Best Portable Garage For Snow Load – Heavy Duty

A heavy duty portable garage is a great way to protect your vehicles from the elements in winter. The problem is that if you buy a cheap temporary garage you'll find out the hard way that they don’t stand up to bad weather and snow load.

The reality is that the best portable garage for snow load is going to cost you a few hundred dollars.

If you want a really heavy duty winter carport that can handle heavy snow then you’re going to spend somewhere around $1000 or more. If you just need to deal with a few inches of snow then you can get a great portable garage for less than half of that.

We put together some portable garage reviews of the top 10 solutions that will protect your vehicle this winter.

The more expensive tarped garage options will handle a decent amount of snow load while the cheap portable garage options can only handle 2 inches or so.

Best Winter Portable Garage Reviews

If you’re serious about keeping heavy snow off your vehicle then the Palram Vitoria carport offers the best snow shelter for car protection.

The frame is made from galvanized steel and heavy duty aluminum. It’s also been powder coated so it looks great and is rust resistant.

The translucent canopy panels are 6mm thick and are made from virtually unbreakable polycarbonate. They offer great UV protection for your vehicle and also won’t yellow over time in the sun.

The combination of the sturdy frame and solid canopy panels make this the best portable garage for snow load. There’s no sagging of tarp panels to deal with.

Assembly is straightforward and just requires a solid, level base to secure the footings of the poles. No special tools are required so you can easily DIY it, but this is a two man job.

The higher price tag is a little hard to ignore but it’s totally worth it. It’s going to last for years, looks attractive and will hold snow a lot better than portable canvas garages will.

If you’re looking a heavy duty temporary garage that can handle some snow load then this is one of the best portable canvas garages on the market.

The frame is made from rust resistant heavy duty galvanized steel tubing. They’ve used industrial strength carriage bolts to keep it all together and this gives you excellent performance in heavy wind and snow.

The industrial grade canopy fabric is super strong too. The 200g PE material is UV treated for long life in the sun and is water proof.

The cable hook anchors will work on any surface and once you’ve got them in, they take some serious pulling before coming loose. If you want extra wind protection it would be a good idea to buy some extra stakes.

We really like the double zipper doors at the front and back of this winter carport. The zippers have a heavy duty look and feel and they don’t jam or freeze up.

Assembly will take a few hours but it's pretty easy. You would probably need an extra pair of hands but you could do it yourself too with a little effort.

If you want to spend under $1000 then this is the best portable garage for snow load for the money.

Arrow Sheds make some of the best portable garage designs on the market. This super sturdy shelter is ideal for tough winter conditions, wind and snow load.

This heavy duty portable garage gives you the option of using it as a carport or as an enclosed garage.

The industrial grade steel frame and galvanized steel roof deliver protection from winds up to 100mph and a snow rating of 35PSF. The fabric panels are also UV treated to prevent color fade.

It opens front and back giving you convenient drive-through access. We also like the heavy duty stainless hook anchors.

If you need extra space and want the best portable garage for winter then this one is hard to beat. The steel top is great for snow. If you get careless with the chute of your snow blower you won't worry too much about piling snow on the top of this garage.

This is one of the best winter carport options we’ve seen at this price point. It’s worth considering if you want to spend a little less but still get a high clearance portable garage with round roof.

The all steel frame uses reinforced top and ground bars. The poles are 38x0.8mm and are made from galvanized rust resistant steel.

 The result is a really sturdy frame with great longitudinal stiffness. The round rooftop is ideal for shedding standing water and snow.

The cover is reinforced 200G polyethylene and has been treated for UV, anti-fade, anti-aging and anti-fungal treatments. It has one triple zippered door on the front.

Installation instructions aren't the greatest. Assembly can theoretically be done by one person but it's really a 2 to 3 person job.

If you want heavy duty portable garage snow load performance then this is a great option. It’ll handle a good 5 or 6 inches of snow load no problem. Strong wind will catch this taller frame though.

