Best Beach Tents
Reviews and Buying Guide
Advancements in technology have revealed medical risks that increase with prolonged exposure to the sun, which is why demand is growing for the best beach tents. There has been a shift in priorities that has caused people to make more intelligent decisions concerning their own and their loved one’s skin health. The old risky traditions of using mirrors to reflect sun rays towards the body for a more even tan have been replaced with responsible preventative measures. Tanning oil has been replaced with sunscreen and sun mirrors have been replaced with beach sun shelters.
Pop up sun shelters have become increasingly popular amongst beach-goers because they are lightweight, easy to transport, and can be set up in a matter of seconds. When you are trying to carry everything you need for a day at the beach, every pound matters. Top rated beach tents pack to the size of a camp chair and are easily slung over a shoulder, which makes them convenient when your arms are already full with all of the gear you need to carry.
Beach sun shades come in many variations. We know that finding the the right tent can be an overwhelming process so we are here to help. You can feel confident in the product that you find on our site because our knowledgeable staff has done all of the research and testing and narrowed our list down to the safest and highest quality beach shelters on the market. We know that your time is valuable and our hope is that we are able to save you a few precious moments for more important things than product research. Our reviews will present the information you need in a way that you can quickly decide what the best beach tent is for you without the need to spend hours searching the internet or shopping at sporting goods stores.
Our friendly staff welcomes any questions that you may have. We strive to be experts in our field, and hope that we can share some of that expertise with you.
Now go and enjoy the beach worry free!
Best Sun Shelter Reviews
Top 7 Comparison Table
|1||Lightspeed Outdoors – Sun Shelter||The Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter is the best beach tent in terms of overall value because it is made with quality materials, it is simple to set up, and it is reasonably priced.||Click to see latest price||4.8/5|
|2||Easthills Outdoors – Easy Up Beach Tent||The Easthills Outdoors Easy Up Beach Tent is the lightest weight and most portable pop up beach shade on our list. It has a smart design that maximizes portability, while not sacrificing quality. Arms are usually full when people are walking to the beach, so we value its lightweight architecture.||
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|3||Pacific Breeze – Sand & Surf Beach Shelter||The Pacific Breeze Sand and Surf Shelter is the best full-overhead coverage beach sun shelter on the market. It is functional, affordable, and perfect for anybody looking for a little more shade than the half-dome style sun shelters can provide.||
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|4||Coleman – DayTripper Beach Shade||The Coleman DayTripper is the most affordable half-dome style beach sun shade on our list, yet maintains the same quality as its more expensive competitors. It is perfect for somebody looking for a simple, proven, design with an inexpensive price tag.||
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|5||Sport-Brella – Portable Sun and Weather Shelter||The Sport-Brealla is on our list because it is the easiest pop up sun shelter to set up and it is the least expensive. Setup is as easy as opening an umbrella. Its unique umbrella-like design is functional for beach use. The Sport-Brella is perfect for somebody looking for an inexpensive, easy-to-use product that works.||
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Beach Tent Reviews
Top 7 Detailed Reviews
Lightspeed Outdoors – Sun Shelter
Sometimes it is worth it to spend a little extra money for a quality product. The Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter is the best half-dome beach sun shelter that we have reviewed yet and is well worth its price tag. It offers higher quality and a more stylish design than its competitors while still maintaining a competitive price. In terms of value, the Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter is the best on the market.
The shelter ships in a 36 x 6 inch grey polyester carry bag with a neon green nylon strap. This color combination, with the white logo, makes the product look stylish. With all of its components, this beach shelter still weighs in under 7.5 lbs so transportation is as easy as throwing it over a shoulder. Product information and easy to follow visual instructions are discreetly printed on the inside of the carry bag, ensuring the product maintains its sleek appearance when packed.
The Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter is made out of thick tear-resistant polyester. Seams are doubled stitched and additional trim is sewed along the exposed fabric edges, contributing to a general feeling of high-quality craftsmanship. The material is water resistant and offers an ultraviolet radiation resistance rating of UPF 50+. We place high value on ultraviolet radiation resistance because we know that our readers will place their trust in the products that we vouch for to possibly protect pets or children. Lightspeed Outdoors manufactures their uv beach tents with high quality polyester that we trust and our readers can as well.
The Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter has shoulder-height tie-down anchor points along the exterior of the tent. High anchor points offer greater stability in windy situations than floor anchor points. The product ships with 8 thick plastic ribbed stakes that are designed specifically to hold firm in sandy foundations. Some of the other products that we have reviewed ship with thin aluminum stakes that are not suitable for sand use. Improvements like this are what make us so excited about Lightspeed Outdoors. It seems that every time the brand has the choice to cut corners or to put in the extra effort to make their product the best on the market, they choose the latter option.
When it is set up, the Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter looks plain cool. I wish there was a more professional way to say it, but I can’t think of a more appropriate description. The tent fabric is attached to the fiberglass frame poles with plastic hooks, which adds to the modern design and makes it easy to disassemble the shelter for cleaning. The tent stands 4 feet 6 inches tall and extends 8 feet wide, which is plenty of room for two adults to sit comfortably inside. The beach sun shade has three large netted windows with panels that can be hooked closed for privacy or protection from the elements. Although window hooks are nice because they allow easy opening and closing of the flaps, my one small critique would be that a zipper might be a better option for two reasons. First of all, if it rains, water seeps through the netting and runs along the inside walls at the base of the windows because the windows aren’t sealed shut. Most vacationers will not be using their pop up sun shelter in the rain so this critique is probably irrelevant. The other reason is that when I was inside the pop up beach shade, with the windows closed I could still see outside if I put my eyes right up against the wall of the shelter at a sharp angle. If somebody needs complete privacy inside the shelter, this could lead to a feeling of vulnerability even though privacy is pretty much guaranteed. I will admit that the hooks are much quicker and easier to use than a zipper would have been, though.
The beach sun shade has an oversized attached floor that serves dual purposes. The first, and more obvious reason is that it provides protection from the sand. The floor extends past the sheltered footprint of the beach tent, which allows the user to lay fully outstretched without touching the sand. The oversized floor facilitates the second purpose that the floor serves, which is that it also can fold up and attach to the ceiling. When it is folded up, the floor creates a barrier that completely seals in the sheltered area for privacy.
The Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter is the easiest to set up out of all of the shade tents that we have reviewed so far. Once the beach shade tent is removed from the carry bag and unbuckled, the legs naturally fall open. To set it up, all the user has to do is grab the center support with one hand and tug the pull-cord with the other hand. This action extends the frame and erects the beach tent. The whole process takes less than 30 seconds. The innovative frame design is a game changer in our opinion. Now that we have seen how easy it can be to set up a pop up sun shelter, we never want to go back to the old process. Tear down is as easy as setup. By separating the connection fitting in the center of the frame, the entire frame looses its structure and collapses like folding up an umbrella.
We were thoroughly impressed with the Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter and stand by our statement that it is the best tent on the market in terms of value. The product is made with high quality and attention to detail. The innovative frame design makes setup and tear down easier than any beach tent we have seen so far. It has a sleek modern design that really catches the eye, and has the ability to provide complete privacy. We recommend this product for anybody who is looking for the newest sun tent technology at a reasonable price.
Easthills Outdoors – Easy Up Beach Tent
The Easthills Outdoors Easy Up Beach Tent separates itself from competing brands by being the lightest weight and most portable tent available. By using ultra lightweight polyester and an efficient design, Easthills Outdoors is able to manufacture the most convenient, and arguably, the best beach tent on the market. The brand is able to maximize portability, while not sacrificing quality, by reinforcing areas of the shelter that receive the most stress like seams and anchor points. There is a difference between being “lightweight” and being “cheap” and the Easthills Outdoors Easy Up Beach Tent is a prime example of this.
The beach shelter ships in a 39 x 8 inch polyester carry bag. The carry bag is the highest quality bag that we have seen. It has two hand straps that loop under the bag and are connected, so there isn’t any possibility that the straps will rip from the bag material at weak seams. There is also a third full length strap which provides the option to transport the beach sun shade over a shoulder. The carry bag has a full length zipper instead of a drawstring at one end, which we typically see in these types of beach tents. We like that Easthills Outdoors puts the same attention to detail into peripheral accessories as they put into the tent, itself. The extra effort in the construction of the carry bag contributes to an overall sense of quality for the product as a whole.
