If you’re planning to camp on the beach, it’s essential to make sure that your beach tent has at least these five features listed below:
- Shade – Provide you with a good amount of shade and natural ventilation when the sun is at its hottest.
- Privacy – Give you the privacy you need when you want to change clothes.
- SPF factor – Some tents don’t have UV protection at all. Make sure yours has enough SPF value to block the majority of harsh UV rays.
- Sturdiness – Protect you in the case of unforeseeable bad weather.
- Storage – Have a decent storage capacity so you can keep most of your gear inside.
Some people will use their usual camping tent on the beach, and for some, this works great, but it’s worth knowing that beach camping is not exactly the same experience as, let’s say, forest camping.
Your tent will have to endure the abrasive sand, the damaging UV rays, the saltwater that inevitably will get inside (vapors or from your wet clothes), and sometimes very strong winds – all the things that can ruin a basic tent in one day.
Buying a beach tent is worth it, as they are usually cheaper than a professional camping tent, are lightweight enough not to make them a burden, and manufacturers focus more on the details that provide the much-needed protection from the elements.
We’ve gone into more details about this further down in the article.
But you’re probably here to find out what are your options, so let’s dive in.
Top beach tents by category
Just a quick glance at the most performant shelters, followed by in-depth reviews and performance scores.
Best pop-up beach tent : Outdoor Master Pop Up Beach Tent
Best beach tent for babies : ZOMAKE Pop Up Baby Tent
Cheapest beach tent: NXONE Sun Shelter
Easiest to set up: Pacific Breeze Easy Setup
Best UV protection: Coleman Beach Shade Shelter
Instant beach tent: SGODDE Large Pop Up Shelter
Best Canopy Style: Red Suricata Family Sunshade
Types of beach tents
Three main types of beach tents dominate the market and they couldn’t be more different one from another. Some behave exceptionally well for shading but lack stability. Some offer great privacy but have problems with ventilation. Down below you can find the most popular design.
Sunshade/shelter and umbrella type
These types of beach tents usually feature a half-dome shape, offering you protection from the sun, and at the same time, they’re not obstructing the views, having a wide-opened front face.
Privacy is not the greatest when the front face is fully down, but some models do allow for this to be zip-closed.
Stability can be an issue in the eventuality of “out of nowhere” strong wind gusts if the direction of the wind is perpendicular to the wide-opened face. In this scenario, the tent will act like a parachute, and if it’s not anchored properly it can easily be blown away.
Ventilation is more than fair with these designs. While having the front fully opened there shouldn’t be any issues with overheating.
Setup speed is reasonably fast for the models that don’t require pole assembly and disassembly, as these models can quickly be folded out of their caring bags.
For structural and safety reasons you won’t find these types of tents in extra-large sizes very often, therefore storage capacity may not be ideal for your specific needs.
From the price perspective, they are one of the cheapest beach tents that you can buy, prices starting at around $70 and can go as high as $200 for big brands or large shelters.
Beach canopy type
If shade is the only thing you desire when you’re at the beach, then a canopy is ideal for you. The shaded area is usually much large than what a tent can offer but during sunrise or sunset, most designs don’t perform really well as they don’t have any side “wall” to block the sun.
Don’t expect to have any privacy at all, as this is impossible to achieve. You can probably get away with covering 1-2 sides with a sheet, but still, you’re not going to get full privacy.
Stability is an issue even during low winds. Depending on the anchor type, you might experience the sensation that it’s very close to being blown away/collapse. There is no sandbag anchor method for this, therefore you have to rely on the strength of the poles to hold it in place.
No need to worry about overheating and ventilation. The sides of the canopy are entirely open.
Setup speed is not a problem with most models, as almost all of these beach canopies can be installed in less than 5 minutes.
From the size point of view, you’ve got plenty of choices, from extra-large to a low roof levels canopy. It’s worth keeping in mind that the large the shelter is, the more likely it is to be blown away by a wind gust.
