You can’t beat a day at the beach. Unless of course you are not prepared. The British weather loves to test people’s resolve. It could be too much wind, too much sun or the usual beach day spoiler….the rain. Well choosing the best beach tent is something that can help improve your time and the beach and probably extend your stay.
As a teenager, the thought of going to the beach involved a towel under my arm and backpack with a drink and football. In fairness, it was all I needed to have a good time.
Fast forward to having children, I now take half my house with me to the beach to ensure everybody’s comfort levels are at maximum. The benefit of this is that I get as much time in the surf as I please, as I know everyone on the beach is catered for.
We like this Beach Tent as it’s strong in the wind and really easy to get up.
It is lightweight, making it easy to carry, and packs away neatly.
What Is A Beach Tent?
A beach tent offers protection from the sun and wind. You may also see it listed as a sun shelter or beach canopy. The main aim of a good beach tent is to provide shade and sun protection. In some of the better beach tents you also get shelter from the rain as they have strong water repellent material and zipped doors that keep out all of the elements.
The fabric of a beach tent is more lightweight and UV resistant than its sister, the camping tent. I remember going to the beach as a kid and my parents falling out as they tried to build the camping tent for our top of the range beach set up. Who doesn’t love a deathly silence as parents argue over whether the poles are the right way round?
Fortunately, the technology and designs of beach tents have come a long way. Depending on your choice of tent, you can get inflatable beach tents, pop up beach tents and the most on trend beach tent: Cool Cabanas, which looks like a gazebo style set up.
Beach tents are designed for a quick and easy set up. Most models use a simple frame system that requires minimal assembly. They are convenient and portable so they have become quite an essential beach accessory.
Whichever style tent you opt for, I guarantee your stay at the beach will be improved. Just throw your new tent in the beach trolley and go build yourself a home on the sand!
Best Beach Tents
WolfWise 4-5 Person Beach Tent
This is a family sized beach tent that works well for up to 5 people, so most families will fit into this large beach tent.
At 3.9kg it is not heavy to transport. If you have a beach trolley, then you don’t need to worry about the weight. If perhaps you don’t and face the task of carrying it to the beach, at least you haven’t got something heavy to carry with you.
The is a very stable beach tent thanks to the fiberglass poles. It also comes with sandbags, stakes and wind ropes to give it a secure feel. We think this is really useful as the UK summers aren’t always great, yet you still want to spend time at the beach. With this tent you have peace of mind that even on a windy day you can set up and have good shelter for everyone.
The setup was easy as it actually pops up into shape. You might look at the picture and think that this requires a building operation, however don’t be fooled. There is a spring mechanism that you lift in order to get the tent into it’s shape.
The tent itself has plenty of extra features that make it a good beach tent to buy. For example you have the mesh pockets to keep valuables out of the sand. It has a roof hanger, should you want to hang a speaker or light. It also has excellent ventilation, so on warm days you can escape the glare of the sun and cool down. The UPF50+ means that you and any little ones skin is safe from the suns rays.
Overall this is a high quality beach tent that suits a large family.
Trail Outdoors Beach Tent
Are you are looking for a family sized beach tent that is sturdy enough to stay up in the wind? If the answer is yes, then this beach tent could be your best buy this summer.
This is not a pop up tent. You will have to do a small some amount of assembly. I feel that is an important note for anyone who is thinking of getting this, as I don’t want you to be disappointed. The upside, is that the building time will take about two minutes and the knock on effect is that you have a beach shelter that is more sturdy than the pop up version.
Thanks to three telescopic tent poles, this beach shelter stands up to the wind well. It comes with guy ropes for those extra windy days. It also has additional sand pockets if you’d like weighted down. These sand pockets are really useful. When I first tried to put it in with just the pegs it took off like a kite. However once I filled the sand pockets, the pegs didn’t need to do much work in keeping the tent down. So the main selling point of this family sized beach tent is that it’s hard wearing and performs well in a breeze.
