Pop up canopies are a modern marvel of lightweight materials that bring comfort anywhere. Whether you want to take a canopy out tailgating, to the flea market, or to the beach there’s an option for your needs.
Buying a pop up canopy today is more affordable and effective than ever with improvements in material and design. It’s not always the best idea to just buy the first one you find off the shelf, though.
That’s why I’m going to help you figure out what separates a great pop up canopy from the mediocre ones.
We’ll brush up on how to choose the best pop up gazebo and examine things like materials, quality, and weight.
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Pop Up Canopies For 2019
- Coleman Instant Sun Shelter
- Eurmax EZ Instant Pop Up Canopy
- Punchau Pop Up Canopy Tent
- CORE Instant Shelter Pop-Up Canopy
- Abccanopy Kingkong-series Canopy
Now I’m going to recommend a few top rated pop up canopies you can pick from to get started quickly and easily.
Let’s get to it!
Best Pop Up Canopy
Pop Up Canopy Reviews
- Size: 10′ x 10′
- Sidewalls: No
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight: 37 pounds
- Other: Wheeled carry bag, 2-way roof vents
Coleman is a brand that anyone will recognize as a leader in outdoor gear. This outdoor canopy makes it onto our list thanks to tons of positive reviews and a great design style.
There are a few nice additions to the classic canopy style with this one that I think add a lot of real value. At the peak ofthe canopy ceiling there are two adjustable vents.
Because the canopy features a deep ceiling these waterproof vents help get rid of heat on summer days or humidity on those sweaty days without letting water in.
I also like that all four corners have long ears that sweep down. These help add a bit of extra stability to the canopy. All four corners have reinforced guyline tie-outs located at the top.
Video: See how easy it is to setup the Coleman Instant Canopy.
This is ideal because many canopies lack this feature and it really helps secure the tent in high winds.
There are four easy to use push button style adjusters on each leg which help set the height of the tent quickly!
Best For: If your looking for the best pop up gazebo with some refined features.
- Size:10′ x 10′
- Sidewalls: No
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight: 61 Pounds
- Other: 4 height options with 3″ intervals, wheeled carry bag
It says basic right in the name and while it may be a bit mislead, it’s ultimately true. While it lacks features like the vent and the canopy-top tieout lines, it may be the best pop up canopy with tons of great reviews.
I like that this pop up canopy comes with a roller bag featuring some nice sized wheels. For days at the beach you can wheel it down the boardwalk or across the parking lot to set up at the flea market.
There’s a one year warranty included on the canopy for those who need some reassurance.
On top of that, Eurmax sells spare parts online so this may be one of the only canopies that is easily repairable if and when something decides to break on you.
While I would have liked to see a more robust fabric choice, the 300 denier polyester isn’t too bad.
Be careful though, there is no mention that this canopy is waterproof and the polyester fabric by itself certainly won’t be.
Best For: Sun shade and moderate weather – rain may leak through!
- Size: 10′ x 10′
- Sidewalls: One sidewall
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight: 44 Pounds
- Other: 3 adjustable heights, shoulder carry bag
This economy grade pop up canopy is made to bring all the features at a fraction of the price. There are few advanced features but what you do get is the best outdoor canopy at a bargain price.
Luckily there is an optional 2 year manufacturer warranty that covers defects on the pop up canopy. Users have had outstanding experience with this canopy, though so you’ll probably not even need that warranty.
Like many canopies on our list, this one has quick release buttons on all four legs which make it easier to lower and raise the canopy. This is a huge improvement over the standard push button style.
This canopy is in fact waterproof although I can’t speak to the type or quality of fabric used for the canopy.
I would probably be ready to maintain the waterproofness of the canopy or improve the seam sealing in areas if necessary.
Best For: A budget waterproof outdoor canopy option for any event.
- Size: 10′ x 10′
- Sidewalls: No
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight: 43 Pounds
- Other: Wheeled carry bag, three leg height adjustments
CORE has taken the Coleman design and polished it up to bring it back to us at a great price. But let’s be clear, I don’t know which is the proverbial chicken and egg in this instance.
Either way, I think you’ll love the features on this affordable easy up canopy.
Coleman and CORE both sport ventilation panels at the top of the canopy. These can be opened and closed using the attached velcro post.
Of course it’s still waterproof when using this vent, provided that the wind doesn’t blow water up into the vent. But let’s be honest, if the wind is that strong your canopy will probably blow away anyways.
While I would have liked to see the canopy material being made from something more robust, the 150 denier polyester should be robust enough for most situations.
Like others on our list the legs have pinch-free easy to use buttons for quick adjustment. There are also wheels on the included transport bag!
Overall it’s a feature rich canopy with many similarities to the Coleman we reviewed earlier, yet at a lower price overall.