Their structural integrity is quite flimsy, as the poles that are holding them up are not exactly that strong. They can bend quickly and sometimes guy ropes are required to properly stretch the fabric.
When it comes to the price that you need to pay for these, don’t expect to be robbed. Even big brands sell them for as low as $80.
Fully enclosed pop-up/instant beach tent
These are typically an exact match to your usual camping tent, but the manufacturers “stripped off” unessential parts to make it lightweight and easier to pitch up.
Privacy is the best selling point of these products. The fact that they’re completely enclosed means that you can use them to change clothes without any issues.
Also when we look at stability, that’s another strong feature for fully enclosed beach tents. Their aerodynamic shape makes it easier for air to move “over” them rather than lifting them up. The tents can easily be anchored down via sandbags to give them even more sturdiness.
They do have a problem however when it comes to ventilation. Although some come with meshed windows (closable), if the heat is extreme, the tent will overheat very quickly. It’s important to try to pitch them in a shaded area, or, at least keep the front “door” open all the time. Crossed windows opening also helps if there’s at least a tiny breeze.
Not all of these tents are instant or pop-up, in general, they come with guy ropes and extendable poles that can slow down the setup speed dramatically. Plus, that not really a pleasant experience on a sandy beach, where if you drop a tiny piece, it’s a nightmare to find it. Not to say that sand can get inside the poles, thus making it torture to get it out.
Expect to pay more money for them, as they are a little bit more complex and durable than umbrellas and canopies.
Full reviews and comparisons
1. Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent Deluxe XL
If you are looking for an extra-large tent that’s easy to set up and can shelter three to four people comfortably, then the Pacific Breeze is the best tent for you. It has a unique hub system design for quick setup, sand pockets for extra stability, and a one-year warranty.
This Pacific Breeze beach tent has a UPF of 50+, and it offers excellent protection from the elements such as rain, wind, etc. when one’s out in the outdoors.
- Dimensions: 52” H x 95” L x 51” D
- Weight: 6 lbs.
- UV light protection factor of 50+
- It comes with a carrying case for easy portability.
- Three XL windows for proper ventilation
- One-year warranty
- The tent is quite comfortable because of its XL capacity, and one could comfortably use it for most outdoor activities.
- The tent is relatively stable against the winds because of the sandbags that provide it with some extra weight.
- The specially designed hub provides an easy and quick setup which is a great bonus!
Some users may have a hard time opening the tent.
2. Coleman Beach Shade Shelter
The Coleman Beach Shelter is a portable pop-up tent with an extended floor that zips up. The tent has zipped back windows that users can unzip for better aeration. It also features an easy five-minute setup and comes with pre-attached guy lines.
The beach tent is relatively big for its size, and its extended zip-up floor is excellent at providing the user with privacy while they change into their swimwear. The shelter has enough room to fit in two low chairs, and it also provides excellent shade and protection from the hot sun and harmful UV light.
- Dimensions: 6.6” H x 14.7” L x 6.6” W
- Weight: 6.1 lbs.
- Material: fiberglass
- 50+ UPF
- Ground stakes
- It has an extended roof that provides ample shade
- Has enough room to fit two adults comfortably, whether sitting or standing
- Built-in chord to hang wet cloths
- Closeable floor extension that provides extra privacy and converts the tent into a changing room
- Great value for utility
It can prove tedious to assemble, especially if you haven’t gotten the hang of it.
3. WhiteFang Deluxe XL Pop Up Beach Tent Sun Shade Shelter
WhiteFang has an easy setup with a fast-popping mechanism that allows you to set it up more quickly. The shelter has enough space that can accommodate two adults and two kids, and it comes with five attached sandbags and six sand stakes, six steel stakes, and tie strings that give it more stability.
The tent is lightweight, easy to fold back into place, and has a compact carrying bag that facilitates easy transportation and storage. It has a sunroof with a unique silver-coated surface that provides excellent UV protection. It also has three roll-up openings that offer excellent aeration and maintains a cool interior.
