10 Best Beach Tents in 2020 reviewed & compared
Sun, sea, sand, and the fourth S; sunburn.
Many may think that a day on the beach isn’t complete without a two set of bikinis burn lines. Then there’s the joy of sweat mixed with sunscreen and unique taste of sand in your sandwiches.
Personally, I prefer to pack a compact beach tent or a beach umbrella and cool things down a bit.
A little shade above my head and a place to shield my bag, not to mention protection from harmful UV rays.
It all helps to relax into a good book on the beach.
10 Best Beach Tents in 2020
It’s true that beach tents come is quite an array of styles and sizes, so you might be wondering which product is the most suitable for your travels. Well, don’t break a sweat because we’ve got it covered. Take a look at our selection and our handy tips for choosing the right one for you.
1. Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent
The appropriately named Easy Setup Beach Tent from Pacific Breeze is certainly one of the coolest beach tents on the market right now. Its cleverly engineered frame makes it possible to pitch single-handed. Simply pull the strings in the center of the frame and the poles snap into shape. Collapsing the Easy Setup Beach Tent is equally painless.
Size: 86.6 x 49.2 x 47.2 inches
Weight: 4.45 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
The frame is supported by lightweight fiberglass poles which users confirm can withstand reasonably strong winds. Its strength is surprising considering that this model weighs just 4.5 lbs. Meanwhile, the footprint is made of waterproof polyethene and the tent's exterior from water-resistant polyester. It has a UPF 50+ rating.
When it comes to breathability, Pacific Breeze has provided two large mesh windows which allow for ventilation. The windows can be closed when it gets a bit too breezy.
We think that this model of the Pacific Breeze Beach Tent is great for both kids and adults. Its dimensions allow for two beach chairs, plus coolers and other gear to be stored inside. It’s worth noting, however, that due to its size & how much equipment you have with you it may not provide enough shade from the sun throughout the day. (You could always go for the XL version) Certainly not a major issue. Pacific Breeze offers excellent customer service which many buyers have raved about.
If you’d prefer a little more lounging space, then consider upgrading to the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Deluxe Beach Tent. The deluxe version of this tent is deeper, wider, and taller than the standard version. It also has an additional window for improved ventilation.
- Quick to pitch and collapse
- High level of sun & weather protection
- Easy access pockets for storing sunscreen lotion etc.
- Exceptional customer service
- May not provide enough shade throughout the day
2. Sport-Brella All-Weather Beach Canopy Umbrella
If you’re looking for the best alternative to a traditional beach tent, something that provides shade without weighing you down, then the Portable All-Weather Sport-Brella might be just what you need.
Size: 8 x 5 feet
Weight: 8.82 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
We love that the Sport-Brella is multi-functional. Either lay the umbrella down to use it as a cabana beach tent or, extend the handle to use it as a canopy. The eight-foot canopy offers enough space for two adults or three to four kids to comfortably sit in the shade, however, you might struggle to fit chairs under the canopy when using it as a cabana.
The Sport-Brella is made from durable water repellent 210D Polyester fabric with a steel frame which is designed to withstand strong gusts. Vents in the fabric allow the wind to pass through without flipping like your typical brolly.
Many users confirm that the Sport-Brella holds up well in strong winds providing that the canopy is angled towards the wind. You can also use the included stakes and guide ropes to anchor it to the ground. The design is well thought out. There are rugged dual canopy & wind gust relief vents at the top which does help. There are also pockets which can be filled with sand which improves its sturdiness in very windy conditions.
On a hot day, you can open the side zippered window covers for extra ventilation. With a UPF 50+ rating you should be safe from sunburn too. Our only concern with this is that the main anchor pole & the steel ribs aren’t as sturdy as the ones found on a beach tent.
- Highly portable
- Easy to set up
- Versatile design
- Can handle windy conditions well
- Anchor poles aren’t as sturdy as a regular tent
3. Coleman Beach Shade
The Day Tripper from Coleman is the perfect companion for anyone looking for a versatile and inexpensive beach tent. The extended footprint allows you to lounge with your feet in the sun or to spread out a picnic.
