Best Beach Umbrella/Shelter for the Sun-shy
July 11, 2018 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm headed to the beach in a few weeks, and my goal is to stay out of the sun as much as I can. Is there a better/easier alternative to a beach umbrella?

I don't really like the beach all that much, but that's the vacation I've got. Is there something better than a regular beach umbrella to stay out of the sun? I'd like to still get the ocean breeze because I get hives when I get hot on the beach. Are beach shelters easy to put up for novices? I may end up having to share my shelter with two other people because I'll be with a couple early teens who get tired of the sun too.
posted by gladly to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
we got this one from amazon at the end of last beach season - i too am sun averse and need to be covered. the "sand anchor" is an auger-like spike at the bottom that really does seem to help get the umbrella firmly planted. we generally take public transportation to the beach so the more elaborate shade/shelter set ups were more than i wanted to haul.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:03 AM on July 11, 2018

They have tents and half-tents specifically made for the beach. I have a half tent for the beach and it goes up easily.
posted by Julnyes at 7:11 AM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

We met friends at the beach a few days ago and one couple brought a beach tent that opened like an umbrella, but was big and square and had pockets on all four corners of the square that you could fill with wet sand to keep it securely anchored. It was really slick, went up really quickly, and didn't budge all day, even when the wind picked up. Next time we're in the market I'll definitely be looking for one.

EDIT: actually bothered to Google it and found the exact unit our friends had.
posted by saladin at 7:11 AM on July 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

This sport-brella model is super dope; we’ve bought some better stakes for it, but otherwise is awesome. They come up discounted on amazon all the time.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:14 AM on July 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Obligatory wirecutter link.
posted by ftm at 7:33 AM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding the Sport-brella. We've used it at the ocean, and when it gets really windy, someone needs to hold onto the pole, but on a regular windy/breezy day it's not a problem. We have a standard 8' one that is comfortable for two adults and a small child. Might be ok for one adult and two large children, but I think it would be worth it for you to get the XL Sport-brella.
posted by Kriesa at 7:49 AM on July 11, 2018

I think umbrellas are best because they are easy to move your chair around as the sun moves so that you are always in the shade. But the tent that @saladin linked looks awesome.

For anything you get, if it doesn't already come with sand anchors, the best way to anchor it is to get a plastic grocery bag (or maybe two) and fill them up with sand, then tie the handles of the bag to your umbrella. If it's really windy, you can bury the bag, but then it's hard to adjust/move the umbrella with the sun. Just make sure to take the bags with you at the end of the day so they don't go in the ocean.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:49 AM on July 11, 2018

I would say that more people are going for the canopy tent these days. Example here. Particularly if you're looking at multiple people perhaps sharing your shade.

They can be a bit of a struggle to put up with just one person, but with one other person you should be good-to-go. Also a bonus if you find that the beach you're at would allow you to keep up the "skeleton" of the canopy tent for the duration of your stay, and just put up the "shade" part every time you come out to the beach.
posted by kuanes at 7:53 AM on July 11, 2018

Nthing the sport-brella. Better shade than a canopy tent because you can rotate it better. I recommend a sand anchor for it, though.
posted by jeather at 8:53 AM on July 11, 2018

Yup. Sport-Brella is the way to go. Easy to transport and setup and move when needed.
posted by tman99 at 9:25 AM on July 11, 2018

Best answer: Just a word of caution, you might want to check the regulations for your particular beach. I'm so pale I may burst into flames on the shore, but our beach of choice (Rehoboth) does not permit tents/shelters - it's umbrella only.

I googled, here are their actual rules:
- Only 7 foot, 6 inch umbrellas or smaller with a collapsible circular shade no greater than 8 feet in diameter will be allowed.
- Only canopies designed for babies and small children that do not exceed 36 x 36 inches will be allowed.
- Only canopies allowed by permit for special events and weddings will be allowed on beach.
posted by librarianamy at 9:42 AM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Something like this?
Neso Grande Beach Tent with Sand Anchor, Portable Canopy for Shade - Multiple Colors (Periwinkle, Large)
posted by RunRunRunRun at 7:13 PM on July 11, 2018

Response by poster: The Sportbrella XL arrived, and it is enormous. I can easily share my shade with this thing! Thankfully, the DE state park rules allow for shelters this big, something I'd never thought to check!
posted by gladly at 12:06 PM on August 7, 2018

Response by poster: One more follow-up: I spent the week using the Sportbrella XL, and it was perfect. It definitely took two people to assemble, but it was plenty roomy for two people to share, and we could have fit three people if we adjusted the set-up a bit. I also learned that Sportbrella people all talk to each other on the beach and check out one another's setups!
posted by gladly at 10:10 AM on August 19, 2018

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