When you’re shopping for a pop up canopy tent, one of the many decisions you will need to make is whether to purchase a tent that features straight legs or slanted legs. While this may seem like a minor difference in structural design, there are a number of pros and cons of both to consider. These mean that the type of tent legs you opt for is actually a key consideration.
Let’s discuss the differences between these two types of pop up canopy tent legs now so that you can select a tent that will best fit your needs. For a more in-depth look at all of the characteristics that determine which canopy is the best, be sure to check out our canopy tent buying guide!
Straight Legged Canopy Tents
Straight legs on a canopy tent are exactly what they sound like. They are legs which stand vertically at right angles to the ground. These legs are your only option with pole tents and the most common option with frame tents. But you can choose between slant legs and straight legs for both pyramid and cross-truss pop up canopy tents.
Pros of Straight Legs
Straight legs provide you with a couple of excellent benefits on a canopy tent:
The shade from the canopy covers the full square footage between the legs of the tent. This is not the case with slanted legs (you can read about this in detail in the section on canopy tents with slanted legs below).
Planning on setting up your canopy tent in a crowded venue such as a farmers market or craft show? This is easiest to do if you purchase a tent which includes straight legs. You can erect the tent right next to another one without any wasted space in between. In fact, you can even put the tent up right next to a wall if necessary, which can help to provide you with more shade and shelter from wind.
Cons of Straight Legs
Straight legs on a canopy tent do present a few disadvantages as well:
Because all four legs of the canopy tent are perpendicular to the ground, the tent has a “square” structure. In engineering, this is not the most stable of structures since it can easily be bent into a rhombus shape. If you picture the tent in your mind’s eye and a strong wind pushing at one side of it, it is easy to imagine this deformation taking place. All four legs will angle together toward the opposite side, and the tent could feasibly fall over.
Thicker tent poles are required to strengthen a canopy tent with straight legs in order to compensate for the structural weakness discussed above. This can make the whole tent bulkier and heavier. If you need to carry the tent around a lot, transporting it could be a more cumbersome prospect as a result of this heftier size and weight.
The need for thicker poles can also drive up its price. That being said, if the tent provides you with long-term value, paying a little extra for the shape and features you need makes sense.
When to Choose a Straight Legged Canopy Tent
Given the pros and cons of straight-legged pop up canopy tents, these tents are suitable for outdoor festivals, craft shows, markets, conventions and so forth. They make efficient use of space. They are also an excellent choice for social gatherings where you want everybody underneath the canopy tent to be able to enjoy the shade.
Slanted Legged Canopy Tents
With a set of slanted legs on a canopy tent, the legs are angled slightly outward from the top of the tent to the ground. The principal reason to do this is to boost stability (see below).
Pros of Slanted Legs
Because the legs of this type of canopy tent are slanted away from each other, there is a more “triangular” structure. This form is favored in engineering for its excellent stability. It is a difficult shape to deform, which is why you see it used so often in bridges and other structures where stability is critical for safety.
Because the structure of the tent is more stable, it is not necessary for the poles to be as heavy or bulky. The result is that the entire tent can be engineered to be more compact and lightweight. This may make it easier to carry to and from a site.
With these lighter materials, the cost for a canopy tent featuring slanted legs can sometimes be less expensive than what you would pay for a tent with straight legs.
Cons of Slanted Legs
If you want to set up a tent with slanted legs adjacent to a building or another tent, there will be more open space in between, which can let in unwanted wind or light.
Let’s say that you see a slanted leg tent and a straight-legged tent for sale, both of which feature a footprint of 10’ x 10’ at the base. With the straight-legged tent, you can rest assured that the entirety of that footprint will be beneath the canopy. But with the slant legged tent, the canopy itself will measure less than that 10’ x 10’ footprint. This will leave some wasted space at the edges where there is no shade but the tent is still taking up room.
When to Choose a Slant Legged Canopy Tent
Consider buying a slant legged canopy tent if your goal is to keep stability at a maximum, and you are not as concerned about space efficiency or about having the most lightweight, compact canopy tent. These tents may, for example, be most appropriate in locations that are windy.
Conclusion: Both Straight and Slanted Legs on Canopy Tents are Ideal for Different Needs and Conditions
You are now familiar with the structural differences as well as the pros and cons between straight and slanted canopy tent legs. To figure out which type of tent is most ideal for your needs, think about how and where you will use your tent and which features matter most to you. There are excellent products in both categories. Explore our site for recommendations and reviews, but it might also be good to get some more perspective on the issue from a forum on Reddit regarding this exact issue.