When it comes to camping on the beach, the same old equipment often won't cut it. Although we associate beaches with relaxation and casual fun, the conditions found on most beaches can easily tax your equipment. Tents in particular are not typically designed for beach use. For example, many backpacking tents rely heavily on stakes for stability and form, making them functionally useless in the shifting sand found on many beaches. Finding a proper beach tent means finding a piece of equipment that can stand well against wind and can be set up on an ever-changing landscape. Fortunately there are a number of options that will enhance your next trip to the coast.
Essentially a tent with two missing walls, the Cielo is designed primarily for day use. However, on warm nights it could be used to put a roof over your head. The tent sets up quickly and weighs only 6 pounds, meaning it can easily fit in a car trunk and likely a backpack. The Cielo even offers 50 SPF sun protection. While prices can vary slightly from retailer to retailer, the Cielo Shelter cost approximately $80 in 2009.
MSR Hubba Hubba
The Hubba Hubba is a relative rarity when it comes to backpacking tents, because it is entirely free-standing. Designed to withstand high winds, the Hubba Hubba sets up quickly and comes in a small package. Best of all, the exterior is almost entirely mesh, allowing those cool sea breezes and views to drift right in. The MSR Hubba Hubba can be found for $239, as of 2009.
Big Agnes Parkview
Designed to be spacious and portable, the Big Agnes Parkview is perfect for the day and night use your tent will endure while at the beach. The roof is mostly mesh, allowing for late-night stargazing. Plus, the tent is designed to maintain its shape on any terrain, maximizing your space. While prices vary, as of 2009 the Big Agnes Parkview can typically be found for between $250 and $329.
A radical design makes the Shangri-La 4 an exciting pick for a beach camping trip. Shaped like a teepee, with a large center pole holding the entire structure, the Shangri-La is downright voluminous. Plus, you don't have to worry about sand getting everywhere, because it has no floor. The only downside to the Shangri-La is its reliance on tension-tightened lines. A good alternative to stakes is to bring along stuff-sacks, fill them with sand and bury them. This should provide the necessary stability on the Shangri-La's lines. As of 2009, the Shangri-La 4 can be found for around $225.