While I certainly enjoy getting a nice tan—or attempting to, anyway—I like to sunbathe on my own terms. A shade provider like an umbrella or canopy helps me escape the sun’s rays exactly when I need, so I can avoid pink, peeling skin later in the week. If you’re one of those people that loves the beach, but hates the sun, here are some of the best umbrellas to keep that pesky star from ruining your day out. Some things to look out for: UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), ventilation to keep air circulating, portability, and ease of setup.
Weighs less than 9 pounds when packed away. Amazon
This option covers 7.5 feet and is wind-tested up to 35 miles per hour. This means you won’t be chasing down your umbrella when things get breezy. You also don’t need to dig a hole in the sand and get the umbrella standing. Instead, this system comes with a tarp that you fill with up to 120 pounds of sand, which keeps the setup in place.
Large Groups Rejoice
Beach-ready and brings the shade. Amazon
The steel-ribbed canopy of this “sport-brella” provides nine feet of protection when extended, weighs nine pounds, and is made of water-resistant polyester material. It comes with a strap, carrying bag, and eight steel ground stakes.
A more portable shade-thrower. Amazon
The Sport-Brella Versa-Brella weighs only 1.8 pounds, provides SPF 50+ protection, and easily mounts to your chair’s arm with a clamp. You can adjust the angle of the umbrella as the sun moves, so you’ll stay protected without getting out of your chair. When fully extended it gives you 40 x 42 inches of sun protection.
For protection on the beach and on the go. Amazon
If you don’t want to spend money on an umbrella that is only useful for a couple of beach trips a year, you can go for a multipurpose protector like the Repel windproof umbrella. It’s less than a foot long, weighs less than a pound, and provides 42 inches of sun or rain protection. It’s got nine resin-reinforced fiberglass ribs for increased sturdiness.