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It used to be that if you did not have a garage, your vehicles had to sit on the road out in the elements throughout the year.

However, there are now portable shelters that can double as auto shelters. In addition, even if you do have a garage, you can use a portable canopy to keep vehicles protected.

There are a lot of models out there to choose from, and there are some things you need to consider before you buy.

As you have seen, there are several different styles of car canopy tents to choose from. There are a few things that you can take into consideration when trying to decide from among them.

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1 Bestmart INC 10x15ft Heavy Duty Beige Carport Portable Garage Storage Shed Canopy
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Bestmart INC 10x15ft Heavy Duty Beige Carport Portable Garage Storage Shed Canopy

It has been noted by current owners that this unit has remarkable heat retention. One owner reported that it was in full sun, and when the tent was completely closed on both ends, it became extremely hot and humid inside the tent. This should be a consideration both when determining where to locate the tent and what will be stored in the tent.
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The dimensions of this portable garage allow for anything up to small trucks. Because it is enclosed, it also is ideal for small trailers, seasonal recreational vehicles, wood or wood pellet storage, or other bulk items.

he high grade steel frame gives this model extra strength and stability. A premium powder coat finish protects the steel from rust, corrosion, peeling and chipping.  There are four tent peg-type fixtures, one for each corner, to anchor the carport. The “Rugged Ratchet Tite Tensioning” system makes it easy to set up while pulling the frame and cover together to ensure a perfect fit.

The waterproof cover is polyethylene material and treated with anti-yellowing and anti-aging agents, so it should not ever fade. The cover is also UV-treated and anti-fungal, so it will protect items from harmful rays and mold. The cover and sides are all one piece, but both ends of this model open so you can drive through it.

  • 10’W x 15’L x 8’H
  • Powder coated steel frame
  • Polyethylene cover
  • Ratchet Tite Tensioning system
  • Easy for one person to set up
2 Quictent 10X20ft Upgraded Heavy Duty Car Canopy Galvanized Frame
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Quictent 10X20ft Upgraded Heavy Duty Car Canopy Galvanized Frame

They also offer lifetime free replacement for connectors, pegs, ropes, and elastic ropes; lifetime free replacement for a few “natural-loss” poles (i.e. due to weather phenomena); and lifetime 50% off parts supplies that exceed the normal one year warranty. This means you can keep your Quictent in fine repair for years.
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The length and width of this canopy certainly allow for smaller pick-up trucks, but the height might be prohibitive for bigger pick-ups and SUVs. Regular sedans will fit fine.

The heavy duty, galvanized steel tubing frame of this canopy makes it extremely durable, yet easily portable. Unlike other portable garages, this one does not require extra drilling or cutting; everything is a simple fit together.

There are extra steel cables that work to reinforce the entire structure, making the frame sturdier and the top more secure. The waterproof, UV protected, polyethylene cover is pulled tight on top of the frame, so there is not a lot of potential for sagging under snow or water.

One unique feature of this model, unparalleled by others on the list, is that Quictent offers a really strong warranty. In addition to a (fairly) industry-standard one year warranty on poles and covers, they up the game with some additions.

  • 10’W x 20’L x 8.7’H ft. (at peak)
  • Heavy duty galvanized steel tubing
  • Extra thick Polyethylene Fabric
  • Reinforced steel cables for extra structure stability
  • Lifetime free replacement on some items (see Overview)
3 Abba Patio 10×20 ft Heavy Duty Carport Car Canopy Portable Garage
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Abba Patio 10×20 ft Heavy Duty Carport Car Canopy Portable Garage

While this obviously makes it less ideal for storage or for full protection against the elements, it can be beneficial, because the open sides allow for more space, possibly allowing for a slightly larger vehicle (no poles or sides to inhibit space).
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The canopy dimensions allow for trucks or SUVs to be sheltered underneath. However, because there are no side panels, there is only protection from the top, so storage of other vehicles may not be optimal.

As there were similarities between the first two choices on the list, so is our number four choice similar to the number 3 – simply because the two share the same manufacturer. The frames of both the third and fourth choices here are exactly the same: 1.5” diameter, powder coated steel. The cover is also water and UV-resistant.

This model has six legs, but has the same foot pads as the 12 x 20 portable garage listed above. This will allow for easy anchoring. It also features the same quick collapsibility for easy transport. The biggest difference is that there are no side panels, only the top cover, making it truly just a canopy.

