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Canopies and tarps almost always go together. Although portable canopies are occasionally fully made out of metal and tarps are often used on their own, a standard portable garage or carport most of the time has a heavy-duty polyethylene tarp on top.

Carports, portable garages, and similar portable storage shelters consist of a galvanized or powder-coated steel frame and an attached heavy-duty polyethylene tarp. Once anchored into the ground, the steel frame holds up to high winds – up to 95 miles per hour in most cases – and heavy snow. The polyethylene tarp is treated to be UV resistant, mildew resistant, rot proof, and waterproof. These qualities keep moisture, water, and damaging UV rays away from the vehicle protected underneath, and prevent mold, mildew, and dry rot build up. Together, the two parts allow air to circulate inside the structure to prevent moisture from being trapped.

Canopies use tarps in one of two ways. A valance canopy is open on all sides, except for the top, and is ideal for sheltering the vehicle you need every day. This basic design, if parked in a backyard or at the end of a driveway, allows a vehicle to easily move in and out. With a peaked design, valance canopies have a poly tarp on top with a 12-inch overhang on both sides.

A valance canopy is sufficient for sheltering your car, but what about if you own a boat, RV, or similarly large investment? Although you can attach a large tarp around the vehicle and secure it, an enclosed canopy also offers a similar level of protection. Enclosed canopies have tarps on all sides and have a rounded or peaked design. The full coverage provided keeps out all UV rays, water, and moisture and allows your vehicle to stay in better condition for warmer weather.