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Portable Shade for Protection from the Sun

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 17 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Shade Sun Garden Portable Parasol

Britons are finally waking up to the dangers of excessive sunbathing but still many more people die of skin cancer in this country than in hotter countries, Australia for example. This is possibly because awareness of skin cancer is higher and early diagnosis more prevalent because of the experience there.

Increasing Sun Danger

But as we seem to be getting more extremes of temperature in the UK, with more frequent bursts of hot sun, the need to cover up in the garden is becoming increasingly important. Children in particular need to be protected from the sun as they are less likely to realise when they’ve been in the sun for too long.

One answer is to slip on the slop, as the adverts have been trying to tell us; getting factor 50 sun cream on. But that's not always convenient, particularly if you only want to pop out for fifteen minutes or so to enjoy the garden. So then the temptation is not to bother, which itself enhances the danger from the sun's rays.

Safe Shade

Another answer is to make sure that there's plenty of shade around. If you choose cheap and cheerful portable options to provide shade you can move them around to where they are needed. Of course if you need some temporary shade in an emergency you can stretch a sheet or a blanket over a washing line.

The gazebo is a popular choice because it can also provide shelter from the odd shower too. We're talking here about a temporary gazebo, the sort like a tent with no sides, rather than a brick or wood solid traditional gazebo. The lightweight canvas or polyester type of gazebo is now available at a very good price. It is easily portable to different spots in the garden and easy to take up and put down.

Garden Parasols

Large free-standing parasols are another option. Many garden table and chair sets will come with a portable parasol or have one as an optional extra. They make sense as the table acts as a base to hold the parasol in place. Also you are likely to be sitting at the chairs round the garden table so the shade will be close to where you are sitting.

They don’t have to be fixed to a table though. These parasols, which usually have a metal or wood frame and a canvas or polyester shade, can be larger and free standing, with a variety of different bases for different situations.

Keeping the Shade in Place

But many of these aren't particularly large and may not put the shade where it's required. In the UK, where the sun is more often coming in at an angle than in countries of a lower latitude, the shade can move relatively fast. This often necessitates games of musical chairs every quarter of an hour or so, more if there's a large party enjoying the garden.

There are two ways to deal with this problem and they are connected. The first is to get the largest portable parasol you can, which appears to be three metres in diameter. Although technically portable these are heavy and difficult to deploy so many of them come with a wind-up mechanism to raise and lower them.

The second is to look for the deluxe models of these larger parasols because they come with a tilt mechanism too. The parasol head can then be directed so that it in the same plane as the sun, making the shade stay in one place for longer.

Stay Safe, Even in the Shade

A couple of final points to note here. One is that not all shades provide the same amount of shade, if you see what we mean. Darker colours will stop more of the sun's rays than a lighter one.

The second point is that a shade won't completely protect you from the rays and there is a significant chance of burning from reflected rays if you stay out for too long. So if you have a fair complexion, please remember that staying out of the sun is the only really safe option.

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