Portable Garages & Shelters Buyer's Guide

Need more storage space? Looking for options to protect your vehicle or boat from the elements? Dreaming about adding an affordable outdoor room for parties and events?

Portable Garages & Shelters

If so, a portable garage might be the perfect solution. There are several different types and sizes available. So, we'll help you sort through what to look for based on your needs and budget. Many of the structures are also surprisingly easy to assemble. No need for you to worry about hiring professionals or buying special tools.

What To Know Before You Buy

Portable Garages Aren't Just for Cars

Portable garages offer a cost-effective way to protect vehicles, boats, and lawn equipment from rain and UV damage. Homeowners, business owners, and avid travelers can all enjoy the ease of having a weather-resistant shelter to take on the go. They also provide a great storage option for tools, machinery, and anything else that might be cluttering up your yard.

However, portable shelters aren't limited to storage. You can use these structures to turn your outdoor space into another room for parties and events. You can set them up to provide shelter at sporting or other outdoor events. And, you can even use these structures as a shelter for your outdoor animals.

There are many models to choose from. Whether hosting a wedding reception or a family picnic, parking a car, or storing an antique shovel collection, you can find the style and size for you.

Find the Right Size

Portable Garages & Shelters

Determine the size of your portable shelter by the space that you have available. You'll also need to calculate the dimensions of items you plan to store in it. If you have limited space in your backyard, make sure to measure the area where you plan to put the pop up garage. This reduces your search results to models that actually fit your unique space.

It's also important to measure vehicles, boats, or other items that you plan to store because a carport that doesn't fit your car is useless. When measuring your vehicles, keep in mind that you will need some extra clearance. You'll need space to walk around the vehicle, open the doors, and safely park it.

The size of a vehicle storage solution will depend on the size of the vehicle you'd like to store and if you intend to work on the vehicle. You'll want to make sure that you at least have enough space to fully open the doors on each side of the vehicle. Though you will want to measure the height of the opened hood if you plan to work on the vehicle inside the portable garage shelter. You'll also want to add enough space so you can utilize any and all tools that may be used, such as air compressors, jacks, or other equipment.

When you're planning to store taller items, such as boats, tractors, or campers, make sure you have enough clearance for entry and for any attachments you may add later. These attachments can add height that most don't think about.

General storage is generally less complicated. Just be certain to leave enough room for any shelving or storage racks that you may need. For all instances, it is recommended to leave at least eight inches of space between the walls and what's stored inside. This will help prevent what's stored inside from damaging the cover in winds.

Portable Garages & Shelters

Choose Your Materials

The durability and, not surprisingly, the price of a garage in a box depends on the material they are made from.

The covers come in a variety of materials including polyethylene, canvas, and polyester. Polyethylene is the most popular choice. It is more durable and filters out UV rays better than canvas or polyester. It is also the most expensive option. If you are unconcerned about UV damage or if you're on a tight budget, you might want to consider the canvas or polyester options.

The common polyethylene fitted covers are available in a variety of weights. A lighter weight temporary garage will typically have a 4 or 6-ounce cover; middle range covers will be 9 to 13 ounces and heavy covers 15 to 18 ounces. The heavier options are for the most extreme weather scenarios. And, while very durable, heavier materials cut down on the portable nature of the garage a great deal.

Portable Garages & Shelters

Many standard 10' x 20' garage frames are made from aluminum. Due to their smaller overall size, this is perfectly fine for garages that are set up for short periods of time or in well-protected areas.

The larger garages feature powder-coated steel frames. They are better for areas that experience regular snowfall or high winds. These are also better for heavy contact with the frame, such as using the shelter as a run-in for livestock. But, these larger shelters are more expensive and difficult to move than aluminum models.

Portable Garages & Shelters

Garage Style Sheds

There are three primary frame structures for a portable car garage. The standard gable garage, an arched garage, and the gambrel or barn-roof garage.

The most common is the standard gamble garage, which looks like a typical long building in shape. It has a ridge that runs from front to back with two "roof" angles that approach a 22.5 to 45-degree angle. It also has two walls that may be vertical or slightly angled from the base to the roof.


The gable garage kits for sale are an ideal choice if you need to be able to use every available inch of space. The high roofline allows for taller objects to be closer to the walls without damaging the frame. If you live in an area that rarely sees snow or high winds, this is the ideal garage.


The second most common is the arched garage structure. These garages feature anywhere from a continuous arch to an elongated arch. But, they all have a curve to the structure that eliminates any frame angles. While this structure offers less space because of the curved walls, it's an ideal model for preventing snow buildup on the garage cover. These structures are also less resistant to high winds, allowing the movement of air to pass over them. This reduces the chance of them being toppled.

Portable Garages & Shelters


The final style of portable car canopy is the gambrel or barn-roof garage. These are somewhat of a hybrid of the two previous car canopy styles. They feature two straight, though short, side walls and four unique roof angles that assemble into a defined peak. These sheds do well in moderately windy conditions and in areas with light to moderate snowfall.

Two other things that will influence your decision include how you plan on using the garage and the intended location for it. Knowing this information will help you choose which shelter is right for you.

Specialty Shelters and Accessories

Specialty shelters are perfect for those looking for nontraditional carports. Pockets and enclosures are two popular specialty shelters. They offer protection and have a smaller footprint.

Pockets are like a protective bag for your vehicle. Usually waterproof, they can be completely sealed. They prevent contact with dirt, insects, and corrosives.

