Are Beach Tents Better Than Umbrellas?

Are Beach Tents Better Than Umbrellas?

Having the right beach essentials can make or break your trip to the beach. You’ll need a way to bring shade to the beach, and you’re here because you’re wondering the best way to do that.

Two popular options are a beach tent and beach umbrella. Deciding between the two will be based on several factors, such as the duration of your stay, who you’re traveling with, and how often.

If you’re looking for something that is wind-resistant, lightweight, user-friendly, and suitable for a family outing, then you’ll find a beach tent will most likely check those boxes for you.

Beach Umbrella Vs Beach Tent

Just looking for some shade for a few relaxing hours on the beach by yourself or with a friend? You might choose to opt for a beach umbrella instead.

Read on to make the best choice for your unique beach needs.

Beach Tents vs. Umbrellas – Weathering the Elements

When thinking of a beach, images of a warm sunny day on a calm shore are the first to come to mind. However, that’s not always the case.

Beaches along any coast can be unpredictable – with unexpected winds and even rain threatening to ruin your trip.

If faced with wonky beach weather, you’ll want to have a beach tent with you.

Its enclosed design ensures that you’re protected from all the elements – sun, wind, and rain.

Weather Elements

Too sunny? You can find refuge under your beach tent with its consistently shaded interior. Wind gusts picked up a bit too much or a light rain came out of nowhere? You can find immediate relief within the three (and sometimes four) walls of your beach tent.

There is a slight concern about ventilation being an issue for some beach tents, with some complaints about the inside of the tent becoming too hot or stuffy in direct sunlight.

However, most designs seem to combat that by including either windows or screen doors that allow fresh air in.

Many beach tents also include a bottom layer that separates you from the sand. This is a useful feature if the sand is too hot or too damp, but it also helps to keep yourself and your belongings sand-free.


While umbrellas do provide shade, they can be limited in coverage and move often with the sun’s movement. This might not be a deal-breaker, but it can be an annoyance when you’re trying to relax on the beach without having to deal with repositioning a beach umbrella every few hours.

A beach umbrella gives you the full beach experience – you’ll feel the ocean breeze on your skin and enjoy some great open views. However, this leaves you exposed to the elements of the beach, which can get pretty uncomfortable, pretty fast.

A beach umbrella can still be a good option when paired with a sturdy beach blanket or chair for added comfort.

Like most things, being prepared will help. Check out a weather forecast to know exactly how strong the winds will be and how many clouds will be in the sky.

Beach Umbrella White

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Beach Tents vs. Umbrellas – Sizing Them Up

While solo beach trips are definitely needed at times, most of us visit the beach with either our friends or family. That makes it important to have an adequate setup that is both large enough and functional enough to keep you comfortable all day long.

Beach Tent Vs Umbrella Group Of People

Beach tents are sold in a variety of sizes but are commonly large enough to fit three to four people. This makes them a perfect option for families.

Most users state beach tents are very simple to set up and can even be done by one person, although it’s quicker with an extra set of hands.

Along with stakes that get pushed into the ground for support, some beach tents also come with sandbags to further secure the tent down and keep it in its place in even the strongest of wind gusts.

Take a look at this short video clip showing just how simple it is to set up the Pacific Breeze Beach Tent.

Your beach tent might also have additional pockets on the inside for storing small items such as sunglasses, phones, or keys.

The fabric used for beach tents is often canvas, which makes them lightweight and portable. Most beach tents come with a convenient storage bag that makes carrying them to and from the beach an easy task.

Beach umbrellas on the other hand, are smaller than beach tents and are more suitable for an individual or couple to share.

Some users report that setting up can be a hassle, with the ease of setup being dependent on the type of beach sand you’re dealing with.

You may need to purchase an additional corkscrew anchor to attach to the end of the umbrella to ensure it is secure enough. We’ve all seen what can happen if it’s not.

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Beach Tents vs. Umbrellas – Privacy Matters

Not only do beach tents shield you from the harsh elements of the beach, but they also shield you from other beach-goers. This can come in handy for an undisturbed snooze, but it can be especially useful if you’re traveling to the beach with babies, children, or pets.

A beach tent makes changing into swimsuits, putting children down for naps, and taking sand-free lunch breaks a breeze.

Most beach tents come with door flaps that can be zipped up for full privacy.

Being open from all sides, beach umbrellas simply can’t offer the same amount of privacy. If this isn’t a priority for you or if you’re taking a short trip to the beach, then this shouldn’t be too big of an issue.

However, privacy is an important factor to consider if traveling to the beach for a full day, especially with kids or pets in tow.

Beach Tents vs. Umbrellas – Usefulness Beyond the Beach 

Maybe you’re not an avid beach-goer, and you’re not sure if it’s worth investing in either a beach tent or beach umbrella for just a few beach trips throughout the year.

Something to consider is the versatility of the beach tent compared to the beach umbrella.

As mentioned earlier, a beach umbrella can be tricky to set up in less than ideal sand. This can make it difficult to use anywhere other than a beach.

On the other hand, beach tents don’t necessarily require sand to be set up and can prove to be useful in settings other than the beach.

You can easily bring a beach tent along with you to the park, camping, or other outdoor outings.


Frequently asked questions

Do beach tents protect from the sun?

Yes! Many beach tents offer UPF protection of 50 or higher, such as the Coleman Beach Shade and Coleman Weatherproof beach tents. If beach tents are too bulky for you, but you don’t want to be too exposed to the elements, you might want to consider getting a beach canopy instead.

What are the best beach tents for wind?

With features such as double sewing, durable sealed seams, polyester fabric, and a lightweight fiberglass frame, the Mobihome Windproof beach tent is our choice for the best protection against wind.

What is the best beach umbrella to purchase?

There’s a large range of beach umbrellas you can choose from, and the options can get overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down for you. Check out the 20 Best Beach Umbrellas in 2022.


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