. Keep all fasteners tightened correctly.
Weather Conditions — Do not use your pop-up canopy in high winds. Such winds may damage the frame and blow away unsecured canopies. Do not allow water to pool on the top of your fabric as it will stretch the material and affect the integrity of the frame. Do not leave canopies up during lightning. They are not considered storm shelters. Check your canopy's snow rating in the manual before using in winter conditions. Keep in mind that heavy snow can also stretch the fabric and affect the frame.
Enjoy Your New Canopy
The information provided in this article is intended to aid in the process of choosing the best pop-up canopy for your needs. Now that you have all the basics, the next step is to make the purchase. Afterward, the fun part begins: enjoying your new pop-up canopy.
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Pop Up Canopies Q&A with the Product Specialists* Please Note: All customer questions are answered by our Product Specialists free of charge!
18 Questions &
from Denver, CO asked:
May 14, 2017
I want a water-proof pop up tent or canopy for rain protection for our teardrop camper trailer when cooking and eating. What do you recommend for rain protection?
Vitabri canopies, found here, are the only waterproof brand we sell: Vitabri Canopies
on May 15, 2017
from WA asked:
October 11, 2016
I am looking for a very sturdy 12 x 12 pop-up canopy with a tear-resistant cover for use in an industrial application.
Will M. - eCanopy Product Specialist
on October 11, 2016
from Houston, TX asked:
April 28, 2016
I'm a kart racer. I need a pop up canopy that is light and easy to set up. It needs to be waterproof, but most of all it needs to be able to handle strong wind. I've lost 2 canopy's already due to wind. I've been using a 10x10 but would also be interested in the 10x15. I think strength of structure is my main criteria. What do you recommend?
from San Diego, CA asked:
March 28, 2016
I need a pop up canopy 5x10. Do you have one? Thank you.
Unfortunatly we do not currently offer a canopy in the size of 5x10.
on March 28, 2016
from Greenville, SC asked:
October 7, 2015
I want to entertain clients in football tailgating area. I think my best option is a 10x15 tent. I want to get the sturdiest canopy possible while also getting a waterproof top. What are my best options?
from Denver, CO asked:
July 1, 2015
Do you have a canopy that can be set up and taken down by one person?
Brennan W. - eCanopy Product Specialist
on July 1, 2015
from San Francisco, CA asked:
March 23, 2015
I am looking for a 10 x 10 pop-up canopy that has a truss which does not criss-cross in the middle of the canopy. What brands use the other style of canopy where there's 8+ feet of open headroom all around the inside of the canopy?
from Norfolk, VA asked:
November 2, 2014
I'm the Supply Officer on the USS GRAVELY (DDG 107) in the US Navy and need a quote on a canopy to replace the one we currently have which is all torn. The color preference is dark blue with either white or gold letters for USS GRAVELY (DDG 107). The side panels need to be clear/plastic to be able to see through. Is this possible?
We can do custom graphics on Caravan, Vitabri, KD Kanopy, Ohenry, Eureka and Celina brand items. You can fill out the form at the following link and upload your logo for a free quote:
Canopy Custom Graphics Quote Form
Our Graphics Department must actually see your logo and the size canopy you are interested in as well as the placements you require the logo before they can provide you with a quote.
Dawn H. - eCanopy Product Specialist
on November 3, 2014
from Eagle River, AK asked:
August 9, 2014
I am looking for a commercial grade canopy with wind vents. I have owned a Caravan for years and it is OK but I am not that impressed with it when it comes to wind or rain. The Undercover canopies look great, but I noticed you always seem to recommend the Caravan brand for those asking about canopies to withstand wind and rain. Why is that? Is Undercover really new on the scene?
The Undercover brand is wonderful. They are more geared towards people looking for a lighter weight frame, either because they will be setting them up themselves or just have need of a canopy that does not weigh as much.
In instances where someone is looking for something that will stand up a little better against wind, we recommend Caravan's more heavy duty canopies.
However, as long as you have the Undercover canopy staked or weighed down, the vented versions should work fine for you.
Dawn H. - eCanopy Product Specialist
on August 11, 2014
from Bristol, ME asked:
November 7, 2013
I'm looking for a commercial grade 12 x 12 instant up canopy. Do you have any suggestions?
from Santa Barbara asked:
September 22, 2013
I am looking for a "best quality" pop up 10'x10'. I'm considering EZ Up or Shelter Logic. Can you recommend the best bang for the buck? I'd like black if I can get it.
Our Caravan Displayshade
has proven itself as one of our most reliable and affordable pop ups. It is also offered with a black top. Please not that the enclosure walls in this kit will be white.
on September 23, 2013
from Highlands, North Carolina asked:
August 28, 2013
I have 5 of these canopies and my question is can I just purchase a replacement cover?
Do you have the manufacturer of the canopies? Without the manufacturer we would not be able to guarantee the tops would fit properly because they are not a universal item.
on August 28, 2013
from NC asked:
August 12, 2013
Need a 10 x 10 with a logo on it can I get a quote?
We can do custom graphics on Caravan, KD Kanopy, Ohenry, Eureka and Celina brand items. You can fill out the form at the following link for a free quote: Canopy Custom Graphics Quote Request Form
on August 12, 2013
from VT asked:
July 5, 2013
Which of your tents will have the most durability and not blow away in the wind? What can you recommend?
I have gathered a few simple options that should meet your needs and listed them below.
A commercial grade steel canopy. Water resistant. Available in many colors and ships very quickly. Perfect mid range canopy.
The Classic by Caravan Canopy
Our most durable pop-up. Industrial grade 2 inch thick frame, completely waterproof 1000 denier vinyl cover. Top of the line quality.
The V3 by Vitabri Canopies
Lighter weight, low cost. Great for tight budgets.
The Pro Series Pop-Up by Shelter Logic
on July 5, 2013
from Pleasanton, CA asked:
April 23, 2013
Can I order sidewalls for my canopy, at a later date? I haven't decided what I want yet, but I need the canopy now.
Yes, sidewalls and side rails can be ordered separately at a later date for the Caravan pop-up models.
on April 24, 2013
from Ketchikan, AK asked:
April 10, 2013
Do you have any easy to assemble and store tents that can withstand wind and rain?
from Seattle asked:
February 26, 2013
How do I get the E-Z canopy down? I see where it says close here and open here on the side rail but do I push up? Down? I cannot get it down. I cannot get it to close up for storage.
If you have an actual E-Z Up canopy, you can find instructions in the product manual
on February 26, 2013
from Lafayette, CA asked:
November 30, 2012
I am looking for a lightweight but strong canopy to be used for soccer games. Mainly sun shade or light rain shade. The previous three we had broke within the year. Lightweight and compact size are important. Can you please suggest the best quality 10' x 10' canopy you carry?
I would recommend the Caravan Aluma
. The frame is commercial grade aluminum, yet it weighs only 49 pounds and folds down to approximately 5 feet.
on November 30, 2012