Last year’s bright idea was to get this HUGE 20 x 30 tarp to create shade. I was camping with a group of people, in a full sun area, and we wanted our shared ‘living room’ area to be nice and cool and protected from rain. It was such a bad idea. We had days of brutal heat and high winds that kept taking the tarp down. We all grew to hate that tarp and eventually, after breaking poles and almost breaking tent frames, we took the tarp down.
Never again. For this year I bought the 10 x 12 Guardian carport style canopy by King Canopy. It’s heavy and don’t pack down very compact, but it is sturdy. I had high hopes for it. So how did it perform?
Like a champ!
I don’t recommend putting it up by yourself, but I managed it. It was all I could do to drag the damn thing out of my car and get it to my campsite, 30 feet away. The set up wasn’t complicated, but it really is a two person operation. It is as solid as I hoped it would be. The steel frame was strong enough I could hang heavy items from it and the canopy itself is a durable polyethylene. The center height is 9 ft, which helps with shedding rain and heat. I wish I had taken a photo of it at my campsite, but my camera went walking early in the trip and didn’t walk back until the last day as I was tearing down camp.
Nothing bothered it. Not fighting squirrels throwing down tree limbs, not heat and sun, and not 2 days of storms. The center height was high enough that we were able to move our campfire underneath as long as we kept the flames low and controlled. (That’s a fire hazard, I’m not recommending you do this) When I got it home, the canopy came clean of soot, mulberries, and bird poo with just a bit of dishsoap and water. I’m in love with it and consider it one of my best purchases. I purchased the canopy through for $50, which was a huge bargain. I looked to see if the canopy was still available on any website, but was unable to find it again. Amazon lists it as “Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” Keep your eyes open this fall and winter and maybe you can score a King Canopy on super discount.
I had debated buying sides for the tent, but decided not to. What I did worked much better and looked really great. I bought these mesh curtains from IKEA for $5 for 2 panels. I purchased 3 sets of panels as I wanted to keep the side facing my friend’s canopy (where we had the kitchen) open. They are long enough to reach the ground at even the 9ft peek, but you can cut them off at any length without a need to hem. I left them long and allowed them to pool on the ground. You can either slide them onto the poles of your canopy or use zip ties. They were beautiful, airy, and helped keep bugs out. Next time I’ll put them on all four sides because seriously annoying flies made their way in via the open side facing the kitchen. Everyone who visited said they felt like they were entering a fairy land or some other such magical place. The curtains, more than any other item I brought, lent an air of romance and luxury to our campsite.
The curtains are machine washable on gentle and came out looking almost as pristine white as when I bought them. I give the curtains two thumbs up. And seriously – $5 for two panels? Hell yes.