Gadget Guru

GIMME SHELTER: There are beach umbrellas and beach shelters. The Sport-Brella is both, and then some. You open it like a regular umbrella, but one with an enormous 8-foot wing span. And instead of standing straight up atop its shaft, the umbrella rests on its "back," with the shaft at a supportive tilt from the ground. What you get is a concave half "wall" and sheltering overhang. For extra stability and wind-resistance on sand and soft ground, tie-down loops are sewn in all along the bottom rim (stakes included). The sturdy nylon umbrella has wind vents at the top, and two transparent zippered side windows for viewing and/or ventilation. There are even some internal pockets for stashing the stakes and other small items. The Sport-Brella also is available in an XL model, with a 9-foot "wing" span. The Sport-Brella is far from petite; it weighs 9 pounds (the XL model, 11 pounds) and is 54 inches long (59 inches in the XL) and about four inches around when closed. But a family of four with some beach chairs and coolers could snuggle inside, and the whole thing stashes neatly into an included carry bag.
GIMME SHELTER: There are beach umbrellas and beach shelters. The Sport-Brella is both, and then some. You open it like a regular umbrella, but one with an enormous 8-foot wing span. And instead of standing straight up atop its shaft, the umbrella rests on its "back," with the shaft at a supportive tilt from the ground. What you get is a concave half "wall" and sheltering overhang. For extra stability and wind-resistance on sand and soft ground, tie-down loops are sewn in all along the bottom rim (stakes included). The sturdy nylon umbrella has wind vents at the top, and two transparent zippered side windows for viewing and/or ventilation. There are even some internal pockets for stashing the stakes and other small items. The Sport-Brella also is available in an XL model, with a 9-foot "wing" span. The Sport-Brella is far from petite; it weighs 9 pounds (the XL model, 11 pounds) and is 54 inches long (59 inches in the XL) and about four inches around when closed. But a family of four with some beach chairs and coolers could snuggle inside, and the whole thing stashes neatly into an included carry bag.
Posted: July 22, 2012

There are beach umbrellas and beach shelters. The Sport-Brella is both, and then some. You open it like a regular umbrella, but one with an enormous 8-foot wing span. And instead of standing straight up atop its shaft, the umbrella rests on its back, with the shaft at a supportive tilt from the ground. What you get is a concave half wall and sheltering overhang. For extra stability and wind-resistance on sand and soft ground, tie-down loops are sewn in all along the bottom rim (stakes included). The sturdy nylon umbrella has wind vents at the top, and two transparent zippered side windows for viewing and/or ventilation. There are even some internal pockets for stashing the stakes and other small items. The Sport-Brella also is available in an XL model, with a 9-foot wing span. The Sport-Brella is far from petite; it weighs 9 pounds (the XL model, 11 pounds) and is 54 inches long (59 inches in the XL) and about four inches around when closed. But a family of four with some beach chairs and coolers could snuggle inside, and the whole thing stashes neatly into an included carry bag.

— Judi Dash

Sport-Brella is $59.99; Sport-Brella XL, $79.99, at www.sport-brella.com; or 877-225-7275.

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