Portable Garages & Shelters

Enclosures are more like protective shells for motorcycles. They're ideal for seasonal storage or for traveling.

Accessories can increase the weather protection and sturdiness of your portable garage. Some of the popular ones available include anchoring kits, sidewalls, and enclosure kits.

Anchoring kits help keep your portable structure from blowing over or away. Most shelters come with an anchoring kit, but it may not be the best type for where you intend to install your garage. Thankfully, you can purchase other kinds of anchor kits, too. Just make sure you have the best choice for your application.

Auger-style anchors are the most common. They feature a corkscrew design. They can be drilled into grass, clay, asphalt, and unpacked soil. They can also be removed and relocated, making them a truly portable choice. If you want to anchor your shelter to concrete or rocky, hard-packed soil, look into other options.

Portable Garages & Shelters

Sidewalls and enclosure kits add even more weather protection to your garage. They allow you to turn it into a fully enclosed space. These packages vary, with some featuring three walls and a door, while others have two walls and two doors. Some even have mesh available!

Leading Brands

  • Abba Patio — Abba Patio has manufactured portable garages and other outdoor products since 2006. They offer many different styles of portable garages and carports that are suited for many purposes.
  • ShelterLogic — This brand has 50 years of experience making shelters and shade solutions. Their portable garages include barn-shaped, domed, and tent-shaped selections.
  • King Canopy — King Canopy has been making shade and shelter projects since 1940. Their selections include a variety of sizes and styles.
  • Palram — Palram has been producing DIY kits of various purposes for 13 years. They offer a variety of free-standing and lean-to models, all featuring polycarbonate paneling.

What about Shipping?

Most portable garages will arrive by freight, sometimes on several pallets. The freight company will call to schedule a delivery to the home or business. Take time to observe and check for damages. Most manufacturers have limited warranties on their products. Also, keep in mind that some freight deliveries require more than one person to receive the package.

The time it takes the portable garage to arrive depends on the manufacturer. There may also be limitations on where they can ship things. For example, Abba Patio's shipping takes 2-5 business days once the order has been processed. And, they only ship to the continental US, while King Canopy's products will ship in 1-3 business days.

Installing and Setting Up A Portable Garage

Portable Garages & Shelters

Portable garages are designed to be an easy install. They usually arrive in ready-to-assemble kits. If you want to do the installation yourself, you'll most likely need some basic tools and the help of a friend.

For garages with separate roof assemblies, the roof should be assembled first. Then, the leg assemblies can be fitted to gradually raise the roof into position. For arched assemblies, each arch "hoop" is assembled and then raised, allowing the lateral (horizontal) frames to be attached to the next hoop. This process is continued from front to back until all arches are in place.

Almost all portable garages rely on swedge poles in the frame structure. This is part of what makes them highly portable, while still allowing the frame to be rigid and stable. Swedge poles are tapered slightly at one end to create a "male" end that slides into the "female" end of the last corresponding pole. The swedge is made to create a tight friction fit and usually fits far enough into the last pole that no side movement occurs.

Most garages use a one-piece cover that fits over the entire assembly. It is recommended that you begin fitting the cover over the roof section of a gable garage before assembling the legs. This makes it easier to pull the remaining fabricate downward once the legs are in place.

For arched garages, the cover can only be installed after the garage is fully assembled. It is necessary to use a ladder to reach the top of the garage frame and fit the cover from the top down, gradually pulling it from one side to the other until it is centered and will drop into position.

For smaller garages, the top and side walls may be separate items. The top cover should be fitted first and attached before the legs are assembled to raise the garage. The side, front, and back walls can then be affixed to the rafters once the frame is fully built.

The vast majority of garage models do not require professional skills or special equipment. However, if you aren't interested in doing the building yourself, you can always hire an installer to do it for you. Keep in mind that this will increase the cost of the project.

The other factor to consider with installation is the need for permits. Carports do not usually need building permits. But, it is wise to double-check with your local authorities. Doing this before you buy a portable garage will save you a lot of hassle!

Portable Garages & Shelters

Long-Lasting Portable Garages

Manufacturer Information and Warranties

When purchasing a portable garage, pay attention to the warranty and care information. The manufacturer often provides the best tips for taking care of their specific model. Always follow the instructions and refrain from things that aren't recommended. Mishandling or misusing the product may void the warranty. The length of the warranty varies depending on the company and model. Palram offers a 10-year warranty on some of their carports. But, King Canopy has a 1-year limited warranty.

How to Keep it Going Strong

Taking good care of your carport will keep it in top condition for years to come. Keep in mind that if your portable garage is not rated for wind or snow, please follow the instructions for how to protect it during inclement weather. Even though these structures are meant to be outdoors, excessive water, wind, or snow can shorten their lifespan. This is especially true if they are not rated for use in extreme weather.


Portable Garages & Shelters

Portable garages are great options for those who want to protect their valuables. They give you so many options. Feel free to host an outdoor gathering, build extra storage, protect animals, or safely park your vehicle. It really doesn't matter because portable garages can do it all. If you have more specific questions, our experts are here to help you find the perfect solution.

Dani Bell

About the Author

Dani Bell

Dani, our Head Writer and Editor, has been in the hearth and fireplace industry for six years. She has written a number of our articles for both eFireplaceStore and eCanopy to balance technical knowledge with customer-friendly terminology and style. Currently, she is studying to earn all of her National Fireplace Institute (NFI) certifications and works with the content department to add products to the eFireplaceStore and eCanopy websites.

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