Beach Tent Cabana Canopy Guide Review

Shady spots are often in short supply on the beach. They are the first areas to be occupied, especially during the summer vacation period.

You still have to protect yourself and your family from the sun, so getting a beach tent or cabana is necessary.

The setup is effortless thanks to the pop-up functionality of modern beach shelters, and the best ones are waterproof and provide UPF 50+ protection.

In this comparison, you’ll find out what you should look for when buying a beach tent, cabana, or canopy, and which ones are the best in [year.]

What is a beach tent and what do I need it for?

A beach tent offers you and the whole family protection from the sun, rain, or wind. 

Modern, pop-up beach tents are set up in just a few seconds. Pegs let you fix the corners in sand or grass, so the wind will not take the tent away.

Due to their semi-open design, you can enjoy an almost unrestricted view of the beach or the pool. The best tents even have mesh windows on the three enclosed sides, which help with proper ventilation. This ventilation will not be as good as an open design sun shelter, though.

Some tents can also be closed with a zipper for privacy.

You can set the tent up not only at the beach, but anywhere outdoors for many purposes. In fact, my kids regularly play with our pop-up tent indoors as well.

What is a beach cabana?

A beach cabana is a larger sun shelter with an open structure, so you can come and go from any direction. This also means that unlike tents, cabanas cannot be closed off for privacy.

The cabana casts shade onto a large area, meaning more people can fit under it and find shade. 

Modern beach canopies are easy to set up and are sturdy, even in windy conditions. They can be set up on sand or grass.

Beach cabana vs. beach tent vs. beach umbrella. Which is better?

Beach umbrellas are old school. They are not a good choice for going to the beach since:

  • They get picked up by the wind,
  • They don’t provide enough shade,
  • Their poles are always in the way since they are so small.

Beach cabanas and tents are much better for going to the beach than umbrellas. Here is a list of advantages and disadvantages of each.

Personally, I prefer the beach cabana on sandy beaches.

Best beach tents and beach cabanas in [2021]

Are you planning a vacation and are looking for a suitable beach tent or cabana for your trip? Then you should take a closer look at my big beach shelter test below. 

You’ll find the top-rated beach shelters compared, so you can be sure you get a quality tent or cabana that meets your requirements.

Qipi Beach Cabana

Qipi Beach Cabana
  • Size: 6′ x 6′ x 7’6″ (180 x 180 x 230 cm)
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs (2.1 kg)
  • Canvas: UPF 50+ UV protection, waterproof
  • Extras: sidewall, built-in sandbags, corner pockets for small items
  • Warranty: 1 year

If you are looking for shade at the beach, this beach cabana I got from Outdoormaster is your best band for the buck. 

It is sturdy, looks great, and provides the most shade per dollar. Just make sure you use the coupon code below the video.

20% COUPON CODE

Get 20% off every item on OutdoorMaster.com at checkout with this coupon code:

OM20TOM

The top measures 6′ x 6′ (183 cm x 183 cm), so it casts a lot of shade. It is around 7′ tall, but the sides of the top come down to approximately 5′, so taller people have to duck their heads to get under the cabana.

The Qipi cabana is made of high-quality materials, so it will last a long time if you take care of it:

  • The pole is made of iron, which is covered by an anti-corrosion material. 
  • The umbrella opening parts are fiberglass and reinforced ABS plastic, which means they won’t break easily.
  • The canvas itself is a UPF 50 rated UV blocking fabric, meaning that only 1/50th of UV rays can penetrate it.

You can use this beach cabana on sandy or grass beaches alike. Set up takes 2-3 minutes:

  1. You screw the central pole into the ground and slide the umbrella into it.
  2. You anchor the hanging corners with sand on sandy beaches, or the plastic stakes on grass areas.

My family enjoyed the freedom the beach cabana provides as compared to a tent, but my kids are now 5 and 8 years old. If you have a larger family, get 2 cabanas and set them up next to each other for double the shade.

Make sure you use the discount code below to save some money on the cabana.

Easthills Outdoors Instant Shader X-Large Beach Tent

Easthills Outdoors Instant Shader Dark Shelter Xl Beach Tent
  • Size: 99″ x 53″ x 57″ plus front porch
  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Canvas: UPF 50+ UV protection, waterproof
  • Extras: large mesh windows, mesh pockets
  • Warranty: 1 year

If you prefer the privacy a tent can provide, the Easthills Outdoors Dark Shelter is the best one on the market.

We used it often while the kids were small, and it served us well.

There are a few standout features of this tent that I want to highlight:

  • The dark shelter coating eliminates 90% of sunlight, which was great with small children needing their afternoon nap.
  • The porch can be closed with a zipper, so the tent provides privacy if you need it.
  • The large mesh windows provided ample ventilation and a better view around the tent. At the same time, the mesh holes are small, so sand is not blown in.
  • It is 8.25′ (2.5m) wide, which is a good size for a family of 4.
  • The opening mechanism might be the best on the market for a tent of this size. It was easy to use for both putting up and taking down the tent.

So we loved how wide the tent was, the excellent flow of air through the mesh windows, and how dark the inside could be thanks to the material. 

It also comes with sandbags and ropes to tie it down in case it gets very windy.

The only problem with this tent was that the shades for the mesh windows are attached to the inside of the tent above the window, meaning that you can’t keep rainfall out 100%. The material is waterproof, but some rain always seeped in at the windows. 