Best For: Extra features and top-anchored guylines in windy scenarios.
- Size: 10′ x 10′
- Sidewalls: No
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight: 48 Pounds
- Other: Wheeled carry bag, Name banner loop to personalize the shelter
If there’s one canopy on our list that really stands apart from the rests, this is it. Not only is this canopy made with superior waterproofing in mind there’s more.
It’s available in nearly every color under the rainbow. No less than 30+ color options abound for your needs with the KingKong series outdoor canopy.
I love that it’s a 300D fabric with polyurethane coating. PU coatings are commonly used in outdoor rainwear for waterproofness and they’re the perfect choice for this canopy roof.
There are even heat sealed seams using seam tape as we will talk about in the “How to Choose” section below.
There’s a one year warranty that covers the entire canopy and, like most on our list, it features easy to use pinch free adjustable legs.
Overall this portable pop up canopy stands above for superior waterproofing and amazing color options!
Best For: Ultimate waterproofing and selecting just the right color to match your booth!
Pop Up Canopy Comparison
|Pop Up Canopy||Size||Sidewalls||Waterproof||Weight||Rating|
|Coleman Instant Sun Shelter||10' x 10'||No||Yes||37 lbs||4.1 / 5.0|
|Eurmax Basic EZ Pop Up Canopy||10' x 10'||No||Yes||61 lbs||4.3 / 5.0|
|Punchau Pop Up Canopy Tent||10' x 10'||One Sidewall||Yes||44 lbs||4.1 / 5.0|
|COREInstant Shelter Pop-Up Canopy||10' x 10'||No||Yes||43 lbs||4.3 / 5.0|
|Abccanopy Kingkong||10' x 10'||No||Yes||48 lbs||4.3 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Pop Up Canopy for You
Let’s go over a few things to consider when you’re buying a canopy. By the end of this article you’ll know what to look for when buying your next canopy and what you should be avoiding.
If this seems nitpicky, rest assured it’s one of the most important factors. Modern fabrics can be quite susceptible to things like sun damage and water leaks.
In order to avoid having yourself or your things dripped on you’ll need the best canopy material available.
Most canopies will either be polyester or nylon. These two fabrics are both common for outdoor applications but both heavily susceptible to UV damage from sun.
Whenever possible look for canopies made from UV resistant fabric or coated with UV resistant chemicals. UV damaged canopies will become grayish and fragile, eventually tearing and falling apart in light winds or during storage.
For waterproofness you’ll want a nylon canopy if possible. Nylon is inherently quite waterproof and can be made moreso with coating or special weaving processes.
Waterproof coatings on canopies will usually appear as a thin plastic-like film on the inside of the fabric. If your canopy fabric feels like soft untreated fabric on both sides, chances are there’s no waterproofing!
Like outdoor fabrics for tents and clothing, it is possible to maintain waterproofness on pop up canopies. DWR or durable water repellant finishes may be “washed” in to your canopy.
Be sure to use a front load washer for this. Top load washers may damage the canopy fabric or waterproofing.
Spray on coating are acceptable, too. Pitch your canopy and spray these chemicals on during a sunny warm day outdoors. Be sure to let the coating dry thoroughly before storing or you’ll ruin it!
If you’re thinking about starting with a non-waterproof fabric and making it waterproof with coatings or wash in chemicals, don’t bother.
Amazingly some pop up canopies are advertised as “waterproof” while not being seam sealed. Technically the fabric is waterproof in these cases.
However, the stitched seams lack a waterproof tape. Manufacturers do this to save money on super-cheap canopies. In the end it’s just a junk product.
Luckily you can seam seal the canopy yourself. Use McNett’s silicone seam sealer and apply it to the seams of a pitched canopy. Like DWR, be sure to let it dry fully before storage.
Folding a tent with wet silicone sealer on it will not only ruin the seam sealing, but you may permanently glue parts of the canopy together!
Most quality pop up canopies are seam sealed from the factory. Watch out, though, because the seam tape used in most manufacturing processes can eventually loosen and peel off after a few years of use. If this happens, use the above method to re-seal the seams.
Canopy size isn’t rocket science – just pick the one that gives you the most space for your needs. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
10 x 10 foot canopies are standard sizes for most flea markets and craft fairs. Most festivals have premade spaces available for 10 foot canopies.
If you go for a 12 foot or larger it may actually become a hindrance or festival organizers may charge you more for a larger space. Consider getting two 10 x 10 canopies and renting two spaces side by side if you need more space.
For general use bigger is usually better. The caveat is that larger canopies are, of course, bulkier and heavier.
Canopies are just one aspect of a pop up – there’s also the frame that supports the entire structure. Mostly these are made from hollow aluminum tubing that’s held together with aluminum rivets and plastic caps.
Of course you may find some exceptions to this.