If you’re after an affordable winter carport and you still want side panels then this is a great option. The 12'x20' size is great for boats and trucks. The sides are removable if you need more space getting into your vehicle.

The frame is pretty strong and is made from 1.5-inch thick steel poles with 1.2mm thick walls. The poles have spring buttons which make connecting them simple without any tools required. 

There are 8 of these poles so you get maximum support. The poles fit together with compression lock and are really easy to put together. This carport will work on most surfaces and it comes with a bolting kit if you want to set it up on concrete.

The canopy is made from 180g PE waterproof fabric. It'll be fine for lighter snow and wind but realistically you'll need to remove snow from the top if it gets beyond a few inches.

Without the side walls it tends to catch the wind so make sure you anchor it down really well. It comes with plastic anchors so you might want to get some extra steel anchors if you've got rocky ground.

This would work fine for a winter carport in milder winter conditions and should easily handle an inch or two of snow load. Without the side panels you'll need to store a few things in your outdoor bicycle shed to keep them safe.

This smaller portable garage comes in at the mid-price range. The frame is made from sturdy 1-½“ poles with sturdy connection points. It's ideal as a winter carport for motorbikes or an ATV.

We liked the vents in this shelter. It provided decent ventilation which is great for preventing moisture buildup inside. The doors have double zippers and allow for convenient drive-through access.

The 240 polyethylene top cover is UV and water resistant and has a thick, heavy duty feel about it. We liked that it had two removable zippered doors and side panels which offers you a bit more versatility.

As far as winter carport performance goes it offers medium protection. If you secure it properly with some sandbags it will handle a fair amount of wind but any more than 3 or 4 inches of snow load and you’ll start seeing the tie-downs ripping out of the corners.

This may not be the best portable garage for snow load but at this price it will work well in milder winter areas for smaller vehicles.

This portable winter carport is perfect if you have limited space and need to protect a single vehicle. It’s super sturdy and is compact enough to fit within a single parking space.

The thick poles form a strong frame and the 600 denier fabric with PU coating forms a high strength and 100% waterproof canopy.

Retracting the frame is super simple and means you don’t need to fuss with any zippers. Once you’ve got it closed you can lock it too which is great for extra security.

This heavy duty carport tent offers excellent protection from UV, rain, hail and snow. The round shape helps shift the snow load once it packs up a little.

Because the canopy is fairly low it’s easy to brush the snow off too. For wider cars the width can be a bit of a tight squeeze when opening doors. We’d advise putting some pipe insulation on the poles to prevent any accidental dings.

Installation is super simple with each pole numbered for easy assembly. The great high wind and snow load performance and the fact that you can lock it make this heavy duty portable garage worth every cent.

This easy to assemble garage in a box delivers fairly decent winter carport performance at a budget price.

The frame is made from 1.5“ high grade steel, 1.2mm thick, that has been properly powder coated to prevent chips and rust. The frame is reasonably sturdy but doesn’t cope well with strong winds.

The fabric they’ve used for this tarped garage is a polyethylene material that is 100% waterproof and has also been UV treated for extra protection and durability.

The 180g PE tarp has also been treated with UV treatments so it’ll keep its color without fading even after a few years in the sun.

The large mesh windows offer good ventilation and prevent moisture buildup.

A light snow load of around 3 inches would be ok but you wouldn’t want to let more than that accumulate on the roof. Giving the roof a poke from the inside with a broom will have the snow slide off.

The canopy doesn’t hold up well to wet snow and tends to pool and stretch when the sludgy stuff starts to melt.

This portable garage has been built for pretty bad weather and light snow loads. The strong all steel frame uses heavy duty galvanized steel poles (1.5“ diameter, 1.2mm thick walls).

The canopy tarp is made from thick 180G polyethylene and is fully waterproof and offers good UV protection too.

We like the green color of the tarp and we especially like that you can adjust the height of the carport from 6.5' to 8' high.

It’s pretty easy to assemble but we’d add extra anchors and weights in the corners. Once you’ve got it firmly secured to the ground it’ll survive some pretty heavy winds.