- Dimensions: 59” H x 99” L x 55 W
- Weight: 2 lbs.
- Features three windows for maximum aeration
- Has a quick set up process
- Accessories: plastic stakes, steel stakes, tie-down strings
- The tent has an extended floor that provides some additional space.
- Five sandbags
- This tent has a quick setup process that allows you to set it up in a matter of seconds. Users can also fold it in a relatively short time.
- The folded tent fits in a compact bag for easy transportation.
- Users can fold in the floor extension to get some privacy.
- The tent’s lightweight makes it easy for winds above 12 mph to lo lift the edges even when weighted, making it hard to use the tent, especially on a rainy day.
- The material may be too thin to keep the heat out, especially on scorching days.
4. NXONE Beach Tent Sun Shade Shelter
The Nxone beach tent is very light and durable because of its premium fabrics and fiberglass frames. It’s also quite flexible, stable, easy to carry, and it comes with extra accessories such as tie-down strings, steel stakes, and sand pockets that make it quite convenient for use on the beach.
The tent has an extended front floor that provides more space that one could use to set up a picnic. The extension could also be zipped up, affording the user more privacy in case they need it. If you have a problem with the tent, you could contact the manufacturer’s customer service to get help for repairs or replacements.
- Premium sun-proof fabrics.
- Dimensions: 46” H x 83” L x 55” W
- Weight: 4 lbs.
- Carrier bag.
- The tent is relatively simple to set up and breakdown process.
- It offers a two to three-person shelter with UV protection.
- The shelter has an extended floor that could be used for.
- It has three roll-up windows that offer sufficient ventilation.
- NXONE comes with six steel stakes, six plastic stakes, and four tie-down strings.
- It features lightweight fiberglass rods making its transportation easy.
The fabric is relatively light. It may be less durable, mostly when it’s used in rough terrain.
5. Venustas Beach Tent Beach Umbrella
If you want a tent that’s simple to set up and has enough space for four adults, then the Venus beach tent is the best choice for you. This sun-shelter has a quick setup function that allows you to set it up in under one minute, and the best thing is that it is also relatively easy to fold down.
It is also relatively light because of the fiberglass frames making it easy for you to transport it from your home to any destination you want to explore. It also offers protection from harmful UV light and has three big meshed windows to ensure that you have sufficient aeration.
- Tent dimensions: 48” H x 86.6” L x 59” W
- Weight: 2.5 lbs.
- The tent has a unique silver-coated material that protects against harmful UV light.
- Fiberglass material
- Quick setup and folding
- The tent has enough space to accommodate four grown adults.
- Users can fold the floor’s extension to get more privacy.
You may encounter some problems setting it up when there is too much wind.
6. SUN NINJA Pop Up Beach Tent Sun Shelter UPF50
If you enjoy chilling on the beach, then the Sun Ninja beach tent is perfect for you since you can set it up almost anywhere. The shelter is very lightweight and easily portable. It is also made of durable material that could serve for a long time.
The tent has a quick setup process, and it comes with stability anchors that enable the tent to remain steady on sandy beaches, flat grass, etc. the tent also comes in three convenient sizes: eight-person, six-person, and four-person.
- Tent dimensions: 21.3” L x 8.46” W x 6.22” H
- Weight: 4.99 lbs.
- Waterproof material.
- 50+ UV protection factor.
- Quick setup process.
- Portable with a convenient carrying bag.
- Convenient sizes that fit various groups of people.
- The tent comes with a shovel that you could use to conveniently fill its pockets with sand to make the tent more stable.
The tent is not great for areas that experience too much wind.
7. KEUMER Venustas Large Pop Up Beach Tent
The Kemer Venustas has a silver-coated material that offers a UV Protection Factor of 50+. It’s also made with durable, waterproof polyester material that is tear-resistant, making the tent a great option, especially if you have kids.
