A versatile seaside shelter
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TripSavvy / Danielle Directo-Meston
Offers protection from the elements
Has vented zip-up windows
Includes all stakes and accessories
50+ UPF umbrella fabric is also water-repellant
Difficult to set up in windy conditions
No threaded sand/ground anchor
Telescoping pole has a design flaw
The Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella is ideal for the beach, lawns, camping, and other activities—but the setup isn’t the easiest in sandy situations.
We purchased the Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella so our reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it at the beach. Keep reading for our full product review.
When it comes to spending an entire day at the beach, having a shady shelter is key to enjoying breaks from the sun. The Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella was designed to be used in a variety of outdoor situations, from seaside hangouts to the sidelines of soccer games to forest camping. We tested the canopy over several days—ranging from lightly breezy to moderately gusty—at the beach to see if it’s a must-have for any coastal picnic kit. Keep reading to see if we recommend it for your next outing.
Setting up the umbrella at the beach can be tricky when it’s particularly windy, but it’s not impossible with the help of another person. One design flaw we immediately noticed, however, was that the bottom of the telescoping pole lacked a tiered or threaded screw anchor, which would have been more convenient for getting it secured in the sand.
Also, we found that the umbrella pole’s locking mechanism didn’t have enough tension to keep it from telescoping back into itself. To avoid this, we had to firmly hold the bottom part as we were pushing the entire pole into the sand, which is not the easiest feat. When using the umbrella at the beach, we found that clearing off the looser top level of sand in order to reach the thicker, moist sand was key for easier installation.
All in all, it didn’t take any more than five minutes of carefully securing each corner of the umbrella.
The wind also posed a challenge while we scrambled to drive the steel stakes into the ground as the umbrella sides flapped in the wind. We found that stomping on them with our shoe-covered feet sufficed without causing any damage (to our soles and the stakes), but a lightweight mallet would have been more ideal. However, once the umbrella was up, we had no trouble with it flying away. On windy days, using all eight of the steel stakes and two of the anchor cords proved enough to make the shade stay put.
All in all, it didn’t take any more than five minutes of carefully securing each corner of the umbrella flaps and ensuring that the pole was installed deep enough in the sand to withstand the wind.
Collapsed, the umbrella is 54 x 4 x 4 inches, but the canopy opens up to measure 8 feet wide, offering enough shade underneath to fit two or more folding beach chairs comfortably side by side. We managed to seat two adults in camping chairs and two small children in kids’ folding seats.
We wouldn’t dare venture out in the Southern California summers without sunscreen, and we like that the Sport-Brella canopy brings added protection against the sun, thanks to its 50+ UPF fabric, which blocks 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays. The 210 D polyester fabric is also water-repellant and feels durable enough to withstand pokes from blunt objects.
The umbrella measures 8 feet wide, offering enough room to fit two or more folding beach chairs comfortably side by side.
There are two side mesh windows with zippered covers that offer plenty of airflow—not to mention, they’re handy for hollering through to your fellow beachgoers to pass the sunscreen. There are also pockets along the bottom edge of the flaps that can be used for storing sunscreen, water bottles, and other items, or you can fill them with heavier objects to keep the umbrella weighed down during particularly gusty days.
As far as aesthetics, this umbrella is available in blue, red, and a patterned turquoise. Its appearance is fairly basic, but that’s hardly an issue unless you’re looking for a fancy glamping umbrella.
Overall, we found the Sport-Brella canopy to be a comfortable and cool haven from the sun for two seated adults and two kids—so long as it’s properly staked to the ground. The pole struggled to stay put in the sand when loosely anchored during one particularly windy day, though this was more due to user error. The side flaps also ended up blowing in the wind when the metal anchors weren’t installed properly. We can see it being much easier to use in dirt and lawn settings where the ground has more texture for the metal anchors. In general, though, there was a learning curve to setup but once the umbrella was properly secured, we had no trouble with it blowing away.
As a result of the umbrella’s unfortunately faulty pole design, we aren’t likely to use this as a traditional upright beach umbrella—it works best as more of a canopy. For upright use, we’d have to tie side flaps down with the anchor cords, and we’d rather use a traditional umbrella with a threaded anchor that’s better designed for that purpose.
One frustrating thing about other sun shades we’ve seen on the market is the lack of anchoring accessories—and that’s not the case with the Sport-Brella. It includes four heavy-duty steel ground stakes, four steel hooked ground stakes for the side flaps, and three 8-foot tie-down cords, offering plenty of ways to secure the umbrella to the ground. It also comes with a carrying case, which was quite portable and roomy enough to put away the umbrella and all of its accessories with little effort.
For $60 MSRP, Sport-Brella’s all-weather umbrella is on the more affordable side. Those looking for a good value and convenient features will find that here, especially when slightly cheaper (and lower quality) umbrellas definitely won’t stand up to the test.
Tommy Bahama Stripe 7.5-Foot Beach Umbrella: We simultaneously tested the Tommy Bahama umbrella, which is slightly more expensive ($70 MSRP). While we found this one easier to set up, it can’t double as a tent and can only be used as a traditional umbrella so it really comes down to which design you prefer.
BeachBUB All-In-One Beach Umbrella: We also tested BeachBUB’s all-in-one option, which is more than double the Sport-Brella ($150 MSRP). However, if you’re looking for a worry-free shade that will withstand moderate winds, this might be the best pick, thanks to its heavy (and easy to set up) sand-filled base.
Interested in reading more reviews? Check out our roundup of the best beach umbrellas.
If you’re heading to the beach and don’t mind spending some extra time to ensure that the umbrella is firmly secured to the ground, the Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella is great to have on hand. It’s big enough to accommodate at least two people, and it’ll serve you well during camping and other outdoor activities as well.
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