Can You Grill Under a Canopy Tent?

Can You Grill Under a Canopy Tent?

Almost all the canopy tent brands pass the CPAI-84 testing method. CPAI-84 testing method is to confirm the flame resistance of fabric used in the tents (ceiling, walls, and floor). Therefore, most people believe the material is fire retardant and safe to grill under a canopy tent. Is it really safe? Can you grill under a canopy tent?

We suggest not to grill under a canopy tent. Even though most of the canopy tent materials meet the flammability requirements of CPAI-84, make sure to keep the tent away from flames. The fabric may burn if left in continuous contact with any flame source. Almost all the canopy tents materials are either polythene, polyester, or vinyl. These materials can easily catch hold of fire. Even the excess heat under the canopy tent can melt these kinds of materials. In almost all the canopy tent brand disclaimer, the manufacturer would have specifically mentioned not to expose the canopy tent to flaming materials continuously. It can cause damage to the canopy tent and people around it. So it is not encouraged to grill under a canopy tent.

Okay, having said that, if you’ve no choice but to cook under a canopy tent due to harsh weather or some other reason;

How can you grill under a canopy tent safely?

If you choose to take a chance on cooking under a canopy tent, the first and foremost thing is to check the manufacturer manual for fire safety. Follow each step given in the manual. That would cover your base.

Apart from that, here are some of the ideas you can use to prevent potential fire hazards when you grill under a canopy tent.

  • Fire is not the only issue when you grill under a canopy tent. The real problem is the smoke that gets out when you’re grilling. Grilling in a small space with no to little ventilation could produce Carbon monoxide and Nitrogen dioxide. Smoke inhalation during a fire also can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, and nitrogen dioxide damages the lungs. So, never use wood or charcoal to grill and avoid carbon monoxide and nitrogen risks. It is better to have a carbon monoxide alarm with you when you’re grilling. In addition to that, to take care of the smoke, use a vented canopy tent. The airflow inside the canopy tent helps control the humidity and smoke. It not only helps in removing all the smoke inside the canopy tent, but it is also helpful during windy conditions to not turn your canopy top fabric into a parachute.
  • To make the vented canopy more efficient, place a small fan near the exhaust. The fan will take care of the smoke efficiently and reduce the humidity inside the canopy tent. Moreover, it reduces the stinking smell caused by the smoke in your tent. Remember, smoke smell sticks to the canopy material at any cost.
  • You can also use a smoker to keep the smoke away.
  • Keep all the fire fighting equipment available to put out small spot fires. Remember, the material fabric used in the canopy tent can easily catch hold of fire.
  • Try to keep adequate space between the grill and the fabric material (top and sidewalls in case you use it). Use the maximum height settings given in the canopy tent. Never cook closer to the sidewalls in case you use it.
  • Use a large and heavy pan since it takes the entire gas or charcoal grill. “Cast iron is ideal” because it gets hot and retains the heat well. It helps to reduce the flame and smoke.
  • You can pre-cook your meal inside your house before getting into the grill. It helps reduces the cooking time so less flame and smoke.
  • Anchor your canopy tent accurately and secure it. If the wind picks up, the canopy tent may knock the cooking equipment accidentally. It can also cause injuries to the people nearby. Use immovable objects like cars, poles, trailers, etc.. to tie down the canopy tent. Use proper straps to tie it down rather than flimsy ropes. 
  • Avoid grilling under a canopy tent during heavy rain. Most of the canopy tents cannot withstand heavy rain. The stored rainwater on the top can seep in, and it can end up on your grill. Even in mild rain, make sure to check the canopy top for water storage. Create a passage for the flow of water in case of water build-up on the top.
  • Any damage to the fabric (smoke or even an oil spitting) while grilling under the canopy tent can put the warranty of your canopy at risk. So have something to cover up the oil spilling.

What are the risk factors if you grill under a canopy tent?

The risk factor is two-fold. One is the flame that can hurt people under the canopy tent. The second is it can cause structural damage and stains to the canopy tent itself.

The polyester, polythene and vinyl fabric can easily catch hold of fire. It can start melting if it’s heated up too much. There are two risk factors in it.

  • The obvious one is the melted drops can land on the person underneath it. It can cause severe pain and maybe even skin burn.
  • Since the structure of the canopy tent is changing due to the fabric melting, the whole tent can collapse. It is a real problem because it can ignite more fire since it may land on the cooking equipment and potentially create more harm to the people under the tent.

Apart from the fire accident, stains and smells are the primary issues if you grill under a canopy tent. The oil can spill onto the frames of the canopy tent. In most cases, you can clean it using soap. 

But the oil stains on the canopy fabric is not easy to clean. It stays with the canopy and looks ugly. Moreover, the smell of the oil will continue to last for a long time. The odor attracts the bugs to the canopy fabric. Keeping the bugs out will be an additional issue you have to face. 

Can You Grill Under a Canopy Tent?

It is not 100% safe to grill under a pop-up canopy tent. In case you have to, make sure to keep all the fire safety equipment and take the necessary steps mentioned above to protect your canopy tent and yourself. Remember, you’re putting yourself and the people around you at risk when you’re grilling under a canopy tent. It feels like nothing will happen when grilling under a canopy tent. But remember that is why we call it an accident. We urge you to prevent the accident by not taking any risk, especially if children are around. In case you have no choice, make sure to take all the precautions.

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