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At some point, we all run out of storage space. Even with cabinets, shelves, closets and garages, stuff just seems to overflow. This can make it impossible to find that one thing you need when you need it and can lead to improperly-stored items getting ruined (I.e. leaving your lawnmower out in the yard).
The best outdoor storage tents take the load off (or rather take the load out) of your garage and other storage areas. They can be set up nearly anywhere, be it the driveway or yard, providing a place to store bikes, gardening tools, lawnmowers, firewood or toys. Some are even large enough to house motorcycles, ATVs and cars.
Because storage tents can be set up right at home, they’re far more convenient than a storage unit somewhere outside town. Plus, outdoor storage tents are far more cost-efficient than a storage unit. According to CostHelper, the average price of a five-by-five storage unit is around $50 a month (or about $600 a year). Compare that to storage tents (which last for years) that cost around $120 to $300 and you get a sense of the savings involved.
Some outdoor storage tents are also portable with a fast setup and a small size when taken down. This makes them ideal for camping trips or moving between houses for, say, summer vacation.
What to Know Before Buying an Outdoor Storage Tent
Before picking up a new storage tent, there are a few important specs you’ll want to check out.
Assembly: Setting up a storage tent, as with any furniture or gear, can be a nightmare. Some storage tents make the process easy with simple instructions and no required tools, leading to a fast assembly. Other tents might take longer to set up and may require a few tools (but nothing you don’t already have).
Fabric: Most storage tents are made of waterproof polyethylene tarpaulin, but not all tarps are the same. Some are rated for UPF or UV protection against the sun and others are just more durable. If you live in an area with serious weather, this is especially important.
Frame: Storage shelters use different materials and designs for their frames. If you live in an area with high winds or heavy snow, you’ll want a more rugged, durable frame made of thick steel.
Portability: Chances are you’ll be setting up a storage tent and leaving it in one place. However, these structures also make a great camping and travel companion. If a storage tent collapses into a small, lightweight package (and is easy to assemble) you can use it as a mobile storage unit wherever you go.
Size: Obviously, you’ll want to consider the size of your new storage tent. Firstly, check out how much space the storage tent will take up in your yard or driveway. Then, try to get a sense of how much stuff you need to store and how much interior space will be needed.
Extra features: A handful of storage tents have added features that give them a leg up on competitors. Some feature a floor to keep the whole thing water-tight, others have a zipper cover to keep out pests and so on.
1. The YardStash III
One of the most common occupants of outdoor storage tents is bikes. This YardStash tent is geared towards bike storage with a narrow design for efficiently housing two adult bikes. It also has a velcro flap on the back for securing bikes or helmets.
Although it’s designed with bikes in mind, the YardStash works for a range of other needs. The narrow, tall design lets you stack tools, supplies or toys while an integrated floor ensures maximum protection against rain, bugs and pests. However, it is still on the small side at 74 inches wide, 30 inches deep and 65 inches high.
But the YardStash’s small size is also one of the features that makes it highly portable. Assembly is very easy, taking one person less than 15 minutes – no tools required. The whole thing breaks down into a 16-pound bag, making it ideal for camping, traveling or temporary storage from time to time.
The YardStash is made of a high-quality weatherproof rip-stop tarpaulin that’s rated at UPF 50+ to ensure protection from the sun. The frame isn’t as heavy-duty as others, but it’s a fair sacrifice for portability.
PROS: Quick assembly, portable, floor.
CONS: Small, less solid frame.
2. Abba Patio Outdoor Storage Shelter
If you’re looking for a compact, heavy-duty outdoor storage tent, this shelter from Abba Patio has you (and your stuff) covered.
Abba’s storage tent uses a 1.5-inch heavy-gauge steel frame, complete with metal corner joints. These technicals details translate to a structure that’s solid and sturdy – even in high winds and stormy weather. Plus, the roll-up door features a zipper for extra protection against the elements.
The fabric is a triple-layered tarp that’s been treated with a UV protectant, which is fairly straightforward.
The size of this shelter is another strong feature at six-feet wide by eight-feet long. This makes it ideal for motorcycles or a few bikes. And if you need more space, Abba Patio is ready with three more sizes, including an eight by eleven-foot tent that can fit a compact sedan or small car.
PROS: Heavy-duty materials, multiple sizes.
CONS: The fabric of the tarp may not hold up to intense, year-round sunlight, which is something to consider if you live in a warm, sunny part of the country.
3. ShelterLogic Outdoor Storage Shed
Some of us have to endure serious weather in the form of snowstorms, heavy rain and gusty winds. Not all outdoor storage tents can endure these kinds of conditions. That’s where this tent comes in.
ShelterLogic’s outdoor shed has a few key features for year-round protection. Firstly, you’ll notice the rounded design. This does a better job of shedding snow and deflecting wind. The tent also uses special ShelterLock stabilizers which let you tighten the tent against the ground. And instead of regular stakes, the ShelterLogic includes four, 15-inch auger anchors (essentially a screw stake) to keep the tent grounded in any weather.
This shelter is best as extra storage out in the yard for, say, a lawnmower and gardening tools, but it works for anything you can fit inside the ten by ten-foot structure.
PROS: Sturdy design, great in bad weather.
CONS: The only downside to this tough shelter is assembly. It could take a while to set up (around two to three hours) and may require a helping hand.
4. Quictent Heavy-Duty Carport Shed
Garages are often repurposed for storing basically everything besides the car. This might be necessary for many, but it’s also not good for your ride. Rain, sun and snow all wear down a car (one of our most expensive assets). This storage shed from Quictent offers a covered area to keep your car safe from the weather.
The large storage tent measures ten feet by twenty feet, making it big enough for most cars and SUVs. Thanks to a waterproof, UV-resistant polyethylene roof, you can rest assured that your vehicle is safe from the elements.
Another strong suit of the Quictent is its versatility. As you’ll notice, the tent has six windows with outside covers, plus individually removable sidewalls. These features make the tent great as a summer hangout spot in the yard, as well as a garage. The windows are also nice for keeping an eye on your car from the house.
PROS: Car storage, removable walls, windows.
CONS: One downside we found with the Quictent is the quality of its stakes. The anchors could be sturdier, but that can be fixed with sandbags or upgraded stakes from an outside source.