It also has a quick-release setup procedure that’s under one minute, and it folds down easy which is great for portability. The tent is excellent for various environments like the beach, park, sporting events, or when you need to relax in your backyard.
- Dimensions: 53” H x 87” L x 65” W
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
- 3 to 4 person capacity.
- The tent comes with eight light sandbags, four wind ropes, and eight long nails.
- It is made with waterproof polyester material.
- It is made from a silver-coated material that protects users from harmful UV light.
- Excellent ventilation
- Waterproof design
- It has an easy hanging hook.
- Very spacious
Folding instructions are a little bit hard to follow.
8. OutdoorMaster Pop Up 3-4 Person Beach Tent X-Large
The Outdoor Master beach tent is an easy-to-set beach tent that requires no assembly. The tent’s fabric is designed to protect you from harmful UV light and has built-in sandbags to keep it stable.
It also has a built-in zipper door that affords you privacy and doubles in as a changing room. It also has a six-month satisfaction guarantee warranty and what’s more? You also have very reliable customer service ready to help out if you experience any problems with the product.
- Dimensions: 53” H x 95” W x 51” D
- Weight: 8.15 lbs.
- Nylon, fiberglass, and polyester material
- 50+ UPF
- Six plastic beach stakes
- Four wind strings
- One tent carry bag
- The optional privacy door is quite convenient since it affords the users their privacy when changing.
- The tent can fit two adults and a child.
- It has a neat setup mechanism
- relatively stable when exposed to the wind
- The tent is a bit heavy to carry
- The material used is not that durable
9. Sunba Youth Beach Shade
This beach shade is made with silver-coated material that provides excellent protection from UV rays and has a capacity of two to three adults. The tent adopts an automatic pop-up design that sets up quite quickly, and it’s also relatively easy to fold back up.
It also has a high wind resistance and durability because of the two sandbags set up at its side and the extra strong metal frames that hold it together. It has excellent aeration provided by the two large mesh windows that allow the sea breeze to drift into the tent.
- Dimensions: 43.5” H x 65” L x 59” W
- Weight: 2.2 lbs.
- 170T silver-coated fabric
- Eight metal ground stakes
- Polyester, nylon mesh windows
- The silver coating offers excellent protection against harmful UV light.
- The tent is also easy to assemble and disassemble.
- It is relatively spacious for its size.
- Stakes that are provided with the tent also help it stay more secure in the wind.
Folding back the tent may be a little complicated for some users, but with a little practice, most should become familiar with the process.
10. SGODDE Large Pop Up Shelter
The Sgodde large pop-up beach tent is perfect for families. It fits two to three adults comfortably, and it also comes in a portable bag for easy transportation. It has an automatic pop-up mechanism that eases the setup process, plus a silver-coated material that deflects harmful UV light.
The beach tent has four-sided ventilation spaces with three huge mesh windows that provide a cool airflow that allows you to stay cool while keeping the creepy critters out. The product also comes with excellent customer service, ready to help you out whenever you experience any problems.
- Dimensions: 51.18” H x 78.74L x 53.15” W
- Weight: 3.34 lbs.
- Four windbreak ropes
- Eight aluminum ground stakes
- Simple automatic, instantaneous setup that allows the user to set the tent quickly.
- UV protection.
- The tent is made with a waterproof material that protects the user and their property from rain.
- It comes with sandbags that one can fill with sand to make the tent more stable.
The tent doesn’t offer any privacy for the user.
11. Red Suricata Family Beach Sunshade
If you need a tent that offers you more room, more shade from extreme sunlight, and an easy setup process, then it would be best if you bought the Red Suricata Family Beach Sunshade. This sunshade has a wide area of protection from direct sunlight and also lets you enjoy the breeze in relative comfort.
The tent’s material is designed to block UV rays and has a UPF of 50, which can block 98 % of all UV rays. The product also comes in a waterproof carrier bag that you can sling over your shoulder for easy transportation.
