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358 of 366 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for CAMPING, Not Just the Beach!
We are "keep it simple" campers. We've long wanted something for shelter and shade that was both easy to set up and easy to take down. Almost any regular camp shelter, rainfly, cabana or whatever tends to be a nuisance, and may blow out in a wind, but is hard to take down until it blows down. We are also often "on the run," spending only one night in a camp and then...
Published on May 28, 2011 by Chuck_893

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blew apart
The tent top blew clean off the spikes the first time I tried to put it up. There was little to tote home from the beach and ask for a refund, but I took photos and they refunded my money.
Published 16 months ago by Mary Christoph


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358 of 366 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for CAMPING, Not Just the Beach!, May 28, 2011
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We are "keep it simple" campers. We've long wanted something for shelter and shade that was both easy to set up and easy to take down. Almost any regular camp shelter, rainfly, cabana or whatever tends to be a nuisance, and may blow out in a wind, but is hard to take down until it blows down. We are also often "on the run," spending only one night in a camp and then moving on, but if we want a cup of coffee in the morning and it's raining, it may be easier to skip the cuppa rather than rig a shelter, and who wants to skip their cuppa? So, the Giant Freestanding Umbrella idea appealed mightily, and it turns out to be a truly wonderful camp tool. As others have noted, it's light and it's fast. As it happened, on its first outing we camped near a beach, where the wind seemed to be blowing half a gale but we wanted to sit on the beach. We were worried that the monster umbrella might blow out, but I opened it into the wind, which it shed beautifully. We set it on its edge, windbreak style, and staked it into the sand with the four provided sand stakes. It showed not the slightest tendency to blow away! Impressive! We tucked three adults in chairs under and enjoyed the sunset in warmth and comfort. (As others have had their umbrellas blow out, I'd add a caution that [1], if the wind seems particularly strong either don't open it, or be sure to open it dead into the wind so it doesn't flip inside out, and [2], if a strong wind seems "flukey," coming from all directions, skip it. I assume it's like any other umbrella, and will destroy itself if a strong gust blows it inside out.)

As a quick-and-dirty camp shelter it excels: loosen the setscrew, slide the spike-ended extension rod all the way out of the main tube and hammer it a few inches into the ground (I use a nylon tent stake hammer (see 2-in-1 Heavy Duty Tent Stake Mallet & Remover) to avoid damaging or "mushrooming" the metal); open the umbrella and slide it onto the rod in the ground; tighten the set screw. It's up! You can get elaborate from there, guying it out and staking it down, but I think that defeats the purpose, unless there's a wind. As I write it happens there's a nice, fairly brisk westerly: I have it standing over a picnic table, guyed out to a handy fence on one side and our trailer on the other. The umbrella is providing perfect shade on an 85° day. As the sun moves we move the chairs. The breeze is no threat, but if it were I might either rig it down as a windbreak or skip it. In any case, when we leave camp, we take it down (in seconds) so we don't come back to find it inside out. We leave the pointed shaft stuck in the ground until we move to another camp.

That setscrew (knob) is weak. A really appalling number of reviewers have complained about that setscrew: theirs arrived broken. So did ours--twice. This is one pretty serious flaw in the system: the screw is pot metal, not steel. The manufacturer really needs to fix this as the number of complaints continues to grow. Our first umbrella arrived with the broken-off section of screw jamming the extension inside the tube, necessitating a whole replacement umbrella (kudos to Amazon, they had a new one out in four days), but the replacement's setscrew was sheared off also. Like another writer, rather than give up I went to my local Ace Hardware Man, who determined it's an 8mm *metric* screw, just so you know if you have to replace yours. (Someone else used a 5/16 screw, but I gently tried a 5/16 first and immediately knew that if I forced it, it might work but it would also strip the threads.) I've added a picture of that 8mm replacement setscrew to the photo gallery so you can get an idea of what it looks like. We think the umbrella is otherwise very well designed and built, so we are not complaining at all, but you should know that those setscrews are seriously frail. Even if it doesn't arrive broken, you might want to replace it with a steel one before it shears off on an outing. (But you shouldn't have to spend extra money for an adequate setscrew--the manufacturer needs to step up.)
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408 of 421 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but buy the smaller one if you don't own an SUV or a van, August 31, 2010
By 
M. Anderson (Santa Ana, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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I own four of the SKLZ Sport Brellas, including two of the regular sized ones and two of these larger ones. The larger ones aren't noticeably heavier and provide significantly more shade. However, they don't easily fit in the trunk of most cars (or even in the back seat).

