How to Keep a Canopy From Blowing Away at the Beach
Anchoring your beach canopy will probably be the most effective way of keeping it from blowing away. There are several alternate ways to try to keep a stable beach canopy in place as well but using tent stakes to anchor it in place seems to be the best method for offering the greatest stability with the least effort. That said, let’s take a look at all the methods that we have available to ensure that you can find something to get the job done for you whether or not you have tent stakes on hand.
Secure Your Beach Canopy with Tent Stakes
A canopy is basically a tent without walls, so you can treat it in much the same way. You’re using it to protect you from the sun and potentially some light rain if it comes to that. So you’ll want to make sure you have it well anchored to resist the wind.
Wind on a beach, as you know, can get pretty brutal. This is thanks to two things. One, the beach is a relatively open area. Even if you have a cityscape behind you, the water is wide open so nothing is blocking the wind like you’ll get in a city.
The other cause for beach wind is the contrast between high pressure and low pressure that occurs over water. That can make some serious gusts and your beach canopy has to deal with them when they come ashore.
If your canopy came with pegs or stakes, you can use those or you can upgrade to ones designed for use on the beach. Regular tent stakes typically do poorly in sand. That’s thanks to the loose nature of sand offering nothing for a normal tent stake to grip.
Sand anchors offer additional grip thanks to corkscrew-like threads. These work best if you dig down a little and get all the loose, dry sand out of your way. Once you reach the point where the sand becomes moist and dense, you can screw the stakes down into this to get some added grip and stability. One you have them secure, cover them over with the loose sand again to help add even more stability to them. This should do a good job of keeping most canopies firmly in place.
What if My Canopy Tent Doesn’t Have Sand Anchors?
If you have tent pegs that aren’t designed for sand, don’t worry. You can turn most kinds of tent pegs into a deadman anchor that will do a great job of anchoring your canopy in place as well.
Any type of stake can become a deadman anchor. What you want to do is tie your support line or guy line from the canopy around the center of the stake rather than attaching it to the end like you normally would before hammering it into the ground.
Pick the spot where you want to anchor your canopy and dig down. I recommend going down at least a foot and a half into the sand here but two feet is even better. You need that depth to ensure your anchor will have the best possible grip.
Once you have dug down far enough, you can lay your anchor on its side with the line tied around it, then bury it again under all the sand you dug up. Pack it in nice and tight. The weight of all that sand at that depth should be able to hold your stake in place.
If your canopy stakes are the narrow metal kind that are little more than pins, you may want to swap them for something with more surface area. The wider your dead man anchor is, the more force will be exerted on it by the sand and the more difficult it will be for something like a gust of wind to dislodge it. This could just be generic tent pegs or even pieces of driftwood you find around the beach.
There are plenty of generic stakes you can buy online or in stores as well. Steel stakes are durable but they may also suffer from corrosion, especially around salt water. If you choose a synthetic material, make sure it’s very durable. Plastic sand anchors have a bad habit of breaking around the threads, causing them to wear out or not be as sturdy.
Securing Beach Canopies with Stones
This will not work on every beach. If there are stones of any substantial size around you, however, this method can help as well. You can secure your guy line to a large, flat rock by tying it around the rock. Obviously a boulder is going to be too big, and a handful of pebbles will be too small. You want a rock light enough to lift but heavy enough that it takes a bit of effort to move.
Once you have the line secured, pile other rocks on and around your anchor stone to help secure it.
Most beaches keep rocks away from well-trafficked areas, so this idea may not work in most places. If there are some stones but not enough, you can combine this idea with the deadman anchor. Once you have your anchor buried, pile stones on the sand above for added weight and security.
Secure Your Canopy with Sandbags
Because stones are not readily available on every beach, you can use sand which by definition is abundant on every sandy beach. You can buy bags specifically to use as sandbags or tent weights if you want. Some of these will include loops or hooks into which you can actually tie your canopy guy lines.
You can also use sandbags as additional support for your pegs. Anything filled with beach sand can be placed on top of your anchors to help hold them in place. You can use a reusable shopping bag or a pillow case even if you don’t want to buy anything new. Just fill it with sand and place it over your buried stake or anchor.
