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7 Best Pop-Up Canopies for Camping

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I enjoy backcountry camping. For me, camping is all about the solitude of nature. That being said, it takes a tremendous amount of planning and effort to “get away from it all.” Sometimes you just need to get out. For these occasions, a simple canopy can be the ticket to fresh air. These 7 best pop-up canopies for camping will get you away quickly and easily.

Canopy tent

What is a Pop-Up Canopy?

We are all familiar with most of the tools for camping: backpacks, tents, and stoves. Once you move beyond hiking with everything on your back, many options open up. One of those is additional coverage from sun, rain, and mosquitos.

You have a few options for sun and rain. Most of these include a simple tarp strung between a few trees. The bother here is that you need trees in the right location for this to work. Additionally, stringing up a tarp is quite a pain. Also, consider if you may be under pressure. This may include rain, sun, or just the lateness of the hour.

Finally, pop-up canopies are a perfect solution to give you extra sun protection and rain shelter all in a few minutes. Pop-up canopies are explicitly designed to go up in a hurry. Most include four or more poles with a connecting structure that helps deploy the canopy, legs, and supports all at once.

At their core, pop-up canopies are a quick and efficient way to add shelter to your camp out.

Why Choose Pop-Up Canopies Versus Tents

Canopies and tents serve very different purposes.

A tent is a critical component of a camping trip. Unless you’re an avid bushcrafter heading into the woods with only a knife, you will probably use a tent.

A tent generally provides temporary shelter either for sleeping or during extreme weather. As such, a tent must only provide enough room for the occupants and a minimum amount of gear. Often, we weigh tents in ounces and measure them in tens of square feet.

Canopies explicitly provide shelter outside of sleeping hours and are usually used socially or for specific tasks (e.g., cooking). Pop-up canopies with sides can block the wind and sun, while pop-up canopies with netting keep out mosquitos and blackflies. If you wish to use a tent for this, you’ll be alone and cramped. Canopies provide a level of flexibility not available with anything but the largest tents.

Canopy tent

Best Features for Pop-Up Canopies

Several desirable canopy features make camping life easier or a bit more convenient.

Speed and Weight

The first is speed of setup. If you’re already trading car camping for a long walk in the woods, then you might as well get your site set up so you can move on to relaxing.

Specifically, set up time is a factor of the overall design of the canopy. Some take traditional poles, while others use an all-in-one structure. There are even more exotic design that make use of air poles. Regardless, you need to look at the time and ease required to set up your canopy.

The best pop-up canopy will go from the bag to the complete in about 3 minutes.

If you happen to be alone, it will take a little longer, but most canopies are fairly easy to manage solo (Instant Canopy 10X10 Setup – One person (and take-down) – YouTube).

Next is weight. As with camping tents, weight adds up. Even if you are only carrying it a few yards from your car/trailer to your campsite, weight matters. The lighter the package, the easier it will be to deploy. The easier it is to deploy, the more you will use it. Look for a canopy that you can move around and into position with little effort.

Here’s a great video on securing your pop-up canopy without corner tiedowns (EZ Up Canopy Tie Down Hack – Fastest way to secure a 10×10 Canopy – YouTube)

Size and Extras of Pop-Up Canopies

Further, you must also consider the useable size. Only two of you camping? 8×8 may be plenty of room to sit and spread. Cooking for, and feeding, 6-8? There’s a good chance you’ll want the largest canopy on the market. Make sure that your pop-up canopy fits your camping lifestyle and group.

Additionally, consider your camping environment? Camping in damp or swampy areas? You’ll definitely need a canopy with netting to keep the critters out. Expecting snow or a little blowing rain, then invest in a canopy with sides.

Finally, I’m a proponent of the mantra “buy once, cry once.” There is nothing more frustrating than purchasing something to only have it break within one or two uses. Worse yet. You use it a half-dozen times, you know just enough to get beyond the return period or the warranty, then it breaks.

Specifically, reviews and warranties are your friends here. The longer the warranty, the longer your ability to get a replacement, or hopefully, your money back. I’ve found that reviewers aren’t shy about expressing their displeasure in a poorly constructed product.