The Easthills Outdoors Easy Up Beach Tent is constructed out of ultra lightweight polyester. The fabric is rated 185T (thread count), which in itself would not be dense enough to provide sufficient protection. Instead of increasing the thread count, which would add weight, Easthills Outdoors sealed the material with an impermeable chemical that provides water resistance, and more importantly ultraviolet radiation resistance. Many backpacking tent manufacturers use this same process. The beach sun shade is rated UPF 50+, which means that it will block at least 98% of UV rays. This is an excellent rating. The shelter weighs in at 6.2 lbs, which is more than a pound lighter than the next lightest shelter on our list.
The Easthills Outdoors Easy Up Beach Tent has four anchor points along the corners of the floor of the canopy and includes two guy lines to tie down the shelter from waist-high anchor points. This makes sure that tension is evenly distributed during windy situations. The stake and guy line anchor points are nylon loops firmly stitched into the corner seams of the tent. With thinner fabric, there runs a higher risk of tearing. Tearing usually occurs at seams and anchor points so we like to see Easthills Outdoors putting additional reinforcement into these vulnerable areas. The nylon anchor loops are a different color than the rest of the beach shade, which adds pleasant color contrast and contributes to a sleek modern design. The included stakes are thick plastic and ribbed, and are specifically designed for sandy foundations. The shelter also has pockets which can be filled with sand to add additional weight to keep the shelter from blowing away.
The fabric attaches to the frame with a combination of sleeves and plastic hooks. The top shades have sleeves instead of hooks. Sleeves are better for durability because they distribute tension evenly along the entire sleeve instead of isolating all of the stress at the points where the hooks are attached to the fabric. The drawback to sleeves is that they are slightly less convenient for detaching the fabric from the frame, but for as infrequent as we expect our readers to need to do this, we think that sleeves are better because durability is more important than ease of frame detachment. The pop up sun shade stands 4 feet tall and measures just under 7 feet wide. It is slightly smaller than some of the other half-dome shelters we have reviewed, but the change in size is hardly noticeable and not a detriment. In fact, some people prefer a smaller beach shade tent, especially if they plan on using it on a crowded beach. The shelter has three panels that can be rolled up and hooked to expose netted windows. Hooks are great for convenience because it is quick and easy to roll the windows up and hook them open, but the drawback is that they do not provide a seal like a zipper would. That means that if it rains, it is possible that water could drip through the bottoms of the windows. This critique may be irrelevant because most vacationers don’t go out to the beach on rainy days.
The floor of the shade tent is made from durable 120g Polyethylene material that provides ground protection from sand and water. The floor extends out front of the covered area of the sun shelter, providing a nice patio area to lay on. The oversized floor serves a second purpose, as well. The patio portion of the floor can be folded up and zipped around the edges of the entrance of the beach tent. This allows the user to completely seal the inside area. This feature is valuable for two reasons. First of all, it provides complete privacy which is nice if beach-goers need to change out of a wet bathing suit or change a baby. It also allows the user to put a small lock where the zippers meet, which allows beach-goers to head down to the water and not worry that their valuables are going to be stolen. The privacy wall is a common feature with half-dome beach tents, but the Easthills Outdoors is the only sun tent on our list that has dual zippers and the ability to be completely sealed and locked. We think this is a valuable feature that separates this product from competitors.
The Easthills Outdoors Easy Up Beach tent is very easy to set up. The sleeves do not add any inconvenience to the setup process because the frame remains fixed to the fabric at all times. That means that there isn’t any time during setup or teardown where the user is sliding tent poles through the sleeves. Whenever the tent is removed from the carry bag and the polyethylene strap is untied, the frame falls open. To set up the tent, the user lifts the frame to eye height by two pull cords that extend from the top of the central frame hub. When these two cords are pulled in opposite directions, the frame expands and the joints lock into an erect position. That’s all there is to it. The whole process takes less than 30 seconds and the beach tent is ready to be set up right out of the box.
