Before you start shopping for a canopy tent, you should first think about what variation is appropriate for you. This will give you the first opportunity to narrow your search. Canopy tents come in all shapes and sizes. We have seen everything from 3 x 3 ft pet canopies to a 20 x 40 ft collapsible reception pavilions. There aren’t any defined thresholds that separate classes of canopy tents, so I like simplify the process and organize shelters into two categories: portable and heavy-duty. To us, “heavy duty” is just a more politically correct way of saying that it is too heavy for an average person to carry and set up themselves.


Portable canopy tents are designed for short-term use. You would not want to leave a portable shelter erected for more than a day. The anchors are meant to be strong enough to secure the shelter for the short term, but eventually stakes will loosen from the ground and tie-downs will become less taught. The canopy fabric is meant to withstand a days worth of exposure, but extended periods of time exposed to the elements will cause the material colors to fade, the edges to fray, and tears to appear along the seams. The nylon is usually treated with a waterproofing chemical which will wear off if it is left outside exposed to the elements for too long.

Heavy-duty canopy tents are designed for long-term use. If you set up a heavy-duty canopy tent properly, then it would be safe to leave it erected for weeks (some for years, depending on the type you purchase) exposed to any weather without needing to worry about it breaking or needing maintenance. The stakes are larger and go deeper into the ground, ensuring that bad weather won’t shake them loose. The tie downs are woven with fabric that will not stretch with prolonged tension, making sure that they remain taught. The fabric of the canopy is waterproof because of how tight the fibers woven and how thick it is, not because it has a waterproof chemical applied. This ensures that it will not lose protection from prolonged exposure.

Instant Pop-Up Canopies

As their name would suggest, pop up canopies, also known as instant canopies, are extremely user-friendly. They can quickly and easily be set up and taken down by a single person and they don’t require any tools to do so. They are also lightweight and very compact when collapsed, making them ideal to transport from place to place. However, this lightweight construction and ease of setup also make instant canopies less durable and susceptible to weather conditions like wind and rain.

The size of your pop up canopy will completely depend on your individual needs. If you’re purchasing one for a small fair or trade show then a 5×5 feet one should be enough. That said, if you want to offer guests shelter from the sun or rain at a big friendly gathering in your back garden you may want to opt for a larger size such as a 10×10 feet model.

Pop up canopies come with a choice of straight or slanted legs. While this may not seem like a big deal at first, the type of leg you choose will directly impact the structure that you acquire.

Slanted legs often look more stylish and offer more space at the base, but they’re also renowned for being less stable, especially under harsher weather conditions.

While they do logically offer more space at the base, they actually do not offer any more coverage than their straight-legged counterparts. In fact, some would say they offer less and they let more light in depending on the angle.

While it may seem like a no-brainer to go for a straight-legged model, slanted legged pop up canopies are often significantly cheaper meaning that this decision will most likely be based on your budget.


The most popular material used in these canopies and carports is polyester due to its lightweight, weather-resistant properties. Generally speaking, the larger the canopy, the thicker and more durable the polyester material used will be. Typically, smaller portable canopies are made from thinner polyester or UV-proof polyethylene with lighter aluminum frames. Heavier steel frames, thicker polyester, and sometimes aluminum enclosures are used for larger canopies intended to be used as 


One of the most important features of a canopy tent, particularly instant/pop-up tents, is quick installation. The best canopy tents are fast and easy to assemble and break down. It should take just a few minutes and as few as one person to set up one of these shelters.

Qoobies Top Pick

ABCCANOPY Stable Pop up Outdoor Canopy Tent, White

COOL Spot 11’x11′ Pop-Up Gazebo Tent Instant with Mosquito Netting Outdoor Gazebo Canopy Shelter with 121 Square Feet

13×13 Canopy Tent Instant Shelter Pop Up Canopy 169 sq.ft Outdoor Sun Shade, Gray

Impact Canopy 10′ x 10′ Canopy Tent Gazebo with Dressed Legs, White

Viewee Canopy Tent 10′ x 10′ Anti-UV, Impermeable Pop-up Shelter Canopy, Outdoor Tent Adjustable Height with Wheeled Carrying Bag and 4 Sandbags

Coleman 2000004407 Instant Beach Canopy, 13 x 13 Feet

COOSHADE Heavy Duty Pop Up Canopy Tent 12x12Ft(White)

PHI VILLA 10 x 10ft Portable Pop Up Canopy Event Tent Party Tent, 100 Sq. Ft of Shade (Blue)

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