What do people look for in a good sunshelter?
How about, protection from the sun? That’s pretty obvious. Beyond that, there’s also protection from blowing sand, rain, and other elements, when you are in one spot with your stuff, and you need something stylish to protect you.
Can a good sunshelter defend against things like the harsh elements? Most likely not all the elements. You don’t want to be caught in a hail storm with only your sun shelter to protect you, as the material it’s made with is general thin and meant to block the sun, not balls of ice.
Sunshelters, also sometimes simply called shade canopies, can be very unlike tents, if that’s what you were picturing. A “shade” or a “canopy” means you get simply that – a piece of fabric that pins to the ground and is suspended to give you some shade from the sun.
But they aren’t all like this. In fact, the term “sunshelter” can be a catch-all for anything that qualifies as any kind of structure to block out the sun. In this ultra-broad sense, an umbrella may even be a sun shelter. Heck, your hand could be a sunshelter by that definition… (getting too meta?)
Then again, some sunshelters look like this. Little pop up tents made to be your own little personal hidey-hole.
What are sunshelters used for, mostly? Sunshelters are often used for camping, beach vacations, festivals, conventions, product expos, resorts, or….. for your back deck, your back yard, a place for your dogs, cats, horses, you can also use it for gardening, as a mini gazebo. The list goes on.
Unfortunately, now you may be a bit confused. With so many possibilities, and yet so many limitations depending on the style of sunshelter you buy, you may wonder – what exactly can it really be used for?
For instance, you may wish to have a place to keep your valuables and belongings, while you are out frolicking in the waves or off taking a hike, out of sight from your sunshelter.
Which begs the question – is a sunshelter somewhere where you will feel safe leaving your wallet? Again, it depends on the type that you have your eye on.
What about a sun shelter you can sleep in? Can you use a sunshelter like an actual tent, and sleep in it? Depending on the kind you buy, that could be fine. But in many cases, no, unless you like sleeping on the beach under the stars, you’ll be right out in the open.
It comes back to the million dollar question – what kind do you want?
While it is true that some sunshelters are more stylish and their primary function is providing shade, other sunshelters are designed to be more like tents, and are sometimes even referred to as “beach tents”.
Now, depending on if the front flap actually zips up, you may not want to be open to the elements if you are planning on staying the night.
We must stress that even the most durable sunshelters are not really full on camping tents. That’s why there are camping tents. If you’re counting on a sunshelter to do everything a nice big tent can do, you may as well be shopping for a tent like that.
That said, depending on how much you’re willing to spend, and what look you’re going for, many of the features you’ll find in normal tents are often built into sunshelters, like zip up flaps, easy set up and take down, maybe a pocket here or there.
But the difference – at the least the main difference – is that sunshelters are made to be more lightweight, portable, and often open to the elements. That’s the appeal of them, often as not, which is to provide a fashionable shade that gives you a view of what’s around you.
Perhaps you may be considering taking your new sunshelter to a festival.
Depending on weather, you just might watch them slowly sink into the mud and disappear forever. In that case, there are some cheaper and even disposable models which might suit you better.
On the other hand, maybe you want something a bit more enduring, that will withstand trip after trip to the beach, for several seasons to come.
On the whole most people are looking for the following:
- EASE OF USE – Easy to put up AND take down
- LIGHTWEIGHT – This will probably spend more of its life being carried to and from the car, than some of the more ‘traditional’ tents which will stay up longer
- WEATHER PROOF – This means wind, water AND the all important sun shelter
- VALUE – No one is going to live in here, and the price tag ought to reflect this.
So, without further delay, here are our reviews for the 5 best sunshelters on the market today in 2020…