Portable GaragesWinter’s knocking once again at the doors of millions of American homeowners and business owners. With freezing rain, snow, and wind quickly on the way, it’s time to think about securing and safely storing equipment, vehicles, and other machinery.

Each fall, thousands of shoppers attempt to find a canopy, portable garage, or other portable shelter that will work as durable, reliant covering through harsh winter conditions. Snow load ratings and wind resistance qualifications present data that’s crucial to making an informed purchase.

Truly Snow- And Wind-Rated Shelters Are Clearly Identified

Any snow-load or wind-rated canopy or personal shelter will clearly advertise its qualifications within its item description. The features list or manual, or both, will display the wind rating in miles per hour, and any snow-load capacity in pounds per square foot. This measurement is also abbreviated as “psf.” It’s the most amount of weight a shelter can bear without risking damage to its frame.

True Weather Resistance Depends On Correct Operation

For portable garages and shelters to properly function, they must be properly used. In virtually all cases, portable shelters and canopies need anchoring and other precautions in order to reach their weather-resistance capacity. When purchasing a canopy, tent, or shelter, shoppers should look to see what anchors, weight sets, or other securing accessories are needed. They should also determine whether these implements are included with the shelter package.

What to Do Before Making A Purchase

Don’t buy a portable shelter, tent, or canopy until you’ve browsed its assembly instructions and/or operation manual. If you have further questions, talk to the customer service staff of the store or website (for example, at info@ecanopy.com) and clearly state your concerns and questions. Peace of mind, especially in winter’s chill, brings a warmth all its own.

Garage CanopiesThe portable garage makes the perfect way to keep your vehicles, lawn equipment, and other machinery sheltered from the elements. But it’s much more useful than just that important task! Check out some of the other, off-the-beaten-path uses we’ve found for these surprisingly versatile shelters, tents, and semi-rigid canopies.

Helping Your Community’s Charitable, Church, and Social Events

Your local church or your children’s school could probably use a strong, secure shelter for their next fundraiser, festival, or other outdoor gathering. By lending your portable garage for use as a booth, temporary storage place or other much-needed resource, you’ll deploy your portable garage to do a world of good where it’s sure to be appreciated. You’ll help keep volunteers out of the sun, and important sale items protected from the elements.

As A Holiday Centerpiece

Depending on the size of your portable garage canopy and the size of your front yard, the canopy can be the “blank slate” on which you load holiday decorations. Tube-shaped portable garages easily convert to a “tunnel of horrors” during Halloween. Later in the fall, they can shift to an enchanted “ice cave” to wow passers-by. (Remember to check your canopy or garage’s snow load capability before leaving it deployed in snow conditions.)

For Backyard Campouts and Cookouts

Garage CanopiesIf your kids are part of a scout troop, youth group, or just a gang of pals, the portable garage provides a place to play, camp out, and generally just enjoy being young. If you’re holding a backyard cookout, the portable garage can provide a place to store party supplies (ice chests, coolers, kegs, and cooking ingredients) out of the hot sun.

The tube-shaped portable garage can also be renovated into an “adventure tunnel” full of games, decorations, and fun activities for birthday party guests to enjoy. When it’s time to eat, children can picnic under the canopy shelter all afternoon long. Parents can watch from the edges of the canopy if the canopy has open sides, or join the kids if the canopy has sidewalls.

As Your Landscaping Headquarters

Also in springtime, your canopy or portable garage makes an excellent “base camp” for all your lawn and garden rejuvenation. Center your garden equipment and supplies, landscaping and gardening machinery, and all your other tools in one convenient, sheltered place. You’ll save time going back and forth to the garage, and you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that supplies like mulch, topsoil, and other important lawn and garden ingredients are kept safe without taking up valuable space in your garage or carport.

For Tailgating and Other Sporting Events

CanopiesThe portable canopy is always popular as a protective shelter for tailgating outside the stadium. But you can also probably bring your canopy along to little league and high school athletic events. Use the canopy as a pavilion to host the team, or just to give families and other spectators a place to congregate. They’ll appreciate your generosity, and you’ll make a valuable contribution to the whole season.

To Provide Shade For Your Pets and Livestock

Especially during the warm and humid summer months, a place to relax in the shade can be a lifesaver for cats, dogs, and many different kinds of livestock. Emptying your portable garage or canopy for use as a bivouac or temporary shelter for animals gives them a safe, reliable place to wait out the brutal summer heat. Just remember to follow your portable garage or canopy’s instructions regarding severe and inclement weather.