Size: 7.5 x 4.5 feet (Height at the center is 57”)
Weight: 6.08 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
One of the best features of the Coleman Day Tripper is that the footprint doubles as a zippered door. Perfect for securing your belongings while you go for a swim, or for slipping into your swimmers on the beach.
Meanwhile, the large zippered window lets you choose between opaque shade, breathable mesh, or completely open. The window is large enough to function as a second door. This would provide a lot of ventilation, however, without any side windows, it can still get quite hot inside.
The Coleman Day Tripper packs away into a very compact bag. It may not be as quick to set up, nor as lightweight as the Pacific Breeze but it should still take no more than 5-10 minutes to pitch. The frame depends on three fiberglass poles which fit into sleeves on the outer tent material. For extra stability on windy days, this tent comes with guide ropes and stakes.
We also like Coleman’s finishing touches. The interior provides 4 handy mesh pockets and sandbags for windy days. It also features a built-in washing line and is available in multiple colors. A couple of drawbacks which multiple buyers have mentioned is that this beach shade can be a bit hard to set up. The Pacific Breeze really holds the edge in this department. The other issue is that the pole holders are mesh. Which means you can rip it when placing the pole if you are not careful.
- Very compact carry size
- Zippered door for privacy
- Spacious interior
- Extended footprint
- Mesh Pole holders (Can be accidentally ripped)
- Can be tricky to set up on your own
4. Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Deluxe XL
The larger version of the Pacific Breeze beach tent is one that offers the same great design & features with a bit more room. There is also a variant with an extendable floor.
Size: 95 x 52 x 51 inches
Weight: 6.5 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
If there was ever any criticism of the Pacific breeze Easy Setup featured above it’s usually to do with its size and how much shade it can provide when you are lying down for a long period. The Deluxe XL version pretty much eliminates that & has enough space for an extra cooler if need be.
You can quite easily fit 2 adults & 1 or 2 kids into the Deluxe variant. The same fiberglass frame and water resistant PE floor are retained. As the name suggests, it’s extremely easy & quick to set up. The XL also comes with a carrying case, 5 sand pockets for even better stability in windy conditions.
There are 3 large windows as opposed to 2 on the smaller version which does provide better ventilation. However, some users remarked that it can get hot inside when there is no breeze outside. Other than the minor build quality issue here & there we didn’t have any real cons to report. As mentioned earlier Pacific Breeze’s customer service is quite good as well.
- Plenty of windows for ventilation
- Quick assembly
- Excellent durability
- Water repellent
- Excellent customer service
- Can get a bit hot inside when there is no wind outside
5. ArcShell Premium Extra Large Pop up beach tent
If you are after a tent that’s the same size as the Deluxe XL above but for a lower price then the ArcShell is an excellent option. Made from 190T polyester with a 210D oxford floor this tent is both an excellent sun shelter and protection against the elements.
Size: 94.5 x 51.2 x 51.2 inches
Weight: 6.55 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
Due to its fiberglass frame and sturdy design, it fares extremely well in windy conditions. The tent also comes with 5 extra-large sandbags & six 12 inch stakes in case you are faced with extreme wind conditions. It offers UPF protection of over 50 and is 100% waterproof too.
The Arcshell also comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty as opposed to the 1-year warranty seen on most beach shades. The front extension made from heavy-duty plastic can also be pulled up to act as a door for better privacy. There are 4 small storage bags in all 4 corners of the tent which we thought was a very nice touch. A larger bag is also present in the upper back wall for items like sun-tan lotion etc.
In a way, this combines certain design elements of the Coleman & the Easy Setup tents you’ve seen above. The large windows offer good ventilation as well and not many users have complained about it being hot inside. The only minor cons we found were small quality control issues here & there. Overall, this is definitely a premium quality model worth serious consideration.
- 100% waterproof
- Good price for its size
- Plenty of storage pockets
- Easy assembly & disassembly
- Folds to a highly compact size
- Long term durability
6. Neso Grande Canopy Beach tent
The Grande Beach Tent from Neso tents is of the one best beach canopies on the market right now. Its compact carry size makes it the preferred beach tent for travelers. The Grande Beach tent folds away into a 19.5-inch carry bag and is designed to be anchored with sandbags or rocks instead of stakes. You should have no problems packing this tent into your carry-on luggage.