The Easthills Outdoors Easy Up Beach Tent has found a market niche and is dominating it. It is the option for somebody who values portability. It is the lightest weight shelter and is perfect for vacationers who already have a heavy beach load and don’t want to add any unnecessary weight. Easthills Outdoors is able to maximize portability, while maintaining quality, by using ultralight polyester and reinforcing vulnerable seams with extra stitching and nylon straps. Despite its lightweight materials, the sun shade tent is surprisingly strong and deserves to be in the conversation as one of the best beach tents on the market.
Pacific Breeze – Sand & Surf Beach Shelter
All of the other product on our Top-5 beach tent list share a common shortcoming. They all lack full overhead coverage. In many situations partial coverage is sufficient. But sometimes it is nice to be able to sit back in complete shade. Some people cannot tolerate prolonged direct sunlight so shade isn’t just a convenience; it’s a necessity. The Pacific Breeze Sand & Surf Shelter is our pick for the best beach tent with full-overhead coverage. It is lightweight, easy to setup, and provides 360 degree UV protection at an affordable price.
The beach shelter weighs right around 9 pounds, which is impressive considering the extra fabric needed for its full overhead design. It collapses and packs into a 30 x 7 x 7 inch carry bag that is easily thrown over a shoulder for transportation. The product that we reviewed was sea-foam blue with a white label and black strap. The color combination is pleasant and gives off beach vibes. Our one critique to the carry bag is that the strap is attached to the carry bag with a single stitch, which could potentially fail if it is abused.
The Pacific Breeze Sand & Surf Shelter is made with lightweight polyester. Seams are double stitched and the edges of the fabric are reinforced with additional polyester trim. The polyester is water resistant and ultra violet radiation resistant. The fabric is rated UPF 50+, which means that it will block 98% of ultra violet rays. This is an excellent rating. We believe that the consumers in the market for a full overhead pop up beach shade value protection from the sun, which is why we won’t even review a full overhead beach shade that doesn’t provide the highest UV protection.
This pop up sun shelter ships with thick plastic stakes that are perfect for the beach. Most of the aluminum frame pop-up canopy tents that we review ship with thin metal stakes that easily pull out of the sand. Beach-goers need to purchase additional stakes if they plan to use these canopy tents at the beach, so we see quantifiable monetary value in including the right kind of stakes. In addition to being able to stake the corners of the floor down, the Pacific Breeze Sand & Surf Shelter also has built in anchor points on the sides of the beach shade tent. These shoulder-height tie downs provide extra stability for windy days on the beach. High anchor points won’t just keep the pop up beach shade secure, they will also protect it from becoming damaged because the pressure from the wind will be distributed more evenly.
The Pacific Breeze Sand & Surf Shelter looks like it belongs on the beach. The light blue and grey color combination looks great against a sandy backdrop. This product has an external fiberglass frame, which is connected to the fabric with plastic hooks. This makes it easy to separate the tent fabric from the frame and is convenient for cleaning. The pop up sun shelter stands right around 5 feet tall and provides shade for a 94 x 94 inch footprint. This is the perfect sized beach sun shade. It’s big enough to allow a few people to sit comfortably underneath, but not so big that it is difficult to find an adequate plot of real estate on a crowded beach. The pop up beach shade includes a removable sun wall that can be moved to exposed sides to ensure shade as the sun rotates across the sky. The sun shelter is constructed of lightweight polyester so that it remains light enough to comfortably carry over a shoulder. My one small critique of this pop up beach shade is that the lighter weight polyester may be more susceptible to tearing than some of the smaller half-dome variations that are able to use thicker material. That being said, if Pacific Breeze used heavier grade polyester then the tent would most likely be too heavy to be conveniently transported. I was able to ride to the beach on a bicycle with this sun shade tent strapped diagonally over my shoulder, which was nice. The lightweight polyester is still strong enough to withstand normal wear and tear without ripping, so this shouldn’t be an issue if this sun shelter will be used primarily in low impact weather.
The pop up sun shelter includes a heavy-duty polyethylene floor, which provides protection from sand and water. The floor is permanently attached to the corners of the sun tent because it provides tension necessary to keep the structure standing. Pacific Breeze included a zipper along the edges of the floor that allows the center of the fabric to be detached and rolled. This feature provides users with the ability to lie directly in the sand, if they wish to.
