Soli Air Canopy Review: An Inflatable Shelter You Can Take Anywhere

Spending time outside in the summer months can be a lot of fun. After all, there is no better time to go to the beach, head to a campsite, or gather with friends and family in the backyard. But, the bright rays of the sun and hot temperatures can also make those outings uncomfortable or even downright dangerous. Thankfully, we can sometimes take shelter in the shade of a tree or gather under an RV awning. But what happens when those options simply aren’t available?

That’s exactly where the Soli Air Canopy comes in handy. Lightweight and highly portable, this inflatable shelter is designed for use on just about any kind of terrain. Best of all, it sets up in just a couple of minutes and is light enough to go just about anywhere.

Soli Air Canopy

Photo Credit: Kraig Becker

A Portable Shelter in a Bag

Built for active outdoor enthusiasts, the Soli Air Canopy is an excellent companion for anyone who spends time outside. Made from highly durable materials, the shelter is water resistant and provides UPF 50+ sun protection, which means it blocks up to 98% of the sun’s rays. That makes it perfect for everything from beach outings and weekend camping trips to family gatherings at a local park or someone’s backyard.

Available in four colors (blue, orange, green, and gray), the Air Canopy comes with everything you need to start using the shelter immediately. In the box, you’ll find not only the Air Canopy itself but also a rechargeable air pump to inflate it, eight ground stakes and four tether ropes to secure it in place, as well as a shade wall that can be zipped into place to provide extra protection. You’ll also get a handy backpack to carry everything in and a small stuff sack for the air pump, too. Optional add-on accessories include additional shade walls and a zip-on mesh wall.

Soli includes an easy-to-understand instruction card in the box, which comes in handy the first time you use the shelter. But the setup process is so simple that it is unlikely you’ll ever need it again. Still, it’s nice to keep in the backpack just in case you loan the Air Canopy to someone you hasn’t used it before.

Soli Air Canopy

Photo Credit: Kraig Becker

Two-Minute Set Up

Soli claims the Air Canopy takes just two minutes to set up, and that proved to be accurate during our use of the inflatable shelter. As with most products, the first time took a little longer as we worked out the intricacies of how everything comes together, but it didn’t take a whole lot longer than the company’s estimate. The inflatable pop up is so well designed that even on our first go, we had it fully in place and ready for use in just three or four minutes tops.

To use the Air Canopy, you first lay it out flat on the ground, neatly spreading the four corners that will inflate into its support beams. Then, simply attach the portable air pump to a valve located on one of those corners and turn it on. Within a minute, the beams will begin to take shape as air is pumped into their chambers. After two minutes, they’ll be fully inflated and feel surprisingly solid to the touch. At that point, you simply turn off the pump and screw the lid onto the valve. Finally, you just walk under the shelter and push up on its ceiling, which pulls the support beams into place, creating a solid structure.

As noted above, Soli ships the Air Canopy with ground stakes and tether lines to provide further support for the shelter in windy conditions. The guy lines and stakes work well in sand, dirt, and mud, helping to lock the structure in place if things get a bit gusty. That said, we also used it multiple times without the stakes and support lines without any issues.

Soli Air Canopy

Photo Credit: Kraig Becker

Made in the Shade

Once fully set up, the Air Canopy offers a 10’ x 10’ space to gather under. That’s enough space for multiple camp chairs, a cooler, beach blankets, and more. And since it is over 7’ in height, most of us won’t have to duck our heads to stand up inside. The structure holds its same impressively well, too. On one occasion, we set it up at a campsite and left it in place for several days without having to add additional air.

Sitting under the Air Canopy is comfortable and relaxing. Unlike a tent, the open nature of the shelter allows a breeze to blow through while still keeping the hot rays of the sun at bay. The included zip-on shade wall can be used to create extra protection as needed, and since all four sides of the shelter have built-in zippers, the wall can easily be relocated. Owners can also add additional shade walls for $39 each to create a more enclosed space, although we prefer the mesh walls that are available for the same price.

While the Air Canopy is mostly marketed towards those looking for a pop up shelter for use at the campsite or beach, we can see this product appealing to others, as well. For instance, outdoor athletes, such as mountain bikers, trailer runners, and triathletes, will love its ease of setup and versatility, providing a great place to rest and relax between training sessions or for a support crew to hang out in transition zones. It even makes a good gear garage to protect bikes, ATVs, and other equipment from the elements.

Soli Air Canopy

Photo Credit: Kraig Becker

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

We’ve made it abundantly clear just how easy it is to set up the Air Canopy, but taking it down is even easier. Simply open the valve where the pump attaches, and it will immediately begin expelling the air inside, quickly deflating in the process. That also takes just a minute or two to complete, although you may want to squeeze some of the excess air out before folding the shelter up for storage.

Speaking of which, it took a few tries to figure out the best way to fold up the Air Canopy after we had finished using it. The first few attempts resulted in a large heap of fabric that didn’t look anything like the neat and tidy bundle that Soli had originally sent our way. However, after a little trial and error, we did find some convenient ways to keep everything organized. Fortunately, the included backpack is spacious and forgiving, making it easy to get the shelter and its various accessories back inside. It also makes it easy to pack down to a reasonable size for storage in a closet, trunk, or RV compartment.

The Air Canopy, ground stakes, guy lines, and air pump weigh about 20 lbs., which is light enough to make it fairly portable. That said, that weight does add up if you’re carrying it over a longer distance, especially if you are also lugging along camp chairs, a cooler, and other equipment. Still, considering the size, simplicity, and versatility of the shelter, it is a piece of gear that is worth taking on your outdoor excursions.

Soli Air Canopy

Photo Credit: Soli

Closing Thoughts

As you can probably tell, we’re pretty impressed by the Soli Air Canopy. The inflatable shelter has proven itself useful in a number of scenarios, and we’ve really come to appreciate just how handy it is to have around. Our test model has been used at the beach, at a campsite, and in the backyard, impressing friends and family every time. And as the summer has only gotten hotter, being able to deploy it on a moment’s notice has been especially valuable.

The Air Canopy’s included probable air pump is especially impressive. The device fits in the palm of your hand, recharges via USB-C, and is good for two or three full inflations—plus occasional top-offs between recharges. It also clamps into place quickly and easily, ensuring proper inflation every time.

Priced at $349, the Soli Air Canopy is a worthwhile investment for families, RV and car campers, frequent beachgoers, and outdoor athletes. You’ll be impressed at how quickly and easily it sets up and likely find new and unique ways to use it beyond just providing protection from the sun. To find out more about the Air Canopy, visit the Soli website.

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