Pop Up Perfection
- What: Lightspeed Sun Shelter
- When: Before birth until you can’t find it
- Why: Keep cool, sets up in seconds, packable
- Where: Amazon
Looking for a spot of shade at the park, beach, or even in your own backyard? Invest in a Lightspeed shade tent. It lives up to its name with super speedy set up.
The Lightspeed shade tent sets up in seconds, even if you’ve never done it before. You remove it from the bag and let the poles flop to the ground. Then it pops up by pulling on some strings while holding the middle hub. The directions come printed on the material so you don’t need to worry about remembering a thing except the tent and your kids. Heck, you can enjoy this tent even without your kids. Once you set it up, it provides three sides of shelter with an open fourth side. The top canopy extends past the sides a bit to provide extra coverage. The bottom of the tent consists of a super durable thick tarp type material. Windows on all three sides include shades that can be closed, left open by rolling them down, or attached at only one side to maximize both your shade and visibility. It comes with stakes to keep the entire structure in place and prevent it from blowing away (or your kids from using it as a fun house).
Once you’re done, taking it down proves almost as easy as putting it up, and can be done quickly as well. You have to stuff the tent back into the included sack for carrying, which takes a bit longer than dumping it out.
The Lightspeed Sun Shelter works great for car camping, though I wouldn’t haul the long carrying case on a backpacking trip. I can, however, carry this tent with ease over my shoulder or crossbody while pushing a stroller and holding onto another child.
When we first got ours several years ago, I saw almost no one with the same product. Now I see them popping up everywhere. We will tell anyone who will listen how much we love it (and share our shade), and plenty of people ask after watching us set it up or take it down.
Our first Lightspeed shade tent broke and I replaced it as soon as possible. I don’t normally recommend products that break, but I made an exception for this tent. One of the joints in the legs that allows the tent to fold broke on our first version. Despite that lack of longevity (it lasted a couple summers), we invested in another one immediately because they come in so useful and handy, and because we live near a great park with almost no shade. Our original one had a slight advantage because it came with extra floor material that extended beyond the front of the tent. You could clip the material up to form a fourth side for extra privacy, as well as having a larger shaded area to lounge on when it laid flat in front. But you can achieve the same effect with any picnic blanket.