Shibumi Beach Shade review

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REVIEW — The beach. It’s one of those places everyone wants to go to enjoy the sun, but once you get there, at some point you wind up missing the shade. I have used many canopies over the years, but I’ve never seen one as light and portable as the Shibumi Beach Shade.  They call it the world’s best beach shade. That’s a bold statement. Is it factual? Well, sorta.  

What is it? 

The Shibumi Beach Shade is an ultra portable beach shade that is made in the USA. 

What’s in the box? 

In this case, it’s a bag.  

  • Instructions 
  • A collapsible pole 
  • The Shibumi Beach Shade 

Setup and features 

Look, I’ve been to the beach with an easy up canopy and all I can tell you is this: you better be at a beach that you can drive on because those things are heavy and bulky and a drag to haul across a parking lot to the sand. They are the opposite of the Shibumi Beach Shade. I was testing the mini size which is meant for two people and it weighs around two pounds. It is ultra-compact. You can toss it in a carry-on and still have plenty of room for vacation clothes.  

Setting up the Shibumi Beach Shade is pretty fast and easy. The frame of the Shibumi shade consists of one of those collapsible tent poles that you put together and then thread through a pocket on the shade like a curtain. It bends into a U shape that you jam into the sand. There are some elastic straps that grip the pole and keep the nylonish fabric from moving around on the pole. You just give those a wrap and fill the carrying bag with sand to sort of help weigh the contraption down. That’s it. There is one limitation though: the wind. 

One of the reasons I volunteered to test the Shibumi Beach Shade is that it is so light and portable that I thought I could take it on vacation. I go to Hawaii every other year and the fact that I’m melanin challenged means that I seek out the shade when I’m not in the water. Some of those beaches, however, are not very breezy.  I think I’d still be tempted to bring the Shibumi because it is so portable and the parachute-like fabric that composes the shade requires very little breeze (the Shibumi folks say a 2-3 mph wind will keep it going). I think I’d still be able to use it most of the time. The worst that would happen would be that you sort of have the back of the shade flapping a little low, and I don’t think I’d mind that much. I’d mind a sunburn a lot more! 

The beach I tested the Shibumi Beach Shade on has a constant breeze, so that wasn’t an issue. However, facing the wind might not be optimal to enjoy the shade, which is the whole reason for bringing it. This is the tricky part about this gear. Granted, I’m testing the Shibumi in the middle of winter. The sun is low to the south and if it was summer it would be more overhead, which should mean the shadow would be cast more below the shade and not off to the side. So until summer rolls around, I am sort of reserving judgement on that and I’ll give you an update then. 

The Shibumi Beach Shade only comes in one color scheme, the two-toned blue, but it does come in two sizes. The mini is meant for 1-2 people and the large accommodate groups between 4-6. It is partially (40%) made out of ocean-bound recycled plastic and offers sun protection of UPF 50+. These shades aren’t cheap at $190 for the mini and $270 for the large, however, if you’ve ever rented a cabana you’ll know you can easily pay that much just for the day. The Shibumi, however, does not come with a waiter who can bring me margaritas, and that is one downside.  

What I like 

  • Ultra portable 

What I’d change 

  • Maybe include ground pole anchors that could make it usable in more environments such as parks or sporting events? 

Final thoughts  

The Shibumi Beach Shade is a great portable beach canopy. While it’s not bargain priced, It seems like a quality item that can last for a long time. 

Price:  $190.00
Where to buy:  Shibumi and Amazon
Source: This product was provided by Shibumi 

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7 thoughts on “Shibumi Beach Shade review”

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  2. How was the noise level of your model, Theresa? Some friends got the big one for S.C. beaches and find it -very- loud in the usually strong winds there.

  3. Theresa L. Villeneuve

    I didn’t find it very loud, but it was a fairly gentle, steady breeze. I guess you could get some flapping noise if it was more breezy.

  4. A few of the beaches we go to have mandated “umbrellas or single-pole shade devices only” which means the Shibumi is allowed, but none of the other tent-pole solutions that require 2 poles (e.g. Otentik).

    A couple of drawbacks to the shibumi that I have seen:

    1) The fabric will blow in the direction of the wind, which means if you have wind off the beach towards the water (e.g. in the morning on some beaches) you will find yourself having to sit and face in an odd direction or have the fabric flapping in your face – I saw more than a few people having this happen to them on a couple days at the beach – they had to turn their chairs around and sit facing away from the water to avoid the fabric constantly snapping them in the face.

    2) The flapping of the fabric is very noisy in moderate winds. You can hear it from a good distance away and up close it drowns out normal conversation.

    I have an Otentik which I like a lot more (quieter, can always face the water) but haven’t been able to use it at a couple of beaches. I am thinking of buying a large tent-pole like the Shibumi has, sew a pocket to slide it through on the Otentik, add a front sandbag like the Shibumi has, and be able to have the best of both worlds.

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