Size: 110.2 x 110.2 x 82.7 inches
Weight: 6.5 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
The Grande version of this canopy tent provides ample shade for four people to sit comfortably with chairs and gear. The tent fabric is a blend of nylon and Lycra which is water repellent. Realistically it is unlikely to keep you dry on a rainy day due to the three open sides or protect your ice cream from the flying sand, but it will protect your skin from sunburn. The four sandbags are attached to the main fabric at the corners and held up with two collapsible aluminum poles.
Overall, users agree that this isn't the best beach tent for multi-directional or strong winds, however, it does hold up to average winds. The poles can easily be repositioned, pointing into the wind, to minimize flapping. Although not essential, we like that the Grande Beach Tent comes in a range of colors. Pick your favorite and it’ll be easy to spot from the water. The shape can also be altered by purchasing an additional two poles.
Finally, while we love its simple, functional and portable design, it’s certainly not the cheapest around. The Neso tents beach canopy is actually the most expensive one on our list. (At the time of writing)
- Compact travel size (Fits in a carry-on suitcase)
- Excellent sun protection
- Easy to set up (on a day without strong winds)
- Perfect for 3+ adults
- High price tag
- Not the best when the wind shifts direction
7. Easthills Outdoors Easy Up Sun Shelter
Like the Coleman Day Tripper, the Easy Up Beach Tent from Easy Hills Outdoors provides an external footprint which converts into a front door. This model comes with a built-in frame and an instant set up mechanism. Just unfold, lift, tighten the drawstrings, and voilà! It's ready.
Size: 82” x 47” x 50”
Weight: 5 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
The Easy Up Beach Tent is built from a lightweight polyester fabric which is both water-resistant. With large mesh windows on all three sides, you do get a decent amount of ventilation, but it can feel too warm inside on hot days. Having an additional beach towel for the inside might be a big help.
When it gets a bit too breezy, just roll down the window covers, fill the external sandbags, and use the included stakes and guide ropes to secure your shelter in place. Users particularly like that East Hills Outdoors have designed their sandbags with Velcro sides making it quick and easy to empty them.
We’ve found that this Easy Up Beach Tent from East Hills Outdoors is one of the top beach tents on the market, particularly when it comes to value for money. The combination of high-quality fabric, quick to pitch frame, and useful features like ceiling pockets and a zippered front door, all for a mid-range price, is what puts it a step ahead of competitors.
- Easy to pitch and pack
- Good ventilation
- Velcro sandbag pockets
- Mid-range price
- Does not provide shade on all sides
- May feel hot inside
8. Lightspeed Outdoors Cabana Sun Shelter
The Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Cabana Beach Tent is exactly what you need for a beach trip with family and pets. The spacious interior provides enough space for two large beach chairs plus gear.
Size: 96 x 48 x 54 inches
Weight: 6.1 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
Its frame is constructed using 8.5 mm fiberglass poles which are thicker than the average tent pole. As a result, the Quick Cabana feels both stable and durable. It’s comes equipped with stakes, guide ropes, and sandbag pockets.
The main tent fabric has a 450mm PU coating which provides the same level of water resistance that you would expect from an umbrella. Equally, hard-wearing is the polyethene floor which should withstand even the toughest conditions that kids and pets present.
The three mesh windows allow the tent to breath; however, it will heat up in direct sunlight. Another possible issue is that the window screens are secured with Velcro rather than zippers. Unfortunately, users have found that the Velcro is not sufficient for keeping rain out.
As its name suggests, the Quick Cabana takes just seconds to set up. Simply take it out of the carry bag, unfold, lift and compress the central hub. The poles snap into place and are secured with a hook and loop fixture. You can then unfold the extended footprint for extra space. In reality, this may take a bit of practice.
- Excellent weather protection
- 3 large windows for better ventilation
- Quick to set up
- Spacious interior
- The tent floor can get very hot sometimes
9. Alavantor UPF 50+ Beach tent
Weighing only 2.5 lbs, the Alvantor Beach Tent is unbelievably lightweight. Despite this, many users have found that this model holds up very well even in strong wind. Although, you may need to place something heavier than a sandbag inside.