Typical sandbags, like the kind they use in construction or to help bolster barriers during flooding, should weigh around 35 to 40 lbs, just to give you some idea of how much sand actually weighs. A full pillowcase can weigh well over 50 lbs. So you can get a pretty heavy bag without having to buy a special bag to do it. One of these canopy sandbags placed over every anchor can offer a lot of security to canopy tents.
How to Tie a Taut Line Hitch Knot
If you have never tied a line to secure beach tents or canopies before, you’ll want to use a taut-line hitch. This is an adjustable loop but, as the line is pulled from wind blowing, it will tighten in place.
- Start by wrapping your line around the end of your stake or anchor. Have the long length of the line to your right and the short length you just wrapped around it to the left.
- Take the short end on the left and cross it over the long end on the right. The end of the short end is not on the right, and it’s looped over your stake.
- Take the short end and pull it under the long end and through the loop you have created. Bring it back to the right when you’re done.
- Take the short end and bring it under the long end again, pulling it through the loop a second time and end it with the short end on the left this time. You should now have two coils of line visible around a center line and ending to the left.
- Pass the short end of the line under the longer end now, just below that coil and loop you made. It will now be resting on the right again. This is the start of a second loop under your first loop.
- Bring the short end to the left through the loop you just made.
- Hold the long end tightly and you can now pull the slack with the short end, tightening your hitch up. You should now be able to slide the knot up and down the long length of line.
This is the ideal line to secure any stake or pegs holding your canopy in place. They’re easy to untie but wind will pull them tighter as it puts pressure on the lines.
Secure The Legs
In a pinch, this idea can go a long way to keeping your canopy secured, if you don’t mind losing a little height. It’s a good way to secure a pop up canopy. In the same way you’d bury your anchors, you can dig holds in which to place the legs of your canopy frame. Try to make sure you dig your holes evenly so your canopy isn’t at an odd angle, though.
Once you have it in the ground up to six inches or so, you can pile the sand around the legs to keep them secure. You can go deeper if you like, but you don’t want to go too far or you may defeat the purpose of having a canopy in the first place. You don’t want it too low to the ground, after all.
If you choose to bury the legs, I would still recommend using anchoring to ensure the most stability and security.
You can also try the PVC pipe trick here. You can use segments of PVC pipe wide enough to fit the legs of your canopy in. Cut them so that one end has a sharp angle, about 45 degrees or so, making it look a little like a hollow spear. That pointy end is what you want to bury in the sand. Get it down there a good ways. You can cut the pipe to 15 inches up to 20 inches to allow this to work best.
Bury your PVC pipes and then you can place the canopy legs into the pipes. You’ll want to make sure it’s not too loose of a fit, and if you bury them deep enough you’ll have your legs secured a good foot or more underground. And the PVC will protect them from getting too dirty or corroded, depending on what they’re made from.
Choose a Vented Canopy
A vented canopy can actually prevent a lot of problems before they start by allowing wind to pass through. The reason your canopy is likely to blow away is because wind gets under it and it becomes like a parachute or the sail of a boat. The wind meets the fabric and there is resistance. It spreads across the surface area giving it lift and sending it up into the air. A vented canopy is designed to prevent this by allowing airflow. The wind cannot fill the space under the canopy as easily because the venting allows it to pass through.
Vented canopies are designed to allow that airflow while still blocking sun and light rain. That said, if a wind gust is strong enough it will still dislodge a vented canopy. For that reason you’ll still want to secure it by some other means, like sand anchors. But it will require stronger winds to move it than it would to move an unvented canopy.
Choose a Place with Less Wind
If you use natural features to block wind, this can save your canopy. Depending on your beach, this may or may not be an option. But you can prevent your canopy from blowing away by minimizing the contact you have with wind in the first place. For instance, if you set up your canopy in the middle of a wide open space, then you have little security against the wind.
If the beach you are on has trees, a lifeguard stand, washrooms or other structures, or even large rocks, you may be able to use that to your advantage. Naturally shielding yourself by setting up next to a structure can reduce the amount of wind you experience, depending on wind direction.
The Bottom Line
Anchoring your beach canopy is the best way to prevent it from blowing away. You can give your anchors a hand by doing things like piling stones or sandbags over them. You can also consider burying your legs, and setting up your canopy in a naturally shielded area. Finally, consider buying a vented canopy to help reduce the effect of wind on it. As always, stay safe and have fun.