How to Choose the Best Canopy Tent for You 472

Camping is all about being engaged in your surroundings — soaking in all that mother nature has to offer by way of breathtaking views and dreamy weather. However, being one with the environment doesn’t have to mean subjecting yourself to unfavorable weather.

How do you achieve this? How do you enjoy the benefits of nature without suffering the consequences of its bad days? With a canopy tent, that’s how. Canopy tents allow you to be in, around, and one with nature without being overheated, drenched, bitten, or stung by it.

Not sure how to choose the best canopy tent for you? No worries. We’ve got you covered. (See what we did there?)

What to Look for in a Canopy Tent

Photo by Camping World

The first thing to note is that canopy tents go by several different names. Why settle for one thing when you can be many, right?

Canopy tents are also known as portable shelters, screen houses, outdoor tent canopies, pop-up canopies, canopy shade tents, and other monikers.

Regardless of what you call them, they have one important thing in common — protection. Whether it’s protecting you from rain, sun, bugs, or all three, a good canopy tent should make wherever you’re using it a pleasant place to be.

Consider How Much Space to Cover

Coleman One Source Canopy Tent
Image: Camping World

Finding a canopy tent that’s the right size for you depends heavily on how many people will be using it and the space it needs to cover. If you’re camping with a group, your pop-up canopy needs to ensure everyone can fit underneath it comfortably. Camping solo? Feel free to go with a smaller shade tent.

It’s worth mentioning that the larger the canopy, the heavier it’s likely to be. So, if you’re camping a hike away from your vehicle or RV, consider the weight you’re willing to carry back and forth.

Consider the Setup Process

Coleman Oasis 13' x 13' Canopy Set Up
Coleman Oasis 13′ x 13′ Canopy Set Up

Nobody wants to arrive at camp and spend forever setting up. Explore instant canopy tents that are quick and easy to set up. Look for one-piece frames or pop-up canopy tents that can be set up by one or two people without a struggle. You can find the nicest canopy tent on the market, but if you’re wasting half the day setting it up, it’s doing more harm than good.

Consider the Durability

Gazelle Gazebo Wind Panels
Gazelle Gazebo Wind Panels

It’s no secret that mother nature is unpredictable and bad weather is often inevitable, so you want to choose a canopy tent that can withstand the elements. The material, or fabric, should protect you from the sun’s UV rays and also be waterproof to protect you from the rain.

The frame itself should be durable with solid construction. Look for a tent that has a sturdy powder-coated steel frame or a robust steel frame that can withstand high winds. The last thing you want to do is set up your canopy tent only to have it blow away and leave you exposed.

Consider the Features

Coleman Oasis 13' x 13' Canopy Stake
Coleman Oasis 13′ x 13′ Canopy Stake

Contingent upon your camping style, the features of your canopy tent might make all the difference. Unless you’re only looking for a basic frame with a canopy top, which is fine, the features can make or break your decision.

Here are a few popular features to consider:

  • Ropes & Stakes. Used to provide additional support when securing the tent or frame, ropes and stakes are a lifesaver when the wind is involved.
  • Screens. Some canopy tents come with screened walls that allow you to experience nature without the hassle of bugs. Make note of how the entry door is secured though, or mosquitos will still wind up crashing your party.
  • Floors. If you’re looking to prevent water or bugs from getting in from the ground up, consider a canopy tent with a floor. The additional layer provides extra protection from the elements.
  • Carrying Case or Bag. If your canopy tent is on the heavier side, or even if it’s on the large side, consider an option that has a carrying case or bag. Transportation and storage will be much easier with one.

The Best Canopy Tent for You

With these factors in mind, choosing the best canopy tent should be a breeze. Below are a few of the most popular, best-rated canopy tents on the market today.

North Shore 8-Person Cabin Tent

North Shore 8 Person Tent
Image: Camping World

Cover the whole family! This eight-person cabin-style North Shore Tent has a straight wall design that provides plenty of space for everyone. There’s even a room divider to create separate spaces. The best part? Assembly is super easy and a zippered duffel carrying case is included.

Venture 5-Sided QuickSet Screen Shelter

Venture 5-Sided QuickSet Screen Shelter
Venture 5-Sided QuickSet Screen Shelter

One of the best when it comes to pop-up canopy tents, the Venture Screen Shelter is small enough for convenient storage and transportation, yet big enough to fit a folding camping table underneath. Boasting a 45-second setup, this tear-resistant mesh tent will quickly become one of your camping staples.

Coleman Oasis 13’ x 13’ Canopy with Sun Wall

Coleman Oasis 13' x 13' Canopy with Sun Wall
Coleman Oasis 13′ x 13′ Canopy with Sun Wall

Possibly the easiest canopy tent to set up, the Coleman Oasis puts the fun in functional with a one-push center hub. The sun wall easily clips on any of the four sides for extra shade and wind protection whenever you need it. The carrying bag is included and it has wheels for maximum convenience in transit.

Shop all canopy tents at Camping World.

Quick Safety Tips for Canopy Tents and Instant Shelters

Regardless of which pop-up canopy shelter you choose, these tips will help you extend the lifespan of your tent:

  • Always stake it down. Weather is unpredictable. Even if you’re setting up on a calm day, use your tent stakes to secure your canopy tent.
  • Take it down when inclement weather is expected. Even the most durable pop-up shelter isn’t designed to withstand heavy rains or strong winds. If you know either is in the forecast, pack your tent up to avoid damage.
  • Consider alternative tie-downs. Depending on your campsite, you may not be able to hammer in stakes adequately. If you’re camping on hard ground and staking isn’t possible, weigh down your canopy’s legs with sandbags or canopy weight plates.
  • Never place a canopy tent over an open fire or portable grill. Not many instant shelters are made of fireproof materials. Avoid a costly and dangerous mistake by placing your canopy a safe distance (minimum 10 feet) away from potential ignition sources.

Whether you’re camping for a weekend or setting up an afternoon picnic, there’s no reason to be left out in the sun without any protection. A canopy tent can be used in a variety of ways — eat under it, sleep under it, hang out under it — whatever it is that best meets your needs.

Hopefully, these tips for choosing your canopy tent have made the decision much easier.

What are you looking for in a canopy tent? Tell us in the comments below!

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