Size: 70” x 53” x 48”
Weight: 2.5 pounds
UPF rating: 50+
The walls and floor are made from a water-resistant fabric which has three mesh windows for ventilation and a 50+ UPF rating. Alvantor also claims that their fiberglass frame is 100% hassle-free. By that they mean that it will stand independently and hold its shape, additionally it should not rust or break easily.
The key difference between the Alvantor Beach Tent and most pop up tents is its easy folding mechanism. Instead of wrestling the poles into the right position, the front and back corners clip together so you only need to twist once, fold in half, and secure with the attached elasticated band. It folds down into a circular carry bag which is compact but can be a little more awkward to pack with your kit than a regular tent.
We also like that the Alvantor Beach Tent comes with detached sandbag pockets and stakes. You can fill the bags and place them in the most effective spot or use them to secure guide ropes. The package also comes with four plastic stakes.
- Strong and rust-free frame
- Couldn’t be easier to pitch
- Spacious interior and extended footprint
- Holds up to strong winds
- Can be packed into a large suitcase
- Packing the tent away requires some practice
- Occasional quality control issues
10. Abco Tech Pop up beach tent
This product from Abco Tech is a classic pop-up style beach tent. As such, you need only remove it from its carry case and the tent will spring into shape. It does take a bit of practice to fold this tent back into its bag but after a few uses, it should only take a minute.
Size: 88.6” x 47.2” x 37.4”
Weight: 3.7 pounds
Fitted with large zippered doors on both sides and mesh window panels on either end, the Abco Tech Pop-up Beach Tent provides good ventilation when open. On a hot day, however, it would be uncomfortable to sit inside with the doors closed.
We like that users have the option of opening just the opaque layer of the door, leaving the mesh layer zipped closed. This is a practical feature if you plan to use this tent in the evening when mosquitos are more common.
One of the major downsides to this tent is that there is no external footprint or sunshade, meaning that to be protected from the sun you would need to sit inside. This can be an advantage if you’d like to take a nap or protect your children from the sun and weather. Adults might need to pair this product with a beach umbrella.
- Easy to pitch
- A good size for children
- Private changing space
- Large doors on two sides
- No external footprint or sunshade
- Users may need some practice to refold this tent into the bag
- Not the most durable beach tent
How to Choose the Best Beach Tent
Beach tents come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they can be pitched in different ways, and provide varying levels of sun protection. We, therefore, encourage you to look at the specific features that each product offers and take a moment to decide which is best for you.
When selecting the tents to include in this list we considered multiple factors including the:
- Type of tent
- UV protection
To make things clear, we’ve also considered the usability of the products and any additional features.
Who is the Tent For?
Before you go any further, make sure you know why you are buying a beach tent. Are you looking for a little head shade while you settle into a book, or for full body protection from the sun? Do you simply need a safer way of storing your bags and food while you go for a swim, or do you want to shelter your kids from the sun?
Design & Type of Tent
By design, we are partially referring to the color and print of the material itself. I like a beach tent which stands out, making it easy to spot from the sea. If you plan to use your tent for beachside camping too then you might prefer a subtler color.
The actual shape of the pitched tent is the other key aspect of design. The two most common types of beach tents are Cabana beach tents and Canopy beach tents. Each has a different set of qualities.
- Cabana Beach Tents – these are hybrids between a fully enclosed tent and a canopy. Cabana’s are usually closed to the floor on three sides and completely open at the front. They may have side windows or a zippered front panel.
- Canopy Beach Tents – large and spacious, these are ideal for groups with plenty of room for beach coolers. They are usually open on all four sides while the fabric forms a roof. They typically have a simple design which is easy to assemble.
There are also three popular styles of tent frame:
- Pop Up – designed for the lazy beachgoer, these tents are engineered with sturdy but very flexible poles which literally pop into shape when removed from the bag.
- Removable Poles – often stronger than pop-up tents, pole tents take a little more time to put up. You’ll have to assemble the frame yourself.
- Built-in Frame – a compromise between the two. The built-in frame is quick to assemble and very strong. They are often bulkier when packed.
