It’s been a long 197 days since the 'big game'. We’ve had to endure long seasons of basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, you name the sport; each one filling out a less-than-exciting ESPN highlight reel for past six months. I’m not one to wish summer away, but as we approach the end of August and kids head back to school an excitement starts to fill college campuses and cities around the country. I’m reminded that September is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing. In just 20 short days our Saturdays and Sundays will be filled with endless hours of uninterrupted football and Monday SportsCenter will once again be worth watching. Yelling at our favorite teams for goal line fumbles, and rejoicing on the unexpected 80 yard touchdown run or catch. While most of us will enjoy the games from the comfort of our own homes, the committed fans will be heading out to the stadiums to watch all the excitement. And as diehard fans know, there is one thing that is a quintessential part of every game day. Tailgating. Burgers and hot dogs on the grill, finger foods lined up on tables, coolers filled with beverages, yard games strewn across the parking lots. It’s the party before the party. Friends and family gathered to celebrate their team and inviting friendly banter with opposing fans. While some might think it’s easy to prepare for the ultimate tailgate, there is one particular item on the tailgating checklist that we want to focus on. We describe it as the most important part of every tailgate, the canopy tent. In fact, we’re not even sure you can call your tailgate a tailgate without one. With all the things to worry about in the days leading up to the big tailgate, we know time is limited and valuable. Our goal is to present information in a way that you can quickly decide which shelter is the best pop up canopy tent for tailgating. We’ve spent countless hours scouring the internet and local sports stores, purchasing as many different instant shelters that we could find so that you can focus on other aspects of your tailgate.
You might ask, well why do I need a pop-up canopy tent for my tailgate? Great question. First, we believe an instant shelter is the most effective insurance policy that can protect your tailgate from inclement weather. Weather can be unpredictable and change in an instant when outdoors for an entire day, especially during the Fall months. Southern states typically have more rainfall than northern states during this season, but any sunny day can quickly change to overcast and rain. As the season progresses and temperatures drop, rain can turn a gorgeous Fall day into a cold and miserable one. Tailgates typically range from 3-10 hours depending on game time. If you’re exposed to the elements and it begins to rain that’s a long time sitting around in wet clothes, and the game hasn’t even started yet. Not to mention the food. All that time grilling and prepping is now in jeopardy of being wasted. Instant pop-up shelters have become increasingly affordable over the years and competition has spurred technological upgrades that greatly enhance their ease of use. An insurance policy for between $100 and $200 can give you piece of mind in knowing that your food, friends and family are protected from the elements. Second, protect yourself from the sun. September is only one month removed from August, typically the hottest month of the year. Especially for southern states and SEC games, temperatures can be in the 80’s and 90’s the first few weeks of the football season. Spending hours in the sun can cause dehydration, sun burn, and exhaustion. Sun Shelters can provide needed relief from the sun and allow your body temperature to cool. Place your chair underneath and kick your feet up, tailgating is supposed to be fun and relaxing! Lastly, an often overlooked benefit of having a canopy tent at your tailgate is that they provide a physical boundary to your tailgate. Vehicles are often packed into tailgate parking lots as tightly as possible. With cars a few feet on both sides, you’ll need to maximize the small space that you get. Having a pop-up canopy tent at your tailgate will prevent your neighbors next door from intruding on your real estate. Space is tight, maximize it and protect it. The best canopy tent for tailgating will provide all these things.
Now that we’ve established that an instant canopy tent is necessary for your tailgate let’s talk about what to look for when purchasing one. When we review and recommend pop-up canopy tents, we’re often looking at four components: affordability, durability, portability and ease of use. For the purpose of tailgating we find two of these components critical. Affordability is important as we’re always trying to find value in an instant shelter. The most expensive tents don’t always provide the best value. There are plenty out there that are expensive but we don’t necessarily need all the features they offer. When it comes to affordability we’re looking for a unique mix of expected value and an affordable price target. The second thing we’ll want to look for is durability. For tailgating purposes, we find this as the most important component. Depending on use, we’ve found the lifetime of a sun shelter typically ranges from 3-7 years. A key component to durability is the engineering of the structure. We have found that canopies with full truss cross systems greatly outlive their counterparts with only perimeter trusses. The full truss cross system has a cross section of support through the center of the canopy which is far less vulnerable to pressure on the sides or rotational pressure. We think investing in a quality instant canopy tent will pay dividends in your tailgating experience for years to come. Since it’s likely to be set up within a few feet of your vehicle, we’re not going to talk much about portability. Often we see durability compromised for portability so it’s a component we don’t see relevant for tailgating.
We have reviewed and researched almost every canopy tent on the market today. We feel there is one specific tent that we can recommend as the best canopy tent for any tailgate. The Eurmax Basic 10’ x 10’ Pop Up Tent surpasses all of our requirements to be an outstanding canopy tent. Eurmax is a brand many people might not be familiar with, but they have been specializing for years in manufacturing commercial grade canopy tents. As we mentioned durability being the most important attribute for our tailgating canopy tent, we found this full truss cross system tent to provide unmatched stability and sturdiness. The hammertone powder coated finish on the high grade steel frame gives it a heavy duty commercial feel. There’s no need to worry about a crowded tailgate with people bumping into the telescoping legs. As far as commercial grade canopy tents go, this tent by far is the most affordable. It delivers exceptional value given all of the features included. The thumb-lock-slider buttons allow for easy set up and tear down of the telescoping legs and canopy lock mechanisms. No need to fuss with metal stoppers and pinched fingers. The canopy provides a maximum peak height of 11.1 ft which is the tallest canopy we have reviewed so even the tallest of friends and family will be comfortable. A useful Velcro strip along the length of the valence provides an easy attachment for a side wall if you want to block out those pesky rival fans next to you. We would recommend using the provided stakes to anchor the legs, however the included guy ropes are difficult to use in a tailgating environment. With a lot of foot traffic in a small space guy ropes generally do not work well. If wind is in the weather forecast we recommend purchasing weighted bags or plates as an additional anchor to the stakes. All of these just touch the surface of what this canopy tent is all about. The bottom line is if you’re looking for the best tailgating canopy tent stop looking and get this one.
If you want to look like a real tailgate veteran, you’ll want to mark your tailgate spot with a tailgate flag. We all know how difficult it is to find a friends tailgate. We recommend placing a collapsible 20’ tailgate pole next to your canopy tent and attached a flag of your choosing. Make it something that will stand out from other flags, your friends will appreciate it! Overall, we couldn’t be more excited that football and tailgating season is almost here. Spending a Saturday or Sunday outdoors with friends, family, and fans are something everyone can enjoy. There’s an electricity about the tailgating atmosphere that is contagious. We hope this informative buying guide gives some clarity about what to look for when trying to find the best canopy tent tailgating. Enjoy those burgers, hot dogs, and beverages. Happy tailgating!