The Pacific Breeze Sand & Surf Shelter ships completely assembled and is easy to setup. Whenever the polyester strap, that holds the shelter wrapped, is removed the legs fall open. The legs are folded in half at pivot joints so the user unfolds them and raises the central frame hub above his or her head. A pull cord that hangs from the central hub can be pulled to expand the entire frame. Setup takes around a minute. It is always smart to stake down a beach tent, but the shelter stands freely without needing to be staked down. Teardown is just as easy. When two bars near the top of the frame are pressed inward, the whole shelter collapses. Then the legs are folded back inwards and the fabric is rolled around the collapsed frame. Teardown only takes a minute or two.
We are big fans of the Pacific Breeze Sand & Surf Shelter because it provides complete overhead coverage. There are many people that are less tolerant of direct sunlight and require shade to escape potentially harmful rays. For these people, full coverage is a necessity. There are also people who just prefer the ability to relax in complete shade. Whether it is a necessity or preference, we believe that the Pacific Breeze Sand & Surf Shelter is the best option because it is functional and affordable. Our only critique of this beach sun shelter is that the lightweight polyester may be susceptible to tearing, but considering the price and the features it provides, we believe it is the full overhead coverage best beach tent on the market.
Coleman – DayTripper Beach Shade
The Coleman DayTripper Beach Shade is a wonderful option for anybody looking to purchase an affordable beach sun shelter. It offers many of the same features as more expensive competitors, but at a lesser cost. We think that it is the best beach tent if you are shopping on a budget.
The Coleman DayTripper weighs in at about 7.5 pounds, which is reasonable for these types of pop up beach shades. It ships in a rectangular carry bag that measures roughly 7” x 7” x 24”, which is about a foot shorter than most other half-dome beach tents. The travel case has the product information printed on one side, which is typical of products that are sold at major retailers. The product information on the carry bag makes it look a little cheap from the outside, but this is trivial.
The Coleman DayTripper is made with surprising quality, considering the price. The fabric is Coleman’s patented UVGuard material, which is a water-resistant and more importantly ultraviolet radiation resistant. Many people use their pop up sun shelters to protect children or pets from the sun, so we take the UPF rating very seriously. The DayTripper has a UPF 50+ rating, which is excellent protection.
The anchor points are typical of what we see with many Coleman tents. They double stitch the anchor point to the tent fabric and provide two brass eyeholes. One of the eyeholes is for the stake, and the other is for the tent pole. The stakes that are included with the DayTripper are pretty thin and cheap. They pull out of the sand very easily. If you do wind up purchasing this beach shelter, we would suggest also investing in a set of threaded beach tent stakes like the Orange Screw.
The Coleman DayTripper has an appealing and pragmatic design. The rear wall is dominated by a large window that includes a screen and UVGuard panel, so you have the option to completely open the window, close just the screen, or shut the window entirely. The window is large enough that you can use it as a rear exit when it is opened. The pop up beach shelter also has a small awning for extra sun protection out front of the main entrance. The sun shelter is 4 foot 9 inches tall. It is about 7.5 feet wide and 4.5 feet deep. It is spacious enough for children to comfortably play inside or for two adults to sit next to each other.
The Coleman DayTripper has an attached floor that extends out the front of the covered area so that beach-goers have a nice area in front of the tent that still protects them from the sand. The shape of the ground cloth was cleverly designed so that it can be zipped up to completely enclose the sheltered area. This beach sun shade is the only one on our list that seals for complete privacy. This is nice for when you are at the beach because you can zip up all of your valuables and head down to the water. It also provides the privacy you would need to change clothes or change a baby.
Setting up the DayTripper is much like setting up a typical tent. Three fiberglass poles make up the frame of this tent. The only criticism that I have for this beach shade is that setup is a bit old fashioned. I have seen new technology where frames are constructed as once piece, so connecting poles feels outdated. I also like external clips instead of pole sleeves, when they are made the right way. With the DayTripper, users feed the poles through sleeves and insert the tips into the brass eyeholes, like they would set up a traditional camping tent. Setup might take 5 or 7 minutes the first time, but after it is done once it gets quicker and easier.
