The 10 Best Canopies
10. Wenzel Smartshade
- includes a removable loft
- feet can be staked or screwed
- not compatible with insect netting
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
9. Coleman Swingwall 10x10
- great for tailgating
- polyester taffeta construction
- aluminum posts can bend in high wind
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
8. Ozark Trail Instant 30151902 10x10
- ceiling height of over nine feet
- convenient one-piece frame
- may need weights for stabilization
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
7. ShelterLogic 10x20
- patented tension system
- has a clean and finished look
- takes a while to set up
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
6. Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Beach
- covers a family of four
- built-in rear shade
- low roof height limits standing
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. E-Z UP Envoy
- available in blue and white
- 1-year warranty included
- not heavy enough for windy areas
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
4. Coleman Back Home Instant
- vaulted ceiling for taller guests
- pinch-free adjustability
- leaks in heavy rain
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
3. Caravan Canopy Titanshade
- full truss ceiling design
- polyester top ensures a long life
- resists water and fire
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. Zeny 10X10
- white color reflects the sun
- plastic windows
- comes apart for compact storage
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. Clam Corporation 9879
- big enough to house a picnic table
- durable water-resistant roof
- includes oversized carrying bag
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
The Canopy Through The Ages
From the very dawning of civilization, mankind has held a special regard for having a roof over its collective head. Why? Because from those first daring homo sapiens wanderers to the Ancient Sumerians kings to the bold knights of the Crusading era to the modern NASCAR fan, no one likes standing there in the driving rain or the beating sun for hours on end. One elegant solution to this plague we call the weather, since time immemorial, has been to erect a canopy. Canopies can be made of cloth, animal hide, or of one of the many synthetic fibers today available; era and material notwithstanding, the design and purpose of the canopy has changed little throughout the ages.
Many scholars believe the word "canopy" came from the town of Canopus, an Ancient Egyptian settlement near modern-day Alexandria. For much of its long history, Canopus was considered to be a place of leisure and luxury, thus the connection makes sense, as canopies usually provide a place for respite. Other scholars call this presumption totally inaccurate, and point to the Latin word "cōnōpēum" which means "curtain."
Etymology aside, there's no denying that the canopy has played a major role in much of our collective history, sheltering warriors as they made their battle plans, providing respite for the traveling merchant or the explorer, or simply by creating a temporary shelter any man or woman from any stratus of society could enjoy. And of course that means you, too, can enjoy the many benefits offered by the humble canopy.
And you don't even need a history lesson to choose the right canopy for your purposes, you just need to consider your own everyday needs.
The Temporary Shelter - Pop Up Canopies
There are many types of canopy intended for short-term use, so a brief discussion of their form and function should precede discussion of which temporary canopy best suits your needs. So, ask yourself, is this canopy intended to...
- Provide a Space for Commerce
- Offer Shelter for Friends/Family Only
- Protect Food, Merchandise, Etc.
- Attract Attention from Passersby
If you need a canopy that can serve as a sales or information booth, you need one that can be made easy to access, potentially from all sides. (Never erect a barrier to your customers, e.g.) For that reason, a standard pop-up style canopy is usually the preferred choice. You know these canopies well from street fairs, farmer's markets, and other temporary public venues: they have four legs and a pyramid shaped top. E-Z Up is a trusted brand name, for your reference in this category.
If you need a more private canopy intended to create a space for friends and family to enjoy, such as a shelter for use on the beach or at the park, there are many canopies that can spring into shape and create a roof and walls. These shelters are often domed or curved in shape, and they can protect you from rain, wind, sunshine, and the prying eyes of others.
For protection from the elements and from the potential for unwanted guests including insects or grabby hands, many canopies can be outfitted with walls made from mesh screens or from more durable materials. These canopies can create temporary outdoor rooms that can serve as a place to cook, work, or simply to safeguard items or edibles. Just don't get confused with this type of canopy.
Finally, the temporary canopy can serve as more than a place under which to conduct business, but in fact it can be a part of your marketing plan. Choosing a canopy that is vibrantly colored can help you stand out from the pack (most canopies tend to be white, at least at public events), and any canopy offers you several places to hang signs, banners, or to display merchandise. And don't underestimate the power of the canopy to attract people when it's sunny or rainy out: provide a big enough shelter and you might just get a captive audience who will consider your goods and services.
The Semi-Permanent Canopies - Built To Last
There are many reasons one might need to put up a canopy for long-term use. These include everything from covering a car or a boat to sheltering delicate plants that would be damaged by direct sunlight to creating an outdoor workspace at a construction site or archeological dig.
When considering the right durable canopy for your purposes, of course you need to first consider your needs, such as square footage of coverage needed, access requirements, and perhaps even aesthetics. But equally important as those factors you can control are those variables which must be taken into account. You must consider whether your canopy will face things like...
- Extended Direct Sunlight (which can lead to UV damage)
- Heavy Rain or Snow Load (rain can corrode with time, and snow can weigh hundreds of pounds)
- Wind Gusts (a lightweight canopy is a sail waiting to take off)
For protecting motor vehicles or boats from direct sun, steel-framed canopies with durable vinyl roofing is usually the best choice. These same canopies often offer little protection from rain or wind, though, thus might be poor choices for use as a workspace.
Gazebo-style canopy tents often feature walls that protect against most types of weather and can create a good outdoor room, but watch out for their buckling under snow or faltering in heavy wind: those same walls that protect you from the rain can cause big problems as they catch a gust of air, see?
Ultimately, the best solution to choosing a semi-permanent canopy may be accepting that no one canopy is an all-weather, all-season solution to your needs; fortunately, most canopies aren't that expensive, either, so consider getting two or three.