How to Set Up a Beach Tent

How to Set Up a Beach Tent

We all love a sunny beach day, but nothing can ruin it faster than a little too much sun.

A beach tent is a great solution to protect your beach party from harmful UV rays (in addition to your sunscreen, of course) and provide much-needed shade.

The idea of setting up a tent on the beach can be daunting to some people. All the poles, fabric, and strings can seem like such a hassle to deal with – especially in the hot sun and sand, and that pesky beach breeze.

But what if we told you that beach tents are actually pretty simple and quick to set up?

There are a few types of beach tents you’ll need to know the differences between, but they all have one thing in common – the ease of set up.

Ready to dive in to a quick breakdown of some popular beach tent types and their set up? This guide has got you covered (just like your beach tent will!).

Continual Pole Pop-Up Beach Tent Set Up

This is a complicated name for a very simple concept. A continual pole takes away the need for assembly, but instead is designed to “pop up” when opened and then collapse when twisted a certain way. Think of the foldable sun protector shades you get for your car windshield.

The Wolfwise Beach Tent is a popular pop-up beach tent option, and for a good reason. It’s lightweight and super quick to set up – making it a good option for the casual beach-goer.

To set up this kind of beach tent, all you need to do is unzip the bag, pull it out, and the tent will “pop up” on its own. If you’re visiting the beach on a breezy day, you might also want to utilize the attached sandbags to secure the tent down.

Although the set up process is incredibly simple, folding the pop-up tent back into its bag can be a bit trickier. The steps and video below can help. Of course, practice also makes perfect.

  1. First, grab the two sides of the tent and tuck them into each other. The tent should fold into itself and lay flat.
  2. Next, pull the tent up onto its side, find the middle, push down, and twist the tent into a “figure 8” shape.
  3. Lastly, fold the tent in half and you should have a neat circle that’ll slide right back into the storage tote.

Overall, the pop-up tent has a straightforward set-up process, doesn’t include any cumbersome poles to assemble, and doesn’t require an extra set of hands.

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Classic-Style Beach Tent Set Up

If you’re looking for something with a little more room and privacy, then a classic-style beach tent might be more up your alley.

Like a traditional camping tent, it has walls on three sides, with the fourth usually being able to be zipped up and used as a door. The Coleman Beach Shade Tent even has a large back window for added ventilation.

This type of tent offers more protection from the sun, wind, and sand, but does require a little more assembly. You’ll also be dealing with a few collapsible poles. But don’t sweat it yet! The set up still takes less than five minutes and can be broken down into these easy steps:

  1. First, find a friend! It is much easier to set up this kind of tent with a pair of helping hands.
  2. Gather your set-up materials included with the beach tent and find a level spot on the beach.
  3. Locate and stake down the four corners of the beach tent with the included pegs. Each corner of the beach tent will have a tab with grommets to stick the pegs through.
  4. Start assembling the poles per the beach tent’s instructions and insert through the designated sleeves.
  5. Now it’s time to pitch the tent! All that’s left to do is attach the end of the poles into their respective tabs and grommets and raise the tent up.

To be prepared for windy weather, you may want to pick up some sand tent stakes. These will provide your tent with added security and stability in soft sand.

Below is a video that will help you visualize the setup process (setup begins at 1:07):

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Hybrid Beach Tent

Perhaps the best of both worlds is a hybrid beach tent. The ease of a pop-up tent is bundled with the benefits and features of a traditional tent – the Mobihome Windproof Tent is a great example.

This type of beach tent includes pre-assembled poles that have a few cords attached to the top of the tent to make it easy to set up.

Pitching the tent is as simple as these few steps:

  1. Remove the tent from its bag and unroll it onto a level surface so it’s laying nice and flat.
  2. Locate the poles near the center of the tent and lift them up gently by the attached cords.
  3. Still grasping the cords, lift and pull outwards so the tent pops up into place.

The short clip below shows just how simple set up is.

Umbrella Beach Tent


This is another kind of hybrid tent, but this time it’s a cross between a beach tent and a beach umbrella (learn about the difference between a beach umbrella and a beach tent here). Retractable side flaps provide more shade than a regular beach umbrella, and there’s a bit more space underneath to lay down your beach towel or blanket.

An umbrella beach tent like the Sport-Brella Portable can even be set up two different ways – as a dome or a canopy.

The set up is more similar to a beach umbrella than a tent. Below are a few tips to make the setup process a little easier.

  1. You’ll want to start by inserting the pole into the sand. You don’t want the umbrella to get in the way for this part, so keep it closed and set it to the side until the pole is secured.
  2. Consider using a sand anchor. Some umbrella beach tents will come with one, but it’s worth investing in one even if it doesn’t come included. This will ensure the tent will stay secure in strong winds.
  3. Use your body weight to drive the pole into the ground and rock back and forth to create a  “funnel” in the sand.
  4. Drill the pole as deep as it can go, or at least a minimum of one or two feet, before filling the hole back in to secure it in place.
  5. Now you can unfold and attach the umbrella portion. You will peg the flaps to the ground, but you may need some sand or rocks to keep them down. Adjust for your desired shade and you’re all set!


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Frequently asked questions

What is the easiest beach tent to set up?

For a lightweight and portable option that requires basically no assembly, the AmazonBasics Pop-Up Sun tent is as easy as it gets.

How do you set up a beach tent without stakes?

We recommend using stakes for added security. If for some reason you find yourself without stakes, then you’ll need to rely on the sand bags that come attached to most beach tents. The OILEUS X-Large Beach Tent includes six sand bags that you can use for securing the tent to the ground.

How much wind can a beach tent withstand?

Generally, most beach tents can withstand wind speeds of up to 30 MPH. If you’re looking for something that is specifically wind-resistant, we’d recommend the Mobihome Windproof tent.

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