OutdoorMaster Pop Up Beach Tent XL

Outdoormaster Pop Up Beach Tent Xl
  • Size: 95″ x 53″ x 51″ plus front porch
  • Weight: 8.15 lbs
  • Canvas: UPF 50+ UV protection, waterproof
  • Extras: large mesh windows
  • Warranty: 1 year

The Easthill tent above is undoubtedly pricy, so a good alternative is this pop-up tent from OutdoorMaster. 

With the coupon code below, this OutdoorMaster tent costs about half the price of the Easthill, and you don’t even sacrifice many features. 

It is comparable to the more expensive Easthill beach tent in many ways:

  • Wide 95″ body
  • The opening mechanism is reliable and easy to use. You lay out the tent, lock the ends of the poles, and pull a rope at the top for the tent to take form.
  • The mesh windows are large and the shades are better than on the Easthill, since they close upwards, which keeps rain out.
  • You can use it on sand and grass.
  • Sandbags, ropes and stakes keep it from flying away in the wind.

The only feature the OutdoorMaster tent lacks vs. the Easthill is the black-out material. If that is something you can’t live without, choose the Easthill at double price.

Sun Ninja Canopy Beach Shelter

Sun Ninja Beach Canopy Shelter
  • Size: 10′ x 10′ with 6’6″ poles
  • Weight: 9.2 lbs
  • Canvas: UPF 50+ UV protection, waterproof
  • Extras: sand shovel
  • Warranty: 1 year

If you’re on a big beach, have lots of space around you, and want as much shade as possible, the Sun Ninja beach canopy is a good way to go.

The big 10′ x 10′ canopy provides protects your family and friends from the harmful effects of UV rays, but herein lies its biggest weakness.

It is huge and the corners go out even further. You need a lot of free space to set up this canopy, so you can’t use it on even partially crowded beaches.

Despite its size, it is surprisingly easy to set up. There is a trick to it though.

After stretching out the canvas, you need to overfill the 4 corner sandbags. If you don’t, the corner will move when it gets windy, the poles will lean over, and the whole thing comes crashing down on you. So really, make sure you overfill those sandbags. On windy days, you can even dig little holes to place the sandbags into.

The Sun Ninja canopy comes with a so-called “sand shovel”, which resembles a small sand scooper kids get for the sandbox. This is probably the weakest link of the package, I ended up using my hands to fill the bags with sand because it was faster than the scooper.

You can set it up on grass as well with the included stakes, but I’ve never used it like that, so I can’t really comment on its stability on grass. The stakes are long and made of steel, so it should hold up there as well.

What should I look for when buying a beach shelter?

There are many different models and manufacturers of beach shelters on the market, be it a tent or a cabana. 

To help you choose a suitable model, here are the criteria that you should consider when buying one. 

The material

Modern beach cabanas and tents are made of high-quality materials. They are water-repellent and offer protection against UV radiation.

50+ UV protection is a must, do not buy a sun shelter that is rated lower. Sun protection is an essential feature of beach tents and cabanas, especially if you have children.

In addition, the products you will find on this page can be cleaned quite easily and quickly and are undemanding in terms of maintenance. They can be cleaned quite simply and easily with clear water and a garden hose after your vacation.

High-quality tents also have practical mesh windows that ensure ventilation inside the tent and a feeling of space.

The type of tent/cabana

When looking for a new beach shelter, you will quickly notice that there are many different models with different designs. 

The 3 main types of beach shelters are:

  • open beach tent (shell)
  • closeable beach tent
  • beach cabana

Closeable beach tents are best for families that need privacy or a borderer space, especially when there is a baby. They offer significantly more privacy and can also be used as a mobile changing room on the beach. 

Some models are also equipped with viewing windows that can be closed if necessary and offer an excellent all-around view in conjunction with good ventilation.

On the other hand, open beach cabanas have superior ventilation characteristics even with a shade wall installed, smaller transport size, and lower weight.

How you will use it

When buying a new beach shelter, it is also necessary to consider how you will use it. 

Will you use it at sandy beaches or by the grassy shores of a lake?

Do you need to close the tent? Or would you rather get an open-walled cabana so you can keep an eye on your children running around?

Portability

From small 1-person beach tents to large family cabanas, you can find various models on the Internet. When choosing the best beach tent for your next vacation, make sure that you can easily transport it.

If your transport options are limited, for example, because you are traveling by plane, an ultralight tent is advantageous. In contrast, you should place more emphasis on the best possible equipment when traveling by car.

When traveling by plane, every gram of weight and smallest packing size counts. If you go on vacation by car, you can put these factors on the back burner.

Price

As with any purchase decision, the price also plays an important and often decisive role when choosing a new beach tent or cabana. 

Unfortunately, you can run into many low-quality models on the market. As you can expect, beach shelters with surprisingly low prices will, indeed, cause quite a few surprises. Their material will be weak; the plastic will break, etc.

Rest assured that the products in this list are good quality and will serve you for years if used properly. Trust me, it is worth spending a few extra dollars on a brand-name item with a real warranty, than to buy a knock-off a little cheaper, and have it fall apart on your 2nd set up.

FAQ

Here are the answers to a few common questions you may have about beach shelters.

Please let me know in the comment section if there is anything I missed.

Are you new to the world of inflatable boats? Then my Getting Started Guide is for you. You’ll find tips, tricks, and how-to articles to start off right.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top