Whether you’re inviting all your friends and family over for a barbecue, love picnicking in your local park, or trade at a variety of events, it’s important to think about every single eventually when it comes to the weather.
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from the sun, rain, wind, and all other extremes is to invest in a pop up canopy. These devices come in all shapes and sizes and can normally be assembled in a matter of minutes with the help of just a few people.
In this article, I’m going to tell you what a pop up canopy is and when it would be handy to have one. I’m also going to tell you about the different types of pop up canopies available and highlight some of the key specifications you should look out for when choosing one.
I’ll then share some of the best manufacturers in the industry today, run you through some cleaning and maintenance tips, and finally explain how to set one up.
A pop up canopy tent is a temporary structure that is used for a variety of events to provide shelter from the sun and rain. Canopies are typically 5x5 feet or 10x10 feet in size. While you may have seen larger ones than this, these are typically referred to as marquis.
These pop up canopies are easy to assemble and when packed away are compact and light enough to transport by hand. They are the ultimate shelter for weddings, conventions, pool parties, and a variety of other events, but we’ll go into that in more detail in a minute.
More importantly, canopies have been around for decades if not centuries. These temporary shelters were originally designed by tribes.
While they did not have the durable and sturdy materials that we’re now equipped with, they used wood and animal skins to create shelter for themselves.
The first modern canopy which was made with chrome-plated steel legs as well as various nuts and bolts was invented by Jim Lynch in 1983. Lynch went on to create a successful company called KD Kanopy. He now owns approximately 40 patents on the pop up canopy.
Since the release of the first pop up canopy, many new models have been invented and launched to the public. All these are functional pieces that have their own set of unique benefits. It’s worth noting that pop up canopies are now available for specific types of events.
From weddings to your children's’ school events, and crafts fairs on the weekend, the opportunities to use a pop up canopy are truly endless. Here are some of the most common uses for pop up canopies:
While many couples having an outdoor wedding choose to hire a marquis for the event, a few pop up canopies could come extremely handy as well. While you would hope that it does not rain on your wedding day, the weather is unpredictable so it’s best to be prepared.
Traditionally, people opt for white marquis for their weddings. Luckily, pop up canopies can be bought in a huge variety of colors, one of which is white.
If you’re having a birthday party in your garden a pop up canopy could be just what you need to keep everyone dry or away from the sun.
These are especially useful devices if you’re hosting a party for small children or elderly people, both of which are more sensitive to the sun and the rain.
Once again, you can choose your pop up canopy from a variety of colors depending on your personal preferences, and they leave enough space for people to stand outside if they prefer to.
When you’ve got a stand at a fair, it can be tiring standing all day long. Now imagine having to do it in the rain or scorching sun. Using a pop up canopy can protect you from all eventualities. Using a pop up canopy at a fair is also a great way to differentiate your stand from the rest.
You’re creating a clear boundary between your stand and the ones next to you. Not only this, you could order a pop up canopy that has your logo and suits your brand’s color scheme. Plus, they often come with detachable walls for additional protection from cold winds.
When it comes to community events, whether they’re indoor or outdoors, pop up canopies can help add some color to the palette. They’re a great way to provide both organizers and attendees a level of shelter from the weather.
While often hosted indoors, pop up canopies are quite common accessories for brands attending trade shows. In fact, these are often provided by the organizers rather than the brands trading at the event.
Once again, they’re a great way to differentiate between you and the neighboring stand and allow organizers to keep everything moderately organized.
If you’ve ever walked past a lovely and random pop up canopy while out shopping, it’s more likely than not a promotional effort from a local company. These often host free activities or give out free merchandise. They’re also known for running competitions with good incentives.
In these instances, pop up canopies are used to make the area stand out from the crowd. It’s a great eye-catching accessory to get people asking questions.
Aside from all the above, pop up canopies can be used for a variety of events. It doesn’t matter how big or small, pop up canopies are great from sheltering people from adverse weather conditions.
From picnics to barbecues on the weekends, you’ll never know when a pop up canopy could come in handy.
Now that we’ve gone through a few events for which a pop up canopy could come in handy, we’re going to share some information about the different types of canopies available.
