Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pop Up Shade Tent

Well it's another super warm summer day here, and can you believe it got up past 90ยบ?  Almost too warm for me as, I am most happy being a shade girl.  Matter of fact a few years ago when I was pregnant with my third child.  I started getting hives if I would go out in the sun.  I went to a dermatologist to find out I am actually allergic to the sun (a milder form of solar urticaria).  I am ok out in the sun for a little bit, but if I get a sunburn it will turn into painful and itching hives. I blogged about it once here.  We love to spend time with our girls outside and I don't want to miss out on anything, so I need a way to bring some portable shade with me.  I did a bunch of online research last summer and found the coolest little pop up shade tent that works like a charm.

We absolutely love our little shade shack  (ironically shot in full sun, but I wanted you to see the front of it)
The greatest thing about this three-sided tent is it folds down into a small, easy to carry, lightweight circle (about an inch thick) with a strap you can throw over your shoulder.  Once you get to the area you want to be in, you unravel it and it pops open in one easy movement.  You can literally be set up in in seconds.  It comes with a set of tent stakes that you can pin the corners down with or you can fill the side pockets with sand to weigh the thing down.  I got a GENIUS idea from a lady reviewer at amazon who suggested bringing four 1-gallon zip lock bags and filling THEM up with sand then using the sand bags to weigh down the tent. That worked perfectly and it was easier  and less messy when it was time to go.  We just empty out the sand and then tuck the empty plastic bags in the pocket of the carrying case and use them each time we need them.

The shade shack, from the back
This is the back of the tent.  You can see the "lumps" on the side in the lime green area where we put our sandbags in to weigh it down.  The girls had a great time filling them up, it was like a game to them.  If you have the shade shack arranged this way with the back zipper closed up, you will have three sides of protection from the sun and wind.  There are also two mesh windows that you can keep closed or roll up (the have a Velcro attachment) as needed.  You also have the option of rolling up the back flaps to let a nice breeze in.

Open one flap or both
When you are at the beach there is normally no shade.  It is so nice to come in from playing in the sun and cool off (or warm up if it's cold and windy) under the shade shack.

As you can see there is no bottom to the shade shack.  This is actually a good thing.  This means if you have little ones, they can build their sandcastle under the tent.  You can put a blanket under there and let a baby take a nap.  We also keep our cooler and bags in there, to protect them from the hot sun.  Another great thing about there being no bottom to the tent is you can put it in grass!  You can put it over a kiddie pool.  The options are endless.  We've even put it in the girl's bedroom and had an indoor "camp out".

This April we had ourselves a little picnic with our cousins in a grassy field with no trees.  It turns out my little redheaded niece is also allergic to the sun.  So we sat in our little shade tent now and again to get some shade time in and not melt in the hot sun.  Oh by the way, did I mention it has a sun protection rating of UPF 30?  (That's ultraviolet protection factor).  Some people reviewing this said it did not stand up against strong winds.  We have taken it to the Washington coast beaches 5 times now, and they are known for their super strong windy beaches.  Of course you have to be smart and angle it in a way that it's not going to take off or lay down flat in the wind. We've had to adjust the back flaps or the windows to make it work just right.  Each time we've gone and it's been windy, we've still been able to use it no problem, and we are talking that winds strong enough to fly a kite without even trying.

Why yes... this is me in my tent, windy day, flying a kite without looking and texting simultaneously, thanks for asking
As you can see we just love this thing.  There's a strong breeze blowing in the above picture but the tent is still standing.  We have our bags in the shade and I'm doing a bit of multitasking by texting and flying a kite without looking.  LOL.  But seriously, if you have some little ones or you yourself need some easy to pop I shade now and then, I highly recommend this shade shack. It's the best $50 bucks I've spent in a long time

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