Beat the Heat with the Best Pop-Up Canopies

What’s the best way to beat the summer heat? With a pop-up canopy! These tents, which are also known as awnings and shade structures, can provide a cool breeze and protection from harsh summer sun rays.

Looking to hang out and escape the summer heat but don’t want to shell out big bucks on a patio tent? Your solution might be a new pop-up canopy. They are perfect for entertaining, protecting your investment, or even just providing shade. There are tons of options when it comes to how to use them, too. You can use them as freestanding umbrellas, or lean them against your house or patio for more space-saving options. And there are even some that fold up and take up less space than others.


The summer months bring many new places for outdoor adventures and activities with friends. Whether you’re planning a simple outdoor outing, a day at the beach, or preparing for a big day at the shooting range, you need sun protection to keep your skin cool and warm. Folding awnings are the best way to achieve this. You never know when your favorite gazebo or shade spot will be taken over by someone else. So it is best to prepare something that is easy to set up and compact enough to take with you without too much effort. Let’s take a look at some of the best sunscreens for protection from the elements. + – Table of contents

1. Nemo Bugout 12×12 Pop Up Awning Tent – Editor’s Choice


There is nothing worse than sitting in a beautiful spot by a lake or in a park and being eaten by insects. The Nemo Bugout Canopy is the perfect combination of shade and insect protection. If insects aren’t a problem that day, the sides of the mesh can be rolled up into the top of the awning, allowing you to easily get in and out of the covered space. Another great feature of the Nemo Bugout is the ability to change the height of the canopy. So if you are going to have a picnic outside, you can dynamically change the height of the cover using attachment points.

Additional trekking poles allow you to leave the awning free when there are no trees. The Nemo Bugout pop-up tent is on sale for $249.95. Pro/ Protects against insects and is versatile enough to work with trees and other objects in the area. Cons/ Expensive and not equipped to stand alone (purchase of tarp poles required). Bottom Line / Ideal for day hikes in forests or national parks where coverage may be limited or intense.

2. Cirrus awning with an angle leg – economical choice


Ideal for deer camping! This is by far the most traditional hood style on this list. It may not be the biggest, but thanks to its angled leg, it offers a generous 64 square feet of coverage under its UPF 50+ umbrella. The frame is sturdy, made of powder-coated steel, and comes with a set of pegs to protect it from the wind and give it stability. The Cirrus Slant Leg Canopy comes with a convenient carrying case for easy transport to and from the location.

The Cirrus is also available in a wide range of colors, including popular camouflage patterns like the TrueTimber Strata. The Caravan Canopy Sports Cirrus Slant Leg awning can be purchased for $99.99. Pro/ Conventional design, affordable price, availability of many camouflage patterns and colors. Cons: Additional shade options cannot be added and the steel frame is heavy. Bottom Line/Perfect for installation in your favorite recording location.

3. Rightline Gear SUV Rear deck


This method is good for a number of reasons and is best used when you can get your hatchback to the installation site. This won’t be a problem for many, but the concept is too cool not to include in this list because it’s so compact. The awning is made of water repellent material and the seams are sealed to ensure a long life. Includes 2 sandbags and a handy carrying bag. The rear panel completely covers the rear window of the hatchback, so that the sun penetrates even less into your shadow zone.

Best of all, this awning can be installed in minutes and is smaller in size, which means less hassle. Rightline Gear SUV awning available for $99.99 Advantages / Easy installation with only two poles, including sand bags to keep the awning stable against the wind. Counter/Bicorps, Jeep Wrangler with hardtop or truck with cover is required for operation In short: ideal for the avid hiker, hunter or sport fisherman who is looking for a simple and affordable cover solution.

4. Big Agnes Three Forks Shelter


I am a big fan of how Big Agnes adds a lot of value to their products at a very reasonable price. The Big Agnes Three Forks Shelter is no exception to this trend. The Three Forks shelter is a domed shelter large enough for an entire picnic table. If you are looking for extra sun protection or need privacy, side panels can be fitted to either side of the Three Forks awning, these are sold separately. The Three Forks Shelter comes with pre-cut fishing line to secure the shelter to the ground against the wind, and a ribbon frame near the ground keeps the shelter rigid in the wind and rain.

Speaking of rain: The awning is made of tent quality polyester taffeta with a 1500 mm density polyurethane coating. The canopy of the Three Forks shelter can be purchased for $199.95, the side canopies are sold separately. Pro/ Lightweight and affordable, yet waterproof and customizable. Cons: The side panels are sold separately and the awning is a bit small to open compared to traditional awnings. Bottom Line/Great if you don’t know what to expect-this model will keep you dry.

