The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

PahaQue Cottonwood LT Review

Hard to setup, but once erect, it's a durable and stable shelter option.
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Price:  $319 List | $256.50 at Amazon
Pros:  Durable, stable, spacious
Cons:  Heavy for a beach canopy, difficult setup
Manufacturer:   PahaQue
By Michael Wood ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 28, 2019
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Livability - 25% 7
  • Ease of Setup - 25% 4
  • Wind Resistance - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Portability - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The PahaQue Cottonwood Lt offers 100 square feet of floor space and a spacious eight feet of clearance at its center. Multiple guy-lines and stakes, as well as a durable frame, provide shelter from the elements for multiple days. The largest of the beach tents tested, the Cottonwood has enough room for 4-6 people, and the adjustability and structural options will make sure it stays put on the windiest of days.

This beach canopy is big and burly, but it is likely overkill for what most folks need. Our favorite for beach lounging is the Big Agnes Three Forks Shelter, which is more portable, easier to set up, and much more affordable. If you need a model to handle high winds regularly, though, the PahaQue tent is the one for you.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The fanned legs offer the most sun protection among the beach-specific models we tested.
The fanned legs offer the most sun protection among the beach-specific models we tested.

Livability


With 100 sq ft of floor space and a max height of 8 feet, the Cottonwood Lt offers the most space out of the other beach tents tested. With enough room for a family of 4-6, this tent can keep your crew out of the sun, as well as protect from the occasional light rain. The sides are all the same height, approximately 5'8", so some members of the family may have to dip their heads in order to get in, but once inside, there's plenty of headspace. The fanned out legs offer a bit more shade, but unless the sun is directly overhead, not all of the 100 square feet will be shaded. Similar to the Big Agnes Three Forks Shelter, PahaQue offers purchasable side walls for an additional $29, which provide increased sun and wind protection.

Eight feet of clearance under the peak at this tent's center.
Eight feet of clearance under the peak at this tent's center.

Ease of Setup


The most difficult of the beach shelters to set up, it took approximately 8 minutes to set up with two people working on it. While it is possible to set up with one person, it took nearly 20 minutes of frustration to get upright, even after the learning curve. This difficulty would only be exacerbated in windy conditions. The pre-bent poles allow for increased height and floor space but also tend to get twisted and make the aligning of all four legs a struggle. The two primary leg poles are the combination of two separate tent poles, adding to the time and difficulty of set-up. Two people setting this up together, if not more, is definitely our recommendation to cut down on setup time so you can get back to enjoying the day.

Taking a breather after struggling with straightening out the legs.
Taking a breather after struggling with straightening out the legs.

Wind Resistance


This tent's wind resistance is drastically increased when all guy-lines are used and connected to sturdy surroundings. The Cottonwood Lt is unique in that each leg has two separate guy-lines, which when secured properly and in combination with the stakes, allow for great stability in windy conditions.

Tent stakes along with an adjustable base  increase this shelter's wind resistance.
Tent stakes along with an adjustable base, increase this shelter's wind resistance.

Durability


The Cottonwood Lt boasts a 150D polyester oxford fabric, with a heavy-duty waterproof coating (1500mm) and UV coatings with a sun protection factor of 50+, designed to protect from light rain and harmful UV rays. The poles are high performance 100% Aluminum 6061 Series alloy, and shock-corded, so the poles themselves as well as the cording holding them together are durable and should hold up in most weather. At 16lbs, this is the heaviest of the tested beach tents, but it also provides the tent with a more durable and stable frame, providing the tent with the ability to stay up for multiple days.

Guy-lines at either corner of the shelter help keep the shelter anchored on windy beach days.
Guy-lines at either corner of the shelter help keep the shelter anchored on windy beach days.

Portability


At 16 lbs, this is the heaviest beach tent. However, the carrying bag (which packs down to 26 x 8 x 8 inches) comes with a shoulder strap which makes transportation more bearable. Our testers very much appreciate having a shoulder strap on a carrying case, especially when dealing with heavier tents.

The Cottonwood Lt is the largest and heaviest beach canopy  but its saving grace is the shoulder strap  which helps when lugging it from parking pavement to sandy playgrounds.
The Cottonwood Lt is the largest and heaviest beach canopy, but its saving grace is the shoulder strap, which helps when lugging it from parking pavement to sandy playgrounds.

Best Applications


The Cottonwood Lt 10x10 is a tent which can be used for family gatherings, as it has an 8-foot peak and 100 square feet of floor space. Its durability and structural integrity allow for multi-day use, and its portability makes it an accessible beach or camping tent. If you need maximum coverage or weather resistance, this is the strongest beach contender for that.

Value


At $319, the Cottonwood Lt is a big investment but will benefit large families hoping to get a durable tent capable of keeping them out of the sun and moderate rain.

Conclusion


This tent is durable and spacious, though its setup is difficult and it weighs quite a bit for a beach tent. The shoulder strap eases transport to some extent, so if you have a large group hoping to get out of the sun for a few days, this may be the tent for you.


Michael Wood