If you’re setting up for a day at the beach, the right canopy tent can help keep you comfortable and protect you from UV rays.
But if you have ever purchased a beach canopy tent without windy conditions in mind, you might’ve learned the hard way that not all canopy tents are suitable for harsh gusts. A flimsy tent can easily rip or bend out of shape.
In fact, the first canopy tent I ever bought spent about half an hour being a canopy. After that, it collapsed into a broken pile of canvas and aluminum.
Does that mean that you can’t use a canopy tent when it is windy at the beach? Not at all! In fact, there are a few canopy tents built with specific features to help them stand tall and proud against both strong gusts and steady winds.
I have tested a number of these products out, and am pleased to say that they passed muster even along the very windy shoreline where I live.
The Best Beach Canopy Overall
Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent
While some of the other products on our list feature open sides, the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent has a half-dome shape which is enclosed on three sides. It measures 95 L x 52 H x 51 D, and is large enough for three or four people to sit inside without feeling cramped. The poles are fibre-glass and the canvas is water-resistant polyester with UPF 50+ sun protection.
- The tent is available in the regular Deluxe XL size, or you can get the Deluxe XL version which includes an extendable floor to give you more space right in front of the canopy.
- The shape of this canopy provides shelter from the wind on three sides without needing to attach anything extra (the sidewalls are built into the shape, and are a permanent feature of the tent).
- Setting up this tent is literally as easy as pulling a string. It took me 5 minutes working by myself the first time, and 2 minutes the second time. Collapsing it is just as rapid when you are ready to go home.
- Along with being easy to set up, this tent is also easy to carry even long distances since it weighs only 6.5 pounds. Sometimes sand got into the tent when I was using it, but I literally was able to just lift the tent and dump it out. The PE floor is water-resistant.
- There are anchor pouches you can fill with sand to keep the tent from blowing over. You pretty much need to do this since it is so light that even a moderate gust can knock it down otherwise.
- The tent can be ventilated by opening any of its three large windows.
- The tent contains a mesh pocket inside where you can store water bottles, smartphones, or other small supplies.
- If you don’t read the directions carefully, you can damage the tent while you are setting it up, namely the stabilizing pin for either of the legs. The trick to avoiding this is to make sure that you lock the front legs into position before you attempt to open up the tent.
Fast and Easy Setup
Red Suricata Family Beach Sunshade
The Red Suricata Family Beach Sunshade takes the form of a simple but rugged tarp which is supported by four lightweight aluminum poles. A lot of similar products feature only two poles and offer pretty limited shade. This canopy gives you a lot more coverage with the same basic design.
- This product features custom-designed Pole Anchor Screws to increase the rigidity of the canopy and assist with fast and easy setup.
- Speaking of easy setup, I was impressed by how rapidly I was able to get this canopy pitched. The first time it took me 11 minutes. The second time, I was able to do it in 6, and I was working by myself both times.
- While one person can set up this canopy without help, you can get it in medium or extra large. The medium size measures 7’ x 7’, and has room for 3-4 people. The extra large size measures 10’ x 9’, and has room for 6-7 people.
- A bungee elastic cord with drawstring is included to make it easy to carry and store your canopy once you have folded it up. There is also a cord included for the anchors.
- The canopy is available in a bunch of different colors, including black, blue, grey, red, turquoise, purple and one which is orange and pink.
- If anything, this tent might be a little too lightweight. While the aluminum poles make it easy to carry around and set up, they may not hold up to super strong gusts or steady high winds. But honestly, there are limits to what even the strongest canopies can take. I think for most use in mild to moderately windy conditions, this canopy should serve just fine.
The Best Beach Canopy for Parties
Coleman Instant Canopy Tent
Coleman is one of the biggest brands in canopy tents, so it isn’t surprising that one of their products, the Coleman Instant Canopy Tent, makes this list. The tent measures 10’ x 10’, providing 100 square feet of shade underneath with a center height of 9 feet and 4 inches. That means that there is ample room for a number of people to sit or stand underneath.
- The UVGuard UPF 50+ fabric protects you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- While it took me almost 20 minutes to set the tent up on my own the first time, I was able to handle it in closer to 10 the next. When I asked a second person to join me in setting up the tent, we were able to do it in 7 minutes. Another nice thing about this product is that the poles are designed to extend and lock without pinching your fingers.
- Your purchase includes a carrying bag on wheels, making it easy to transport the tent.
- You can secure the tent against the wind with ground stakes and guy lines, which are pre-attached for your convenience. A vent is included as well to prevent billowing and tearing.
