The quality of materials used in the temporary garage style canopy tents have improved significantly over the years. In fact, so much so that many people are using them all year round instead of just setting them up seasonally.
My friend Donna has a classic MGB which she had been storing during winter months in an unheated garage almost an hour from her home. Sadly the owner of that garage has recently passed away, and Donna was left scrambling for a secure place to store her beloved MGB.
During the summer she typically keeps the tree sap and bird droppings off this car by housing it inside one of those “temporary garages” which are just large canopy tents with four sides. This one is securely anchored to the ground so the wind does not blow it across the yard. In the near future she is planning on putting up a permanent structure, and the temporary garage was situated where the real garage is slated to go.
She decided to try storing it for this winter in that little temporary garage, so we chose to move it to a flat spot in the side yard where we could keep it out of the wind and hopefully keep snow from piling up on the canopy. In preparation I laid down two old tarps and then ran two sets of boards in line with the tire tracks of the MGB.
Once these were placed, we backed the little convertible up onto the boards, and put blocks behind the tires so the car will not roll during winter. We put moth balls in the trunk on plastic to keep the local mice at bay, and we removed the battery so it can be stored inside on her workbench. This way it can be charged periodically and will not freeze. The last thing we did on the car was to slip the cloth cover over the MGB and tie it on.
We stripped down the canopy to just the bare metal tube frame, and then removed the leg extensions to lower the height of the canopy so that the sidewalls were as short as possible, which will help reduce its overall wind resistance. This will hopefully keep the canopy garage from being damaged in any way when winter storms come blowing through northeast Ohio. Now Donna can check her canopy from her kitchen window, and she can have gravel and dirt delivered anytime for her new garage that will be started in the spring.
With the walls and roof removed we carried the shortened metal frame over the top of her MGB and centered it so the car is now under the center of the frame. I put tape on each of the legs to keep them from falling out of their sockets while we carried the frame. Then I put the canopy roof back on, followed by the long side walls, and the ends. These were rolled up into a u-shape and tied off inside to the metal poles. Next I put heavy landscape timbers into these pockets along with a few bricks to hold the bottom edges of the walls down onto the ground. This keeps the wind and snow from going up under the cover.
Next major job was to screw in the metal anchors so that I could tie the portable garage down so it stays put for the winter. These are about eighteen inches long and have a corkscrew type end, with an eyelet on the top end. Using a long metal bar through the eyelet you apply downward pressure while screwing the anchor in a clockwise fashion. Once the end bites into the ground you can feel it drawing the shaft downward on successive rotations of the bar.
When the eyelet is level with the ground, take the nylon anchor rope and tie your best knot into the loop so the corners of the canopy tent are drawn down snug. Inside the canopy I intend to mount a protective board above the roof line of the MGB so that any tree branches which may fall do not go through the convertible top of the MGB.
There are a few critical issues to consider with regard to locating these temporary buildings if you intend to leave them up all year around. The first is to plan on facing a corner into the prevailing wind if at all possible. This helps prevent having a flat wall facing the wind which can be very hard on a temporary structure in high winds. Next is to make sure that nothing can fall onto your garage and ruin whatever you are storing inside this portable garage. Last is to keep an eye on any snow building up on the canopy which may collapse the roof in.
On this installation it is now low enough that Donna can go clean the entire roof off with a snow brush or wide broom. These are a nice inexpensive investment that can save on storage fees, and can give you many years of reliable service if you take good care of them.
This article is based on personal experience over many years setting up canopy tents and temporary garages.
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