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Old 02-10-2012   #11
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
I've used umbrellas in the past and broke two of them. I had one of the stronger patio umbrellas from my outdoor set and then the Costco special one. Both snapped in the Deso wind. Umbrellas suck! Hard to handle, don't provide much shade and a bitch in the wind.

Go bimini all the way! I first got the 6 footer and it was too short. I got the 8 footer now and it's just enough to cover me, my wife and kids on the front bay. If I was getting another, I would definitively go 10 foot (on a 16 foot boat).

The bimini provides MUCH more shade than umbrella, you can control the shade and angle much easier. I actually rowed Deso wind with bimini up and was able to move forward.

It's a great cover for the rain as well! And the coolest thing about bimini is the sail! You can sail with down river wind in the morning by moving the bimini forward and holding the back lashes.

Also it's very easy to fold over the gear pile in the stern.

I got mine off some online boat web site. Just google, you will find the right one. Get the right width and go 10' if you can for 16' boat, you won't regret!

This is my old 6' bimini:

As you can see it barely provides shade for one passenger bay:

Example of umbrella coverage... not much and a small gust of wind will snap those umbrellas:

This is my 8 foot bimini, you can see that it fully covers passengers and gives some shade for the captain:


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Old 02-10-2012   #12
BackCountry's Avatar
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 86
Definitely go with a Bimini Top. I have used umbrellas and they provide limited shade, break easily and are no good in the wind. A Bimini is strong enough to stay up in wind/rain/rapids. When the sun is beating down that time of year on Deso you will all spend your daytime camp hours drinking under the Bimini hiding from the dreaded Orb.

Cabelas has sturdy Bimini's for under $200. It will be one of the best investments you ever make for your boat.

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Old 02-10-2012   #13
nicho's Avatar
North Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 442
Haven't seen one on the river yet, what do you guys use to mount the bimini to the frame?
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Old 02-10-2012   #14
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 683
I’ll have to find a picture of mine on the boat. I think cutting it down to just the right height to stand under and reinforcing the shaft are key. I’ve never snapped one but I could see how easy it would be if it were too tall and it was gusty. Mine gives ample coverage but I only have a 14’ boat and the umbrella is 8’.

A compromise is the Anchor Shade. Do a search, it doesn’t need a mount since the foot of the pole is padded so can just go on the floor but also has the tie outs on the four corners like a bimini. It’s a square umbrella/bimini hybrid. I think they are in the $150-170 range and come in different sizes.

Biminis are certainly nice and the way to go if you want to spend the money, but umbrellas can work and for $30 I've gotten several years shade so no complaints.
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Old 02-10-2012   #15
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
I looked into piecing stuff together from ebay, Overton's Marine, and other sources, but I ended up pulling the trigger on a Sombrero. Love it. I bought a 8 footer with the slider rail mounts so I can situate the shade +/- two feet fore or aft based on the sun angle. I definitely recommend those slide mounts if you have walk rails.

By the time I would have dinked around with cobbling a cheaper bimini onto my rig with different parts, I figured it was worth the extra $100 to get a ready-to-mount package. Plus the hardware and fabric does appear to be high end. If you have the time and inclination to make it cheap and spend more time tinkering, then it's worth it to shop around. I just had other projects I had to complete on my rig that I wanted to tackle.

IMO umbellas suck and will often end up breaking off in a gust and sinking to the bottom of the river.
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Old 02-10-2012   #16
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
Originally Posted by nicho
Haven't seen one on the river yet, what do you guys use to mount the bimini to the frame?
River Sombrero sells some mount kits. The CNC look sturdy will mount to your frame
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 02-10-2012   #17
boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 41
The bimini is an investment in my opinion. River Sombreros price matched cabelas for me and I have gotten lots of days use out of mine. It rained on our group for 3 days on the MFS last year. Me and the chick sat under the bimini and drank beer all day, when we got to camp we were the only ones drunk and in a good mood every day. It easily paid for itself just that trip alone!

Consider how many umbrellas you will go thru in the next 15 years, the 200-300 bucks does not sound that bad.

One suggestion, cut the stock straps off and put on loop straps. I can drop the whole thing and have it secured in about 5 seconds.
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Old 02-10-2012   #18
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
I got this umbrella a few years ago (Tiki umbrella $79.95 - the 8 ft. model) - it rocks. It has stood up to 50 mph gusts and rain on the way out of Cataract. It has provided shade on Ruby-Horsethief and Westwater and so far even though it has been flipped inside out it hasn't broken (or shown any real wear). I usually run a few guy lines to keep it stable in the wind. The fiberglass canopy frame/ribs are the secret to its success. The main pole will fail before the canopy fails. The umbrella also comes off the boat to provide shade in camp (using beach umbrella holders - which is also a cheap backup anchor for boats).

All that said Bimini tops are bomb. The longer Bimini's provide more shade than my 8 foot umbrella. And with a couple sheets or tarps a bimini can provide a ton of shade/weather protection. They are stable in wind.
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Old 02-10-2012   #19
Wadeinthewater's Avatar
Walterville, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 559
Biminis are also great for sleeping.
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Real adventure is only one bad decision away.
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Old 02-10-2012   #20
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 22
Bimini vs umbrella

Bimini tops are very stable in the wind (or while motoring) but add a lot of periphery hardware around the sides/end of your boat. I'm thinking of switching back to umbrellas.

Listed some of the reasons in a thread last summer: http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f...aft-36116.html

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