Pop-up shade canopies in the 8-by-8- and 10-by-10-foot range make ideal shelters for day and overnight campers. You can even choose a canopy with removable side panels, which create a protective shelter. Some even have mesh windows that allow a breeze to flow through.
Youth sports and tailgating at college and professional sporting events are also perfect settings for collapsible, shade-friendly canopies since they set up and pack away for convenient transport so easily.
The ability to quickly assemble and take down makes pop-up canopies a must-have for craft fairs, farmers markets, girl and boy scout fundraisers and other events where a temporary shelter is needed. Usually an 8-by-8-foot size of collapsible canopy is a good choice for these activities, too.
Entertaining family and friends in your backyard and patio areas are excellent opportunities to use a canopy to cover food and provide a shaded area for guests. In this case, a gazebo-style canopy with sturdier construction and a more spacious 10-by-12- to 10-by-20-foot frame might work better.
Large canopies with thicker materials and heavier frames are ideal for covering vehicles. This style of canopy, with optional protective sides, is much larger than a typical backyard canopy and can make a fitting garage not only for cars and trucks, but also for recreational vehicles, boats, and ATVs.
Easy-to-assemble pop-up canopies are usually made from polyester, a lightweight material that is durable and water-resistant. Polyester’s lighter weight makes it perfect for smaller canopies that need to be easily transported. The thickness of polyester, which is determined by its denier, varies. The higher the denier number, the thicker and more durable the polyester.
Canopies made from polyethylene are better at blocking out UV rays, and are also waterproof. They, too, are lightweight, durable and flexible.
Aluminum, accordion-style frames are best for portable canopies, and if you’re going to be transporting it often, the lighter the better. However, if you plan to leave your canopy in place for days, weeks or months at a time, the stability that a heavier steel frame provides might be a better choice.
Many canopies include a wheeled carrying case and stakes to tie down flaps for added stability. For the best results, look for a canopy with riveted flaps so you can stake it down securely to the ground.
Consider buying leg weights or sand bags to help anchor the frame in case of inclement weather. Weighing down the frame’s legs is especially recommended when using your canopy on a beach where stakes can’t take firm hold in the ground.
The ability to add sidewalls is another option for canopies that will be used for camping and extended outdoor activities.
Finally, consider giving your canopy a customized look by hanging outdoor lights or lamps inside or around the edges of the structure for an instant Shangri-la.