This weekend I decided to create a weight for each corner of my 10′x10′ pop-up canopy. I needed something which could be easily connected and disconnected. Storage is an issue for me, so I tried to create something fairly compact and easy to transport, but that also had the appropriate weight to anchor the canopy.
Time: About an hour Cost: $86.63 before tax Tools Required: Drill, 9/16 drill bit, 9/16″ socket wrench or pliers
- (4) 24″ sections of 3″ PVC pipe
- (4) 3″ PVC end caps
- (4) 3″ Clean-out traps
- (4) 3″ caps for the clean-out traps (these are sold separately)
- (4) 36″ tie-downs
- (1) Package of 8 tarp bungees
- (4) 3/8″ x 3″ eye bolts
- (2) Packages of 3/8″ nuts & washers
- (1) 50 pound bag of playground sand
- Measure the interior depth of the clean-out traps and end caps. Subtract a 1/4 inch or so and mark lines at each end of the pipe. My clean-out traps were 1 1/2 deep and my end caps 2″ deep, so I marked one end of the pipe at 1 1/4″ and the other end at 1 3/4″
- Coat the end of the pipe with purple primer being careful not to go past the line drawn in the previous step. Don’t worry about making the primer coat perfectly even. We’re not going to be exposing this pipe to water and it wont be under pressure, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Just try to get it as even as possible. TIP: Dont get this purple primer near anything you dont want to be purple for the rest of existence. Your fingers included. Wear gloves. Also, do this in a well-ventilated area as you dont want to breathe the fumes from the primer or the cement.
- Coat the insides of the the clean-out traps and end caps with the purple primer.
- Set aside all of the pieces that have been primed for a few minutes to dry.
- Drill a 9/16″ hole in the middle of the cap for the clean-out trap. To find the center, I used a straight edge to draw a line between the corners of the square on the clean-out cap. I then drilled a small pilot hole at the intersection of the two lines before drilling the larger 9/16″ hole.
- Thread a nut on to the eye bolt as far as it will go. Then add a lock lock washer followed by a solid washer. Thread the assembly through the hole drilled in the cap. Thread a solid washer, lock washer, and then another nut onto the end of the eye bolt inside of the cap and tighten with a socket wrench. After you’ve completed four of these, the primer should be dry enough to proceed.
- Using PVC cement, coat the primed end of the pipe and attach the correct fitting (either the end cap or clean-out trap). I recommend starting with the clean-out trap as it will make it easier to install the end cap in the next step. Be sure to slide the fitting on completely. Invert the pipe and repeat the same process for the end cap. Complete this process for all four weights.
- Fill each weight with the playground sand and screw the clean-out cap into the fitting.
Your weights are complete!
Each weight is approximately 15 lbs. You can simply attach these to your canopy by connecting one end of the 36″ tie-down strap to the upper struts of the canopy and the other end to the weight. For added stability, I wrapped two tarp bungees around the weight and around the leg of the canopy to keep them from swaying in the wind or bouncing around if someone bumps into them.
If you need more weight, you can add water to the sand or replace the sand with something with a higher density such as gravel or cement. I don’t know what kind of weight my canopy will hold before the struts or connectors give out, so I estimated that 15-20 lbs would be ok. If you try a different weight, let me know your results. Playground sand is estimated at 100-120 pounds per cubic foot and each canopy weight that we just created holds about 0.10 cubic feet.
15lbs is only a third the weight needed on a windy day. Use longer tie down straps so the end of the weights rest on the ground. Then the canopy doesn’t bear the weight.
The idea was to make the canopy bear the weight and have it done at the top forcing the legs into the ground. If it’s tethered to the ground any forces from the wind gusts have to be absorbed by the canopy itself which puts a stress on it that it wasn’t designed for. This way the weight is dynamic on each of the four corners and the system acts as a shock absorber of sorts.
They could be heavier, though. It was a trade off between stability and portability (and making it so that it wasn’t too heavy to be supported by the canopy itself). Also, I couldn’t fit any more sand in there! I haven’t measured windspeed, but this thing has survived some pretty good gusts without moving.