When you think of a windbreak, you might be imagining colourful, stripy tarp on a beach. The best windbreaks nowadays, however, are more than simple beach accessories. The best windbreaks will not only offer protection from everything the elements throw at you, but can make your camp/beach site seem much more homely. Ultimately, windbreaks can make the difference between a successful camping trip and a wet, windy and miserable outing.
There are windbreaks out there for every budget and occasion. Whether you want a large barrier to encircle your camping area, a smaller windbreak to shield a few people or even a tiny one to protect your fire and equipment, there’s a windbreak out there for you.
For this reason, choosing the best windbreak is perhaps more complicated than it once was. Fear not, because we’ve sifted through all the options to bring you a round-up of the best windbreaks to suit every type of outdoor outing and budget.
How to choose the best windbreak for you
How big does my windbreak need to be?
The ideal windbreak for you depends on your planned camping setup. If you usually go with a large family, or multiple families, and you know you’ll have a decent amount of space to set up camp with, then it’s worth investing in one of the larger options.
If you have a small family or intend on moving camps frequently during your trips, then a large windbreak may be too much hassle, so you could opt for a more convenient medium-sized model instead. You can also get highly portable windbreaks that pack down into a backpack. These are the ideal choice for bikers, hikers or anyone who prefers to pack as little weight as possible.
Beyond that, there are even mini-windbreaks out there designed to shield your stove/campfire from the elements, in order to make cooking and boiling the kettle much easier on blustery days.
Will I need to guy ropes separately?
Another important factor to take into consideration is guy ropes. The space your windbreak takes up won’t just be the windbreak itself— it’ll need room for the guy ropes as well.
Almost all camping windbreaks will require guy ropes, which should come with the windbreak. Beach windbreaks tend not to use them, as they’re not designed to provide shelter from any severe weather.
Guy ropes take up space and can be a nuisance to navigate around, so bear that in mind when looking for your windbreak. If you want to get rid of the guy ropes altogether, then there are premium semi-permanent windbreaks available that don’t need ropes to stay up.
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What fabrics are used in windbreaks?
Many windbreaks nowadays are made using plastic/polyester fabrics, which is often a practical and cheap option. If you want a windbreak with a traditional look, then canvas is your best bet. Bear in mind though that canvas tends to be heavier and harder to dry than alternative fabrics.
Are the pole materials important?
The three most common pole materials you’ll find are aluminium, steel and wood.
Wood is the heaviest option and often goes well with more traditional windbreaks. More recently, air poles have emerged as a popular option, which usually makes for easier construction and negates the possibility of anything snapping. A pump will be required for air poles, but these are often not included with the windbreak, so bear that extra cost in mind.
How much should I spend on a windbreak?
Decent camping windbreaks begin at around the £30 mark. If you want a larger model with a bit more to it, then that’ll cost you closer to £100. Meanwhile, premium offerings that offer fantastic protection and a few added style points can be found for around £150-£300. If you’re after a smaller windbreak designed to protect your fire/stove, then that’ll make a smaller dent in your wallet, as many of these are under £10.
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The best windbreaks to buy in 2021
1. Quechua Camping Windbreak: Best budget camping windbreak
Price: £30 | Buy now from Decathlon
If you’re after an affordable and reliable windbreak for your camping trips, then this model from Quechua could be the one for you. Measuring 145cm in height and 400cm in length, this windbreak can comfortably provide shelter to multiple people in light to moderate winds, making it ideal for cosy trips with your family or a handful of friends.
To assemble the windbreak, all you need to do is set it up using the three poles, guy ropes and pegs. This is an incredibly easy process, so if you find yourself having to move and disassemble the windbreak for any reason, this shouldn’t prove to be too much of a hassle.
This windbreak may not have some of the bells and whistles that you get with pricier offerings, but at such an affordable price, it’s hard to complain. It’s worth noting that pegs aren’t included with the Quechua Camping Windbreak but you can buy some reliable and cheap ones here.
Key specs — Dimensions (folded): Not given; Dimensions (open): (H) x (L) 145cm x 400cm (depth not given); Weight: Not given; Panel material: Polyester; Pole material: Stainless steel
Buy now from Decathlon
2. Vinsani Windbreak: Best windbreak to use at the beach
Price: From £10 | Buy now from Amazon
This windbreak from Vinsani is a great option if you want something for casual use at the beach. It has the kind of classic, colourful design that’s synonymous with seaside holidays but It’s not all style over substance, as the tarp fabric provides ample cover from the sea breeze and the sturdy wooden poles will have no problem sticking in the sand.
What’s more, the windbreak comes in seven different sizes of varying height and length, the longest of which is 610cm, so you can set up an expansive area of cover if you so wish. We wouldn’t recommend it for Himalayan trekking by any means – it’s not quite that robust – but if you want some privacy and peace on the beach, then Vinsani has you covered.
Key specs — Dimensions (folded): Not given; Dimensions (open): (H) x (L) 120cm- 150cm x 224cm- 610cm (depth not given); Weight: Not given; Panel material: Tarpaulin; Pole material: wood