Unlike the Wolfwise Beach Tent, this doesn’t allow adults to stand up. It does however, have a decent sized pitch height for those smaller members of the family. It also has a large lounging area, so it’s perfect for a small family picnic while outdoors. We got a family of five inside when it was wet. It comes with a close able front porch which really helps keep the rain out, should you need to.
It has great privacy with mesh windows and can also be closed shut if you require some privacy. For example, you or your kids may need to get in or out of their wet clothes.
While it might not be as quick to put up and down, this is a great budget beach tent for any family to buy. It’s light and easy to transport and gives a higher level of performance than most pop up rivals.
Quechua Pop Up Beach Tent
This 2 person beach tent is very popular on the UK beaches. This is probably due to its instant pop up ability.
The pop on these tents is actually a joy to watch. Sometimes I take it out the bag and the thing can’t wait to explode into shape. This is what you want from a pop up beach tent. In seconds you’ve gone from arriving, to having all your gear out ready to relax.
It’s easy to set up and just as easy to put away. You just need to read the instructions and ensure you are folding in the right sections. Once collapsed it stores away in a small carry bag that is suitable for a small child to carry. We have a four year old who insists on carrying this to the beach for us, so it is not a burden to transport.
It’s quite spacious for a 2 adult beach tent. The width is 150cm and 110cm in height. So while you can’t walk around in it, it’s perfect as a shelter from the sun. The UPF50+ material provides all the sun protection you need.
Overall this is a great budget pop up beach tent.
Glymnis Large Beach Tent
This is the next level of pop up beach tent. You are able to get your whole family inside and have the comfort of standing up inside when needed.
Your standard budget beach tent is more of a shelter from the sun. It gives you a place to hide away if needed and also somewhere to keep your belongings out of the sand and sun. The Gymnis Beach Tent offers a more permanent structure, so you may find yourself getting more out of it.
If you are at the beach and climbing into and out of wetsuits, this beach tent offers privacy when changing. My wife has a surf poncho that she uses on the beach, however she does get paranoid about people “catching a glimpse” through the arm holes. Well with this beach tent you can comfortably climb out your wetsuit without that fear as you are able to stand up when inside.
Its large size makes it great for a family. If the weather turns and you get caught in the rain, you have somewhere to shelter. It’s big enough to bring your chairs inside and have your lunch in peace.
The main attraction for me is the pop up style and sturdy structure. Your cheap pop up beach tents are often thin poles that flex too much in the wind. With the Glymnis Beach Tent you get fiberglass poles that are strong in the wind. Once weighted down with the sand pockets this is a strong structure for you to base yourselves in.
With a pop up time of about 20 seconds you’ll be hard pressed to find a quicker erection time. Just pull out the corners and the hydraulic spring does all the work. It then packs away in about a minute. You’ll need to shake it off when you get home as I found the sand had stuck to the pockets, but overall it’s one of the quickest methods to pack away.
Overall I expect this beach tent to become more and more popular at the beach over the coming years. Get yours now while they are still relatively cheap.
Rekoo Pop Up Beach Tent
This product (or one very similar) is the first beach tent I ever owned. Now while it’s probably not the greatest beach tent when compared to the others on this list, it is probably the best budget beach tent as you will struggle to find one at a cheaper price!
It is an instant pop up, so literally pick a spot, take it out the bag and you’re ready to relax. Despite it’s cheap price you still get a good product that is easy to use both on opening and closing.
Overall it’s got everything you need from an entry level beach tent. It provides good shelter for you and the kids. It’s still suitable at blocking out the sun’s UV rays and gives you somewhere to sit off the sand at the beach. It doesn’t perform too well on a windy day, but if you have some wind breaks with you, you can easily protect your shelter.
If you want something that can stand up to windy days at the beach then you would be worth looking at some of the others on this list. However if you want a really affordable beach tent, this will not disappoint.
Cool Cabanas Beach Canopy
The CoolCabanas beach tent is ready to take over the UK market (disclaimer, this is only my opinion and not fact!).
