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Every beach bum knows the warm feeling of enjoying the sun’s rays warming their skin and the ocean mist blowing through their hair. When it’s time to duck out of the sun, there’s no better place to go than the comfort of a shady beach tent.
With a beach tent, you and your family can spend the entire day at the beach without giving up a precious slice of shoreside real estate.
In this guide, we’ll review the best beach tents, explain how to choose a beach tent, and show you why bringing along a beach tent is a great idea on your next trip.
Easily one of the best beach tents on the market, the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup tent works was designed with ease of use in mind. The setup takes just seconds, as does the put away. It’s a great replacement for beach umbrellas and comfortably fits two low-sitting beach chairs. The open side makes it easy to get in and out as well as shake out any sand lingering inside the tent. Packing the tent away is easy to do as well. The tent has mesh pockets where you can stash items away from the sand. Should you have problems with the beach tent, Pacific Breeze has a reputation for stellar customer service.
Size: 87 in long x 49 in deep x 47 in tall Weight: 4.45 lb (2 kg) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: Easy set-up, stylish, great for kids and babies, one-year warranty, customer service Cons: May not handle wind, no privacy flap
The Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Deluxe is the larger version of the Easy Setup, where it’s wider and equipped with an extendable floor to help keep the sand at bay. The extra-large size fits three to four people comfortably, or two low-sitting beach chairs. Three mesh vents in the walls of the beach tent allow a cool breeze through the tent and prevents it from taking flight in moderate winds. It’s ideal for large families or those who simply like to spread out at the beach.
Size: 95 in long x 51 in deep x 52 in tall Weight: 6 lb (2.7 kg) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: East setup and take down, spacious, stylish, one-year warranty, customer service Cons: No privacy flap
If you want a simple, study, beach tent, the Coleman Beach Shade is a versatile and durable option. It takes about five minutes to set up and take down, using just three tent poles. It fits about two adults comfortably with beach chairs. One thing we love about this tent is that the front floor can be modified into front door for privacy while the back of the tent has a mesh opening for ventilation. The tent then packs into a very compact carrying case – making it a great option for packing into your luggage if you’re planning a beach trip overseas.
Size: 90 in long x 53 in deep x 57 in tall Weight: 6.3 lb (2.9 kg) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: Durable, spacious, multiple color choices, comes with clothing line to dry bathing suits Cons: Takes time to set up
The Easthills Easy Up was created for ease of use in mind and its obvious that the designers had a strong attention to detail. The Velcro sand pockets open to release sand completely – no more shaking the tent to get the pesky last bits out! The set up takes around three minutes and is just as easy to take down. There are mesh vents around the tent, an open and extended floor, as well as privacy flaps for when you want to nap or change clothes in the comfort of your own tent.
Size: 82 in long x 47 in deep x 50 in tall Weight: 5 lbs UPF Rating: 50 Pros: Easy to set up and take down, privacy door, spacious Cons: Lacks durability
Once you get a pop-up tent, it can be a challenge to go back to tents that require poles and dedicated attention. The pop-up tent opens within seconds and is easy to take down once you’ve practiced a few times (though there is a learning curve). The OutdoorsmanLab Pop Up comes with an extended door, ventilated backside with privacy flap, and a carrying backpack that can fit many other beach accessories.
Size: 71 in long x 60 in wide x 52 in tall Weight: 4.5 lbs (2 kg) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: Easy set up and take down, water resistant, durable Cons: Not compact when folded, lacks front door for privacy
Minimalism meets practicality with the EasyGo Shelter. This beach tent is easy to set up and has no extra parts – simply grab the top string and pull. The mechanics of the tent function similarly to an umbrella. The tent has three mesh windows inside that can be closed for privacy as well as an extended floor that can double as a front door.
Size: 96 in long x 48 in deep x 48 in tall Weight: 6 lbs (2.7 kg) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: No loose parts to misplace, easy to use, spacious Cons: Lacks durability
The WolfWise Mad Sand 102A Pop Up tent is another top pick for those who prioritize convenience above all else when it comes to choosing the best beach tent. The tent is designed to be comfortable with its two mesh side windows. There are also a handful of pockets to stow any beach goods and the back door opens for ventilation and views on both sides (one of the only tents capable of doing this). The tent shell itself is made from ultra-durable polyester and its tent frame is crafted from galvanized steel.
Size: 86 in long x 57 in deep x 47 in tall Weight: 4.5 lbs (2 kg) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: Easy set up and take down, spacious, durable Cons: Flattens in high wind
Some people go to the beach to feel their toes in the sand while others do all they can to escape it. The Shade shack is a simple solution for those who want to enjoy sitting or playing in the sand while still being protected in the shade. Kids can build sandcastles, dig holes, and play in the sand with the Shade Shack above them thanks to the floorless design. The pop-up design unfolds and packs up in just seconds. It can also be modified to have three walls or just two.
Size: 91 in long x 51 in deep x 53 in high/102 in long x 57 in deep x 58 in tall Weight: 4 lbs (1.8 kgs) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: Spacious, offers protection for kids in the sand, easy to use, multiple size options Cons: Lacks privacy
Spacious and easy to set up, the Lightspeed Quick Cabana is one of the best cabana-style beach tents for those who like to spend most of their time enjoying the beach rather than tending to all the items they’ve brought along. The tent has an easy pull up system and can be packed into a carrying case after use. There are three windows with privacy flaps to allow the sea breeze to come through as well as an extended porch that spans 40 inches from the tent itself. This is a great choice for families with young children as it gives them a place to change, eat, and relax out of the sand.