 

7 Best Pop-Up Canopies

In no particular order, here are the 7 best. Each fits a niche of cost, capabilities, and durability. Look at the options and choose your personal best!

E-Z UP Sierra II

Sale
E-Z UP Sierra II Instant Pop Up Outdoor Canopy 10' x 10', Roller Bag and 4 Piece Spike Set, Royal Blue
2,508 Reviews
E-Z UP Sierra II Instant Pop Up Outdoor Canopy 10' x 10', Roller Bag and 4 Piece Spike Set, Royal Blue
  • Lightweight & portable - weighing only 31 pounds This...
  • One minute setup - takes only a minute to set up. Folding...
  • Angle leg design - 64 sqft of shade. Stable base with an...

Quick Snapshot

  • Size: 10 x 10 feet
  • Sidewalls: No
  • Insect Netting: No
  • Weight: 31 lbs
  • Water Protection: Water-resistant
  • Other: 1-minute setup, stake\weight down legs

Description

Sometimes you just need to experiment with a tool before you make a major investment. If this is the case, and you have $100 to invest in the experiment, the E-Z UP is for you. First, this utilitarian pop-up sets up in a literal minute with two people. Grab a pole, walk backward, lock-in, and you’re ready.

Second, the 100 square feet of relaxation space is enough room +4 people and chairs or 4 people and a small table. Third, the EZ-UP is quick and easy to secure. You can either stake down the legs or add optional sandbags to keep it in place during the occasional wind gusts.

Fourth, the EZ-UP comes with a zippered storage bag that is complete with carrying handles and wheels. Therefore, transportation from your car to your campsite will be as quick as it is easy.

Core 10’ x 10’ Instant Shelter

No products found.

Quick Snapshot

  • Size: 10 x 10 feet
  • Sidewalls: No
  • Insect Netting: No
  • Weight: 38 lbs
  • Water Protection: Water-resistant
  • Other: 1-minute setup, stake\weight\tie down legs

Description

Stepping up the build quality a little is the Core 10’ x 10’ Instant Shelter. The Core is a little more expensive than the EZ-UP. However, the extra money gets you several upgrades.

First, there is the vented roof. The dual vents provide extra air circulation and wind resistance. The vents keep the wind from grabbing and pulling the canopy off to Kansas.

Next are the additional corner tie-downs. Secured at the top of each corner, you can tie down to a ground stake, tree, stump, or rock. By all means, make sure to use an anchor that will withstand the local weather.

Next, the over-large locking buttons guarantee a reduction of painful pinches. They ride on steel, not aluminum, telescoping legs, and securely lock your pop-up in place.

Finally, at 38 pounds, the carrying case will be needed to transport your canopy. The wheeled carrying bag is more than sufficient to carry the pop-up, stakes, and tie-down ropes.

 

ALPS Mountaineering Aero Awning

ALPS Mountaineering Aero Awning, Gray/Blue, One Size
3 Reviews
ALPS Mountaineering Aero Awning, Gray/Blue, One Size
  • Innovative one-piece air pole design offers quick and hassle...
  • 68D 190T polyester with 1500 mm coating resists UV damage...
  • Two eaves are higher for improved visibility and easy...

Quick Snapshot

  • Size: 10 x 10 feet
  • Sidewalls: One side panel included
  • Insect Netting: No
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Water Protection: Water-resistant
  • Other: air-pole design, stake\tie down legs

Description

The lightest and most interesting pop-up canopy we have on our list is the Aero Awning. Compared to the other canopies on this list, the Aero weighs only 10 pounds.

It achieves this with air-poles for support rather than aluminum or steel. Specifically, each pole is a rugged balloon that is inflated with the included pump. In a matter of 3 minutes, all the poles are inflated, and the Aero becomes self-supporting.

Second, the Aero is the first on the list with an additional side panel for sun and light wind protection. The Aero is staked down and the corners can be tied to nearby trees or to additional ground stakes.
Finally, the Aero comes with a compression storage bag. Specifically, the compression straps tie up and shrink down the Aero into the smallest package possible. In order to get the most out of this bag, you must be diligent in removing the air from the Aero poles.