- Dimensions: 78.74” H x 118.11 L x 110.24 W
- Material (frame): aluminum
- Material (fabric): Lycra polyester
- Weight: 9.03 lbs.
- 9.03 lbs.
- For tall poles for extra support
- Attached sandbags for extra stability
- Four tent pegs
- The shelter is quite comfortable and can provide shade for three to four adults lying down.
- It has a water-repellant fabric that makes it an excellent rain shelter.
- UPF 50 UV light protection
- Easy to set up
- The tent is quite versatile since one could use the pegs instead of sandbags if one is not on the beach.
It does not work quite well in places with strong winds.
12. Alvantor Outdoor Sun Shelter
The Alvantor beach umbrella has a patented automatic opening mechanism that makes setting it up effortless. It also has sturdy and rigid fiberglass frames that provide extra support preventing it from collapsing.
The tent is also quite versatile and can be used in many environments such as beaches, backyards, hiking, or fishing trips. It has a roll-up mesh window that provides excellent ventilation. It also has three sand pockets, four stakes, and four extra sandbags to make it sturdier. The pop-up beach tent is sturdy in winds of up to 25 mph.
- Dimensions: 52” H x 96” L x 51” W
- Weight: 5 lbs.
- Material (fabric): polyethylene and polyester
- Material (frames): fiberglass
- Capacity: four users
- UPF 50
- The beach tent is quite roomy with its four-user capacity making it great for family activities.
- The automated opening mechanism makes the entire process effortless.
- It is quite versatile since it can be used as a canopy, sun tent, or beach umbrella.
- This beach shelter is made from a material that protects the user from harmful UV light.
- The tent’s fabric is made from a strong material, which offers excellent durability.
The shelter is quite fragile. You’ll need to handle it with care during disassembly.
13. Gorich Large Pop Up Shelter
If you need a pop-up tent that’s made with durable material, then this is the right choice for you. The product is silver-coated, protecting its users from harmful UV light, and it has a tear-resistant bottom made from 210D Oxford fabric.
The fits three to five people, which is quite large for tents in a similar price range, and its floor extends outwards, providing more room for activities. It also has excellent ventilation through its three meshed windows, which keep the tent cool on the hot summer beaches.
- Dimensions: 51.5” H x 86” W x 104.4” L
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
- Four windproof ropes
- Four sand pockets
- Ten sand anchors
- Waterproof design and material
- Easy hanging hook for hanging items such as lamps
- Durable frames made from fiberglass
- The tent has an easy and quick setup mechanism.
- It is also quite roomy, which could help its users get more comfortable while using it.
- The shelter is relatively easy to carry around in its carrying bag because of the small weight and shoulder strap.
Disassembling the product can become a nightmare; however, you could go through the instructions carefully and get a better idea of how you could do it.
14. ZOMAKE Pop Up Baby Tent for 3-4 Person
The Zomake is a beach tent meant for families with children. It has an instant automatic setup that allows you to set it up in a matter of seconds, and it is quite versatile. This can be used for various activities such as camping or spending time on the beach as a sun shelter, etc.
The tent has netted ventilations that block out any insects such as mosquitos and ants. Simultaneously, its ventilation allows your hubby, child, and you to have a comfortable rest while still enjoying the fresh air. It is made from sturdy, durable material that protects the occupants from harmful UV light.
- Dimensions: 55” H x 83” L x 83” W
- Weight: 9 lbs.
- Two doors, two windows, and one top opening
- Fabric material: coated polyester
- Floor material: Welded polyethylene
- Frame material: fiberglass
- Carrying weight: 5 lbs.
- Excellent ventilation
- Netted windows and doors that protect its users from small creeping insects
- The tent is quite spacious and fit for couples. (two to three people)
- Easy set up and fold back for transportation.
The material may be a little thin and could sustain some damage in case of strong winds.