The canopy is good for a snow load of around 4” but you’ll need to brush it off the roof if you want it to last.

At this price this temporary garage for snow offers good value for milder winter weather where you expect under a foot of snow load at worst.

At the lower end of the price scale we reviewed a really good carport from Quicktent. While it’s really designed to keep the sun and rain of your boat or vehicle, it’ll handle some wintry weather too.

The galvanized steel poles fit together nicely to form a sturdy frame. The canopy pulls over nice and tightly and is UV treated, tearproof and water resistant.

There are no side panels and it doesn’t take much wind to get this carport airborne so you really need to stake it down extra well. The high strength steel cables help to add some rigidity to the frame.

It also comes with 4 removable sand bags that we'd advise using to help with wind resistance.

Once you’ve got it properly secured you’ve got a decent winter carport for a budget price. It won’t handle a lot of snow but it will regularly manage a snow load of 1 to 2 inches without much strain.

Heavy Duty Portable Garage For Winter - What To Look For

Frame Construction

Opt for full metal, aluminum or galvanized steel frames. If the frame isn’t galvanized then you want to be sure that it has a decent powder coating on it to prevent rust. Powder coating that has been baked on, not sprayed on, will last longer and give better rust protection.

Pole Diameter

The thickness, or diameter, of the poles making up the frame will have a direct bearing on how strong the portable garage will be. Somewhere close to 2-inches is a good bet. Also, if possible, get the pole wall thickness. The thicker the wall, the stronger the frame will be.

Tarp Cover Fabric

This must be UV proof, water resistant and preferably treated with a fire retardant. Heat bonded seams are always going to be better than sewn, or stitched seams. Sewn seams aren’t the best at keeping the elements off your car and will eventually allow moisture to leak through. Also make sure it has been anti-aging, anti-fungal and anti-fade treated.

A polyethylene or PVC fabric will give you the best weather protection. These materials are also less prone to develop mildew, mold or dry rot.

UV blocking

For better durability it’s worth spending a little more for fabric that has  anti-aging and fade blocking properties. Even in winter, the UV rays the sen puts out will not only make the color fade, it can eventually make cheaper fabrics crack and perish after a single winter.


The portable garage assembly should be a simple process. Make sure that no special tools are required and that you can handle the setup with one or two people. A ratchet tensioning system will always offer the best result when it comes to pulling the cover tightly over the frame. The tighter and smoother the canopy cover is, the more likely snow load is to slide off eventually.

Wind Resistance

Strong winds can destroy your portable garage fast. Very often the damage isn’t due to the construction of the carport but rather due to poor assembly. Make sure you’ve got no loose, flapping fabric panels and that you’ve anchored, staked and weighed the corners down properly. It’s always a good idea to use extra stakes and weights over and above what comes supplied with the portable garage.


Being able to open and close the panels easily is more than just about easy access. On warmer days it’s a good idea to open the panels up to get any moisture buildup to evaporate and get out from under the canopy. Look for double zippered doors for easy access from inside and out. Doors on both ends offers drive through options.

Best Portable Garage For Snow Load

Do I Really Need A Portable Garage For Winter?

Winter conditions, hail and snow can all cause serious damage to  your Boat, trailer, ATV, tractor or other equipment. Even simple things like pooling water can lead to problems.

Ice and snow weight on the roof of your vehicle is usually the biggest culprit. If you buy the best portable garage you can afford then you’ll save yourself plenty of money on expensive repair bills.

Rust, mildew and dry rot are less noticeable at first but once these set in they can be tough to get rid of. If you don’t have a permanent garage then protecting your vehicles from these car killers makes buying a portable garage an easy decision.

And it’s not just in winter that your vehicle needs protection. The sun’s UV rays will wreck paintwork, plastic fittings, your dashboard and upholstery.

The damage that UV rays alone cause is a good reason to use a portable garage throughout the year, and not just to handle the snow load.

The kind of portable garage you should buy has a lot to do with the kind of weather you expect in winter. If you’re just trying to keep the rain or some light snow off then a lighter duty option will be fine.

