How to keep water from pooling on canopy – easy and cheap solutions

What is pooling and why you should care

Pooling, sometimes also referred to as puddling, happens when rain starts collecting in loose or slack areas of the canopy tent top. This tends to happen most towards the corners of the canopy where water can quickly build up and cause a sag. If left unchecked, the frame can buckle under the weight of the water, or the canopy top can get pulled through or rip, drenching anyone or anything underneath. This is a particularly important issue if you use a pop up canopy to cover your wares at an outdoor market or show, as damage to your goods affects your income. In this article I’ll show you how to keep water from pooling on canopy top using some simple methods.

What can you do about pooling?

If you are sheltering under your canopy during rain and you notice water pooling in the roof, you need to remove that water so that it doesn’t grow a huge sag. This is normally done by pushing up on the underside of the pooling water, which creates a waterfall off the nearest edge. When I was young we would wait ’till someone was walking underneath our family canopy to release the water, and they would get a shower! If you care about the longevity of your pop up canopy, then you should avoid using anything too pointed like sticks or tent poles to release the water. Instead, use something with a broad or flat end, like a tent mallet or broom.

You may have to continually do this until the rain stops, which is a pain. If you prepare ahead of time (see strategies below) you won’t be caught out, and can just relax underneath until the rain goes away.

How to keep water from pooling on canopy

The first thing to check is whether all your canopy top is secured down properly. Check that the corners of the canopy top have been pulled over well to maximise its tautness. Ensure any tightening adjustorshave been done up firmly.

If water is not beading off your canopy top effectively, it could be beneficial to try making your canopy material more waterproof.

Some pop up canopies have anti-pooling technology built into them. Check out the photo of the pop up canopy below that has additional struts. Normally clear span canopies like this only have struts to each of the corners.

how to keep water from pooling on canopy, an image of the underside of a pop up canopy
Example of a clear-span/cathedral style pop up canopy with additional anti-pooling struts. Normally a canopy like this will only have struts to the four corners.

Typically open span canopy tents do a better job of preventing pooling over cross-braced, as the former typically have struts that extend from the peak down to the corners (show picture comparison). However cross-braced frames are much stronger overall.

If you still have suceptible loose areas, try employing one of the anti-pooling solutions below.

How pool noodles can help you / how to use the pool noodle solution

The pool noodle technique is a tried and true way to help with pooling on canopies, and it will cost you very little money. Insert your pool noodle into the corners of your canopy like a little arch. The noodle pushes up on the canopy top, ensuring the rain runs off instead of puddling.

How to keep water from pooling on canopy, a pool noodle wedged into the underside of a pop up canopy

How hula hoops can help you

The hula hoop method is similar to using the pool noodle. You’ll need a small/medium sized hula hoop, which you wedge between one of the canopy’s inner truss/beams, and the canopy top. Check out this example from an art-work vendor. In this case they used duct tape to secure the hula hoop in place. You’ll only be able to use hula hoops if you have a cross-braced pop up canopy (trusses/beams across middle of the canopy). If you have an open-span/cathedral style canopy then you’ll need to employ the pool noodle.


Rain pooling in your pop up canopy is mostly an annoyance, requiring you to push out the water regularly and often soaking someone in the process. If you have a high rate of rain and you don’t attend to the puddling, it can cause structural damage to your canopy and drench sensitive gear underneath. Pooling affects some types of pop up canopy more than others, and you can avoid struggles by buying the right canopy for your needs. There pool noodle technique is a tried and true way to help with pooling on canopies, and it will cost you very little money. Thanks for reading this far, I hope you found it useful.

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