15. Qipi Beach Cabana/Canopy
If it’s summertime and you are looking for a great canopy that looks good, works great, and is not too expensive, then you could opt for the Qipi Beach Cabana. This tent is relatively easy to set up, and once done correctly, it protects you from direct sunlight, harmful UV rays while you still get to enjoy the amazing sea breeze.
The canopy is made from high-quality material that’s exceptionally durable and capable of serving you for a long while to come. While the material is not waterproof, you could spray it win water repellant to keep it dry. That said and done, the material is quite sturdy and could serve you for a long time to come.
- Dimensions: 7.5” H x 6” L x 6” W
- Weight: 2.13 lbs.
- Fabric: polyester
- Frame: glass fiber
- Main poles: Iron with anti-corrosion treatment
- Roof and hub structure connectors
- Plastic stakes
- Sand drill
- The tent canopy is relatively stable in mild winds: however, it would work best if you didn’t use the back wall during these instances.
- The material is also quite durable and can serve you for a longer time.
The fabric isn’t waterproof and could be affected by rain or moisture.
16. WolfWise UPF 50+ Easy Pop Up
The Wolfwise is another great option for families with children. The shelters are quite spacious with ample ventilation and a sizeable capacity fit for three adults or two adults and one child. Their portability helps make them versatile since one can use them in various activities.
The tent is also made from anti-tear material, ensuring its durability and long-term use. The product has a creative design with small pockets on the sides below each window that users can use to store small items. It also comes with four corner sand pockets filled with sand to make the tent more stable.
- Dimensions: 47.24” H x 86.61” L x 57.09 W
- Weight: 4.21 lbs.
- Set up time: Few seconds
- Sandbags: four
- Capacity: three to four users
- The tent is relatively light, which makes it quite portable.
- It is also large enough, making it an excellent option for couples with young families.
- It features an easy opening mechanism.
- The fabric has water repellant properties and a UPF 50 factor protecting the users from harmful UV light.
Most users find folding the tent back up to be quite challenging.
17. Easthills Outdoors Instant Shader
If you are looking for a nice, simple tent with a capacity for two adults and children, then this could be an excellent pick for you. It has all the features that you need: it is made from durable material, and it sets up quickly, exactly what most of us are looking for.
The shelter is quite spacious on the inside, and it has lots of windows for maximum ventilation. The windows are also meshed, which is great since it keeps out small insects while still letting the ocean’s cool breeze draft in.
- Dimensions: 46” H x 85” W
- Weight: 5 lbs.
- Canopy fabric: polyester
- Internal mesh pockets
- Guy lines and extra pegs
- Velcro sand pocket
- 3 sided roll-up windows
- Offers great shelter from both the wind and sun
- You can set it up in seconds, making it one of the easiest to put up.
- The tent is quite durable when used in average conditions.
Privacy is an issue with this shelter.
18. Sport-Brella XL
Sport-Brella can be used in various environments such as beach, campgrounds, and even on fields at games. The umbrella is lined with a UPF 50+ undercoat that protects the users from harmful UV light.
The product is designed to be portable, and it could serve you well if you plan on taking one to the beach on your next trip. However, using these beach sunshades can be quite tricky since they are very likely to be blown away by the wind.
- Dimensions: 9 ft. wide
- Portability dimensions: 59” x 4” x 4”
- Weight: 11 lbs
- It has a dual canopy, top wind vents, and zippered windows that provide maximum airflow
- 210D polyester material with flaps for total protection from sunlight
- The canopy is relatively easy to set up for people of all ages.
- Its large diameter offers more protection from sunlight and UV light.
The Sport-Brella is not entirely stable in areas that experience strong winds.
How to set up a beach tent
In general, beach shelters are lightweight and not complicated to install, thus making the setup process a one-person job. Here’s how you can pitch one up fast and correctly:
Step#1 – choose the location
Depending on when you’ll arrive at the beach, this could be an easy task. The difficulty however comes when the beach is packed with people. The ideal location:
- Not too close to the sea so you don’t need to worry about the tides.