 

YDYL Screen House

Screen House 13'x9',Canopy shelter,Insect Proof, Easy Installation for Outdoor Kitchen Blue Color Suitable for a Family with 5-8 People Upgrade to Thicker and Stronger Fabric
177 Reviews
Screen House 13'x9',Canopy shelter,Insect Proof, Easy Installation for Outdoor Kitchen Blue Color Suitable for a Family with 5-8 People Upgrade to Thicker and Stronger Fabric
  • Warning: Our Screen house is not design for strong wind, we...
  • Product size 13 feet L x 9 feet W X 6.9 feet H, Which is big...
  • Easy installation. Two people will only take 5 mins to set...

Quick Snapshot

  • Size: 13 x 9 feet
  • Sidewalls: No
  • Insect Netting: Yes
  • Weight: 14 lbs
  • Water Protection: Water-resistant
  • Other: 5-minute setup, stake\tie down legs

Description

The YDYL Screen House is a 13’ x 9’ monster screened shelter that is guaranteed to fit all your friends in its bug-free environment.

Contrary to the EX-UP and Core, this is the first pop-up that uses a traditional tent pole design. In detail, the YDYL uses flexible bungeed fiberglass poles to lift the YDYL to its full 6’ 9” height.

Next, the mesh walls keep bugs out while allowing maximum airflow. The YDYL is best used for camp-outs on those hot days and evenings where you need a break from the mosquitos and blackflies.

Finally, one of the best features of the YDYL wide dual-zippered openings. For example, when the bugs are at bay, open both sides for maximum movement. Close both when the critters come out. Stake down own side of each door to make the zipper open and close that much easier.

 

Eurmax 10’x10’ Ez Pop-up Canopy Tent

Eurmax USA 10'x10' Pop-up Canopy Tent Commercial Instant Canopies with 4 Removable Zipper End Side Walls and Roller Bag, Bonus 4 SandBags(White)
5,031 Reviews
Eurmax USA 10'x10' Pop-up Canopy Tent Commercial Instant Canopies with 4 Removable Zipper End Side Walls and Roller Bag, Bonus 4 SandBags(White)
  • Instant Shade and Shelter: Upgrade your outdoor events with...
  • Strong and Sturdy:Our canopy tent features a strong full...
  • Privacy and Protection: The removable sidewalls provide...

Quick Snapshot

  • Size: 10 x 10 feet
  • Sidewalls: Yes
  • Insect Netting: No
  • Weight: 79 lbs
  • Water Protection: Water-proof
  • Other: 3-minute setup, stake\weight\tie down legs

Description

If you prefer a little more privacy, a canopy with walls may be your style. The Eurmax includes four sidewalls for wind, rain, or line-of-sight protection. Consequentially, the extra walls add significant weight and the complete package is over 70 pounds.

Compared to the other canopies on this list, the Eurmax is a beast. Not only does the Eurmax use powder-coated steel left, which adds weight, but it also uses a PVC-coated polyester material for the canopy.

This durable canopy is also completely waterproof, as well as much more resistant to the occasional gust and most rain.

 

Coleman Screened Canopy Tent

Sale
Coleman Back Home Screen Canopy Tent with Instant Setup, Outdoor Gazebo for Bug-Free Lounging, Shelter Fits Over Picnic Tables for Parties, Events, Tailgating, Picnics, & More
4,168 Reviews
Coleman Back Home Screen Canopy Tent with Instant Setup, Outdoor Gazebo for Bug-Free Lounging, Shelter Fits Over Picnic Tables for Parties, Events, Tailgating, Picnics, & More
  • Screened walls for bug-free entertaining, UVGuard material...
  • Sets up in as fast as 3 minutes with Comfort Grip technology...
  • Double-thick Polyguard 2X fabric stands up to the elements...

Quick Snapshot

  • Size: 12 x 10 feet
  • Sidewalls: No
  • Insect Netting: Yes
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Water Protection: Water-resistant
  • Other: 3-minute setup, two doors, stake\weight\tie down legs

Description

The Coleman is the only six-sided canopy in this collection. Don’t let this concern you as it goes up just as quickly with two people as the other best pop-up canopies for camping on this list.

