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pop up canopies

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    pop up canopies

    Once again I find myself coming here for a non-cooking related question because of all the conflicting information I have found...

    I've been wanting to get a pop-up canopy for a couple of years, but we haven't needed it enough the last couple of years to get it past the boss. However, some of our friends now have a camper trailer and want us to go camping with them more often (we'll be tent-camping, at least for a couple of more years...after that a camper may be in the budget). So with the added incentive of wanting one for camping in addition to beach trips, I've got the ok.

    My problem is that I've now changed my mind on what I want to get twice already (you should have seen us trying to select a new cooler this week....). Sites that seem to have good review methodology keep coming up with 2 or 3 names for their top picks. But then I look at buyer reviews on amazon and while they have good reviews, they also have some horror stories and I can't tell if they are on-off issues, user errors, or real warning signs.

    So do any of y'all have good or bad experiences with particular brands or models? I'm not mentioning which ones I'm currently looking at to keep any bias out of the sample...


    In my case, I need the 10 x 10 canopy when it's raining to cover my offset smoker. My kids got me my fifth one for Father's Day.

    My longest lasting 10 x 10 canopy came from Rural King and it was $39. That was two summers ago.

    I've lost canopies to the wind. That seems to be the biggest threat. Either have a really good tie-down system or allow the canopy to flap if the wind picks up.


    • LA Pork Butt
      LA Pork Butt commented
      Editing a comment
      Wind is how I lost mine.
      Last edited by LA Pork Butt; June 26, 2020, 03:27 PM.

    I’ve been happy with the crown shade one touch I got from Ace Hardware during a Memorial Day sale. It’s great for when it starts raining during a cook. We were sitting on the deck with company last weekend and it started drizzling. It was barely any sooner than I thought to zip it open that it was fully deployed.
    Last edited by jhapka; June 26, 2020, 09:27 AM.


    • hoovarmin
      hoovarmin commented
      Editing a comment
      I just bought one of those. It's still in the box.

    Years ago I bought the one Costco sells in the warehouse. After nearly a year of use the wind blew it over and bent a leg. I called Costco about getting parts, they gave me the manufacturers number and said if they don't take care of it I could return it. I called they wouldn't provide replacement parts. So I took it back to Costco, and to my amazement, gave me a full refund.

    So I went to Costco online. I found the Undercover. Checked with them first to make certain they had parts available. So I ordered one and it picked it up in town on the morning of a farmers market. When I folded it up a strut bent. So I called Undercover to see if they would just send a new strut. They sent an entire new unit and told me to just put the old one in the box and provided for return shipping. So I recommend it highly https://www.costco.com/undercover-10....11764088.html

    No need to tell me it's pricey. I use mine commercially, it is built to last, and the company stands behind it and provides parts if something does happen. For me the investment was worth it.

    Now just some advice, no matter what you get. Weight the corners, even if not windy. You can purchase fancy ones, I used five gallon buckets filled with water which can be dumped out when taking down. Don't use them in strong wind, they become dangerous when they get blown. Keeping it clean and putting away dry will go a long way to the fabric lasting.


    • Dan Deter
      Dan Deter commented
      Editing a comment
      I've already go sand bags from when we borrowed a friend's to take to the beach. And I camp enough that I'm used to drying out tents before packing up.

    • IowaGirl
      IowaGirl commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, we used to do outdoor markets and it was amazing how many people thought a 10 pound weight was all a canopy needed per corner. Even a slight breeze can tip an underweighted canopy quicker 'n you can sneeze. We learned quickly to never set up next to someone that naive if we could avoid it.

    • ComfortablyNumb
      ComfortablyNumb commented
      Editing a comment
      IowaGirl The markets I used to attend had rules about weighting down canopies. All four corners had to be weighted, and with a minimum amount of weight, can't remember what it was, but a five gallon bucket of water met it. And the weights were required whether the wind was blowing or not.

    I attend 3-4 week long hobby events that require a pop up to be set all week. A few times a year we experience some pretty bad weather and many pop ups are destroyed. So after going through about 5 of them, I bought one from Eurmax. They are quality made, a bit more expensive, and you can get replacement parts. I got one with sides and zipper doors so all my stuff stays dry in storms. I highly recommend them. I usually anchor all corners with lag bolts and cam straps about a foot out of each corner, have withstood for 40+ mph winds!

    But I did take it down for hurricane Michael, winds in Americus GA hit 80 mph that night!


