100+ UPF protection
Stylish striped design
Difficult to set up during windy conditions
Tommy Bahama made a name for itself by channeling the relaxing island lifestyle in its clothing and home décor, so it’s no surprise that its beach accessories reflect the same breezy attitude. But not all beach accessories are created equal, and my family and I know this firsthand. Living in Southern California, we’re frequent beachgoers, and we’ve had our share of flimsy beach umbrellas don’t last more than one season. To see if this 7.5-foot Tommy Bahama beach umbrella was up to the task, we tested it three separate all-day excursions. Read on for our insights.
Setup Process: Easy right out of the bag
The Tommy Bahama umbrella is easy to set up right out of the bag. Once my family and I got to the beach, I removed it from its included carrying bag. I then drilled down the bottom pole into the sand with the help of the two fold-down handles. Once the base was secure, I was able to attach the umbrella easily, lock it securely, and open the canopy.
Design: Stylish in every seaside setting
As far as beach umbrellas go, the look of this Tommy Bahama canopy is both classic and stylish, with blue and white stripes that blend right into any seaside setting. It doesn’t exactly stand out from the sea of other colorful beach umbrellas, but that’s hardly a design flaw.
The look of this Tommy Bahama canopy is both classic and stylish.
In terms of mechanics, this umbrella’s pole is made of aluminum; its canopy is made from 100+ UPF polyester fabric, meaning that it blocks approximately 98 percent of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. I felt that the pole itself was fairly sturdy and that its threaded sand anchor made it easy to drill deeper into the ground. It also has a convenient tilting mechanism; with the push of a plastic button, you can adjust the canopy’s angle based on the sun’s location throughout the day. I didn’t have any issues with this button during the testing period, but since it’s made of plastic, I could potentially see durability being an issue over the long-term.
This umbrella also has hold-down plastic handles that can be left open and used as hooks. I thought that these handles were strong enough to hold a towel or a light bag, but I wouldn’t trust them to support a heavy backpack or several heavy wet towels.
With the push of a plastic button, you can adjust the canopy’s angle.
Performance: A good match for windy days
Once assembled, this 7.5-foot-tall umbrella offers enough shade for two people. Plus, the canopy’s 100+ UPF fabric offered us peace of mind that our skin would be safeguarded in between sunscreen reapplications.
We’re also happy to report that the umbrella held its own during moderate winds. On a blustery day of testing, other beachgoers’ lightweight umbrellas were upended easily while ours managed to stay put when standing straight up and tilted at an angle. Setting it up on windy days, however, was a challenge. Once it was securely anchored into the sand, the winds made it somewhat difficult to open, though we imagine that this would be the case with any other shade in very breezy weather.
On a blustery day, other beachgoers’ lightweight umbrellas were upended easily while ours stayed put.
We also liked that, when it was time to pack up at the end of the day, this umbrella was easy to slip back into its fabric carrying bag. With that being said, we wished the bag had a little extra padding on its shoulder strap, especially since most beach trips involve dragging bulky items across the hot sand.
Price: Worth it
Priced at approximately $70 MSRP, the Tommy Bahama shade isn’t the cheapest beach umbrella around. But, unlike truly budget umbrellas, it’ll hold up over time—plus it’s stylish and easy to use. In other words, you get what you pay for.
Competition: Still stands out
BeachBUB All-In-One Umbrella System: The BeachBUB All-In-One Umbrella System, which we also tested, features a base that’s filled with sand. It was great for all-day beach excursions because of its durability and ability to withstand moderate winds, while its towel ring was able to hold heavier items like wet towels and backpacks—a feature that was sturdier than the Tommy Bahama’s plastic hooks.
Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella: We also reviewed the Sport-Brella all-weather shade, which doesn’t have a threaded anchor but can be used as a sun shelter when secured to the ground. Because it has a larger coverage area than the Tommy Bahama, this option is ideal for those who want to be completely in the shade.
However, with those two options in mind, we found that Tommy Bahama still stands out for its overall value—plus, it was easy to set up and use.
Need some help finding what you’re looking for? Check out our list of the best beach umbrellas.
We thought that the Tommy Bahama Stripe 7.5-Foot Beach Umbrella was fashionable and functional for a windy day at the beach. It’s a breeze to set up and offers convenient features like a tilting mechanism. Overall, it’s worth spending a bit of extra money for a beach umbrella that’ll last for more than one summer.
- Product Name Stripe 7.5-Foot Beach Umbrella
- Product Brand Bahama
- MPN SH481004
- Price $69.50
- Product Dimensions 84 x 84 x 88.75 in.
- Color Blue/White
- Material Aluminum tubing, 100% polyester canopy, plastic handle and sand anchor
- Sun Protection UPF 100+ (blocks 98% UVA/UVB rays)
- What’s Included Umbrella, carrying bag