  • 10’W x 20’L x 9.5’H ft (at peak)
  • Powder coated steel frame
  • Double layer, UV-resistant polyethylene cover
  • Bungee cord attachment (tarp to frame)
  • Easy set up
4 Abba Patio 10 x 20 ft Carport Heavy Duty Carport with Removable Sidewalls
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Abba Patio 10 x 20 ft Carport Heavy Duty Carport with Removable Sidewalls

Put all of the panels up, and it will protect vehicles or other possessions from the elements. Take the panels off, and you have cover from the sun, but open air on the sides, making it perfect for decks, outdoor parties, or even outdoor exhibits. It is fully collapsible for easy transport and storage as well.
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The size of this heavy duty portable garage allows for both cars and trucks, as well as boats and motorcycles. It can also be used for seasonal, recreational vehicles.

This frame of this carport consists of 1.5” diameter, powder coated steel tubing. The coating protects the steel from the elements, as well as corrosive particles. There are foot pads installed directly onto each of the eight canopy legs. This is a fantastic feature, because it allows for easier access to secure the anchors.

The peak height is 9’1”, and the sidewall height is 6’7”, so there is plenty of clearance space for free movement. In addition, the slope is just enough that snow loads or heavy rain should not pose a problem.

The water-resistant, UV-resistant polyethylene top cover is easily installed, and heavy duty bungee cords secure the tarp to the frame. One of the best features of this portable garage is that it has three removable panels, including a zippered door. This makes it extremely versatile.

  • 12’W x 20’L x 9.1’H (at peak)
  • Power coated steel frame
  • Polyethylene canopy
  • Removable side panels and doors
  • Easy to set up
5 ShelterLogic All-Steel Metal Frame
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ShelterLogic All-Steel Metal Frame

On the one hand this could be good, because it might better adhere to any municipal height restrictions. However, it might not hold up as well under a heavy snow load. According to the manufacturer, this portable car garage can be put together by two people in under two hours. The compact size makes the frame easier to maneuver. This, combined with the aforementioned benefits of the frame and cover materials, make this an easy choice for number two.
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Because it is more compact, this shelter is better suited for smaller cars, but not bigger trucks or SUVs, although you may be able to fit a smaller pick-up truck. It is however, good for motorcycles, tractors, ATVs, or seasonal vehicles like snow mobiles or jet skis.

Simply put, the frame and the cover are the same quality and material that are listed in our first choice. Even the doors are the same, with one solid rear end panel and one double zippered door to provide maximum coverage of your vehicles or storage items.

The major difference (aside from general size) between the first and second items on this list is the slope of the cover. This model has a much flatter slope, with nowhere near the peak of the first one.

  • 10’W x 20’L x 8’H
  • Bonded steel frame
  • Triple layer UV-treated fabric
  • Ratchet Tite cover tension system
  • Patented stabilizers
6 ShelterLogic 13′ x 20′ x 12′ Garage-in-a-Box SUV and Full-Size Truck All
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ShelterLogic 13′ x 20′ x 12′ Garage-in-a-Box SUV and Full-Size Truck All

The cover is easy to put on the frame, due to an easy-sliding cross rail that both squares up the frame and locks down the cover at the same time. Installing the frame should be a one-person job, but for better (and easier) installation of the tarp, it is recommended to have at least two people This package is truly an all-in-one, as it comes with the frame and cover, solid rear door panel, double zippered front door panel, a roll-up door kit, auger anchors, and steel foot plates. The only thing you may need to purchase separately is extra anchors if you feel that your need them.
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First, let’s discuss the size. With the dimensions listed above, this shelter is truly big enough for an SUV or full-sized truck to fit comfortable, with space to spare. The door clearance is 8’4”, so there should be no issues with larger vehicles.

In fact, the manufacturer claims that this particular shelter can also fit larger boats or multiple motorcycles as well. This would also be an ideal size if you are planning to use it for other purposes (like over a deck, for example).

The all-steel frame is bonded with a powder-coated finish that will prevent the steel from rust, corrosion, or even simple chipping and peeling. The door rafter design has bolt-together hardware at every connection, providing extra stability and sturdiness.

This would be an especially good choice for someone who lives in snowy areas, because the alpine frame (so-named because of its high peak and steep roof sides) provides a steep enough slope to prohibit large amounts of snow piling up.

The waterproof, polyethylene cover is UV-treated on both the inside and the outside, providing maximum protection for your vehicle and for you. The cover is also treated with anti-aging, antifungal, fade-blocking agents to increase the longevity. This simply means that mildew and unnatural fading should not be an issue.