- The ground should be as flat as possible for an easy installation.
- The sand should be dry (you’ll find this further away from the water)
- There should be a comfortable distance between your tent and others.
- If possible, the location should be shaded to prevent overheating.
Step#2 – prepare the ground
Level the ground as much as possible and lay down the footprint. This is important to do, as the sand is very abrasive and it can damage your tent.
Pay attention to rubbish and sharp objects that might be buried in the sand. They can damage not just the tent, but people too.
Step#3 – check the forecast
Strong winds mean that you’ll probably need to anchor the sand pegs/sandbags deeper into the ground to prevent the tent from being blown away.
Step#4 – pitch up the tent
This is pretty much straight forward and the process differs from a tent model to another. Most beach tents have adjustable legs and easy-to-set-up poles.
The average cost of a beach tent
Prices for beach tents start at around $40 for the cheapest one that you can get. That would buy you a classic 2 person shelter with not many useful features.
At the price point of around $100 you can get premium products that come with instant installation, extra space for up to 4 people and in some cases the possibility to extend this even further with the attachment of an extra room.
Beach canopies however are the most expensive of them all, with a good quality one starting at around $180, but expect to pay up to $300 for top models.
How much should you pay?
It really depends on how often you’re going to use it. Most people buy these tents just for kids to have fun, but never use them personally, therefore there’s no point in spending more than $50 for one.
On the other hand, if your coming to the beach with babies or people with sensitive skin, it’s recommended to pay the extra for a tent that offers more UV protection.
If used heavily, expect it to last for no more than 2 camping seasons, as sand and salt water will definitely do some damage to it.
A beach tent is not going to be a massive investment, and whatever brand you choose, there are good chances that you’ll end up with a quality product. But if you’re like me, and you don’t want to skip on the details, here’s a quick list of what to be careful about.
The size of the tent
I hope you’re not here to look for a 10 person beach tent. As far as I know, no such thing exists, and even if it does, can you imagine the experience of 10 people being inside simultaneously when there are 100F outside? Remember, there’s no air conditioning.
But if you’ve decided that beach camping is the way to go, stick with a relatively small tent. It’s easier to pitch up and carry around, and I bet that only your kids will enjoy it.
If you’re staying overnight, you can probably get a bigger one, but still, don’t go for an “army size” tent. It looks horrible on the beach anyway.
The color of the beach tent
Some time ago, I wrote a detailed article about choosing the color of a tent (here’s the link to it). You can read all about this and decide if the color matters.
To make it short, I assume that you’re going to camp on the beach during summer.
Therefore, I suggest choosing a brighter color that can easily reflect the sunlight, ratter then absorb it as dark colors do.
You can forget all about blending in – if 1000 people decide to beach camp along with you, I bet the beach is going to look like a rainbow.
So, remember, yellow = reflect, black = you’re going to bake like a pie.
You’d think that a black tent is going to provide more shade, but that’s a trap. Don’t fall to it.
Be smart. But don’t go for pink, please.
Not many choices here. You’re probably going to choose between a textile fabric (which nobody recommends) and some sort of polymer, like Polyester or Nylon.
Always go for the polymer, as they should provide more UV protection and they can survive the salty and abrasive environment.
Pitch up speed
This is an important one. If you can, go for an instant tent. Why? Because you’ll hate working in the sun trying relentlessly to pitch a complex tent. Pegs get lost in the sand, poles get dirty and you’re going to struggle to stretch them, etc.
And if you need to move for some reason, it’s a logistical nightmare. At least for me anyway, anything I do on a sandy beach is a horrible experience.
The privacy of a beach tent
Don’t skip on this. Most beach tents have massive openings (call them windows if you want) so using it as a changing room is somehow difficult.
Not having openings is not got either. No ventilation means you’re going to stay inside a greenhouse.
