Our guide to the best windbreaks

Which windbreak should you buy? After a few gusty camping trips, it’s time to try out the best – and easiest – ways to shelter from the wind. Retro or high-tech…here are our favourites.

First, though…a few questions to ask yourself.

  1. What size do you REALLY need? Big is more versatile (you can build yourself a fortified encampment), but all those poles and panels can be impossible to put up, especially when it’s windy!
  2. Can you live with guylines? All but the very expensive semi-permanent windbreaks that you see around long-term caravanners will need guying in strong winds. Guylines get in the way, so bear that in mind, especially when deciding on size (bigger = more guys).
  3. Does it need to be lightweight? Aluminium poles will be lightest, steel the next lightest and solid timber the heaviest.
  4. What sort of fabric? Do you want canvas (heavy, hard to dry but traditional) or a plastic/polyester fabric?  

Traditional beach windbreaks with wooden poles

Canvas and wood

These Eriba caravanners have gone prettily retro with two striped canvas windbreaks. Note how low they are, though. Your feet might be less breezy but your hair will be blown away! Essential for the vintage vibe, though. Best we've found so far are the Blue Diamond ones with steel-tipped wooden poles. Lots of sizes and colours from around £45.

Plastic and wood

A semi-private changing area for these campers (the half-naked woman is my 84-year-old mum just returned from swimming in the River Wharfe). Plastic/polythene fabric windbreaks are the cheapest and can actually be quite sturdy. The Trail windbreaks are around £10 for a four-pole, 7-foot stripy.

Tarp-windbreak combi

We do love versatility. Here, a stripy beach windbreak is turning a tarp into a kind of gazebo. Shelter from the wind and a bit of privacy and cosiness. Have a look at our article on tarps too for more ideas.

Polyester windbreaks

Regatta Camila

Our choice for the cheapest and most portable windbreak. The Regatta windbreak has just two panels and three folding steel poles. Guys and pegs included. A tip: guy the centre line quite close to the fabric wall or you'll be forever tripping over it. Around £25.

Royal Leisure

There's both a four-pole (130x450) and a six-pole (130x750) version of this Royal Leisure windbreak. The viewing window is nice. The poles are steel and guylines and pegs included. It's not a quick set-up because the guylines are needed to keep everything stable, but reasonably light (3-4kg) and affordable (£27 and £40).

Eurotrail windbreak

For a three panel, four-pole option, the Eurotrail windbreak is fairly simple. Same set-up method of guyed poles. Nice window, but more expensive at £85.
Amazon is a good source for a windbreak because it's so easy to return if it doesn't hold up. We've found good selections too at Springfield Camping and Go Outdoors.

Patterned windbreaks

VW campervan windbreak

Colourful five-pole VW campervan windbreak that you simply hammer into the ground. The poles have plastic caps, by the way. In red or blue. Costs around £25.

Yello pebbles windbreak

Identical to the VW one in construction, this seaside patterned windbreak has five wooden, plastic-tipped poles and is 120x390cm. Weighs around 2kg and costs about £15. Yello does lots of different patterns. Not optimum quality, but fun and easy to install. Jost hammer in the poles.

Pretty patchwork windbreak

Three panels and four poles with a height of 130cm. This is made by Outdoor Revolution and costs around £35. You're paying extra for steel-tipped wooden poles and the unusual fabric.

Top-quality (expensive) windbreaks

Jormax

For serious enclosures and privacy, Jormax windbreaks start at around £140. They use horizontal poles as well as uprights to keep them stable without guys. They also do pet enclosures and solid or see-through options.

Coveva

Just like Jormax really, these Coveva windbreaks also start at around £140. Lots of connecting bits and pieces, plus gates and pens. From 3m to twice around the campsite (almost). A 16.5m option will cost you around £500.

Windbreak Leisure

Woah! These Dudley-made windbreaks start at £450 for a 3m version, but do include a gate. For VERY serious permavanners and the like. They do custom sizes too.

What NOT to buy. A few brands you should stay clear of, either because of general poor quality (torn fabric, split softwood poles, frayed edges etc), or because they simply don’t stay up in the wind.

  • Lvivo and Oypla – cheap and nasty. Buy one if you must, use it for one season and buy another next year. Better to get something more durable.
  • Coleman Classic – looks good, but impossible to put up and not great in the wind! 
  • Outwell Round – fantastic idea of a curved windbreak, but a nightmare to put up. You might have better luck!
  • Outwell Windscreen – gap at the bottom lets wind through…hmmm.
  • Olpro Wall – fun patterns, but the material rips.
  • Charles Bentley – plain and simple-looking but totally hopeless. Too tall for its own good.

Get clever with windbreaks

Improvise a shelter

The wind's gusting horribly in this photo but that bit of old boardwalk is going to keep us safe...isn't it? This is either Marseillan Plage in the South of France or Hayling Island in the South of England...both breezy! Have a look at our article on camping in your car if you're into cheap and clever.

Use a tarp

The best thing about a tarp is its versatility. We use ours as a sunshade, an extension to the awning and a windbreak. The downside is that you have to reconfigure it to suit the conditions. Practise your set-ups and have a look at our article on using tarps in all sorts of ways.

Instant event shelter

Get a multipurpose shelter

Have a look at our inspiring round-up of the best multipurpose shelters that are quick to put up and can be windbreak, dining room, gazebo or yoga studio (yes, we did do that once!). Overkill for a quick trip to the beach maybe, but some of these take less putting-up than a five-pole windbreak and do a lot more!

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