One of the most important factors is how easy it is to pitch and pack the tent. If you need to rely on a willing volunteer each time you pitch the tent, it certainly limits its usefulness. The construction and pack time is important too. Ideally, you should have your beach tent pitched before your ice cream melts.
Pop up tents and tents with built-in frames are defiantly the quickest and easiest for a solo beachgoer to put up.
Check out the height of the tent as well as the area of the footprint. Larger tents will provide enough space to sit inside with a couple of deck chairs (Think 80+”). The more compact version is better suited for sitting or lying on the ground. Beach tents with very low head height can be perfect hideaways for kids and babies.
There are three main criteria that we expect from beach tent materials and those are:
- Sun protection.
Most of the items on our list are made from polyester which ticks all three boxes. Heavy-duty fabric will weigh a little more but it also tends to last longer.
Similarly, the frame should be made from a tough metal such as aluminum or steel rather than flimsy plastic. Aluminum is usually the more popular of the two materials. It’s lightweight, doesn’t rust, and can withstand average winds. Steel may be preferable for tougher weather conditions.
Don’t forget about the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) either. The best beach tents will an SPF rating of 50+.
Many beach tents come with built-in groundsheets. This has a huge advantage for keeping out sand. If you’re purchasing for kids, or for sleeping, you’ll want to make sure that your tent has a groundsheet. Otherwise, you need to pack additional beach towels which can be a hassle (especially if you forget them).
Likewise, waterproof or water-resistant fabric is useful if you plan to spend the night in your beach tent. Guide ropes, pegs, and sandbags are also handy for securing your tent when the wind picks up.
Q: Are these tents safe for kids? & what is the best beach tent for babies?
A: Beach tents are an excellent way to protect your kids from harmful UV rays. Most kids hate to put on sunscreen but love to make a den inside a tent!
It is important, however, that you purchase the right tent. The best beach tents for children will have a high UPF rating and good ventilation. Otherwise, the child will be at risk of overheating as well as burning. You also need to make sure that your baby beach tent can be anchored well, to prevent it from collapsing or being blown away.
The first 9 out of our 10 picks have a UPF 50+ rating which is why we haven’t yet included a beach tent specifically for kids. Also, the larger options can fit infants along with adults.
Q: How can I care for my beach tent?
A: Tents are designed to be durable but there are a few things you can do to help extend a tents life.
- Be careful and take your time to pitch and collapse the tent. Avoid snapping poles together or folding them with force as this can cause splintering.
- With removable poles, try to thread them through gently as pushing or pulling can tear the fabric.
- Open doors/windows to allow any bad odors to escape before storing the tent.
- If the tent has been exposed to muddy paws and/or sticky fingers, you can clean it with a wet sponge and mild soap. Wet wipes would also work fine.
- Ideally, the tent should be free from debris, including sand, and completely dry when it is packed.
- If you do have to pack up the tent while wet, then it’s better to leave it out of the bag. Take it out to dry as soon as possible. If the material remains damp, then mold is likely to form.
Q: Aside from aesthetics does the color of the tent matter?
A: Although it is not 100% proven, scientific studies indicate that dark colors are more successful in blocking UV rays than light colors. Therefore, a dark blue or red tent may protect your skin better than a bright yellow tent.
Q: What exactly does UPF mean and what level of protection do I actually need?
A: You’ve probably heard of UPF before but may still be unsure what exactly the numbers mean or which rating you should choose. Essentially the UPF rating indicates the ability of the material to block UV rays an prevent your skin from sizzling in the sun.
The number is calculated by measuring the percentage of UV rays that can pass through the material. A fabric with UPF 50+ rating is the best for the beach because it will block more UV rays. For people who want to catch a tan or those who are not so sensitive to the sun, a lower UPF rating may be acceptable.
The following figures should give you a clear idea:
- UPF 5 – 14. Moderate protection (80%-93.2%) – comparable to the shade provided by a tree.
- UPF 15 – 24. Good protection (93.3% – 95.9%) – suitable for short stays in the sun.
- UPF 25 – 39. Very good protection (96% – 97.4%) – suitable for long stays in the sun.
- UPF 40+. Outstanding protection (97.5% or above) – excellent for children and babies or adults with sensitive skin.