Sun Smarties Family Beach Cabana Tent: Easily Well Shaded

06/17/2009 at 03:00 PM ET

One of the best things about summer is going to the beach. But if you have tiny tots a day of surf and sand usually means a ton of stress, especially when it comes to sun protection. For our first beach outing of the season I tried One Step Ahead’s Sun Smarties Family Beach Cabana Tent ($80) in hopes of making things a bit easier. And it definitely did the trick.

Folded and with zippered entryway

The large (86″L x 49″D x 47”H) tent gives UPF 50+ protection, has two zippered entryways and side mesh panels with roll-down sides for privacy. What I really love is how small the tent and carry bag is before assembly. It’s extremely lightweight and easy to carry on your back or by hand. The pop-up tent literally springs up in seconds — much to the delight of my little ones — and includes stakes perfect for a lakeside excursion and pockets to fill with sand to keep the tent upright on the sandy beach.

Although it held up beautifully, even on a breezy day, it will definitely topple when pushed. There’s no floor to the tent so bring your own towels and blankets. At first it was a feature that I found lacking, but I quickly realized it makes a great shady cover on wet sand for building sand castles.

Folding the tent took a bit more work and the instructions included weren’t too helpful. Luckily I tested it out at home first. After failing a few times I watched a short video on the One Step Ahead website. I was then able to fold it down in less than a minute on my first try.

With its large size and sturdy construction, I definitely think we’ll be using this for years to come. And it’s definitely a winner if your family is at the beach several times a year.

— Sarah S.

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Showing 8 comments

Anon on

I love this. I dont have kids but I love shade lol.

Debbie on

That looks really cool. With 3 kiddies this looks absolutley awesome…

Stephanie on

I have this and recently used it in Hawaii on a VERY windy day. It stayed put and didnt move an inch (used sand to hold it down). It’s great! Once you figure out how to fold it back up, it’s a piece of cake.

Natasha on

That seems really useful! I’d use it just for myself🙂

Kelly on

In Australia, almost everyone owns one of these sunshades. We took ours on a trip to Hawaii and were visited by 25 people wanting to know where we purchased it. I totally recomend it for everyone, not just people with kids.

jk on

We own one and it’s awesome..we first got it when my now 5 year old was a baby and we still use it..both little boys and one parent can fit in comfortably for changing or napping or eating out of the wind..
If you are a beach goer and have little ones, you must get one..you won’t regret it..
Oh, and it’s easy to fold up and takes no room in the trunk of the car.

Kalani on

I’d been wanting one of these since last year but they had sold out on the One Step Ahead website… I made sure to buy one early this spring. My husband loves taking the fam to the beach & I HATE sitting out in the sun. Can’t wait to try this out! Everyone says they’re really long lasting and when weighted down with sand in the pockets, won’t blow away. We set it up in the living room when it arrived and my son absolutely loved it… Found a video on you-tube and my husband had no trouble folding it! Which seems to be the major drawback for most customers.

Tara on

I wouldn’t normally spend $80 on a beach tent but this one looks really big and worth it!

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