Living on the Road

Flea Market Canopy


Instant outdoor room

Cheap portable shade from the sun in hot climates, flea market canopies are used by surfers and fishermen in Baja California. I used this 10′ x 12′ “peak unit” from Jenkins for several years on Baja beaches. Framework is 1 1/8″ electrical conduit put together with special fittings and wingnuts. Tarp is attached with ball bungees, fantastic fastening devices. Mine was held down by 4 canvas sacks filled with sand, hanging from the corner posts (rather than stakes). It all folded up and fit in the Yakima Rocket Box on top of my truck. The guys at Jenkins Crafted Canopies were great to deal with; good products, good service.

–Llyod KahnMore reviews:

RE: Flea Market Canopy

I saw the recent entry on flea market canopies, and thought I’d throw in a suggestion.

I have a 10×20 Hercules canopy from King Canopy, and I’ve been very happy with it for over a year now. I’ve taken it out into the harsh environment of Burning Man twice, and it spent the rest of the year in my back yard shading the hot tub, and appears none the worse for the wear.


This canopy uses 2″ steel poles, powder coated white, instead of the ubiquitous EMT conduit. I don’t know whether they are, but the poles feel at least as light as, if not lighter than, the conduit. Unlike many flea market canopies I’ve used, there are only two lengths of pole, and only two styles of connector, and the connectors don’t use thumbscrews, all of which make it much faster and easier to set up and tear down.

The Hercules comes with four white sidewalls and a roof. The roof overlaps on the sides and ends, making it effectively rainproof. The roof is attached with ball bungies (included); the walls are attached with a combination of sewn-on velcro straps and ball bungies. One of the end walls has a split roll-up zippered door.

King Canopy’s web site shows the price as $299, which would still be a pretty good value. I bought mine at Sam’s Club (the evil Wal-Mart empire’s warehouse club store) for just over $200 in August of 2002.

–Greg Carter


(*Now closed, but they list a number of other options. — editors)