A sunburn for one can ruin a trip for everyone! A sun-brella can help you avoid sunburn no matter how pale you are - it's full-spectrum sun protection with attitude.
The Need for Sun Protection
When Mr. B and I started planning our recent Hawaiian vacation, sun protection was at the top of my list, and I knew a simple sunscreen wasn't going to cut it. Knowing that I would be spending an inordinate amount of time in direct sunlight, I needed something that went above and beyond.
As a life-long Portlander, umbrellas for the rain are usually a hard no, but blocking the sun? That's a whole different box of kittens. That's not a job for an umbrella - that's a job for a parasol!*
Of course - I needed a parasol! However, when I started looking for one, all I could find were lacy, Goth-inspired (or better yet, Hello Kitty) umbrellas, or drab "UV-protectant sunshades." Blech. I wanted something age-appropriate, functional, and pretty.
So I went in search of the perfect sun umbrella.
*From the French parasol: para- (“to shield”) + sol (“sun”).
I found my original sun-brella at a Honolulu-based company called Umbrellas Hawaii, which has unfortunately gone out of business. However, from that purchase, I learned what I needed to know so that I can replace it whenever needed.
I honestly believe my modern-day parasol saved our vacation.
Hawaii was very hot and humid the entire ten days of our trip, and without my self-propelled shade, no amount of sunscreen would have saved me from being burnt to a crisp.
Even if you are like Mr. B and have never had a real sunburn, have you ever had to endure a trip with someone who is badly sunburnt? Does the term "cranky" ring a bell? A sunburn for one can ruin a trip for everyone.
Tips for Choosing a Sun-brella
- A good sun-brella will have UPF certified fabrics that block 95%-97% of UV radiation.
- The seams should be tight and smooth.
- Look for fiberglass rods for light weight and optimal strength.
- Test the open/close mechanism. On the day we visited to Pearl Harbor, I must a have opened and closed my sunbrella fifty times in one day. My sunbrella opens and closes so smoothly that it's easier than opening my purse. I never once had a problem or pinched a finger.
- The little pieces at the ends of the struts should be covered and rounded. You don't want to have to worry about poking anyone's eye out with them.
- The umbrella should be light enough to comfortably carry for long spaces of time.
- The handle itself should be comfortable to hold and easy to grip.
- It should have good, durable water repellency. I mean, it is an umbrella, right?
I took my sun-brella everywhere, with the obvious exceptions of snorkeling and kayaking. Needless to say, it is now a permanent fixture on my vacation packing list. (I keep one in my car at all times, too!)
I wish I could fully explain how grateful I was when we returned home from our trip not suffering from post-vacation sunburn and all that goes along with it.
Finally - an umbrella I can use!
Hawaii-inspired Food & Recipes
More Oahu Travel
- Duc's Bistro (Honolulu, Hawaii)
- Tips for Hiking Diamond Head
- Travel Photography Tips (Sunrise in Hawaii)
- Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
- Best Oahu Cheap Eats 1
- Tips for Visiting Pearl Harbor
- USS Battleship Missouri Memorial
- USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor
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I would have to say staying out of the sun
Lindsay Ingalls (@RunWithTongs) says
What a great umbrella! My daughter (3yo) just saw some people with umbrellas yesterday and was asking me why they where using them without rain. I explained to her that they are great for sun as well.
Love this! haha, I never used to burn when I lived in LA, but since moving up north to Portland, I am the whitest girl in my family and they all remind me of that fact every time we come visit. I got my first real sunburn a few years ago, wish I had followed these steps then!
Leigh ANne Borders says
My advice to apply sunscreen throughout the day and to drink plenty of water.
It's wonderful that you can be fashion conscious and protect your skin as well! Very nice. Glad you had a nice vacation without a sunburn.
My best advice is to apply sunscreen before you leave the house (or hotel room) and BEFORE you put on your clothes/swimming suit. You're more likely to get coverage under straps—and yes, around your fanny line. 🙂
Renée ♥ says
Great advice, Catherine! Many people don't understand that sunscreen doesn't work right away - it takes up to 30 minutes to build up a good layer of protection, so putting it on before getting into the sun is a must! Thanks!
While we were in Asia last year we noticed lots of people using umbrellas for shade. We ended up adopting this practice too - we even took (boring regular old) umbrellas with us on our Annapurna Circuit trek, not for rain but for shade. Worked like a charm!
The worst is when you get sunburnt on vacation and then can't enjoy the rest of it because you're in so much pain. So I totally agree that umbrellas are a great idea. This one is really cute - I love that you also color coordinated your outfits to match 🙂
janet aycock says
this is awesome i would love to have one thanks
Susan | LunaCafe says
Wow, these are AWESOME. Such pretty fabrics. I always need an umbrella in Hawaii and could use one in Portland this summer as well. I wear a visor nearly ever day. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Erin @ Platings and Pairings says
Renee I can totally relate to your pain! I got severe burns as a child while I was floating on my stomach in the ocean for way too long as a child! I also, just last year, got pretty burnt in Oahu, even though I had SPF 30 on. I have learned my lesson, again! Thank you for this great advice!
Fantastic advice! I've had skin cancer removed now twice and it is not fun... but, you are right, sometimes staying inside or covering up completely is just not practical. Love the umbrella and the tips!
I love this advice - and laughed out loud a few times reading it! I'm fair skinned, but not super fair skinned, so sun screen is usually enough for me. Although I have gotten my fair share of scalp burns, so this parasol looks awesome!