Canopy Buyer’s Guide

WeatherPort Hexapae Canopy Tent for Weddings


Rain or shine, outdoor events are far more protected and visually appealing with the use of canopies. These temporary structures offer shelter from rain and UV rays, and can be custom designed with branding that promotes your business or organization. Canopies are also incredibly versatile and make ideal coverings for an array of outdoor uses.

Most canopies have open-air designs featuring overhead shelters without walls or flooring, which makes them perfect for special functions our outdoor sports use. However, some designs can be fitted with auxiliary features to make them more enclosed, or even with permanent foundations for long-term building use.

This canopy buyer’s guide provides comprehensive information as well as a detailed look at different canopy styles to help you determine the one that best fits your needs.

Canopy Applications

The different opportunities for canopy use are almost endless, but here are some of the most common applications:

Most of these types of structures are designed to be quickly set up, ready for use and fully operational within a matter of minutes. After the event is over, canopies are easy to pack up, transport, or store.

[Related: Event Sizing and Seating Guide]

Pre-Engineered vs. Custom Design

In many cases, a pre-engineered canopy will suffice for outdoor event tent applications. However, repeated use of a low-quality canopy will likely lead to its deterioration and unusability; and in scenarios where many setup and take down cycles are expected, a more durable, long-lasting canopy solution should be considered. 

When comparing off-the-shelf canopies with higher strength, custom-designed structures, here are important variables to consider:


In both short or long term use scenarios, a pre-engineered canopy is the most economical and reliable investment. While durability isn’t as much of a determining factor for short term or rare usage, it still matters depending on how and where you’re using your canopy— buying commercial pre-engineered canopies are usually cheaper, but fairly low quality and won’t last very long.


A pre-engineered canopy is more readily available than a custom-designed one since it’s ready-made and can be purchased off-the-shelf. However, some manufacturers offer a quick turnaround with their custom canopies, so if you require a custom design you may be able to receive it in a short period of time — make sure to inquire about this as you request quotes from different canopy vendors.


One of the most common reasons to choose a custom canopy design is for their unique applications and unconventional sizes and shapes. Pre-engineered structures don’t offer the various specializations and sizing capabilities that you can achieve with a custom design.


Custom-designed canopies are often made with higher-quality materials that increase their durability thus longevity. You can also work with a building specialist to ensure your custom canopy is made with specific materials that are most applicable to your planned use of the structure. Additional treatments and coatings may be necessary depending on the level of protection you want. 

[Related: Advantages of Improving Parks, Community Facilities, and Event Spaces With Fabric Structures]

Canopy Materials

The primary materials for most canopy structures are some form of metal for the framing system, which is covered by a weatherproof tensioned fabric membrane.

Due to their strength, weight and durability, the most applicable framing materials for canopies are galvanized steel or anodized aluminum. Galvanized steel is ideal for long-term, heavy duty usage, especially in cases of extreme weather or inclement conditions. Anodized aluminum is more lightweight, which is preferred for canopies that need to be moved frequently.

The framing options for WeatherPort™ Shelter Systems fabric canopy tents is as follows:

  • Galvanized Steel: 2″ square tubing (a galvanized steel frame with 2.5″ square tubing, at 12 Gauge, 50-55,000 PSI is offered for our 20’ x 20’ canopy size and larger)
  • Anodized Aluminum: 2″ x 0.125” wall square tubing (anodized aluminum frames with 2.656″ x 0.188″ wall square tubing, at 35,000 PSI is available for our 20’ x 20’ canopy size and larger)

Weatherport exclusively uses a highly engineered 18 oz vinyl fabric tension system for our covers and curtain material. This highly durable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membrane can be additionally treated for increased longevity and protection against UV rays, debris and much more. 

Many other canopy manufacturers use PVC because of its strength and long life cycle, however, polyethylene is considered a more economical option for tensioned fabric material and is sometimes used instead.

Design Styles & Options

WeatherPort offers three standard canopy design styles in addition to our custom canopy design manufacturing.

Sun Shade Canopy

WeatherPort’s SunShades are specially designed to offer greater protection against heat and the sun’s rays than standard pop-up tents

SunShade canopies are suitable for almost any outdoor application ranging from farmers market booth coverings to backyard patio canopies. They’re more durable than sun sails and offer a level of portability that an awning or patio roof cannot.

Octopae Canopy

The eight-sided design of Octopae canopies is as elegant as it is functional. Our durable, long-lasting materials enable these structures to provide reliable covering in temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent applications. 

Weddings, parties and other special events such as festivals benefit from the increased square footage, and the eight-sided format offers a visually appealing design when used as gazebos and spa enclosures.

Hexapae Canopy

Our six-sided Hexapae canopies are more circular than the Octopae, but just as versatile and long-lasting.

This canopy design is useful for almost any outdoor application; it provides critical protection from the elements such as harmful UV rays.

Canopy Options

Our standard SunShades, Octopae and Hexapae canopies are available in a range of colors including blue, brown, black, light blue, gray, green olive, orange, red, tan, white, and yellow in addition to logo and branding printing services. Our standard canopies are available in the following sizes:

  • 10’ x 10’ canopy, with a canopy height of 9’4”
  • 10’ x 15’ canopy, with a canopy height of 9’6”
  • 10’ x 20’ canopy, with a canopy height of 9’8”
  • 12’ x 12’ canopy, with a canopy height of 9’6”
  • 16’ x 16’ canopy, with a canopy height of 10’10”
  • 20’ x 20’ canopy, with a canopy height of 11’10”

[Related: Ideas for Creating an Inviting Outdoor Space]

Technical & Engineering Specifications

Alongside their beautiful design, versatile use, and customizable benefits, WeatherPort canopies are engineered to provide reliable coverage and stability in severe climates and harsh weather such as extreme wind and snow loads. All of our canopy designs are tested and proven reliable by independent, third party experts.

WeatherPort’s SunShades, Octapae and Hexapae canopies are also designed to meet specific building codes. We can manufacture your canopy system to meet the unique codes for your location in addition to satisfying these common building code references:

  • 2012 IBC Building Code
  • ASCE/SEI 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures
  • AISC Manual of Steel Construction, 14th Ed.
  • AISC Design Guide 24: Hollow Structural Sections Connection Manual

Anchoring Systems

Due to the temporary nature that canopies are often used, easy setup and take down capabilities are critical features. WeatherPort canopies can be installed on virtually any surface, and are compatible with the following anchoring systems:

  • 0.5″ x 18″ spikes for earth or asphalt
  • Lag Bolts for wood frame or platform
  • Concrete anchors with 0.5″ drop in, accepts 3/8″ bolt
  • Ballast bars for weight anchors

Contact Weatherport for Your Canopy Needs

To learn more about WeatherPort or our canopy solutions, please call +1 (970) 399-5909, email, or complete our online inquiry form. Get in touch soon and one of our building specialists can provide a quote and custom design options for a canopy that meets all of your needs!

Or, to start custom-designing your own 10′ x 10′ canopy immediately, visit our canopy builder page.


  1. Terran-Reply
    April 29, 2018 at 4:28 am

    The 12’x12’, with a canopy height of 9’6” or 16’x16’, with a canopy height of 10’10” would be plenty big….what are some of the color options?

  2. Marcus-Reply
    May 27, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I am looking for a 20’ x 20’ canopy.

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