    I have the Coleman 10 x 10 Swingwall canopy, which works great for me. Actually, I have two of them. And that's only because I foolishly anchored down just the West side of the canopy, thinking that would be good enough. Overnight, the wind picked up from the East and flipped the whole thing on its top and broke one of the joints in one of the top pieces. I emailed Coleman about a replacement part, but they opted to send me a whole new canopy instead and told me to just keep the broken one. I MacGyvered that joint to make it usable again, so I'm more than happy with that resolution.

    I would ignore the negative reviews, which seem to all be given by people who don't understand you shouldn't use this in windy conditions or leave it up long-term. I have had mine for about 5 years now, with multiple trips to the beach during that time. My canopy


    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      Same for me. Coleman Swingwall from Costco. So far, so good.

    I have been through several on my deck, One was from operator error trying to take it down. I had one collapse from snow. I watched it collapse almost in slow motion.

    I want to get something more durable to cover my cooking area on my deck.


      I got this one from Home Depot last year, and I'm quite happy with it. The canopy is pretty heavy duty and has a wind vent and drain grommets and it's easy for one person to set up. It doesn't have side walls, but that's the kind of thing you can solve with some tarps and bungie cords as long as you don't mind ugly.


        Thanks everybody, I feel more comfortable with my choices now.


          Best thing I ever did for a canopy was shove wood doles cut to length up the legs
          Gave it strength and longevity.
          Vented canopy is a must to keep it on the ground with 8-12 inch spikes
          Had two of the accordion style Walmart specials....junk....
          I found one for $19.99 at a dollar store that lasted me 12 years.... expensive ain’t always the way to go


            The thing about Internet reviews is people are stupid. You HAVE TO stake down a pip up canopy. If you don’t it can blow away and get damaged. Also it won’t survive as a permanent structure. At least not for long. It also probably won’t survive a severe thunder storm. It might but a “severe storm” could produce brief tropical storm like conditions. Personally I don’t even bother with shutters for a mere tropical storm but I would at least take down a pop up canopy and bring it indoors.

            so keep that in mind.


            • smokin fool
              smokin fool commented
              Editing a comment
              Can’t tell you the times I’ve speed home to remove the canopy on mine
              Excellent advice

            If you save some milk jugs they come in handy for weighting the canopy down when you fill them with water and you can just dump them when you are done.


            • Dan Deter
              Dan Deter commented
              Editing a comment
              And I've already got some sandbags that wrap around the legs from taking a friend's canopy to the beach. They worked well.

            I have two E-Z UP canopies and an “off brand.” The E-Z UPs are definitely better than my oddball...but can’t compare it to other brands as I have no experience with others.

            I can recommend getting a bag/cover with wheels though! Makes schlepping those things a whole lot easier.


            • ofelles
              ofelles commented
              Editing a comment
              Love my E-Z Up bought to use at car shows. Just make sure you tie it down. Don't ask me how I know.

            So I wound up picking up the same one that mnavarre got at Home Depot. Less expensive than some of the others I was looking at so less of a loss if we don't use it as much as we think and, more importantly, I could pay for most of it with a gift card I had. Just picked it up over lunch so haven't had a chance to unbox it yet. Thanks again for all the helpful responses!


              I used to roadrace motorcycles and have a good bit of experience with canopies in wind and rain over the years. I would stay far away from EZ-Up canopies. The attachment system is really horrible. You don't want any canopy that ties the roof to the frame in a rigid manner.

              You want the roof to be tied to the frame using some sort of elastic strap that gives a little when the wind really blows and flexes the roof. Also, watch out for rain pooling on the roof. Once it stretches, it is never coming back. The rain will pool more and more each time.

              I have some Vitabri canopies, but they are a bit higher priced that most people want, but they were ideal for me.

              A few additional tips:

              * If you get 2 canopies, find a gutter system to put between them, or you will constantly have dripping rain between them.

              * Have ties to tie canopies together. A whole string of attached canopies are much less likely to catch wind and lift off....even with sand bags on 4 corners, they can definitely take off. I've seen it at the track more than once.

              * I would suggest filling your sand bags with rocks. When your sand bags get wet, they will hold moisture and mold. Rocks will dry out and not mold.

              * One last thing: An easy way to tie down your canopy at the beach, is to just bring empty 5 gallon buckets. Fill them with ocean water and then dump them when you leave. Tremendously easier than lugging sand bags.



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