Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

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Leo
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Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by Leo » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:51 pm

Looking for an easy to assemble shade structure. I checked out Costco and they currently don't have any of their carports available. Any thoughts on this Harbor Freight10' x 20' carport? The specs mention 1.27" steel tubing. I know that the biggest issue will be anchoring it to the playa so it doesn't become a kite. The size is right and the price is right. Am I missing anything?
Best Regards,
Leo

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Elderberry
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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by Elderberry » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:46 pm

Not familiar with their carports, but you have to tie down the Costco carports too. We use ratchet straps and anchors.

Also, try several different Costco stores. Just because one store doesn't have them in stock doesn't mean you won't be able to find them at another Costco store.
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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by AfricanFire » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:52 am

The Costco carpets are a seasonal item for whatever reason, they're usually back in stores in the spring.

I'd be wary of a Harbor Freight one. Their stuff is cheap for a reason. I'm all about that for random crap I'm willing to sacrifice to the playa gods, but I'd be concerned with something big and important like shelter.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:58 pm

You’re missing that it’s junk. They neglected to say on the box “This Is Junk”, so it’s usually too late when people find out.
I’ve had friends buy those things. They’re always crap, the Costco really is the one you want. It shows up around spring, for some reason they consider it a summer item. Mine get the most use in winter!
The tarps are much better, the poles are better, the attachments are better.
I’ve got a Costco carport that was at Burning Man 2000 that has been standing in my lower yard since then.

I know BRC is just a temporary place but you don’t want junk.
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Leo
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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by Leo » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:20 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I have had good luck with most of the stuff I have purchased so far at Harbor Freight, but the playa is the ultimate test for any tent or shelter. In the past I have camped at Burning Man with a tent trailer, but this year will be with a tent and a shade structure.
Best Regards,
Leo

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Papa Bear
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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by Papa Bear » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:52 pm

Also: be aware that not only is the Costco canopy seasonal, it's also only available in-store. You won't find it by checking their website.

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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by JohnEBGud » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:10 am

Saw them in my local Phoenix area Costco last week.
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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by FlyingMonkey » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:32 am

For ease of set-up, durability, and proven ability to stand up to freak Playa winds it's hard to beat the Costco carport. We had a down burst or really strong dust devil score a direct hit on our camp on Esplanade last year & we had a combination of my Costco carport & a couple less sturdy ones. The thinner metal tubes on the cheaper ones sustained a lot of damage while my carport came away with minimal bent tubes on the tops of the legs which probably would have been completely avoided had we anchored it with crossed straps (x-braced).

One of the lesser carports was not anchored properly & actually took flight & came back down mangled. Fortunately we had some late arrivals who stopped off at the Reno Costco & bought a replacement carport & we were back in action the next day.

Lessons learned.
- Anchor your carport minimally at the 4 corners with straps that cross diagonally. In the future I will have at least a 3rd strap going over the middle. I use 24" rebar and although my carport lifted a few inches off the ground, my anchors didn't budge.
- It's also important to have a way for the air to escape should you have an open side to the wind. We didn't fully connect the the end walls so we had open triangles at the peak for airflow.

If you don't anchor your carport at all (stupid, stupid, stupid) you are creating an unnecessary risk to yourself & others down wind. When our other carport finally landed one of the legs went clean through someones tent. Luckily they somehow avoided injury.
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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by Papa Bear » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:33 pm

FlyingMonkey wrote:We didn't fully connect the the end walls so we had open triangles at the peak for airflow.
That's pretty much our standard approach with them. Just leaving the top couple of grommets unattached at the peak of each end wall makes a big difference in allowing hot air to rise up and out. Obviously, it also helps keep gusts from blowing the end wall out.

Speaking of end walls, my preferred strapping technique is to run ratchet strap Xs across each of the three "squares" on the long wall that doesn't have the awning, across the end squares on the long wall that does, and then a strap from each corner parallel to the end wall - whether to points inside or outside doesn't really matter. It's overkill in terms of keeping the thing on the ground (each leg is also lag-bolted to playa), but it's very helpful in terms of the straps supporting walls in strong winds. Another simple alternative is just to zigzag a rope back and forth several times from pole to pole inside the wall you want to support.

However you do it, be aware that even the Costco carports can get wrecked if not securely anchored, . Four of us were setting one up a couple years back and had a dustdevil blow through at a rare moment none of us had hands hands on the structure. We leapt and caught it before it got more than about 10 inches off the ground, but one of the corner connectors still wound up noticeably bent. Always make sure you have people on each corner until it is anchored, or anchor it in a couple places before you start to raise it if you're doing so with only one or two people.

Side note - a couple of my campmates experimented with putting a layer of radiant barrier (i.e. the simply mylar-ish sheet that's been mentioned here for use in monkey huts, not the bubble wrap) directly under the roof, and said it easily made a 10-15 difference to the temperature. Any opaque liner would help, though.

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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by FlyingMonkey » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:27 am

Papa Bear wrote:
FlyingMonkey wrote:We didn't fully connect the the end walls so we had open triangles at the peak for airflow.
Speaking of end walls, my preferred strapping technique is to run ratchet strap Xs across each of the three "squares" on the long wall that doesn't have the awning, across the end squares on the long wall that does, and then a strap from each corner parallel to the end wall - whether to points inside or outside doesn't really matter.
THIS!

Yeah, I had my carport strapped vertically at the corners and when the wind hit my walls briefly became parallelograms until the wind subsided. After that we configured the straps in an X pattern.

I was holding one of the other carports down while this happened & both my feet were off the ground. There was a moment where I thought I would have to abandon it or go for a flight myself. Luckily it passed quickly & we kept that carport from sailing away.

One thing I noticed somewhat consistently was the cheaper carports with thinner tubing would split lengthwise along the weld on the tubes. That seemed to be a common point of failure. The Costco carports may be heavy to haul around but that weight translates to survivabillity when the wind picks up.
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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by Zubeneschamali » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:54 pm

My two Costco carports were on the playa for 9 years. One canopy replacement and an occasional powerwash were the only maintenance they received. They were as reliable and bulletproof as our Honda EU2000's.

I have witnessed a Costco carport in mid flight. It tumbled three times and crash landed feet up. The camp was able to bend it back into shape and use it the rest of the week.

The Harbor Freight could probably make it thru the same wind as the Costco if it has more anchoring points. In addition to the thicker tubes , what you don't get are the roof tensioners and joint locks that make the Costco so structurally sound.

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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by fernley1 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:07 pm

The Reno Costco Spanish Springs has carports.

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Re: Harbor Freight 10' x 20' Portable Car Canopy

Post by retropsycho » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:25 pm

FWIW CostCo calls them "10 x 20 steel frame canopy" (not "carport").

Helpful when searching for them online or via customer service desk.

http://costcocouple.com/steel-frame-can ... ide-walls/

item number 781893
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