As the name suggests, light canopies are specifically designed to only be setup for a matter of hours or days. These are traditionally used as shelter for a small stand or family event. They’re not as sturdy as their heavier counterparts but are extremely light to carry and easy to transport.
They normally come with carrier bags which mean they fold down into very small pieces that can fit in the trunk of a car.
Not only this, they can often be assembled by only one or two people in a matter of minutes. These canopies are great for days with low winds and overall good weather.
Heavy canopies are the opposite to their above counterparts. They’re heavier to carry and traditionally more difficult to assemble and pack away. That said, they’re made of much heavier duty materials that can withstand harsher weather conditions for longer periods of time.
Heavy duty pop up canopies are very popular with adventure seekers and outdoorsy people. It is worth noting that these models are normally considerably more expensive as well.
The material of the frame is one of the most important aspects of any pop up canopy. Without a good structure, the canopy cannot stand up straight or withstand harsh weather conditions. There are normally two types of frames, aluminum ones, and steel ones.
The type of material you choose will completely depend on your individual needs. If you’re looking for a lightweight and portable canopy then aluminum is your best bet. Not only this, aluminum is rust resistant so will not get damaged if left out in the rain or wind.
While it is easier to setup and take down an aluminum frame because of its weight, it is also less sturdy than its stainless steel counterpart and therefore does not hold up as well in heavy winds. Aluminum is prone to bending more easily and may need replacing more quickly.
Steel is far heavier but stronger and more durable. Steel does corrode but is much more resistant to harsh weather conditions such as heavy winds and rain.
You can also purchase steel models that have been treated to avoid corrosion. With the right maintenance, a steel frame can last for years if not decades.
Aside from the material the frame is made of, you must pay close attention when choosing between cover materials. Whether you’re taking your canopy to an event or away for a weekend in the outdoors, you should consider what you want to use it for.
Some models offer UV protection and are fire retardant and water resistant, others are not. Normally when looking at the thickness and quality of the material of the cover, you would look at the denier. The higher the denier, the sturdier the material.
There are three common types of covers for a pop up canopy. These are polyester, polyethylene, and vinyl. Polyester is water resistant and durable. It also offers protection against most UV rays, although you should not rely on it for full protection from the sun.
Polyethylene models are often waterproof and offer a high level of UV protection. Polyethylene is the best material if you want to keep all water out but don’t want something heavy.
The material can burn easily so make sure it is treated with a fire retardant if you know you’ll be putting it near an open flame or hot surface.
Lastly, vinyl is polyester with a vinyl finish. Most vinyl offers UV protection, and is fire and waterproof. Please note, vinyl can be quite heavy.
The last feature that can differentiate various pop up canopies is the shape in which they are designed. As mentioned above, most canopies are 5x5 or 10x10 feet.
They can, however, come in a rectangular shape. They can also be smaller or larger. You can even get them made to measure depending on your budget.
Now that you know the difference between the various types of pop up canopies available, we’re going to run you through some of the key specifications to look out for when choosing one for your specific needs.
Pop up canopies come in a huge variety of sizes. When choosing yours, you must ensure that it fits within the space that you intend your canopy to be. If you choose a canopy that is too small, or worse, too large, you may find that you’ll have to change your event planning.
Before making a final decision, be sure to check that the measurements you’ve been given include the legs as well. We recommend you always leave more space for your canopy then needed.
Do you want a small amount of shelter in case it drizzles or becomes sunny, or are you looking to protect yourself and your guests from torrential rains and strong gusts of winds? This will make a huge difference to whether or not you choose a pop up canopy with side walls.
Side walls offer you the opportunity to provide a more substantial shelter, however, if you live in a warm part of the world, you may find that you simply don’t need it.
As mentioned above, certain materials offer a level of protection against UV rays. If you live in a hot part of the world, you may find that you and your guests do not want to stand underneath the sun throughout the entire event.
Choosing a material that offers UV protection is a must whether you like the sun or not. It gives more shelter to your guests and will stop you from generating a sun-related disease.
How weatherproof do you need your pop up canopy to be? Will you be attending events with high winds and a lot of rain, or will you be going to events that are being held in the scorching sun? Either way, your pop up canopy needs to be ready to face whatever you throw at it.