If you own an SUV or a van, this Extra Large (XL) version is perfect. If not, buy the smaller standard Sport Brella, which fits perfectly in the trunk of a car.
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155 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Useful at the Beach, April 14, 2011
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This sport-brella beats any cabana at the beach. It is easier to setup than any tent. It really is just a huge umbrella that is designed to lay with a side on the ground. The windows are perfect for letting in more air and allowing an escape for the wind (preventing presure blowing the umbrella away). This thing creates a lot of shade. You can fit two big beach chairs under the umbrella and still have room for gear / kids / another smaller chair.

The key to this umbrella is to anchor it appropriately. The provided stakes are great for anchoring in the sand. Dig a little hole with your hands and push the stake in "more solid sand." Don't be lazy and use just two stakes; use them all. Setup is about 5-10 minutes including the stakes, and can be easily done by one person. We've used this umbrella on a really windy beach day, and it didn't blow anywhere.

There are only two negatives to using the sport-brella-- where a beach tent is superior.

(1). This thing is LONG (when all packed up). The XL size is about 5 feet long-- which makes it difficult to put in a car or even the back of a minivan. It would not lay flat (driver to passenger in the back of our Honda Odyssey). We need to stand it up at an angle. It would be difficult to transport in our car with kids in the back seat. (Note it's not heavy or hard to carry; it weights about 10 lbs).

(2). When installed, you will eventually lose shade as the sun moves. A tent actually provides shade longer because there is more of a "top" and "front." A cabana can usually be moved (e.g., propped up in the back) as the sun moves. The sport-brella can not be moved as the sun moves. I find this a minor inconvenience-- given the benefits. My solution is to "re-install" and "re-position" the sport-brella when I start running out of shade. (At a day at the beach in Naples, FL, I needed to reposition the sport-brella after about 4 hours).

In conclusion, the sportbrella is by far the best beach solution I've used. I had many people at the beach ask me where I got it. It has saved me a lot of money in cabana rentals.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I felt stupid for buying this at first, but the sport brella has won me over, September 7, 2011
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No you can't fit 9 people or whatever under this. You can do 3 or maybe 4 comfortably.

When this first arrived in the mail I thought about what an idiot I was for buying this.... I mean it's a big umbrella.
It's heavy
It doesn't provide total protection from sun or rain
It's too big to fit in a trunk
After pitching it I soon realized that the picture and the product description was reaaaaally pushing it by advertising a family of 6 underneath it.

After a few uses however, I'm really coming around. Compare it to one of those rectangular jobs and you'll see that if you only have 2-4 people this thing really shines.

Protection from sun and rain, while not complete, is surprisingly adequate for a few people.
My initial thoughts of how big, heavy, and unwieldy it is went away when I saw folks wrestling with the other options. This thing packs down and puts up in a snap and can realistically be carried around by one person.

Understand that there are inherent limitations to what an umbrella on it's side can provide. Given that, sport brella really nailed the concept.

I would give it 5 stars but I do think it should fit in a trunk. While it packs down VERY thin, it's about a foot too long to fit in a honda civic trunk. This would be rectified if the main pole telescoped, folded, SOMETHING. Instead it's rigid and makes me shake my head a little whenever I have to fold the seat down to pack it.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Beach Shade, July 18, 2010
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Fastest and easiest sun shelter set-up in the beach and easy carry-on. Highly recommend to purchase the XL size Brella Umbrella. I have seen the regular version and it's too cramped space for two people.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Direction of the umbrella is KEY!, August 19, 2012
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I ordered the XL as I have a truck and it fits in the bed when going to the beach. I should tell you that I live on the island of Oahu where the wind and type of sand you are anchoring into varies. First, the umbrella works great if you face it the right direction when OPENING, PLACING, and CLOSING! If you open this umbrella and the wind catches the inside i.e. the wind is at your back when opening, just go ahead and prepare for an inside out sportbrella and a 1 star review. However, if you open it up the other way against the wind, you'll be fine. Now when PLACING the umbrella and staking it to the sand, again, have the wind pushing on the back side of the umbrella, and open all the vents. Place SAND on the flaps to weigh the umbrella down while staking. CLOSING, wind should be blowing on your face not back or you will be chasing the umbrella down the beach.

