5 Common Pop-Up Canopy Tent Problems and How to Solve Them

Andrew Dodson /// 01/17/2022

Nothing is perfect in this world, including pop-up canopy tents. While pop-up tents are a great solution for shade, protection, and branding at an outdoor event, they do come with their own unique set of pain points. Here are some of the most common problems and how to best solve them.

1) Pop-Up Tent Can’t Sustain Heavy Winds


“Is this tent sturdy enough to withstand major wind and rain?”

With the exception of cost, wind and rain is the No. 1 concern people have when purchasing a custom pop-up tent. And it’s a valid concern! You never want to be in a situation where your event tent blows away and potentially injures someone.

Cheap pop-up tents that you find at big box stores or on Amazon aren’t going to fare as well in high winds as the professional-grade, American-made pop up canopy tents we manufacture - no matter how well you anchor the tent.

Those cheaper tents are mass-manufactured overseas and are susceptible to quality control issues. The frame legs tend to be thinner and made of steel, which isn’t as strong as aluminum. And the overall design practically invites the wind to wreak havoc on the frame. Check out the reviews on this “10x10 Ez Pop Up Canopy Tent” to see what we’re talking about.

MONARCHTENT, our heavy-duty pop-up tent, is engineered to sustain 35 mph wind gusts and it is the ONLY pop-up tent with a certified wind rating from an actual engineering firm to prove it.

If you choose to not invest in a professional-grade tent because of cost, you have to settle for a steel frame tent. Steel costs a third of the price of aluminum, but it also weighs three times as much. While you could manufacture a steel-frame tent with beefier legs, the overall weight would be unbearable. Manufacturers of steel tents have to keep the legs thin (and not as durable) to keep the overall weight down.

Still, no matter how well-engineered a pop-up tent is, without proper ballasting, it’s going to blow away in heavy winds.

How do you keep a canopy from blowing away?

If you’re wondering how to secure your canopy tent, we have plenty of canopy anchor ideas.

Heavy footplates (our handcrafted footplates weigh 50 lbs. each) are the easiest and best solution for preventing your pop up canopy from blowing away. Other options include:

  • Sandbags. More affordable, but not as heavy as footplates.

  • Water barrels. Big and bulky, but potentially WAY more weight than footplates.

  • Concrete. Heavier than sandbags, but not always as heavy as footplates. Also difficult to lug around.

  • Tent stakes. A great solution if you have 1) have plenty of space at your event, and 2) are set up on grass. A tent stake won’t help you on a concrete parking lot.

2) Cheap Tent Frames Break Easily

Here’s a message we recently received from a customer: “Over the past four years, we have gone through three cheap canopies (from other companies) and I am tired of them folding whenever there is a decent rain or during heavier winds.”

Yes, dealing with a cheap canopy frame is a big problem in this industry. And like most things in life, you get what you pay for.

There are six main things to look for to determine how heavy-duty a pop-up tent actually is:

  • Material: Anodized aluminum has a much better strength-to-weight ratio than steel and is nearly as hard as a diamond.

  • Thickness: Professional pop-up tents use 12-gauge aluminum, which is 2mm thick. Recreational pop-up tents that you find at big box stores use material less than 1mm thick.

  • Leg design: Commercial-grade canopies use hex or octagonal leg designs for better grip and more surface area for greater stability. Cheaper tents tend to use square legs, which isn’t stable.

  • Connecting joints: Cheap tents use all plastic parts for connecting joints. Professional, heavy-duty canopy tents use anodized aluminum for optimal strength.

  • Footpad: Cheap tents typically feature a piece of plastic or thin metal (less than ⅛” thick) that pops into the bottom of each leg. Professional pop-up tents use a more robust footpad that’s at least ¼” inch and made from cast aluminum.

  • Frame weight: A cheaper 10x10 pop-up tent can weigh about 50-60 lbs. and still collapse after a simple rainstorm. Professional 10x10 canopy tents weigh around 75 lbs. Anything lighter, and you can assume it’s not a heavy-duty tent.

How long does a canopy tent last?

