The Best Beach Umbrella for Sun Protection

This nine-foot-wide canopy is a beach umbrella, sun tent, rain shelter and more, all rolled into one.

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July 23, 2020

Living three hours from a beach means I go often enough that I need a good, reliable umbrella but not enough that it needs to take up precious space in my house. Plus, said umbrella needs to fit in my car with suitcases, a cooler, a car seat and a dog, and it must be easy to haul down to the sand. Enter the Sport-Brella. With more than 3,800 reviews and a 4.3-star rating, families swear by this all-weather canopy, and that's exactly why I bought it.

Hitting the beach during a Southern summer scorcher means sun protection for my family is a top priority. I bought the Sport-Brella XL, which measures nine-feet-wide when open (that's one foot larger than the original) and folds to less than five feet, fitting in a slim, convenient carrying bag. It takes minutes to set up with a durable telescoping pole, eight steel ground stakes and three tethers for extra stability. (And this isn’t a multi-person gig; one person can handle the entire setup process with ease, while the other holds a baby — in my case.) The canopy is constructed of strong, water-repellant polyester with UPF 50+ sun protection, shielding over 99.5 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Top wind vents and side zippered windows offer efficient airflow and ventilation, keeping it cool and breezy "inside" yet still fully protected from the elements.

We had plenty of space to spread out two big blankets, arrange all our stuff and let our little one crawl around and play — all completely shaded. Plus, I really love the side flaps that provide a bit more protection and privacy. Since we popped it up with the back of the canopy against the sun, we didn’t have to adjust it throughout the day. (We watched families with pop-up canopies maneuver them up and down all day long to avoid the sun.) And it conveniently breaks down and packs back up just as fast as it takes to set up, which is especially useful if an afternoon storm rolls through and you have to make a run for it. Or you can just wait it out in the Sport-Brella because it also happens to be a water-repellent rain shelter.

If you don’t need an umbrella this large, Sport-Brella offers more shade solutions in a variety of styles and sizes, like the Sport-Brella Versa-Brella that clamps to strollers, chairs, golf bags and more with the same reliable UPF protection as the XL canopy. No matter your outdoor adventure, the protection and portability of these umbrellas can't be beat.

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