  • 13’W x 20’L x 12’H (at peak)
  • Bonded steel frame
  • Triple layer UV-treated fabric
  • Alpine design frame
  • Patented stabilizers

Best ShelterLogic 2021 Year

Buyer's Guide, Comparison and Advices

Size

It is pretty obvious that you need to make sure that you buy a tent that is big enough for your vehicle to fit under. You also want to make sure that there is enough room on either side to be able to open doors, at least enough to move in and out of the vehicle comfortably (without having to squeeze).

What many people do not think about, however, is unintentionally buying a tent that is TOO big for their vehicle. If you have a smaller sedan, but buy a portable car canopy that can fit an SUV, you are leaving an awful lot of room for the elements to get to your vehicle. Wind and snow will be able to blow right in.

Location

Is the garage canopy going to be in front of an actual garage? You will want to consider one that is open or has adjustable flaps so you can enter from any side (depending on the layout of your driveway). Is it going to be off to the side of the house or in the backyard?

You could probably find a car canopy for any one of those locations. But remember, you are looking for something portable, so you are probably planning on moving it. Think about the spaces around your house where you may want to put the canopy.

Again, this is not just about the amount of space for width and length that you will need, but the height as well. Be sure that you take roof lines, gutters, and downspouts into consideration.

Style

As mentioned in the previous section, your location might determine the features in your preferred car canopy. However, if you are fortunate enough to have multiple spaces where you could install your temporary garage, you then need to figure out if you want one that is enclosed on three sides, with the option of closing the fourth, or one that is just a canopy (covering the top only).

Do you want one with a flatter top or one that has more of a peak? This could be important if you plan on using it throughout the year and you happen to live in an area that gets a lot of snow or rain. A flat top will just hold water, and the weight of snow could make it collapse. A peaked top will allow for runoff.

If you plan on using it throughout the year, you may want to consider one that has flaps that roll up and down as needed. This may be beneficial for protection against wind when necessary, but also to increase air flow in warmer months.

Anchoring the Shelter

This actually goes hand in hand with “Location.” You should have a clear idea of what kind of ground you are going to be putting the portable garage shelter on, especially if you are going to be moving it. If it will only be on cement or gravel, you will need to get weights to ensure that it remains firmly on the ground.

If you have softer ground under the gravel, or will be putting it on a lawn, you may want to consider a type that has stakes (not unlike tents) that will anchor the legs to the ground. If you will be putting it on both types, make sure that the legs are versatile so that you can secure it a number of ways.

Regardless of how you are going to secure your shelter, make sure that you have enough anchors to fully secure it. General practice is to have at least one anchor for each rib of the shelter. This will provide stability and balance, keeping the shelter firmly planted at multiple points.

Material

No matter where you live, this should be an important factor in your decision making. We already mentioned snow and rain (in terms of the shape of the structure), but you should also consider the type of material the portable car cover is made out of, as well as any extra features (such as antifungal agents).

If you live in an area that gets heavy snow and/or wind, look for a tent made of materials that are designed specifically withstanding the elements. Some even come with wind and snow load ratings. If you are putting your shelter where it gets direct sunlight (i.e., no tree shade) check to see if the material is UV rated. It will protect your car (and you, when you work on the car) from the sun’s rays.

If you are in a coastal area, prolonged exposure to salt air could rust or further corrode the metal legs of a canopy, so you may want to consider one that is specially coated (usually vinyl coating) to better withstand salt exposure. A cover with anti-fungal treatment should be a priority in areas that have high humidity.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

 

Question: What is the difference between a canopy, a tent, or a portable garage?

Answer: Honestly, not a whole lot; they are all ways of referring to the same thing. That is why you may have noticed that we have used those words pretty interchangeably throughout the review.

Generally speaking, however, a canopy usually only has a top, while a tent will probably have sides. Both can be used as portable garages or carports.

 

Question: Can I use my portable canopy for multiple cars?

Answer: Yes. Whether it is for storing vehicles to protect them from the elements or for use as an actual outdoor garage, you can store as many as you can safely fit under the canopy. Be sure to use the guides above to gauge how big of a canopy you may need, however, so you do not run out of space.

 

Question: Are there other uses for a portable garage?

Answer: Absolutely! You can use it for many things other than just a garage. It could be a deck or patio cover, or used as shade over a kid’s play area. Some of the bigger ones have enough spaces for workbenches or other larger supplies. You could park your vehicles in your actual garage and use the portable garage as your workspace, clearing areas inside for freer movement.

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