My wife was the first person who saw these on social media so we had to find out if they were any good. They are a great family beach tent that is easy to set up.
The benefit of this style of beach tent is that it gives good shade coverage. If you want to stay cool at the beach you can easily find the shade under the large canopy. The instructions make the set up quick and easy.
The tent is kept in place by “sand bagging” the corner areas. These help to anchor the tent to the floor and keep it in place, even in windy conditions. Keep in mind the fact that this tent doesn’t come with sides, so if you want a private beach tent, this might not be the one for you. It is however great for families or setting with as a group.
One thing to note. At present there is an import charge to bring them over from the US. You will need to cost that into your budget, if you choose to opt for the CoolCabana Beach Tent.
Glymnis Pop Up Beach Tent
This beach tent is more of a multi purpose beach tent. It provides shelter for up to 4 adults and pops-up easily thanks to it’s free standing structure.
This tent offers more privacy than most beach tents and can withstand winds of up to 30 km. Its water repellent material provides a safe space should the UK weather turn against you. Another nice feature is the mesh knit. Unwanted guests such as flies and wasps can be kept out thanks to the mesh protection on the doors.
At 3.5kg it’s not too heavy to transport around. Once packed away, the carry bag makes it easy to carry to and from the beach.
The multi-purpose nature of this tent means you can have multiple configurations available, so you get to decide how you want your beach setup to look. This is a nice feature as at one point in the day you might want a breeze, whereas later you might want to keep some heat in. Thanks to the variety, you get to choose how the tent works for you.
Neso Beach Shelter
This giant beach shelter provides sun protection for large families or groups of people. If you are looking for something different at the beach you might want to consider this as your beach tent option.
Firstly, this beach tent option comes with some very cool designs. I like this as it means you stand out at the beach. On a busy UK Summer day it can be hard trying to locate where your friends and family are. That will not be a problem with this beach tent as you can choose from 10 different patterns that are vibrant and eye catching.
This beach tent is anchored by sand and erected by self assembly poles. This is not a pop up style beach tent so be prepared to do some simple building. It’s not lie you need a degree in engineering to get this up, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
This tent is not exclusive to the beach. It will work well on picnics or days out. Due to it’s size you do get a large area of shade that is perfect when you are enjoying the great outdoors but need a break from the sun.
I will say, you need your beach towels or a seat if you opt for this beach tent. It only provides sun shelter, so if you want to avoid getting a sandy bottom, bring something to sit on.
What are the benefits of a Beach Tent?
The benefits of getting a good beach tent are numerous.
The first one is shelter. As we mentioned in the introduction, the British weather is unpredictable so being prepared really does enhance your day at the beach.
The best beach tents will help reduce the effects of the elements. The wind can easily spoil a day at the beach. Imagine you’ve just got your sun cream on, you lie down to catch some rays, and a gust of wind leaves you looking like a doughnut. Having some walls up will help reduce the wind effect.
The UK sun loves to affect your beach day too. If you’ve got young kids, shelter from the sun is important. If you’re worried that the kids are getting too exposed in the sun, a beach tent will give you a place to keep them shaded. This means you don’t need to rush off to get out of the sun, so your day lasts longer. The UV protection means your child’s skin is not at risk of burning.
Another benefit is that you get to create your own little Eden. Once the beach tent is up you have your base for all your beach essentials. You can store valuables and food out of the sun (and seagulls). We love them as it gives us a home for the cool box full of wine and beers.
It also means to have a locator. So many times I’ve taken the kids surfing and then can’t find where we originally set up. A beach tent is useful as you can look for your style of tent and easily locate the rest of your group.
What are the negatives of a Beach Tent?
There aren’t too many negative things to say about beach tents. It’s fair to say that they do impact other people’s view. If you go to the beach this summer, spend some time watching people get annoyed when someone sets up their beach tent right in front of a family who thought they had the perfect view. Unfortunately this is unavoidable. If you know some quiet beaches you won’t have to worry about this. However, on a busy day, be prepared to have your view disrupted….and try to control your emotions, as everyone has a right to enjoy the beach.
