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Caravan Canopy V-Series Review

Not everyone needs a military-grade canopy tent, so if all you want are the basics, then don't pay more than necessary
caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review
Credit: Caravan Canopy
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $140 List
Manufacturer:   Caravan Canopy
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 24, 2022
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 11
  • Functionality - 25% 6.0
  • Ease of Set Up - 25% 7.0
  • Protection - 20% 7.0
  • Craftsmanship - 15% 6.0
  • Portability - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Caravan Canopy V-Series is a no-frills, cathedral-shaped, pop-up shelter that performs well enough without breaking the bank. After extensive testing, we weren't overly wowed, but we also weren't overly disappointed. This 10x10 sun-blocker received a mix of average and above-average scores in our metrics testing, performing the best in ease of setup and protection. The Caravan received its lowest score in portability due to its poor-performing roller bag, but it's still an overall great buy if all you need are the basics. That said, if your outdoor activities require a canopy that offers more rugged craftsmanship, we recommend looking at another model that will likely cost you more.
REASONS TO BUY
Less expensive
Lighter than similar models
Easy to set up and reposition
Shades well
REASONS TO AVOID
Thinner materials
Ineffective roller bag
Rain penetrates seams
Wobbly in wind

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award    
Price $140 List
$89.99 at Amazon
$73 List
$54.99 at Amazon
$130 List
$89.99 at Amazon
$100 List
Check Price at REI
$150 List
$153.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Less expensive, lighter than similar models, easy to set up and reposition, shades wellInexpensive, easy to set up, portable, compact, lightweightSimple to setup, handles the wind, comes with additional side wall, stylish and fun, easy to carryLightweight, easy to setup, easy to transport, maneuverable sun-protectionInexpensive, adjustable height, lightest of its type in our review
Cons Thinner materials, ineffective roller bag, rain penetrates seams, wobbly in windLower craftsmanship, small, bad air flow, doesn't repel rainLower craftsmanship, middle pole takes up space, smallOnly for the beach, little head room, not impressive in windy conditionsWeak joints, difficult push tabs, weak materials
Bottom Line Not everyone needs a military-grade canopy tent, so if all you want are the basics, then don't pay more than necessaryA great landing pad for a respite from the hot sun, but we wouldn't want to sit in it all dayThis canopy is fun, stylish, and can handle the sun, but it isn't as practical or accommodating as we hopedPortable and user friendly, this is a decent sun shelter for favorable conditionsThis canopy is affordable but lacks in durability and structural ingenuity
Rating Categories Caravan Canopy V-Se... Pacific Breeze Easy Up Qipi Beach Cabana Neso 1 Amazon Basics Pop-Up
Functionality (25%)
6.0
5.0
7.0
3.0
7.0
Ease of Set Up (25%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
4.0
Protection (20%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
3.0
5.0
Craftsmanship (15%)
6.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
3.0
Portability (15%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
4.0
Specs Caravan Canopy V-Se... Pacific Breeze Easy Up Qipi Beach Cabana Neso 1 Amazon Basics Pop-Up
Measured Weight 32.1 lbs 5.4 lbs 9.5 lbs 6.9 lbs 44.1 lbs
Peak Height 9.2 ft 3.9 ft 7.5 ft 6.8 ft 8.0 ft
Pole Material Steel Fiberglass Metal Aluminum Steel
Number of Poles 4 Poles integrated into tent material 1 2 4
Floor Dimensions 120" x 120" 87" x 49", half-dome shape 72" x 72" 80" x 84" 118" x 118"
Packed Size 53" x 9" x 8" 40" x 5" x 5" 57" x 9 " x 7" 20" x 5" x 4" 60" x 8"
Main Material Polyester Polyester Polyester 4-way stretch nylon/Lycra Polyester
Design Type Pop-Up Pop-Up Pop-Up/Anchored Anchored Pop-Up

Our Analysis and Test Results

The occasional backyard barbeque or deck party are the perfect events for the Caravan Canopy V-Series. Likewise, it's a great choice for a neighborhood lemonade stand or a day at the park — just as long as the forecast calls for clear skies and sun. We love this canopy and think it's a great bargain, but we don't suggest it for activities where less-than-ideal weather conditions are a possibility. It's certainly sturdy enough to provide ample shade for years to come; however, it isn't as stout as its peers, so we suggest you treat it with a little extra care.

