A Look At Three Types Of Outdoor Shades

By Harriet Menden

Also known as instant shades, portable shades are structures which are designed to be easily carried around and can provide a user with instant shade on the fly. They are generally lighter than their fixed counterparts such as outdoor window shades, as a result can be a bit more flimsy and easy to break. However, this is compensated by the fact that portable shades can be stored in small spaces and assembled with a minimum of effort.

People use portable shades for a variety of reasons, one of them most often being for recreation. For example, hosts of a home party can entertain their guests in the yard or near a pool, in which case an instantly available shade will be useful to protect the guests and food. Fixed shades are better in the long term but one can never anticipate whether the number of guests spill over or if guests wander far from the house where fixed shades do not reach. Other uses include business or convenience.

In what follows we describe a few kinds of instant and portable shades for different kinds of purposes.

A regular awning is a shade that hangs on a truss over the window or door on the exterior of a building. It provides shade near these entry points which reduces the heat from entering the house, much as bamboo roll up blinds on the exterior of a window helps keep the house cool. Portable awnings are similar in the respect that they are a shade stretched over a frame that sits on four wheels. They can be transported from spot to spot. When placed into position the angle of the shade can be adjusted for to the liking of the users beneath.

People who spend a lot of time near a pool appreciate the use of perennial outdoor umbrellas for shade. However, umbrellas typically are inserted into the middle of a table making it hard to relax or stretch out. The solution is the pool cabana which is a small house structure that can fit one or two people underneath. Furthermore, a pool cabana can be used for privacy, for example when people need to switch into a bathing suit or out of their regular clothes.

Slightly different from awnings are outdoor canopy shades which are freestanding structures that resemble large, standing-room tents. These can be placed onto a porch where it would be called a deck canopy. Although this is a freestanding shade, it is considered fixed because of the enormous time and effort required to set one up. In contrast, portable canopies are very lightweight, but lack the fabric walls that surround fixed canopies. The canopy roof is usually the only fabric in the portable versions.

People often travel around in cars and need to set up a temporary shade, for example a sales representative that hawks goods outside or a tailgate party goer. Such people would benefit from a portable umbrella mounted onto a car. The key point is the hitch that attaches to the bumper and body of the vehicle which can hold onto the umbrella.

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