Size: 96 in long x 54 in deep x 48 in tall Weight: 6.1 lbs (2.8 kgs) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: Spacious patio area, easy set up and take down, Cons: Not compact when packed down
Convenient and multi-purpose, the Zomake Pop Up tent can be used both at the campground and at the beach. This versatile tent sets up and packs up in just seconds and is one of the most well-ventilated beach tents with its spacious mesh windows on each side. The tent can seal completely for privacy and extra shade. The company also offers a money-back guarantee for those who have problems with the tent after purchase.
Size: 95 in long x 71 in deep x 39 in tall Weight: 5 lbs (2.3 kg) UPF Rating: 50 Pros: Easy to use, multiple color options, durable, versatile, money-back guarantee Cons: Not compact when folded
How to Choose the Best Beach Tent
One of the main advantages of bringing a beach tent to the beach is because of the tent’s UPF rating. UPF measures how much UV radiation goes through a piece of fabric and reaches the skin. It’s similar to SPF, the measurement rating that looks at the amount of UV radiation that reaches the skin through sunscreen. UPF is basically the SPF of fabrics.
You will want a tent that has a UPF rating of 30 to 50. A rating of UPF 50 means that only one fiftieth of the sun’s UV radiation will make contact with your skin. A tent combined with a wide-brimmed hat, rashguard, and sunscreen will help keep you and your skin safe while still allowing you to enjoy hours spent in the sun.
To find the best beach tent for you, consider the amount of people you’ll want it to host as well as the size and the weight of the tent. If you’re a family with a tent that’s too small, you might feel crowded and claustrophobic if you all go inside at once. If you have one that’s too big, you might have trouble finding an open spot on the beach if the beach is crowded. A large tent is also more cumbersome to carry and put up.
If you have a large group, a gazebo might be a better option than a tent so that people can come and go as they please — while still enjoying the shade. Or, it may make more sense to purchase two medium or small tents rather than one large one. That way, you can designate one for napping and the other for socializing.
Take the person size limits as a general guide, but realize that the size rating doesn’t account for any food or items that you may store inside the beach tent as well. If you plan to stash your goods inside the tent while you’re in it, you may want to order a tent that has room for one more person. So, if you’re a couple, it could be worth getting a more spacious three person tent.
How many times have we loaded up the car with plenty of toys and accessories for the beach, only to find out that the nearest parking spot is at least a ten minute walk away? In places like Southern California, this is a common occurrence.
You’ll want a tent that’s lightweight and easy to carry — preferably with its own container and a shoulder strap. Note that lightweight tents tend to be less durable than tents made of heavier materials.
Shell: Most beach tent companies make the shell of the tent out of polyester or nylon. Both materials offer shade, are durable, and wick water away from the inside of the tent.
Frame: The frame of the beach tent, or tent poles, are typically made from steel, plastic, or aluminum. These materials are rust-resistant and durable. If you live in a destination that’s especially windy, opt for a sturdy, steel-based frame with long stakes that can fix the tent into the ground.
Mesh: A mesh door or inner shell is great for letting in some breeze while keeping the sand and bugs at bay. If you’re in a hot climate, this material is a must.
Style and Form
There are many types of beach tents when it comes to style, color, and function.
Color: Choose a beach tent that will be easy to spot from the lineup. Fluorescent tents or tents with bright patterns are best for young children to find their home base.
Traditional tent style: A traditional tent is made from material walls and an attached floor. It will have a large entry and exit to get in and out of the tent. Most traditional tents are put up with tent poles. A beach tent is different from a camping-style tent in that one side of the tent is usually completely open. This lets people use the beach tent more as a shade shelter rather than a tent that protects from all elements.
Pop-up style: The pop-up tent is built with ease of set-up in mind! In seconds, the pop-up tent is up and ready to host. The frame is made from ultra-flexible steel or fiberglass and holds its shape once in place. There is a small learning curve for folding a pop-up tent, but once you’ve learned, it makes set up and take down a two-minute process.
Canopy style: Canopy-style tents, much like gazebos, are ideal for large groups of people. They are easy to set up and take down, and often come with side mesh side walls to maintain a balance of privacy and practicality. You can easily spend a whole beach day in a canopy style tent without feeling claustrophobic.
Set up and take down
When you get to the beach, you don’t want to spend half of the day fiddling around with setting up a tent. Ease of set up and take down should be one of the top priorities in a beach tent. If it has too many parts, you might lose one in the sand and render the tent useless. If the beach tent set up has too many steps, you’ll find yourself leaving it behind. The best beach tent is the one that you’ll use, after all. Setting up a tent is also a task that you can delegate to your children if it’s easy enough — beach tents are basically small sandcastles come to life!
Who is Using It?
Will you be using your beach tent? Or is it somewhere that only your children will climb into? Be realistic about who in your group will be spending time inside of the beach tent. Teenage surfers or adults often prefer to lounge on a towel or under an umbrella, while families enjoy the privacy and shade of a tent. Buy a beach tent that accommodates the amount of people you think would use the tent at the same time. Many times, people tend to take turns.
Why You Should Bring a Beach Tent on Your Next Trip
Thieves tend to go after easy targets and items that they can see. Hiding your items in a bright tent deters them from rummaging around your belongings — especially if the tent door is zipped shut.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer than all cancers combined.
Skin cancer is often caused by harmful UV radiation. A beach tent helps prevent skin cancer by providing a form of skin protection against these damaging UV rays.
Prime Nap Spot
Beach days and naps go together like ice cream and boardwalks. Beach tents make for a prime nap spot where you don’t have to worry about getting sunburned or stared at.
Great For Families
Beach tents are a no-brainer for families with small children. Kids can use the beach tent as a home base, nap spot, and a place where they can relax without distraction. It also acts as a corral for all those toys that seem to multiply with every beach trip.
Do you already use a beach tent? Which one is your favorite?
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