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Is It Safe To Cook Or Grill Under A Canopy Tent?

Canopy tents are such versatile accessories that tent users tend to engage in all sorts of fun activities in their shade. They take it to the beach for some fun in the sun. Outdoor events with large turnouts are best handled with the help of custom event tents. Printed canopy tents are extremely effective advertising tools, so much so that businesses routinely employ branded canopies to promote their brands in tradeshows.

So, the next time you are planning a little barbeque party during the day, consider employing a 10×10 pop up canopy tent as your temporary shelter solution. At this point, some of you might be wondering, “Can I cook under the shade of a canopy tent?” In other words, is it safe to start a fire in the shade of a tent? 

Fire resistance vs. fire retardation

Before we can find an answer to that question, let’s understand some basic facts about fire-resistant and fire-retardant materials.

Ø  Fire-retardant materials are essentially materials that have been treated with chemicals that slow down or decelerate their natural burning rate, if and when they catch fire.

Ø  Fire-resistant materials are inherently resistant to fire, meaning it is hard to set them on fire. Instead of just bursting into flames they will keep absorbing heat and, after a point, start melting and carbonizing.

Tent canopies and fire protection

Tent canopies are made from various man-made materials these days. Although, traditionally tents were made of canvas. Canvas is made from a blend of natural fibers like cotton and hemp, which have unsatisfactory combustion points, meaning they can catch fire relatively easily compared to the synthetic materials in use today. This and lower production costs have led tent makers to shift to man-made synthetic materials for largescale tent canopy manufacturing.

Fire resistance in nylon and polyester

These two synthetic materials are extremely popular among garments and tent manufacturers. Both materials have much higher combustion points compared to natural fibers like cotton, and will melt instead of bursting into flames, when exposed to heat for prolonged durations. For tents, this is a boon because in case of a fire, users get the much-needed extra time to rush to safety.

How does PVC behave when exposed to heat?

PVC or polyvinyl chloride is another man-made material, a type of plastic, that is extremely popular across a wide range of industries. And it is a popular tent canopy material as well! So, how does it react to fire? PVC has chlorine in it and chlorine is naturally fire retardant.

What essentially happens is that, when you try to set PVC on fire, the chlorine in it converts to Hydrogen chloride gas. And this gas, in turn, tries to extinguish the flame instead of accelerating it. Moreover, when you remove the heat source, the smoldering portions of the PVC material quickly cool down. No wonder PVC canopy tents make for some of the safest temporary shelter solutions available in the market.    

Poly-PVC, poly-cotton, PVC coating and PVC lamination – how do they perform?

These material are the latest innovations in the artificial fabric manufacturing domain. Poly-PVC and poly-cotton are essentially polyester mixed with PVC fibers and cotton respectively. This means these fabrics have the safety-nets of PVC and polyester in them, when it comes to fire retardation properties. 

Tent canopies are often coated or laminated with PVC. This makes the underlying material fire retardant. Since PVC-coating involves lathering a fabric with a thick and uniform coat of PVC gel, it performs better in the face of fire than PVC-lamination, which involves heat-pasting a thin film of PVC on the underlying fabric.

Polyurethane or PU coating to resist fire

Thermoset polyurethane or PU is another man-made polymer that is extremely resistant to fire and easily meets stringent fire-safety regulations. High-quality tent manufacturers often apply PU coats on their polyester tent canopies to make them more fire resistant than usual.

A look at tent frames

Tent frames are normally made of steel or aluminium. Both being metals have high melting points. And both metals are naturally non-combustible and excellent conductors of heat. So there’s certainly no chance of metallic tent frames catching fire!  

So, should you cook in the shade of your canopy tent?

Our advice is to avoid starting a fire in the shade of your tent. It’s better be safe than sorry, after all! Liquefied petroleum gases like propane are used to start the fire in an oven or a barbeque grill. These gases burn at incredibly high temperatures, making them unsafe for any type of fabric for that matter. Even modest charcoal grills can reach pretty high temperatures and are better kept away from tent canopies. 


Printed canopy tents are there to protect you from the whims of nature and, if need be, serve as your fashion statement or branding tool. As long as you don’t abuse your accessory and try to test its limits, it will continue to serve you for a very long time. Be wise. Avoid doing anything that can be hazardous to your health and harmful to your accessory

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