As An Extension of Your Carport

A personal garage also works great to expand the storage space of your carport, especially when company comes to visit and can benefit from vehicle storage space of their own. Open-sided canopies also offer great shade and shelter when washing your car or other vehicle, too.

For A Yard Sale or Rummage Sale

If you’ve ever attended a garage sale, rummage sale, or yard sale, you know the importance of sheltering the merchandise. Canopies and portable garages are ideal temporary display space for clothes, electronics, electrically powered furniture and appliances, and anything that doesn’t need to sit out in the sun.

For a complete guide to throwing the perfect yard sale, check out our easy to read guide elsewhere on this blog.

Canopies

To err is human, the saying goes, and everybody makes mistakes. But some mistakes are more common than others. And some are made by almost everyone!

Here are five of the most common misuses, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about owning and operating a canopy tent, popup canopy, or portable shelter. They’re arranged in no particular order of calamity or misadventure.

“The Rain Can’t Hurt It.”

Many first-time canopy owners confuse the terms “waterproof” with “water-resistant” – and end up soaking wet.

The truth is that only some canopy models, such as the one made by Vitabri, are completely and reliably waterproof. Most canopies, however, will resist water but cannot completely repel it. In fact, water pooling across the canopy can stretch the canopy material and even damage the trusses and frame.

As with most of the issues on this list, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of properly working canopy. Take the canopy down in the event of rain, taking care to wipe the frame and cover dry first.

”It’s Plastic. It Doesn’t Need Cleaning.”

Canopies Because most canopy tops are made from treated polyester, there’s a widespread misconception that they don’t need cleaning and preventative maintenance. But moisture, dampness, and normal wear and tear will take their toll on canopies that go too long without care and attention. The result? Mildew, rips and weak spots in the canopy covering.

Mildew happens when the canopy cover is folded up and put away while still wet. It actually grows in the dark and damp folds of the canopy material, spreading quicker if the canopy is stored in a warm place (like a garage or attic.) Mildew can be tough to remove, too, without using harmful and abrasive chemicals.

The sad, ironic fact is that canopies are built for a long life, and are actually simple to keep in top condition. If you need help with your canopy cleaning, check out our easy to read cleaning guide elsewhere on this blog.

”The Frame’s Weight Will Hold It In Place.”

In almost all cases, canopy frames will lack the structural weight to prevent the canopy from capsizing in the event of high and even moderate winds. And while some canopy tops are vented at their tops to reduce heat within the canopy’s interior, that venting will offer little egress for strong wind currents.

Capsizing presents numerous dangers for canopies: bent or broken legs and trusses, punctured and torn canopy covers, and broken locking and adjustment mechanisms. These malfunctions can be costly to replace and repair. In fact, many canopy warranties expressly exclude damage caused by inclement weather.

Some canopy owners often use weight bags and tie-downs to give their canopy tents better stability and grounding. However, these accessories are not designed and should not be used to anchor canopies through severe weather conditions.

“The Canopy’s Supposed to Stay On The Frame When You Pack It Away.”

CanopiesCanopy roller bags and carrying cases are convenient, easy to use ways to get your canopy top and frame from one place to another with a minimum of wear and tear. However, when incorrectly used the roller bag or carrying case presents its own dangers to your canopy top’s condition.

Leaving the canopy top on the frame when you store it in the carrying bag will save a few minutes when you take it out again, yes. It will also cause the canopy top to become pinched within the folded-up truss and frame supports. The pressure between the two metal frame or truss parts is enough to squeeze holes into the canopy top material.

Generally speaking, roller bags are very carefully and exactly designed. Straying from their directions and recommended use invites damage to the canopy top and frame alike.

”The Canopy’s Open, Right? Smoke Isn’t A Problem.”

This one seems obvious enough, but still confuses some canopy users. Never keep an open fire under a canopy cover, including vented canopies. Smoke, embers and ash can get caught against the canopy top’s underside or fall back to the ground, presenting fire and burning hazards. And even though some canopy tops are certified fire- and flame-resistant, some are not.

Accumulated smoke caught by the canopy also presents allergy and respiratory problems. Keep barbecue pits, fires, chimeneas, and other wood- and gas-burning heat sources well away from the canopy materials.

How to Get Help

Got a question about canopies, tents, or personal shelters? Contact our helpful customer service department.