A beach tent should fill three requirements: it should be easy to set up, it should be lightweight, and it should provide ample shade. Outdoor gear like traditional tents or daypacks or hiking boots may come with more bells and whistles, but in my mind, the defining adage of a beach tent is “less is more.”
What should you look for in a beach tent?
Most beach tents are made with fade-resistant, synthetic materials imbued with UPF protection. The more traditional tent structures will incorporate mesh for window openings, helping to maintain airflow on warmer days. Tarp-like structures will be constructed of one continuous piece of fabric, designed to stretch and flex with the breeze.
Beach tents come in a variety of sizes, and can accommodate pairs of two all the way to groups of 8-10; the number of people in your crew will dictate what you purchase. If you’ve got young kids and a dog or two, I recommend sizing up a little bit, so you can fit diaper bags, toys and any other accessories you might need under the protection of the shade, without having to constantly shuffle items around.
As mentioned above, the set up should be dictated by need: if you’ve got time on your side, a more involved beach tent isn’t an issue, and the extra structure and protection from the sun can be worth it. Conversely, if you’re short on set-up time and have a large group coming to join you, an option like the Neso or Shibumi sunshade will be more appealing. If you can, practice set-up a few times before you get to the beach. Being familiar with your gear can cut down on frustration caused by high winds, misplaced parts or sunburnt kids, and get you in the comfort of the shade faster.
Whatever your beach needs might be, our top eight picks have you covered. Just don’t forget the cooler.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent
- Folds down to a small travel size
- Not ideal for bigger families/ groups
Sturdy construction? Check. Approachable price point? Check. UPF protection, a roomy interior and fast set-up? Check, check, check. The Pacific Breeze is everything you need in a beach tent and nothing you don’t: It’s less than five pounds, fits 3-4 people and offers UPF 50+ protection. There are internal pockets built to organize small gear like water bottles and hats, and the water resistant PE floor makes post-beach clean-up a breeze.
Materials: Polyester, fiberglass
Weight: 4.45 pounds
Dimensions: 87″ x 47″ x 49″
Easiest Set Up
- Lightweight and uncomplicated
- Doesn’t provide as much privacy as traditional shelters
Made from Lycra, the same stretchy material used in swimwear to retain its shape even when exposed to sand, water and sun, this minimal sun shade is easy on the eyes and even easier to assemble. Notice the drawcord bag at each corner of the tent; simply lay them out on the ground in a giant X, fill them with beach sand (the more sand, the more wind resistance) and then slip the poles under the front two corners, and you’ve got shade for days.
We chose to purchase an extra set of poles with our shade, which helps to elevate the back two corners, providing more headspace for standing and moving around.
Materials: Lycra-nylon blend. UPF 50+ and water resistant
Weight: 10 pounds
Dimensions: 134″ x 134″
Best Budget-Friendly Beach Tent
Coleman Canopy Tent
- Not as sturdy as other options
Coleman is a great entry-point brand for those on a budget, or infrequent outdoorsmen, that don’t want to sacrifice quality for price. The brand’s beach tent sets up in less than five minutes, has internal mesh storage pockets to keep small items off the ground (and out of the sand) and is less than 60 bucks, all told. If you want to keep the sun off your back but don’t want to break the bank, opt for this simple solution.
Weight: 6.83 pounds
Dimensions: 7′ 6″ x 4′ 5″ with 4′ 9″ center height
Most Innovative Beach Tent
- Makes windy beach days enjoyable
Why fight the wind, when you can work with it? That’s the idea behind Shibumi’s minimalist beach tent; the breeze at the beach is pretty much unavoidable, so rather than battle it all day (and have to listen to the flapping and rustling of a more traditional tent) the brand designed the Shade. Using a free-flowing design, the structure provides 150 square feet of shade, and can comfortably fit six people, plus gear, underneath. As a bonus, the Shade only requires one person for set up, streamlining beach day prep.
Even though the Shibumi Shade was built with the intention of providing shade on windy days, that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible: prolonged exposure to high wind conditions may damage the back seam that flaps in the wind.