One other issue you may encounter is when it’s time to pack away the pop up beach tent. There is a technique to each one, so my advice is read the manual and follow the instructions. Once you’ve mastered it, it wont be a big deal and it’s definitely better than struggling with poles in my opinion. One thing that does suck is a sandy bottom. Unfortunately, your tent will inevitably be covered in sand when it is time to pack away. My advice is to enjoy your holiday and wait until you get back before cleaning it out. You will want to ensure you dry your tent out so that you avoid mould developing. Once the sand has dried it’s easy to shake out the remaining sand and pack away properly until your next beach visit.
What are the different styles of Beach Tent?
Pop Up Beach Tents
The most popular and recognisable beach tent that provides good shade and protection. The best pop up beach tents are lightweight and easy to use both in terms of the set up and packing away.
The pop up tent has integrated poles that quite literally “pop up” once it is taken out of the bag. Whoever invented these things needs a medal as they are a great timesaver for beach set ups. The tent comes with a built in floor which is great for keeping things free from sand.
Cabana Beach Tent
My prediction for this year is that the Cabana style of beach tent will be hugely popular. CoolCabanas are very popular on social media right now so be prepared for an explosion on the UK beaches.
The Cabana style is designed to pop up like a large umbrella, that then ties down to form an overhead shelter, much like a gazebo would. These are great for giving overhead shade and an escape from the sun. They have integrated poles that gives the structure and sand pockets to help weight it down so it doesn’t end up being blown across the beach.
You don’t get as much privacy as you might in a more traditional beach tent, however you get more ventilation as the sides are exposed.
These beach tents will make a nice party style atmosphere at the beach as you are more exposed on each side, so more chatting and mixing with friends.
Traditional Beach Tent with Poles
While I myself prefer ease of erection (be mature), the beach tent with poles is definitely your most stable option. While a windy day might leave your pop up tent floundering, the beach tent with poles will stand up strong and keep it shape well.
Most of the newer designs have telescopic poles that easily link together. A length of elastic cord keeps them as one, you just need to click them into place and then feed them through the fabric loopholes.
A good option for the beach and more durable than some of the other options.
What Is The Best Beach Tent Set Up?
This all comes down to personal preference. I like to spend the first 10 minutes of my beach trip arguing with my wife over how the layout should be. Once you’ve agreed that your wife was right some thing to consider are:
Location. Look for a spot that gives you some shade and is still close to the water. If you’ve got kids it’s great if you can find somewhere they can play and still be in close proximity to yourself so they are safely supervised. You will also want to avoid those who have decided to play beach games nearby. There is nothing worse than trying to relax and read and book and then be repeatedly pelted with a tennis ball.
Clear the Area. I suggest you don’t down tools and get everything out until you’ve cleared the area. You don’t want to unpack only to find that there is litter or rocks where you want to set up. Alternatively you may have picked a spot that is effected by a rising tide. So scope out the beach to make you have picked a suitable area.
Weigh Down The Tent. If your beach tent comes with stakes or anchors then use them once your tent is out the bag. A beach tent can quickly become a kite if you don’t weigh it down quickly. The sand pockets are great feature to any beach tent so use these early in your build so that you can relax. You do not want your tent blowing away as chasing after it down the beach is not a good look.
Organise The Area. I have assumed that you have bought some wind breaks to the beach. So once you have put up your tent and wind breaks, make sure the central area is well organised. You don’t want people constantly trapsing in and out of the tent with sandy feet as it quickly makes a mess. Also, if your beach tent has side panels and vents you will want to adjust these to suit the day at the beach. Whether this is for privacy or fresh air, get your area all sorted.
In summary. You want your day at the beach to be as relaxing as possible. It’s important to unwind, which is why choosing the best beach tent for your needs is important. Once all the faff of setting up is done, you want to enjoy the beauty of being outdoors and breathing in sea air.