If you're wondering what size canopy to get for your tailgating, rest assured that you'll have a lot to choose from. The step is to determine your needs. The type of event you intend to throw, what you expect to keep under it, and the location of the event will impact the size of your canopy.
Ask yourself a few questions, such as what is the main function for your canopy? If it's simply to keep the cook grill and food table dry, then you only need something smaller. If it's to shade larger groups of people, then you'll want a much larger canopy. Not everyone will be under the canopy at the same time, so take that into consideration. Since you'll be tailgating, the location will likely remain the same each time. Think about any terrain issues with where you'll be tailgating. Are there any slopes? Or will it always be flat? Also, consider clearance; how tall does your canopy need to be?
Some tailgating canopies are only large enough to fit onto the back of your SUV or van's back door. The canopy acts like an extension of a raised hatchback. These sizes are large enough to cover the cook and the food. Others attach to trailer hitches and act almost like a patio umbrella and are big enough to cover a normal-sized picnic table.
The most common canopy sizes are 8 x 8, 10 x 10, 12 x 12 and 10 x 20. The 8 x 8 size would be ideal when you want to simply cover the back of an SUV or pickup to keep the cook and food in the shade. A 10 x 10 will allow you to shelter a table with a few chairs. A 12 x 12 canopy might be used when you want a lot of guests to mill about while getting their food; it could be perfect for a buffet line. A 10 x 20 canopy is great for a business or organization that uses tailgating as a way to thank their customers and provide entertainment.