Try to look for one that can allow those openings to zip close. Some of them in our list do just that.
Not many things you need to worry about here. But the most important items are:
- Footprint – you definitely need one to protect the floor of your tent.
- Pegs for sand – honestly, they should come with the tent, but make sure you check them before you venture out.
- Brush – a lot of sand is going to get inside. Be prepared for it.
- Reflective foil – if it gets too hot, this is very cheap and easy to put on top of any tent. You can thank me later.
- Sleeping pads – sleeping on the sand is actually worse than sleeping on the soil. You can try some cheap sleeping pads, you don’t need to pay hundreds for top ones.
- Battery-powered fan – there are days when there’s little or no breeze at all. Having a small fan can help ventilate the tent. Don’t expect it to behave like an air conditioner.
You can’t just pick the cheapest beach tent and expect it to survive a strong gust of wind or, even worse, an unexpected storm.
I know, you don’t care too much about the tent, but if it gets blown by the wind, chances are it’s going to hurt somebody. Unless you’re camping on a wild beach, chances are that at any time you’ll have 3-4 people 12ft next to you.
Try to bend the poles if you’re buying from a shop, or if you’re doing it online, like most of us do, read some reviews about it. See if anybody is complaining about broken poles or anything like this.
DIY beach tent for cheap
Some of you don’t want to spend extra money on another tent, that will most likely be used one or two times.
Making one from whatever materials you have at hand can be a solution if the weather conditions allow it.
Frequently asked questions about beach tents
The tent pegs that we’re all used to don’t work on loose sand. In order to properly secure a tent on the beach, you would need to use sand anchors, which you are going to bury deep in the sand.
The short answer is not all of them. Nylon and polyester do have some “natural” protection against UV rays, but most manufacturers also use a chemical coating to provide extra protection. Make sure you read the label to check if your tent has this.
Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that this coating does get damaged with time, greatly reducing the efficacy of blocking the UV.
Like all other tents, they do have some water resistance, but this will not protect you in the case of heavy rain. Check the waterproofing ratings and bring an extra rainfly (learn more about them) if it requires one.
In general, beach tents get hotter than other tents due to the fact that they sit in direct sunlight for a longer period of time. There are very few shaded areas on a beach where you can pitch the tent. Therefore, it’s critical to maintain proper ventilation inside the tent and never keep it airtight when exposed to direct sunlight.
Although the majority of beach tents don’t come with a footprint, it is recommended to use one as sharp sand can cause damage to your tent’s floor. A cheap universal groundsheet shouldn’t cost you more than $30 and it can be used for other purposes as well. Alternatively, you can use a tarp or normal sheeting to provisionally lay it underneath the tent.
A beach tent is a good investment especially if you’re out at the beach with your kids or even babies.
Having a sun shelter is essential to protect yourself and the little ones from the very dangerous UV rays.
Get yourself a tent that has a decent SPF value and if you’re planning to beach camp with babies, this SPF factor is even more important.
Read the owner’s reviews first and look out for performances. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about these tents just by reading a couple of reviews.
If it’s just you who’s planning to camp there, a beach tent is not really necessary. You can quickly improvise a decent sun shelter from whatever you have at hand (not recommended during high winds).
Remember what features to look after:
- Pitch-up speed – pop-up tents and instant beach tents are very accessible when it comes to price and it’s a headache-free installation.
- UV protection – carefully read the label/product description to make sure you’re buying the correct tent for your needs.
- Size – the tent should have plenty of room for you to be able to store some beach gear. Don’t expect to store a surfing board inside.
- Color – black tents are not really recommended when camping in direct sunlight.
- Accessories – tents that use sandbags are much easier to anchor compared to the ones that use classic pegs or sand pegs.
Advice: When planning for a camping trip to a specific beach, make sure you check before if the local authorities allow for beach camping. You’d be surprised to see that most of them don’t allow for tents to be pitched on the public beach.