- While this tent can handle a little drizzle or light rain, if you leave it out long in the rain, the joints may not handle it, and your tent could buckle. Sometimes this involves permanent damage, so don’t use this tent when it is raining, at least not for very long.
The Best Beach Canopy for Camping
Kelty Noah’s Tarp Sun Shelter
The next beach canopy worth considering for shade and shelter from the wind is the Kelty Noah’s Tarp Sun Shelter. This product is the essence of simplicity, consisting of a tarp with guy lines. The tarp measures 108” x 108”, providing a “floor” area of 81 feet. When you pack it up for transportation, it comes out to only 2 pounds.
- The tarp is made out of durable 68D 800 mm polyester and features fully taped seams. The points where the guy lines attach are reinforced, preventing damage when the points are stressed during windy days. The fabric is water-resistant, keeping you and your supplies dry underneath. It did rain the day I tested it, and aside from when gusts blew rain in through the sides (which couldn’t be helped), it did a great job.
- The product includes a roll-top cube carry bag for easy and comfortable transportation.
- There is a storage pocket built into the tarp for your supplies.
- It only takes a few minutes to set up this tarp, and you can do it working alone if you need to.
- You have to purchase the poles for this tarp separately. You’ll need two of them. Either the Staff Poles or Adjustable Tarp Poles from Kelty should work. This does give you two different size options, so think about how you want to use the tarp before you decide which to get (you can always purchase both, of course).
If You Are On A Budget
G4Free Pop Up Beach Tent Portable Sun Shelter Instant Outdoor Camping Cabana
If you are looking for a budget option for a beach canopy tent, think about the G4Free Pop Up Portable Sun Shelter. Measuring 78.7″ *51.2″ *53.1″, this canopy is large enough for two or three people to sit comfortably underneath. It weighs only 2.8 pounds, making it another lightweight option on this list. The durable 190T silver coated fabric provides you with UPF 50+ sun protection.
- This tent is super lightweight at 2.8 pounds, and you can transport it with ease in the carrying bag which comes with it.
- It literally takes almost no time at all to set up this tent. You just pop it open after you remove it from the bag.
- The mesh windows allow for open airflow, keeping the tent cool and comfortable, while still providing some additional shade and wind protection on three sides. Don’t want that open airflow and extra sun? You can roll up covers over the mesh windows to close the walls completely.
- There are two mesh pockets in the tent in which you can store small supplies.
- You can use the eight pegs, four ropes and six sandbags to secure the lightweight tent against the wind and prevent it from blowing over.
- Collapsing the tent to pack it away after use is not as intuitive as setting it up. But with a little practice, it can become fast and easy.
What to Look For in the Best Beach Canopy For Windy Conditions
If you are going to buy a beach canopy for a windy location, here are some of the features you should be on the lookout for when you are shopping:
- Ease of setup and takedown. It should be relatively fast and easy for one to two people to be able to erect a beach canopy and then take it down later. But ease of setup and takedown is extra important when there are strong gusts to deal with. The faster and easier the job is, the better.
- Sturdy frame and strong canvas. Look for rugged materials which are not too lightweight when you pick out a canopy to use in windy weather. You want strong fabric which will not easily rip, and sturdy poles which will not bend or collapse.
- Vents. With vents you can open during windy conditions, you allow airflow through the canopy, which keeps it from billowing. This improves overall safety and reduces the chances of the canopy tearing. It is helpful if you can close the vents again later if you expect you might use the tent in the rain.
- Weights. These accessories come with some canopy tents. For others, you can purchase them on the side as extras. You also do not need to go with a proprietary brand, as many weights are designed to fit a variety of tents from different brands. Just as you might guess, they attach to the legs of your tent, weighing them down and adding support.
- Anchors. As an alternative to weights (or in addition to them), you can use anchors and guy lines to further secure your canopy in the wind.
- Wall panel attachments. Don’t want to be exposed to the wind? With a Velcro side wall attachment, you can screen off one or more sides of some types of canopy tents from the wind while also providing yourself with a bit of extra shade.
Along with those wind-specific features, do not forget about general considerations as well such as dimensions, overall design, quality of UV protection, portability, and so forth.
Now you have my recommendations for the best beach canopy tents for windy conditions. While any of the canopies above should serve you well, each is ideal for different situations and requirements.
If you aren’t sure which to buy, my top recommendation overall remains the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent. Click any of the links on this page if you are ready to get the shelter you need from the sun and wind during your next outing to the beach.