A canopy tent lasts as long as you can take care of it. Even our heavy duty MONARCHTENT, which comes with a lifetime frame warranty, has its limits. But if used appropriately, meaning you’re not leaving it out year-round, and you’re taking it down when winds eclipse 35mph, your canopy tent can last for decades.

3) Water Pooling Cause Sagging Canopy

One way a tent frame collapses is when water pools on the canopy top and adds more weight than the frame can handle. This typically happens because the canopy isn’t cut to fit tightly on the frame, so when there's heavy rain, it’s easy for puddles of water to form.

If the frame does handle the weight of that water, then there’s a chance you might be dealing with a leaking or sagging canopy that’s getting all of your vendor products wet. Or you’re pushing off that water and getting things (or people) near your tent extra wet.

This problem is worse on cheaper tents that use flimsy canopy material and aren’t engineered for a tight-fitting canopy.

Professional pop-up tents, like MONARCHTENT, use our high-quality Duranti canopy fabric, a proprietary 600 Denier polyester, that's ultra-water-resistant and greatly reduces pooling. Since our products are made in the USA, our team of sewing fabricators double-stitch every canopy by hand, with stitches that are ½” inch apart from optimal strength. We also sew in a piece of vinyl where the tent leg comes into contact with the canopy, preventing friction and rubbing, and allowing the material to last significantly longer.

We need to produce such high-quality canopies because when they’re installed on our frames, the finished product fits tight, creating a lot of tension on the seams and material. A tight canopy doesn’t allow for pooling. If you’re using multiple tents in your setup, consider purchasing tent gutters to keep water away from your tent.

How do you fix a sagging canopy?

Make sure your frame is fully opened and the canopy is installed as tightly as possible. On professional-grade pop-up tents, this typically isn’t a problem.

On cheaper tents, sometimes you need to get creative.

A pool noodle can be installed between the canopy and the top of the frame, to increase the tension of the canopy. When done in all four corners, it should create enough tension to prevent water from pooling.

4) Too Big and Heavy to Store and Transport

Unfortunately, no one has figured out how to collapse a high-quality, 10x10 pop-up tent into a backpack. We’ll let you know when we figure it out, though!

When you’re shopping for a heavy-duty pop-up tent, assume you’re purchasing a heavy piece of equipment that’s going to require a decent-sized vehicle to transport it. Sorry, a Toyota Yaris isn’t going to cut it.

Cheaper pop-up tents tend to be heavier because they’re made with a steel frame. And professional-grade options are similar in weight - as much as 170 lbs. depending on size - because they use thicker, anodized aluminum.

How to easily transport your canopy tent?

While pop-up tents are heavy, the good news is that some products, including MONARCHTENT, include a carry bag and wheel kit, which makes moving 80 lbs. quite easy.

Without a wheel kit, you’ll likely need two people to help carry your tent.

And if you need something that's super-easy to transport, check out the GYBE Inflatable Tent.

5) Turnaround Time for a Custom Canopy Is Too Long

It can take time to produce a custom canopy pop-up tent, which can be frustrating when your event is right around the corner.

Many sellers of pop-up tents rely on the global supply chain to source their frames and then print the canopies in-house. If they’re light on supply, you might be waiting weeks or months before your frame is available.

Because TentCraft manufactures its own frames in house and builds each product as orders roll in, you can typically expect a lead time of 3 to 5 days.

What is the turnaround time for a custom pop up tent?

At TentCraft, we can typically ship your custom pop-up tent in 3 to 5 days. Other companies may be able to match that lead time, while others may require you to wait several weeks.

Let TentCraft Solve Your Canopy Tent Problem

When you’re the manufacturer of custom canopy pop-up tents, you develop an expertise that other companies simply don’t have. Reach out to us today with your problem and our team of experts can help you come up with the perfect solution.

About TentCraft

We’re more than just custom pop up tents — TentCraft is a premium fabricator of all things experiential marketing and outdoor advertising. If it combines metal, fabric and print our team of skilled craftsmen can transform any napkin sketch or wild idea into a fully realized project. Serving the biggest brands on the planet as well as your local High School, if you want the perfect blend of quality and American craftsmanship, we’ve got you covered.