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A portable canopy is useful everywhere from your backyard to the beach and beyond. The ability to pop-up some protection against the sun or rain can save a gathering in inclement conditions. From yard parties and garage sales to camping or the lakefront, a portable shelter is the best way to ensure you won’t get weathered out or sunburnt while enjoying the outdoors. Evaluate these key features when choosing a portable canopy.
Some outdoor canopies are portable in name only, and so heavy they make dragging them more than a few yards less fun than just enduring the rain or sun. But the fact is, increased weight usually means increased stability, especially in high winds. If a canopy comes in at more than say, 40 pounds, look for a rolling storage bag to make transporting easier.
Realistically, a portable canopy almost always requires a second person to help with the set-up. However, in general, you should be able to erect the structure in under five minutes. Telescoping poles with thumb-operated catches make raising the canopy to the perfect height easy.
Some canopies are sold with tie-out ropes and stakes, and some are not. Regardless, make sure that the canopy at least has double-stitched loops or rings to rig your own lines. Models sold with sand-bag weights that attach to the legs offer an extra level of stability in windy conditions.