One bad thing, I do not have an inside stake anymore, due to the poor screw in type design of the knob used to contain it in the umbrella pole. You don't hear this fall in the sand so you have no idea it is missing until you get home or to the car. Otherwise, a great umbrella.
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46 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect for beach, August 8, 2010
Our family just recently moved down south closer to the beach. After spending two weekends and 50 dollars for umbrella rental, I decided to purchase one for our own use. I wanted the coverage of the tent, but not the hassle of setting up. I also was looking for spf coverage so that my 9 month old baby would be protected. But I also needed a large surface area enough for a family of 5. This fits all the criteria. I agree with the previous reviewer, that for very little more money you should get the bigger version. It is very light, my six years old boy lifted up without a problem. Though I will not let him dragged it on the floor. I am petite yet it feel like nothing with the shoulder straps.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blew apart, August 27, 2013
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The tent top blew clean off the spikes the first time I tried to put it up. There was little to tote home from the beach and ask for a refund, but I took photos and they refunded my money.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Cheaply Made, July 13, 2012
By 
M. Furr (Chattanooga, tn) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Sport-Brella XL - Portable Sun and Weather Shelter (Sports)
We got to use this umbrella exactly one time. The second time we went to the beach it broke as we were setting it up. It wasn't even a windy beach day. But as soon as we opened it, the umbrella turned completely inside out and to one side. Half the poles bent and the top joining mechanism popped off. It looked like it had been super glued on. I am very unhappy to have paid so much money for an umbrella only to have it fall apart after some very light use. It's completely unacceptable. I have a picture of what the umbrella looked like but I don't see an option to display that. I think I deserve my money back but it says my last day to return it was a few days ago. Of course I couldn't return it if I wanted to. It was so jumbled up we couldn't fit it in the car and had to throw it away.
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101 of 133 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Read The Other 1 Star Reviews, August 15, 2011
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I bought this due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews, and was shockingly disappointed.

I initially returned the umbrella for a replacement, because the threading on the hand screw used to tighten the telescoping pole was stripped (the product is shipped with the screw fully inserted, and if the telescoping pole bounces around at all during shipment, the point impacts the screw and destroys the threading.). The replacement came with the same problem, but I decided against any more hassle and filed part of the threading down manually, and was able to get the screw back into shape.

First trip to the beach, I was just itching to show off my new giant umbrella. I found a good looking sandy spot and began unpacking my equipment, completely unaware of the debacle I was about to find myself in. There was a mild wind (maybe 10 mph) coming off the water, which proved too much for this poorly designed contraption. As soon as the canopy was opened, the wind blew it inside out and snapped the pole near the top. The canopy came completely free of the supporting arms and took off down the beach, while the arms themselves - free of the pole and spiky points flailing in all directions - tried to enter the plot of our neighboring beachgoers. If I hadn't caught it, it could have easily impaled or seriously injured somebody. So, 10 seconds after opening the umbrella for the first time, I was holding a broken shaft of flailing and very sharp umbrella arms while the umbrella canopy blew away and surrounding people looked on in morbid fascination.

As I did not think to bring a backup umbrella (who would, with a 9' diameter beast that promises to house you and a dozen of your next of kin?) OR a hat (big mistake, that), I spent the afternoon in the sun with lots of sunscreen and a very strong suspicion that I was being watched and talked about by dozens of nearby families ("Oh my god hun, did you see that idiot with his huge umbrella? What is he, daft? Now look at 'im, sitting out there in the sun with nothing but a pair of shades and a rapidly reddening epidermis. Poor sod. Don't let the kids near him.")

Yeah this thing LOOKS sweet and it will make you the envy of the entire coastline if you get it up successfully in zero wind conditions. But consider how you'll feel if you end up like me.
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