5. Quik Shade Solo Steel 170 Straight-Leg Pop-Up Awning


I’m all about hiking and adventure solutions that one person can handle. The Quik Shade Solo Steel lives up to its name because it is very easy to install, even by one person. This is possible thanks to the telescopic poles with straight legs and the handles with camlocks that allow you to gradually erect the tent yourself. The Solo Steel awning also provides additional shade in both directions, no matter what time of day it is.

On each side is an extended canopy that can be placed at a flat angle, at a 45 degree angle or at a 90 degree downward angle to extend shade or block the sun on the sides in the early morning or evening. The Quik Shade Solo Steel is available for $259.99. Benefits / Easy installation and excellent shade protection at any time of day. Cons/ More expensive and awkward to carry than other options. Bottom Line / Ideal for a day trip for one or two people or as preparation for a longer trip.

Straight and sloping feet

You may have noticed that most umbrellas have straight or angled legs. What’s best for you? Contrary to popular belief, awnings on straight legs are generally stronger and more stable than awnings on angled legs. Angled canopies rely primarily on angled legs for stability and are usually lighter and less expensive to produce for less challenging conditions. If the weather forecast for the day promises strong winds, it’s best to bring an umbrella on straight legs with fishing line or sandbags to hold it in place.


Leg weighting

Don’t forget to secure the legs of the awning when there is a chance of wind. If you do not have fishing line to anchor the umbrella to the ground, it is wise to hang at least 20 pounds on each leg. It’s always better to have more if you can, but it’s usually tedious to lug around sandbags. If you don’t have sandbags, water cans, coolers, ammunition boxes and other equipment can often be used as a last resort to protect your shelter from unexpected wind gusts.

Is it waterproof?

Most awnings can withstand rain from above without too much trouble. If your canopy is polyurethane, it depends on the coating used to seal the canopy. If you want to be 100% sure that no water can penetrate under the top awning or side awnings, choose a vinyl-based polyester awning. You can also cover it with Camp Dry.

What wind loads can an open awning withstand?

They come from different manufacturers depending on the material, but they are exposed to winds of 18-30 mph before the structure collapses.  Some need more, some need less. And that’s with the top firmly attached.

What is the service life of an opening cover?

If left untreated, the average life of a cheap awning is 2 to 3 years. If you treat it with Camp Dry, keep it clean and maintain it, it will last much longer.

About the author

Luke Cuenco. Luke writes regularly for,,, and of course .com. Luke is a competitive shooter, gun enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman and generally interested in all things outdoors. Luke is also a licensed private pilot and is in the process of obtaining his commercial pilot’s license in hopes of becoming a professional pilot. Luke’s other interests are all things aerospace and defense, and American Conservatory activities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the strongest pop up canopy?

If you’ve ever wanted to go camping but you’re afraid of rain, don’t worry! You can stay dry and protected with the best pop up canopy in the market. The best pop up canopy is not only affordable but also durable, and it will also last for years. Whether you’re camping, browsing the beach, or watching sports in the stadium, you always want to have your canopy with you.

Unfortunately, most of the canopies that people own are not strong enough to stand up to the stress that the wind and rain puts on them. For example, the typical shade canopy only lasts for two seasons before it starts to tear. On the other hand, a strong canopy will stay strong through the years, so you don’t have to worry if it’s going to be easy to get around or store when the time comes. (At least, that’s what we thought until we tested the strongest pop-up canopies on the market.)

What is the best pop up canopy to buy?

Having an awesome canopy is one of the best investments you can make for your family. Not only does it protect you and your loved ones from the sun, it can also help you entertain and keep the kids happy. There are many different styles of canopies to choose from, each with its own unique benefits. There are many different types of canopies, from simple, wooden, portable structures to high-tech, large, weather-resistant canopies. All of them are ideal for keeping you cool and comfortable on warm, sunny days. But which is the best? Well, that’s a pretty subjective question. So, instead of making any specific claims, I’ve put my own two cents in: I think the best pop-up canopy is the one that gives you the most for your dollar.

Which is better straight leg or slant leg canopy?

Summer is a great time to have a back yard, as we can enjoy the sun, BBQ’s, and other fun outdoor activities. However, the heat can sometimes get to be too much and if you are having a hard time, then you might want to consider getting a new pop up canopy. There are some good ones on the market that can make a nice addition to your yard which will help to keep the cool air in the shade, and make it a little cooler in the process.

The first time you’re going to need a RAIN cover is when you buy your tent. It’s okay, they’ll be covered the rest of the time, too. But when you’re camping and the weather is hot, you need to protect your investment. RAIN makes some great pop-up tent covers, but you need to pick the right one for your needs. Priced right, they’ll last through many camping seasons. And when you’re ready to upgrade, you’ll be able to use your old RAIN cover on your new tent.