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Expert Shopper Camping & Outdoors

Best canopy tent

Which canopy tent is best?

When the weather outside is frightful but outdoor activities are calling, a canopy tent can provide shelter from the storm. These covered open tents are great for keeping rain and sun out and are portable enough to go where you need them.

If you’re looking for the best canopy tent to provide a large area of coverage and a company that stands behind its gear, the Coleman Instant Beach Canopy is a good place to start. 

What to know before you buy a canopy tent

Type of canopy

Canopies come in camping, beach or wedding styles.

  • Camping: Camping canopies are meant to provide shelter from the sun but can also be used as screen tents against biting, stinging insects. They range from sturdy shelters meant to provide more permanent cover to lightweight, portable options for a day in the woods.
  • Beach: Beach canopies are usually lower to the ground and feature a built-in ground cloth. The fabric is lightweight and protected against the sun's ultraviolet rays, and most have walls on three sides.
  • Wedding: When weather threatens on that special day, wedding tents can help. They are usually white and come with options for interior configurations plus sidewalls with windows.

Straight vs. slant legs

The square footage of the canopy tent is influenced by the style of the leg. 

  • Straight: Straight legs provide a smaller footprint than slant legs. These are more stable than slant-leg canopies, but they also tend to be heavier.
  • Slant: Lightweight and more modern in style, these are better when portability is important. These may be less durable, and they take up more space without providing additional protection.


Consider the material of both frame and canopy .

  • Frame: Frames are made of lightweight aluminum or heavy-duty steel. Aluminum is lighter and more affordable but also prone to dents and dings. Steel is more durable, but it’s heavy and expensive.
  • Canopy: Both canopy and sidewalls are available in polyester or canvas. Polyester and polyester-blend canopies are lighter, but canvas is built to last through years of use and weather.

What to look for in a quality canopy tent

UV protection

UV protection is valuable when camping, but it’s critical at the beach. Look for fabric that blocks the sun’s most harmful rays.

Easy setup

Some canopy tents are set up at the push of a button, while others simply unfold and snap into place. Whichever you choose, setup should be easy and fast.

Waterproof and seam-sealed

Waterproof, seam-sealed canopies keep you dry when the clouds open up. These qualities may fade over time, but you can easily use waterproofing spray to refresh your canopy.

Roof vents

Roof vents in camping and wedding canopies release heat. This is important especially for wedding canopies because a larger number of people are likely to gather. 

Wheeled case

No more running back and forth to the car for supplies. A wheeled case makes it easy to transport your tent right where you need it.


Sidewalls are available in most types of canopy tents. These are perfect for blocking sun and rain from any direction. For wedding tents, moveable sidewalls mean you can easily change the configuration as needed. 


Beach and wedding canopies with windows let more light in while still keeping you dry during sudden downpours. These are usually clear plastic inserts in the walls that can be removed.

How much you can expect to spend on a canopy tent

The price varies depending on the type of tent and the accessories it comes with. Expect to spend from $60 for a beach canopy tent to well over $200 on an elaborate wedding canopy. 

Canopy tent FAQ

How do you care for a canopy tent?

A. Although you should follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for care, there are a few general rules to care for a canopy tent.

  • Brush off loose dirt before packing your tent away.
  • If there is extensive dirt, use mild soap and water to spot clean, then rinse it completely.
  • Remove dirt from the legs of the frame.
  • Make sure your tent is completely dry before storing.

What’s the best way to keep a canopy tent secured?

A. For the most secure wedding or camping canopy, long stakes driven deeply into the ground work well. These can be reinforced with sand bags too.

Beach canopies don’t stay as secure in the sand with stakes. Guy wires or spiral stakes buried in the sand are a good option here. 

For the strongest winds, err on the side of safety and use a combination of methods to keep your canopy in place.

What’s the best canopy tent to buy?

Top canopy tent

Coleman Instant Beach Canopy

What you need to know: This large structure is great for a day at the beach or a week of car camping in the woods. 

What you’ll love: It provides 169 square feet of shade and UPF 50+ sun protection. The canopy sheds water away from the sides to keep you dry. The legs lock into place, and the frame folds into one piece for easy setup and storage. Its 9-foot center height accommodates the tallest campers, and it comes with a one-year limited warranty.

What you should consider: The poles are not strong enough for for really strong winds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top canopy tent for the money

E-Z Up Sierra II Canopy

What you need to know: If lightweight portability is important for you, this is a good choice.

What you’ll love: It weighs 31 pounds but comes in a case with wheels. It sets up in just seconds and has two height settings. The canopy is fire resistant and sheds water. Legs are angled for a bigger footprint, and it provides 64 square feet of shade.

What you should consider: It is good for an afternoon drizzle, but isn’t meant for use in prolonged or severe weather.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Quictent Easy Pop-Up Canopy Wedding Tent with Sidewalls

What you need to know: This offers lots of room and sidewalls to protect wedding guests from wind gusts.

What you’ll love: The sidewalls are removable and can make a variety of configurations as needed. It has two doors and clear windows for plenty of light. The included sandbags mean it can hold up to gusty winds. It comes with a lifetime warranty on the stakes and poles, but a six-month warranty on the tent.

What you should consider: Setup is not as easy as advertised, and tall people will need to duck to navigate the periphery of the tent. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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