WHAT TO LOOK FOR UV protection: Darker colours help block out more sunlight, as do vinyl, acrylic and polyester fabrics. The frame: Fibreglass ribs are flexible and less likely to bend out of shape.


Metal tends to rust over time, except if it’s powder­coated. Pole position: Most umbrellas are designed with the pole in two sections, so they’re portable and adjustable. Aluminium is lighter than steel, but the latter is more robust. Air vents: Located at the top of the umbrella, air vents make it more wind­resistant.

If the vents are wide, it’s less likely a strong breeze will send your umbrella somersaulting along the beach. Full tilt: A tilting option allows you to find the best angle to block the sun. Don’t, however, use this feature when it is windy, as the umbrella is likely to get damaged.

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