Normally we like straight-legged cross-truss canopy tent frames because they are durable and can be erected directly next to another straight-legged canopy tent. This makes them ideal for outdoor festivals. Whenever the wind begins to blow these canopy tents will stand strong without any give. The drawback to straight-legged cross-truss shelters is that they can get heavy and are expensive. For beach use, these traits are not as important and we have come across a cheaper, lighter weight option that outperforms our traditional recommendations at the beach. The canopy tent industry is not as popular as many other industries and there isn’t universally accepted terminology yet. So there is no exact name for this style of shelter. They typically use the names Sun Shelter, Beach Tent, or Shade Tent, though. Basically we are referring to the new canopy tent design that uses flexible tent poles instead of rigid aluminum fixed frames. The tent poles are usually fiberglass instead so the entire shelter often weighs less than 10 lbs. These canopy tents look more like tents than traditional Pop-Up canopy tents.
In addition the portability, we also like how resistant to the wind the best beach canopy is. They behave similarly to a tent in windy situations, which often happens at the beach. The shelter blows around and flexes, but as long as it is secured to the ground it can withstand strong wind.
The sun moves across the sky and early or late in the day the sun may be very low on the horizon. Since UV protection is our top priority, we want to be able to protect ourselves from sun that is not directly overhead. We also don’t want to have to keep moving our sitting positions to remain in the shadow of the canopy. If you are shopping for a traditional canopy tent you should look for one that includes a sidewall or consider purchasing a sidewall if one isn’t included. Many of the new sun shelters already have a sidewall built into one side. We think this is a valuable trait of a canopy tent that will be used on the beach.
It is important to have the correct type of stakes whenever you will be setting up your canopy tent at the beach. Most of the time the stakes that are included with canopy tents are thin flimsy aluminum stakes. These stakes don’t stick in sand and your canopy tent may be susceptible to damage from a strong gust of wind. A canopy tent that is blowing in the wind is dangerous to people around it, so you should always make sure that it is strongly anchored to the ground. Although the sun shelters that we have reviewed include thicker plastic stakes, we think that it is worth it to spend the money to purchase threaded stakes. We like a product called the Orange Screwand think that it is the best stake to use in the sand.
We always like to remind our readers that there is no “best” canopy tent because everybody’s use case is different. Each person must decide which canopy tent is best for them based on the situations that they will be using their shelters in. I wanted to show you my favorite, though, so that you can have a starting point for your search. I think that the new sun shelter designs are perfect for beach use because they are lightweight and resistant to wind. I like the shelters that have a sidewall pre built into the design and I don’t like the shelter’s whose canopy fabric doesn’t have a UPF 50+ rating. Based on my testing I think that Lightspeed Outdoors currently manufactures the Best Canopy Tent For The Beach.
Remember that our recommendation might not be the best for you. Maybe you want to be able to use your canopy tent in more environments than just the beach. If you want the flexibility to use your canopy tent at a craft fair, then the beach sun shelters won’t be appropriate. So as you shop, just remember that if you plan on using your canopy tent at the beach the things you should look for are UV protection and the ability to anchor into sand. Best of luck, and don’t get sunburnt!