While the plastic frame components are generally the weakest part of your pop up canopy, there’s not much to be done about it.
Manufacturers use these materials because they’re cheap and easy to produce and they keep the canopy light enough to easily carry. Just be aware that you don’t stress these components with lateral forces.
Some pop up canopies may be available in steel frames. These will be much heavier than their aluminum counterparts and are usually only used when heavy forces are involved.
If you’re setting up your canopy and you know there will be snow falling on the roof, or heavy nasty storms you may want to go for a robust steel canopy. Just be aware that the added weight is a burden for transport.
Aluminum frames should be fine for most applications as long as you’re careful not to abuse the frame. Don’t hang things from it or stress the members of the frame with loads it’s not designed to take or you’ll have a broken frame in no time.
FAQs About Pop Up Canopies
Q: My canopy is leaking in the rain, can I fix it?
First, start by figuring out where the leak is coming from. If it’s coming from one of the sewn seams around the canopy then you can definitely fix it!
If the leak is coming from a tear in the fabric, you can fix that too. However, if the leak is coming from through the fabric itself you may not be able to fix it – that probably means you have non-waterproof fabric.
To fix a tear in the fabric you need to know what kind of fabric you’re dealing with. If it’s silicone impregnated fabric you can use McNett’s SeamGrip with a small patch of silnylon fabric to fix it. To fix other types of fabric, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions (if done incorrectly it won’t work).
For repairing leaks in sewn seams you can dilute McNett’s SeamGrip with mineral spirits and paint on a layer of silicone to waterproof the seams. It’s quite simple.
How can I anchor my tent so it doesn’t blow away?
A: If you’re on soil you can use ropes and tent stakes, of course. If stakes aren’t strong enough, try tying out to nearby boulders, roots, or tree trunks. Those should be strong enough for anything short of a destructive storm.
For canopies set up on sidewalks or asphalt, you can’t really drive stakes. In that case, you’ll need to get creative. If you can tie out to nearby solid objects, do that. Otherwise, try these ideas:
- Use concrete-filled buckets with eye bolts to tie down
- Use a ratchet strap hung from a strong point of the canopy near the legs with a concrete block on the other end
- Use sandbags on the legs of the canopy
Q: Can I hang things from the top of my canopy?
A: You can if you’re careful, smart, and a little lucky.
Canopies are usually made from lightweight aluminum. The accordion-style construction is strong enough to support the canopy and some lightweight objects if you want to hang things. However, the accordion-style aluminum is particularly weak laterally or side to side.
Never ever attach anything to the expanding members of the canopy that pulls laterally or you’ll break the canopy in no time flat.
To hang things, keep them near the main support legs of the canopy and make sure they’re lightweight. Otherwise, you’ll be gambling with the longevity of your canopy.
Q: What size canopies are commonly accepted at craft fairs?
A: If you’re vending at a festival or craft fair you’ll need a canopy. But how big is too big? Will you have to pay extra for a larger canopy size? Lucky for you, I know the answers!
I actually spent several years running a craft business on the side. During that time we went to a lot of festivals and faires.
Most of the time the common tent size accepted for a standard lot is a 10’x10’ space. This may or may not include the ropes and tent stakes used to support the tent. Usually, it won’t matter so you can get away with a 10×10 tent.
Many festivals allow you to rent two spaces side by side for a 10’x20’ in which case two linked 10×10 canopies will have you covered if you need more space.
Rarely, festivals will have larger spaces available on request.
Q: What features help me set up my canopy on my own?
A: If the kids are off playing while you set up the canopy or you’re setting up for a craft fair on your own it’s a pain in the butt to get it done. Luckily, some canopies have features that can at least ease the burden of getting set up.
On the main sliding members that raise the canopy up the legs, look for large easy setup levers that help depress the locks for the legs. The little steel spring loaded button style clips are a pain and they can cause lots of pinched fingers.
Again on the legs for height adjustment, look for easy to use push levers for the retainer clips. These are another pain point (sometimes literally) for setup.
Another thing to look for is well-constructed joints. On a pop-up canopy, the joints can make or break an easy setup. The corner brackets and center bracket need to be sturdy and durable, but allow each member to move freely. Any binding or pinching is an indication of poor quality and will make setup much harder.
Pop up canopies are great for everything from tailgating to craft booths. When it comes to dealing with inclement weather it’s hard to beat the proven waterproofness of the KingKong series canopy from AbcCanopy.
For an overall excellent outdoor canopy with a great name behind it, it’s hard to argue with the Coleman 10-foot tent.
No matter what your needs are, there’s something on our list for you.
Remember that you don’t always have to pay top dollar. Just be sure to review our “How to Choose” section before making a purchasing decision so you don’t get fleeced!
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best pop up canopy to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a pair of pants I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.