Spending your weekends by the beach is a quintessential part of the Australian summer, but it also means that you need to be super diligent about sun protection. So when you’re loading up the car for a day at the beach, you should also be packing some kind of shade like a beach umbrella, a cabana or a beach tent to ensure you’re protected from harmful UV rays throughout the day.
While the humble beach brolly has made a real comeback in recent years, they can sometimes be more trouble than they’re worth. One decent gust of wind and you could end up chasing your beach umbrella across the sand, apologising to fellow beachgoers while you try to catch it. If you can relate, it might be time to consider investing in a beach cabana or a pop-up beach tent.
Beach tents and cabanas tend to come with anchors like sandbags or ropes and pegs so that if there is a slight breeze, they’re held securely in place. While they sound like more effort, they’re surprisingly easy to set up and transport while providing shade for several people — usually more than your standard umbrella.
Ahead, you’ll find our picks of beach tents and cabanas that are 100% worth lugging over hot sand.
The Best Beach Tents
Reviewers agree that the Sun Ninja Pop Up Beach Tent is compact, lightweight, and easy to set up, assemble and pack down. You can get four and eight-person tents that are all UPF50+ and come with built-in sandbags, bungee cords and metal pegs to help keep the tent stable on windier days. Adding one of these to your cart means you won’t be that guy chasing a rogue beach umbrella anymore.
The Neso Beach Tents are designed to be easy to set up, pack up and travel with so you can take them on your next sunny adventure. Made of durable nylon lycra blend with reinforced corners, it’s also water-resistant, offers SPF50+ protection and comes with sandbags to help weigh it down, according to the brand.
You’ve probably seen these CoolCabanas beach tents lining the water’s edge everywhere you go! The CoolCabanas Beach Shelter is made from a cotton-poly canvas material that provides UPF50+ protection, helping to shield you and your family against Australia’s harsh summer rays. The CoolCabanas also includes internal pockets for stashing essentials and a super-compact fold design, making it easy to transport and store.
If you’re after a smaller single or two-person beach tent, this one from Coleman should do the trick. It comes with pre-attached poles that make setting up and packing down an absolute breeze. Once it’s up, the UVGuard material also offers 50+ UPF protection, while the extended floor can close to give you some privacy when needed. Plus, when it’s time to head home, the shade easily packs up into an expandable carry bag so you can carry it back to the car with ease.
The FE Active Pop Up Beach Shelter is about to become your new summer essential. It’s made from durable, water-resistant materials and offers UV protection while in use. The beach-friendly design also has a mesh back, allowing airflow while you’re seeking shade at the beach.
The Narmay Sun Shelter is water-resistant, breathable, has a UV Guard of SPF50+ and is easy to pop up and pack down. The three-sided mesh window design allows for high-low ventilation and breathability on even the hottest beach days. It also comes with a hanging pocket and a hook so you can conveniently store your valuables inside the beach tent.