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Our Review of the Harbor Freight Portable Garage

Our Review of the Harbor Freight Portable Garage

A garage in a box? Well, that’s what Harbor Freight claims their inexpensive portable garage is and we decided to give it a try. We spend summers at our camp and someday want to build a permanent building, but until then temporary shelter is needed, and last summer we gave the Harbor Freight version a try. Whether you own a vehicle, a boat, or a camper, keeping it out of the wind, rain, and other elements is extremely important. So did it do the job?

Today, we’re sharing our review of the Harbor Freight portable garage and how it stacks up against other portable garages. Let’s learn more

What Are Portable Garages?

Portable garages are reliable and low-maintenance options for protecting vehicles and equipment. You don’t need to hire a professional to put together a portable garage, as most people can easily assemble their kit in a couple of hours. 

These units come in various shapes, sizes, and costs but can get the job done in most circumstances. Consider a portable garage if you want to protect your property without spending thousands of dollars.

Over the years we personally have tried a few of these units with the Harbor Freight by far being the cheapest. While some of the other versions stayed up through multiple seasons and winters, the Harbor Freight Garage we only intended to use for one summer, meaning its inexpensive cost made alot of sense.

Portable Garage in Woods
That round top building was a shelter logic portable garage we installed many years ago

What Do People Use Portable Garages For?

Portable garages are incredibly versatile structures. You can use them to store RVs, boats, and other toys. Keeping UV rays, rain, and other weather elements off your equipment can maximize their life and reduce maintenance frequency. 

However, portable garages have many more uses. Some owners use theirs for storage or extra workspace. They can serve as a cost-effective and efficient way to protect items sitting in storage and keep you warm and dry while working. 

Portable garages however provide essentially no security other than getting your stuff out of sight. There is no way to lock a portable garage and even if you did they could be cut open.

We personally have used them for wood sheds, boat storage, vehicle storage, and just extra space out of the rain. In the case of the harbor freight garages, we used two of them. One for general storage and a place to work out of the rain, and the second for our boat so we would not have to cover it each time after coming back from the lake.

While our 5500 would not fully fit in the harbor freight garage, it worked great when i had to adjust the valve lash to get it out of potential rain!

How Long Do Portable Garages Last?

The lifespan of portable garages greatly depends on the quality of materials and the environment where you use them. A typical portable garage will last for 1 to 10 years. While the frames for these garages are typically highly durable, the covers can be their weakest point.

Extreme summer and winter weather can take a toll on the covers. The fibers can weaken, especially in extremely windy areas. If you were to snag the materials, the hole could grow and ruin the portable garage.

In our experience, I would only expect the harbor freight version to last a season or two. While the frame is actually pretty strong the fabric is just not up to the task. I also would not expect the frame to last a winter if you ever get more than a few inches of snow.

On the other hand, we had a Shelter Logic round-top garage that lasted 6 seasons with ease. This was in mid-Michigan and saw snow of up to about a foot. The round top gave it much more strength and it had much thicker fabric.

Pro Tip: No garage? No problem! Find out What Is a Toy Hauler RV and how you can use it to store all your toys.

Cait from Mortons on the Move building Harbor Freight Portable Garage
We have found our Harbor Freight Portable Garage to be incredibly useful for RV life.

About the Harbor Freight Portable Garage

Harbor Freight sells various products, including portable garages. Let’s look at the specifics of this portable garage and see if it can get the job done for you. 


This garage tent measures 8 feet 2 inches tall, 11.4 feet wide, and 19.9 feet long. It provides plenty of space to accommodate most vehicles unless you drive a truck with a long bed. Since long-bed trucks are closer to 22 feet long, you’ll end up sticking out slightly.


You will need an extra set of hands to carry the 200-pound product. The shipping weight for it is 204.6 pounds, and the actual product weight is 201.3 pounds. 

The garage’s weight helps ensure it stays in place during heavy winds. However, for added protection, it has some screw-in anchors for additional support and protection.


The Harbor Freight Portable Garage’s high-grade 1.5-inch steel frame is solid. When assembled correctly, it has minimal movement. In addition, the water-resistant cover is extremely thick and capable of withstanding most weather conditions. I would not trust it to much snow however, maybe only a few inches.

As for the fabric its actually better than I expected, but still no better than a tarp. It did a good job for the summer with UV and was fully waterproof. We did catch a boat cleat on one corner once and ended up tearing a corner of the door quite easily.

Harbor Freight Portable Garage installed at campsite with solar panels
Note the torn corner of the door from catching it on a boat cleat when pulling it out.


The thick polyethylene cover is woven together to enhance its durability and help it last for years.

 Additionally, it has an anti-fading UV treatment. This helps ensure the cover looks as good as new for as long as possible. While this layer will eventually wear off, it’ll last for years.

Once assembled, the portable garage has unlimited potential for use. You can easily run an outdoor extension cord into the garage and have lighting and power for tools and other equipment. 

Pro Tip: Get the inside scoop on our experience with this Tonneau Cover That Has Lasted Us 7 Years.

Harbor Freight Portable Garage being installed
Assembling the Harbor Freight Portable Garage is relatively simple, but will take some muscle and time.

Our Take on the Harbor Freight Portable Garage

Overall our experience with the Harbor Freight Portable Garage matches the positive reviews from other customers. We have toys we want to protect at our seasonal camping spot in Michigan. This portable garage has been the perfect option.

It’s easy to disassemble, so we don’t have to worry about the harsh Michigan weather beating it up. We have found it incredibly convenient and effective. So much so that we purchased a second one to cover our ski boat when it’s not in use.

We did install the garages on freshly poured and packed gravel that we had elevated slightly and dug drainage around. Remember it has no floor and if you put it somewhere low you will end up with wet ground inside. This will turn into a sauna in the sun with high humidity so make sure its in a well-drained area.

I will say that if you are looking for shelter for more than a year or are going to be putting valuable things in it, maybe look elsewhere. However, for temporary storage, covering wood, or basically anything you would be willing to put under a tarp then it’s a great option.

You could easily spend thousands of dollars more for a more robust garage, but this gets the job done. For our purposes, we haven’t found a better option, especially at a comparable price.

Pro Tip: Looking to expand your storage? Check out our article on How a Shipping Container Can Be Your New Garage and Shop.

Interior of Harbor Freight Portable Garage
We installed a solar light in the garage that worked great at night.

What Do Others Say About the Harbor Freight Portable Garage? 

The Harbor Freight Portable Garage receives glowing reviews from customers. Its rating typically sits right around 4.5 stars, and 100% of customers recommend it. 

Ed says, “For $400, the quality seems great. Once put together, the frame is very sturdy, and the parts seem like good quality.”

One of the biggest complaints from customers is the instructions. Cindy says, “Quirky instructions, didn’t match diagrams, could be better written to include hints, tips, options for securing to ground, 2×6, or other.”

Overall, customers have a positive experience with the portable garage from Harbor Freight. It gets the job done without breaking the bank.

Pro Tip: If you have a lot of toys, you’ll want to know What Can You Fit On An Acre of Land?

#125 Harbor Freight Portable Garage Update - Does it Last? Harbor Freight Carport

Is the Harbor Freight Portable Garage Worth It?

The Harbor Freight Portable Garage can be worth it in most situations. However, it’s not a full-size garage, nor does it feature everything a standard garage does. 

If you have a budget and want a bare-bones structure with easy assembly, look no further than this portable garage from Harbor Freight. 

We love ours and find ourselves using it repeatedly. This product works great as an inexpensive and portable option for storage.

Is a Harbor Freight Portable Garage in your future? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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