This guide to purchasing a pop canopy provides some useful information to consider before going shopping. Pop up canopies are popping up in so many places these days, including outdoor parties, youth sporting events, the beach, camping, parking lot sales at stores, even in backyards for everyday use as shade. They're easy to set up, easy to take down and easy to store. They're an affordable way to transport shade and protection from the weather to just about any location. Because of their popularity, it seems like you can buy a pop up canopy nearly anywhere. With the availability of so many pop up canopies at so many different retailers, how do you know which ones are the best for your needs?
The first thing to consider before purchasing a pop up canopy is your needs. What will you be using it for? Is it for retail use, such as a craft or sports show, farmer's market, or simply as a way to display your merchandise outside? If so, an 8-foot x 8-foot canopy will probably be enough, unless you plan on selling a lot of merchandise outside. In that case, you may want to go up to a 10-foot x 12-foot canopy. For outdoor parties, a 10 x 12 size may be a good place to start since that will give you a little extra room for guests. If you entertain a lot and with large groups, you may want the 10-foot x 20-foot size. For camping, youth sports, and general backyard use, an 8 x 8 will probably work fine, but you'll have to consider your needs. For example, a scouting troop may need a 10 x 20 canopy with sidewalls. Also, there may be size restrictions where you plan on setting up your canopy. Most often these restrictions are at conventions, craft shows, or other commercial events where they have standard sized areas for vendors.
If you're looking for privacy, look for a tent that has four side panels. These can be put up or taken down as you see fit. Canopies with four side panels can also double as camping shelters. Some also have mesh windows to allow a breeze to keep the interior cool and comfortable. Some also have windows.
Typically, pop up canopies are made from polyester, which is durable and water-resistant. When reviewing the specifications for a pop up canopy, look for a reference to denier, which indicates the thickness of the fabric. The larger the denier, the more durable the fabric. Of course, thicker fabric also means greater weight. Polyethylene and polyethene fabrics screen out UV rays better than polyester. They're lightweight, durable, flame-resistant and flexible. Coolaroo, created from high-density polyethylene, is a knitted, breathable fabric that offers UV protection, is waterproof and mold and mildew resistant.
The frame of your pop up canopy should be metal, and the general rule is that the lighter the weight, the better. However, think about how often you'll be moving your canopy. If you plan on leaving it set up for days at a time for a conference or sales event, then perhaps you want the stability that a heavier frame offers. If you know you're going to be carrying it around a lot, then a lightweight frame is a must.
Easy Set Up
Consider how easy it is to set up the canopy you're thinking about buying. Plus, how transportable is it? It might be great to have the biggest canopy at the soccer tournament, but how will it fit in your van? Look for portable canopies with easy-open features. You can set them up in minutes. If the size of your vehicle is an issue, look for canopies that fit in the trunk of a car. And it bears mentioning that you make sure that any canopy you buy truly "pops up" for set up. The entire structure should put itself together by "popping up" into position.
One of the major downsides of any canopy is its vulnerability to wind. A gust of wind and an unanchored canopy is a disastrous combination. Pop up canopies come with stakes to hold them in place, but a windy, rainy day can make even stakes ineffective. If wind is a concern, look for canopies that come with additional guide lines that stake into the ground. Also, you may want to carry four sandbags with you to place at the base of each canopy leg. Keep in mind that if you use your canopy on the beach it will be very vulnerable to the wind. Stakes won't hold in the sand, so you'll likely need sandbags to hold the legs in place. Even with sandbags, a good gust of wind on the beach can topple your canopy.
With these helpful tips, you'll have a good idea of what to look for when shopping for your own pop up canopy.