All things considered, the Coleman DayTripper Beach Shade is a great beach sun shelter for the money. It is the cheapest on our list, but is still on par with its more expensive pop up beach shades in terms of quality. It is durable, has a sleek design, is portable, and is affordable. I admit that setup is a bit clunky, but I think that tradeoff is well worth everything else you get with this product. I recommend this pop up sun shelter to anybody that is looking for the best tent at an affordable price.
Sport-Brella – Portable Sun and Weather Shelter
Even though the Sport-Brella doesn’t follow the design trend of traditional beach sun shelters, it still accomplishes the same goal, which is to provide shade at the beach. This product is completely different than any other pop up sun shelter that we have reviewed, but in a good way. It is refreshing to see something different, and the umbrella design has enough benefits that we think this product is possibly the best shade on the market.
The Sport-Brella is part of a line of various sized umbrella style beach shelters. The product we reviewed is advertised as having a 96 inch width, but when we sat inside of it we found that it actually had about 6.5 feet of usable space. Since the umbrella leans at an angle, in order to provide shade, the height of the shelter winds up measuring around 4.5 feet. These dimensions are fine for an average height person sitting on a typical beach chair. One of the people on the review team is 6’1” and sat comfortably under the Sport-Brella in a folding chair. For vacationers that are any taller than this, or will be using an abnormally high beach chair, then it might make sense to go with the Sport-Brella XL, which has an additional foot of clearance.
The Sport-Brella weighs 9 lbs and ships in a 54” sleeve. The fabric feels durable. It is made with 210D polyester, which will provide water resistance and UPF 50+ ultraviolet radiation protection. Ultraviolet radiation protection is something that we value very highly so we like the fact that the fabric will block over 98% of ultraviolet rays. This is considered excellent protection. The 210D fabric rating means that the canopy has a thread count of 210 denier, which is considered good quality fabric. The canopy has two windows that unzip, exposing a mesh net barrier. The panel that covers the windows is also water resistant.
This is the easiest beach sun shade, out of all that we have reviewed, to set up and tear down. Even though some of the half-dome pop up sun shelters that we reviewed have sophisticated pull-cord mechanisms, nothing is as easy as the Sport-Brella because setting it up is literally as easy as opening an umbrella. Beach-goers set up the Sport-Brella the same way they would open a rain umbrella. There is a slider along the center pole that pushes upwards, which opens the canopy. Next the umbrella is laid on its side and a telescoping pole is extended until the umbrella rests at a comfortable angle. Finally, the sidewalls and the two rear anchor points are staked down. Like some of the other beach shelters that we have reviewed, the stakes that are included are not suitable for the beach. If the wind picks up, these thin stakes will easily pull out of dry sand. We recommend investing in a set of stakes that are specifically designed for use in the sand like the Orange Screw.
The Sport-Brella umbrella design has some interesting advantages that make it more versatile than the other pop up sun shelters on this list. Because it has a center pole, there is an option of setting it up like a picnic umbrella. In this setup configuration, the center pole stands vertically with the umbrella off the ground overhead. Evenly distributed tie downs are used to keep the umbrella standing vertically. The other option is to use this beach sun shade as an actual umbrella. The Sport-Brella is much larger than a typical umbrella, but it can be held above the head and used like a traditional umbrella.
We think that the Sport-Brella is one of the best beach tents on the market due to its versatile design and ease of use. We do have some critiques, though. We don’t think its quality is as high as the other products above it. If this sun shelter is used in high winds, it runs the risk of becoming damaged. The anchor points are sufficient for recreational use, but will tear if they are exposed to high stress. Also, the angle of the umbrella is pretty extreme when set up, so it is unable to provide as much shelter as a half-dome pop up beach shade would be able to provide.
Despite our criticism, it is important to remember that this pop up beach shelter is the most affordable option. Vacationers who use the Sport-Brella for typical beach days are going to be happy with its performance and can plan on continuing to use it for many seasons. We never like to encourage our readers to spend extra money unnecessarily, which is why we are recommending this shelter. It will get the job done for a very reasonable price. Out of all of the options in this price range, the Sport-Brella is the best beach tent.