Performance Comparison


caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - the caravan v-series is light enough to grab and set up on the back...
The Caravan V-Series is light enough to grab and set up on the back deck for added shade.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Functionality


We awarded the V-Series an above-average score for functionality. It's a lighter and thinner version of the beefier 10x10 canopies we've studied, and its peak height of 9.2 feet and cathedral ceiling sits a few feet lower than taller products. Because of this, it's easier to lift and reposition without sacrificing any of its shade. This makes it quite functional in the niche it's designed to serve.


This less-expensive canopy is perfect for backyard barbeques or sideline cheering. It effectively blocks the sun, but the thinner canopy fabric still allows a little bit of the sun's glare to strain the eyes. Despite its lower-sitting ceiling, the V-Series still feels roomy thanks to its powder-coated frame that sits flush against the contour of the cathedral canopy, giving users plenty headroom.

caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - it offers plenty of shade, but the canopy fabric allows the glare of...
It offers plenty of shade, but the canopy fabric allows the glare of the sun to make its way through.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Three height settings allow the canopy to sit low when the sun is at an angle or during inclement weather. However, we don't like that instead of levers, the V-Series uses spring-loaded buttons for both the sliders and the adjusters. This design is antiquated, more complicated, and has the potential to pinch fingers and hands.

caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - both the slider and height adjustments rely on antiquated...
Both the slider and height adjustments rely on antiquated spring-loaded buttons. We find them more difficult to use, more likely to break, and more prone to pinching skin.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Our favorite functionality feature is its ability to be easily moved. This canopy is half the weight of more expensive models, allowing owners to quickly deploy it on a backyard deck, at the local park, or at a yard sale. When fully expanded, it can be lifted by two people, allowing it to be quickly placed over lawn furniture, grills, or a picnic table.

caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - the caravan v-series is light enough for two people to easily pick...
The Caravan V-Series is light enough for two people to easily pick up and move. This is good for functionality but bad during unexpected wind gusts.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

The open design of the Caravan V-Series provides ample airflow and can accommodate 5 to 7 people, depending on age, chair size, and gear. At its maximum height, the valance rests high enough from the ground to make it fairly easy for most users to enter or exit with little or no ducking.

caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - even though it sits lower than similar 10x10 canopies, the caravan...
Even though it sits lower than similar 10x10 canopies, the Caravan V-Series is spacious and we always felt like there was plenty room.
Credit: Jason Wanlass


Ease of Set Up


A thinner, lighter frame enables users to deploy the V-Series with ease. Compared to other pop-up, cathedral-style canopies we've tested, we feel this shelter is the easiest to expand and snap into place. During our timed tests, our examiners set up the V-Series solo in 1 minute and 30 seconds with little to moderate effort.


In short, this tent is a breeze to set up and is just as easy to take down. The roller bag unzips and easily pulls away, the frame expands smoothly and quickly, and the sliders and height levers lock easily into place. It all works well. We simply don't care for the spring-loaded release buttons.

The first step for setup is unzipping the roller bag to expose the...
The first step for setup is unzipping the roller bag to expose the bottom of the canopy legs. Then flip the canopy onto its feet and pull the case.
Setup is a breeze. In fact, the V-Series is one of easiest to set...
Setup is a breeze. In fact, the V-Series is one of easiest to set up, thanks to its thinner, lightweight design.

Protection


In this metric, we consider the product's ability to resist sun, rain, and wind. During our wind tests, the V-Series slightly bowed and swayed when the wind speed increased. However, we feel it performs adequately in the wind when the canopy is placed at a lower setting, stakes are used, and guylines are in place.



We were disappointed that the included stakes were weak and very basic. Additionally, guy lines are not included with the product, but the V-Series is equipped for guy lines if you choose to purchase them. In short, this product is lighter than similar products, which results in more noticeable instability.

caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - short, thin and cheap. we don't feel the stakes are enough and we...
Short, thin and cheap. We don't feel the stakes are enough and we suggest the owner buys larger ones in order to secure this structure to the ground.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

The double-stitched seams on the V-Series are a very nice addition, but they are not protected with seam tape. We discovered this during our rain tests. After just a minute's worth of hose water, we found water dripping through the seams into the tent. Stitching that runs the full length of the canopy had consistent, noticeable water droplets. That said, during a light rainfall, we don't feel this tent's lack of water resistance would be a serious problem. However, the situation may become more problematic during heavier storms when users are forced to use the canopy as a temporary shelter.