We recommend you opt for a canopy that is wind and waterproof, isn’t likely to rust and corrode, and can protect you from the heat and the sun. Aside from UV protective material, you can also find covers made with a silver lining that helps you stay cool on hotter days.
Now that you know about the main features to look out for when shopping for a pop up canopy, we’re going to highlight some of the most reputable manufacturers in the industry today:
As you can imagine, AmazonBasics is a subsidiary of Amazon. The company designs and manufactures products in Taiwan and China, all of which are engineered to be sturdy and user-friendly.
No matter what type of product you buy from the company, you’ll benefit from a two-year limited European warranty as well as exceptional customer support. The company manufactures the widest range of products in the world, and pop up canopies are no exception.
Coleman is an outdoor adventure company that sells everything from barbecues to outdoor camping equipment such as stoves, as well as tents, shelters, pop up canopies, and even industrial grade coolers.
The company was founded by W.C. Coleman, a young salesman who started his company with the aim of providing a more steady type of outdoor light to adventure seekers in 1900 in the form of a pressure lamp.
The company has headquarters in Wichita and Texas and now employs more than 3,600 people.
Quikshade is an innovation leader in the pop up canopy industry. Creating various canopies for more than 20 years now, the company has an extensive range of canopy options for both commercial and residential uses.
Most recently, Quikshade canopies have been popping up across the news, with features in Living Well Magazine, Wins Award, Tailgating Challender, and many other publications.
There are a huge variety of benefits to owning a pop up canopy for when you host events. While most of these are designed to withstand pretty harsh treatment, you’ll find that if you look after your canopy it will stick with you for the foreseeable future.
Here are some pop up canopy maintenance tips to follow every time you use your canopy:
Once you’ve disassembled your pop up canopy, flatten the cover and get rid of any dirt or excess water from rain. Whether you use your canopy regularly or not, cleaning it after every use will make the world of difference to how long it lasts before you need a new one.
If you don’t dry your canopy before packing it into its bag, you may find that it absorbs moisture and either cracks or starts to smell very bad because of mildew and mold overgrowth.
Storing water inside your bag with no room for it to breathe will eat away at the fabric thus rendering your canopy completely useless.
If you notice a small cut or tear in your cover, fixing it sooner rather than later will stop it from getting bigger. The bigger it gets, the more likely you are to need a new one sooner. Liquid vinyl is great for fixing small rips in your cover and is a handy tool to have around.
Strong detergents are made up of bleach and other harsh and harmful chemicals. These are able to melt away the material that your cover is made of so rinsing them away if you do choose to use them is absolutely essential.
We suggest you use mild or natural soaps. Alternatively, you can make a white vinegar and baking powder mixture with warm or hot water. Do not pour boiling water or cleaning ingredients directly onto the cover as this will slowly weaken its integrity.
You wouldn’t use a scouring brush to clean your car, the same way you shouldn’t use a harsh brush to scrub your pop up canopy.
While you may not notice any damage straight away, it will make your cover weaker and weaker over time. Using a car sponge and a warm water mixture should be enough to get most, if not all stains out of your canopy.
How you setup your pop up canopy will completely depend on the size, materials, and manufacturer you have chosen. That said, most canopies are easy to setup and require only one or two pairs of hands.
Typically, you should start by opening the base frame of the pop up canopy. You can do so with the help of another person in order to not bend any of the metal components. We suggest you open the frame in the location where you’ll want to canopy to be during your event.
Once you have opened the frame, you should unfold the cover and pull it over it. When the cover is placed on the frame, ensure the frame is fully expanded in order for it to be secured before moving onto the next stage.
If your cover has attachments, make sure these are secured to the frame.
Once your cover is properly attached, it’s time to lift your pop up canopy to your preferred height. Most canopies have adjustable legs which offer various amounts of shelter depending on the height you choose.
As you can see, choosing a pop up canopy can be very challenging. You need to take your environment into consideration as well as think about the event it will used for, and the amount time it will be up.
If you have decided that a pop up canopy is what you need for your next event or show, we suggest you check out our buying guide for more information.
In it, you’ll be able to learn more about pop up canopies as well as get a glimpse into some of the best models on the market today.