Additionally, the Coleman is differentiated not only but by its completely screened-in sides but also by the fact that the screening can be completely removed. Further, it has two zippered doors that can also be rolled back, giving you two wide points of entry.

Finally, the Coleman has a skirt that assists with keeping out both flying and crawling critters.

One reviewer commented that the canopy can benefit from a waterproofing spray. Any, camping and tent quality spray will work on the canopy. Especially the seams.

 

Wenzel Magnetic Screen House

Wenzel Magnetic Screen House, Magnetic Screen Shelter for Camping, Travel, Picnics, Tailgating, and More
2,452 Reviews
Wenzel Magnetic Screen House, Magnetic Screen Shelter for Camping, Travel, Picnics, Tailgating, and More
  • Crafted from the highest quality material
  • Perfect for outdoor and even indoor Use
  • Made in Bangladesh

Quick Snapshot

  • Size: 11 x 9 feet
  • Sidewalls: No
  • Insect Netting: Yes
  • Weight: 17 lbs
  • Water Protection: Water-resistant
  • Other: 3-minute setup, 10-year warranty, stake\tie down legs

Description

For the most room to enjoy your bug-free dinner, there is the Wenzel Magnetic Screen House. At only 17 pounds, this 11’ x 9’ pop-up canopy can easily secure a picnic table from mosquitos and other pests.

First, the rectangular shape will easily fit a small camping table with ample room to move around. Additionally, the screened walls open your outdoor view while keeping out the critters.

The next benefit, as was seen in the Coleman and others, is the dual doors. The flexibility added by the second door allows better movement through the tent and egress from it.

The most interesting feature of the Wenzel is the screen closures. Rather than using zippers that can bind and break, the Wenzel uses magnetic closures. These closures provide a bug-proof seal from top to bottom that you can walk through without the need to unzip and re-zip.

Buying Guide

As with most purchases, you should determine the features that are most important to you before you pull the trigger on buying a pop-up canopy for camping. A canopy is not an insignificant expense therefore, you should direct your dollars in the directions that provide the best return.

Personal Features

First, determine the size that you will need. Will you only use it with one other person or do you enjoy the outdoors surrounded by many friends? An 8’ x8’x canopy will either be just right or uncomfortably small.

Second, determine the build quality and materials that you desire in a canopy. Some canopies are all-aluminum construction. While these are light, they do not have the strength to withstand much abuse. You can choose steel, but if you expect hard use, you may wish to go with powder-coated rather than painted.

Additionally, you will need to look at the canopy material. Vinyl is durable, easy to clean, and much more resistant to wind and rain. Polyester tends to be much lighter, “fluid” (easier to put up and down), however, it is not as resistant to tears as well as rain infiltration. This is the tradeoff for a lesser expensive canopy.

Furthermore, look at the available accessories that come with or that can be added to your pop-up canopy. Do you need solid walls for privacy or wind protection, or do you need screening for a bug-free environment? You may even desire to accessorize with third-party equipment like sandbags to hold down the canopy. Permethrin sprayed on the screening to further deter insects (noseeum spray for screens). Or even graphics printed on your tent to identify it as yours! These are all options that, when chosen carefully, will make your canopy purchase even better!

Price and Budget

Finally, consider the price of the canopy. This equates to both your budget as well as the fair price for the accessory and build-quality you need. It’s always a balance between the two. However, if you enter into the purchase educated, you will never wonder what you have left on the table.

Closing Up Pop-Up Canopies

For the beach, for camping, for a shady spot in an otherwise open backyard, pop-up canopies are perfect for when you need a little extra protection from nature’s best. Even when camping, we occasionally need a break from carrying everything on our back. Try car camping and make the trip extra luxurious with a pop-up canopy.

A pop-up canopy can provide a bit of respite from sun, wind, and insects. It can also just be a place to relax and enjoy the company of your camping companions during a meal or over a cold refreshment.

Take a look at these 7 best pop-up canopies for camping to see if one fits your camping lifestyle.