If you live somewhere in the North East of the US then you’re probably in for some serious blizzards. In that case you’re going to need to spend a bit more for a portable garage that can handle a fair amount of snow load and wind.

A permanent, built garage is always a better option but the cost, building permit requirements and time don’t always make this a practical option.

In these cases a portable garage presents a cheaper and quick, albeit more temporary, solution to protect your vehicle from the snow and other winter elements.

Wind damaged portable garage

Portable Winter Garage - How Long Will It Last?

It’s important to note that these are “temporary garage” solutions. This means that they’re not designed to stand outside permanently.

Eventually the UV rays will cause the fabric to become brittle and it’s going to tear. If you want it to last a few years then put it up in winter and pack it away (dry) for the summer months.

You also get what you pay for. Don’t expect a portable garage that costs $200 to survive heavy weather and snow load like a $1000 one will.

The thicker the poles and fabric, the more use you’re going to get out of it. Even the best portable garage will need to have it’s canopy replaced eventually. If you buy one with a decent frame you can reskin it every few years with a new tarp.

What Size Portable Garage Do I Need?

The space you have available on your property is going to determine the biggest portable garage you could consider. After that it really comes down to what you want to keep in there.

If it’s just for single small car then a small portable garage will be fine. If you’re going to be spending a few hundred bucks it’s worth considering the opportunities for some versatility.

If you bought a slightly bigger portable garage, could you maybe store a few other things in there. Also, you’re going to want to be able to move around your vehicle when it’s parked in there.

You don’t want it to be too cramped. In the summer months a larger portable garage can even double as a marquis for outdoor family events, weddings or barbecues.

Bigger doesn’t always mean better though. If you’re planning on dismantling the garage in summer then you’re going to need to store it somewhere. That may be tough if you’ve bought the biggest portable garage on the market.

Sidewalls - Do I Need Them?

Some winter carports come with sidewalls while others are more like a snow load canopy with open walls. If you’re just looking for a snow shelter for your car then you could probably do without the side panels.

If you want the versatility of storing things like power tools in there along with the car then you’re going to need the extra protection of a fully tarped garage with side panels.

If you're going to be doing some work in there then having sidewalls will also give you the option of using a good garage heater to make it a bit more bearable.

With more fabric comes additional cost and setup time. The additional protection and versatility it offers is nice to have though.

If you’re going to be doing some work in the portable garage then you might want to go for side panels that have transparent panels in them. These “windows” will let in some natural light so you may get away without hooking a light up in there.

If you do opt for sidewalls be aware of humidity issues. Depending on the conditions you could end up with condensation inside if you don't open it up every now and then. Otherwise you may even need to run a dehumidifier in there for a while if it gets really damp inside.

Understanding Snow Load

How much does an inch of snow weigh? Just saying that a portable garage can handle a certain amount of inches of snow doesn’t really help in making accurate snow load comparisons.

Light fluffy snow will weigh a lot less than the same volume of wet, sludgy snow. Snow load rating is normally quoted in pounds per square foot. If you have this figure from the manufacturer then it’s easier to make comparisons.

The problem is that even snow rated portable garage manufacturers hardly ever give this figure. You’re probably better off reading portable garage reviews and seeing the kinds of results people have been getting with snow load.

Take those experiences with a pinch of salt, lower your expectations and you’ll probably be fine.


The reality is that any portable garage, even a really heavy duty portable garage, is eventually going to give in once the snow piles up too high. You give yourself a fighting chance by buying the best carport for snow but you need to sensible too.

If you see snow piling up on the winter carport canopy then brush it off. Don’t wait for the panels to sag and poles to bend just to see how much it can handle.

The best portable garage for snow load is always going to be as rigid as possible. If you want to save some money you can opt for a portable canvas garage but get one with thick poles and make sure you anchor it really well.

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    David Miller

    David is a health conscious and houseproud family guy. When he's not being used as a jungle gym by his kids you can find him working on his latest DIY project in the garage.