Materials: Synthetic, provides UPF 30+ protection
Weight: 4 pounds
Dimensions: Provides 150 square feet of shade
Best Multi-Purpose Shade
Helinox Royal Box
- Well-built with premium materials
Known primarily as a camping brand, Helinox pulls double-duty as a capable beach brand, as well. The Royal Box was designed to provide just enough shade and shelter for two people, whether you’re beachside or at the campsite. Built with the same high-tech aluminum alloy frame that the brand uses across its product line, the Royal Box maintains low weight and high strength thanks to its innovative self-assembling poles. The shelter’s shell is made from weather-resistant ripstop nylon and has UPF 50+ protection. Considering the smaller capacity, the Royal Box is a little on the pricey side, but with Helinox’s track record of quality, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Materials: Weather-resistant ripstop nylon, aluminum alloy poles
Weight: 4.94 pounds
Dimensions: 58″ x 86.5″ x 57″
Most Eye-Catching Design
Snow Peak Takibi Tarp Hexa Set M
- Premium materials and construction elevate a standard beach day
- Longer set-up and take down time
Beach days, meet Star Wars: that’s the vibe this shelter is giving. You can set the Takibi Tarp up anywhere, be it campsite or beachfront, but be aware you’ll be getting lots of visitors curious about the shelter’s design.
The four-person Takibi Tarp Hexa Set is definitely more involved to assemble than other options on this list, so think about reserving it for multi-day trips — you’ll want to make it worth your while. It’s also expensive, heavy and a little bulky. Once it’s up, though, you’ll enjoy the durability and premium outdoor experience that only Snow Peak can offer.
Materials: Water-repellent polyester, aluminum alloy
Weight: 19.4 pounds
Dimensions: 15.6′ x 13.7′
Best Beach Tent For Kids
RIO Beach Total Sunblock Kids Beach Tent
- Pop-up design means fast set-up and take down
- Not meant as a shared space for adults and kids
Nothing ends a beach day faster than a sunburnt, drained kid who’s spent too long under the sun’s powerful rays. Prolong your time in the sun and sand, and protect little ones’ sensitive skin with this mini sun shelter from Rio. The floor is built in, so you’ll be able to keep sand to a minimum. The fabric blocks 99.8% of UVA & UVB rays, and the mesh windows help with airflow during naptime. The polyester material isn’t water-resistant, so try not to set up near high tide, if you can help it. For the time-constricted parent, the pop-up construction of the tent means easy set up, no tools or headache required.
Weight: 4 pounds
Dimensions: 59″ x 29″ x 40″
Best Feature-Rich Beach Tent
Gorich Large Beach Tent
- Fits 6-7 people
- Has expandable floor
- Material isn’t as durable as other options
About as close to a proper tent as they come, Gorich’s beach hangout was designed with long beach days in mind. The 6-7 person tent comes with an expandable floor to create additional room for friends, and the three large mesh windows provide ample breeze for warmer days. When the sun starts to set, hang a lantern from the center hook and keep the party going. The tent comes with four windproof ropes, four sand pockets, 10 sand anchors and is made with long-lasting polyester; if you’re in the market for a no-nonsense tent with plenty of room, this is it.
Materials: Polyester with silver coating, fiberglass poles
Weight: 3.5 pounds
Dimensions: 106.3″ x 106.3″ x 63″
Best Beach Tent for Dogs
K&H Pet Products Cot Canopy
- Keeps pups cool and comfortable
- Definitely a splurge item
This mini tent is ideal for the pampered pet who likes a beach day. Sure, your dog could slum it in the sand, but why not elevate its beach game, along with yours, with this affordable and packable pet accessory? The Cot Canopy can attach to any of K&H Pet’s Cots (sold separately) to provide respite from the sun for your furry friend. Made with polyester and synthetic fabric, the canopy attaches to the dog bed at each of the four corners and is cinched down with bungee straps for a secure fit. At just over a pound, it’s an easy add-on to your beach kit.
Materials: Polyester, synthetic fabric
Weight: 1.75 pounds
Dimensions: 30″ x 42″ x 1.5″
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below