All of the seams on the Caravan are double-stitched to reduce the...
All of the seams on the Caravan are double-stitched to reduce the likelihood of seams splitting under heavy use. However, the seams are not backed up with weather tape, so falling rain can more easily make its way into the tent.
In heavy rain, this canopy does leak. Water seeps in through...
In heavy rain, this canopy does leak. Water seeps in through stitched seams and then drips onto the frame. It isn't a ton of water, but it was enough to affect our scoring.

Craftsmanship


We feel the craftsmanship on this tent is about average. Its steel frame is lightweight and thin. The canopy is strong but noticeably thinner than the more expensive models we studied. During weeks of tests, we found no wear and tear concerns; however, we did feel the need to handle the V-Series with a bit more care and concern.


We did account for the double-stitched seams when scoring for this metric. We didn't find any glaring workmanship-related issues with the frame, canopy, or plastic parts. However, as a whole, this canopy tent simply has a lower price tag. The tradeoff for this is thinner, more basic parts that need to be treated with greater care to have expected durability. We do not recommend this canopy for rugged, regular use.

caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - we noticed average craftsmanship. the v-series comes quipped for...
We noticed average craftsmanship. The V-Series comes quipped for guy-lines but they are not included.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Portability


Despite being nearly half the weight of similar canopies, we still awarded the V-Series a lower score for portability. A large part of this score is motivated by our opinions of the product's inadequate roller bag. The bag's handles sit very close together instead of on the far ends, making it awkward for two people to carry the canopy together. The handles are proportionately placed for a two-handed, solo carry, but we feel 32 pounds may not be appropriate for all users to want to do this.


Very ineffective roller wheels also contributed to the lower portability score. The wheels perform adequately on very smooth concrete or pavement, but we feel they are otherwise cosmetic. In addition to being plastic, they are only 1.5 inches tall. Additionally, their mounted position is less than the width of the bag, rendering them nearly ineffective on uneven terrain.

caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - both the wheels and the rest studs are mounted more than a inch...
Both the wheels and the rest studs are mounted more than a inch inside the width of the case. This makes the roller bag unstable when standing on its end. Likewise, it makes the bag imbalanced we being pulled. The wheels tend to rock from one to the other.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Lastly, when pulling the bag, the handle is far too low, which causes the bag to be very unstable as it teeter-totters from one wheel to the next. Although technically a roller bag, we recommend carrying the canopy whenever possible as it's easier. On a positive note, the roller bag is just a little more than 4 feet long, so it will fit in the trunk or rear seat of most vehicles.

We feel the handle for the roller bag is too low. It should be...
We feel the handle for the roller bag is too low. It should be placed on the very end of the bag to allow the user to pull the bag directly behind them instead of at their side.
Forget the wheels . The best way to move the roller bag is to simply...
Forget the wheels . The best way to move the roller bag is to simply pick it up and carry it.

Should You Buy the Caravan Canopy V-Series?


The V-Series is a great choice for buyers needing to stick to a budget or simply wanting to spend less. It's an excellent option for basic settings like backyard barbeques, little league sidelines, or picnics in the park. However, we do not recommend it for environments with more severe exposures or for the rigors of weekly trade shows or farmer's markets.

What Other Canopy Tents Should You Consider?


If you just need a simple, lightweight shelter for the beach, we recommend the Pacific Breeze Easy Up. However, keep in mind that it only accommodates two people. If lightweight is your main concern, but you need a larger canopy, the Eureka Tagalong Shelter is an excellent choice for trips to the beach, forest, or any other destination that requires shade. Finally, if you spend your time cheering from the sidelines, may we suggest the E-Z UP Pyramid. It's rugged, adjustable, and easy to set up. Our favorite feature is the Pyramid's roller bag. It has great handles and wide-set, large rubber wheels that can easily plow through grass and dirt.

caravan canopy v-series canopy tent review - this canopy is excellent for basic applications like backyard...
This canopy is excellent for basic applications like backyard barbeques or yard sales. We often enjoyed the impromptu setup on the back deck.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Jason Wanlass
 
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