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If you’ve ever lazed around outdoors on a hot day, you know that having a shady spot to escape the heat is essential to enjoying your time. Picnics, beach days and even camping—if you’re spending time in nature, having a spot to cool down can mean the difference between a successful outing and a truly unpleasant experience. Stick with us and we will tell you just what to look for in a pop-up canopy.

Thick water-repellent material that blocks about 99% of UVA and UVB rays, with side flaps. Eurmax

If maximizing shade coverage is important to you, make sure you look for a canopy that has a UPF rating of at least 30, as well as side flaps that you can easily draw down to block the sun as it moves and that stay securely in place when the wind picks up.

No need to assemble several components—just velcro the cover to the frame. EzyFast

Pop-up canopies are meant to be both convenient to transport and easy to set up. Simple is best, so opt for a shade that has a carrying case and requires no special equipment or extra steps to assemble.

Lightweight shade with ample room for 8 to 10 people and back flap for privacy. Best Choice Products

When looking for a pop-up canopy, it’s important to consider what you will be doing, and how many people it needs to shelter. Will you be sitting or laying down? Do you need extra space for tables, chairs or coolers? A good rule of thumb is 10 to 20 square feet of covered space per person, depending on how much room you need to relax comfortably. For example, an 8-by-8 canopy can reasonably accommodate 4 to 6 people and some personal items.

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