I've only seen parasols being used in movies, cartoons and other artistic media, but extremely rarely in real life. Somehow it feels like I would look ridiculous with one in hand walking around the town while the sun is scorching. But I'm willing to ignore the supposedly negative public reaction (I'm unsure, because I've never seen anybody talk about how they perceive people carrying parasols during sunny days) if it means I'm gonna have a much easier time under the sun's heat.

With embarrassment out of the way, what kind of parasol is the best for carrying in the somewhat busy city streets (to avoid discomforting others) and parks where there's plenty of space around you? What color? Knowing that white reflects the heat and the light, and black absorbs them, which color would be optimal? Are there parasols with aluminium or plastic foil plating to increase the reflective effect? Or can I just use a regular umbrella instead of finding a true parasol? Are parasols even effective against the heat and UV rays?

In short, how do I attain the ultimate parasol experience?

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    Hi @user1306322, welcome to TGO.SE! We might have a hard time deciding if the city streets are part of "The Great Outdoors" (ie: is this on-topic or not). Just hang in there while we ask for details, comment, vote, answer anyway, etc. Hope you like this community.
    – Roflo
    Jul 31, 2018 at 14:32
  • I'm also considering public city parks and broad streets, not just tight busy roads where the crowds make it uncomfortable to hold a regular umbrella during rain. I might have phrased it too restrictively. Jul 31, 2018 at 14:37
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    Can't fully answer the question, but in Toronto (Canada) I see parasols (often just regular light-colored umbrella) used pretty frequently on hot days. When I say frequently, I mean I'll see at least one or two people among the hundreds I pass on my commute using one on a given day, not that they are especially popular here overall. Jul 31, 2018 at 19:21
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    One of the downvotes on that answer was probably because it didn't answer your question. It told you why not to get a parasol, which is not what you asked. The other downvote may have been for the same reason, or it may have come from a drive-by downvoter -- someone who downvotes for the fun of it.
    – ab2
    Aug 1, 2018 at 19:46

3 Answers 3


Parasols might be out of style in most countries, but they are still fairly popular in some Asian countries, where people try to get as little tan as possible. E.g. Japan and China. So I suppose they must be protecting from the sun, and possibly also from the heat. Almost all parasols I have seen were white or had other fair colors, which makes sence, since lighter colors reflect sun better.


The OP asks: How do I attain the ultimate parasol experience?

First, get a beautiful parasol, one that Madame Butterfly would be proud to carry. Second, develop your evasive techniques, raising and or tilting the parasol when you are headed for a close encounter. Third, remember that on scorching days, many people will envy you. You are a trend-setter: as hot days get hotter and more frequent, parasols will come into fashion.

You, with a parasol that you can control, are less of a nuisance on a city street than a very slow-walking person laden with enormous packages sticking out fore and aft, left and right. You are positively benign compared with motorized scooters and dockless bikes left at random places on sidewalks. You are esthetically far superior to (most) people who fight the heat by taking off most of their clothes.

One thing to remember: you will get significant UV rays by reflection from below, so you may want to put on sunscreen in addition to carrying the parasol.


A parasol being used in the city is likely to annoy people when they either get stabbed in the face by one of the ribs, or have to take avoiding action to prevent said stabbing.

This is generally why people don't really use them any more. I guess that people are more accustomed to seeing umbrellas when it's raining, so don't mind so much.

If you have to have one, then get one that blocks light and gives you shade. Black wouldn't transmit the heat to you - if anything, it'll just make the shade part a little warmer to hold.

Or just use a hat like most other folks.

  • Part of the plan is to avoid getting my head heating up, and because the hat is in direct contact with it, I don't think that's a good solution. Also, the hat's brim might need to wide enough to completely block the sun from my body. In this question I'm just trying to figure out if parasols are even useful for that, and if they are, how to get maximum effect, with out the disadvantages of short-brimmed hats. Also, wide brims might be a nuisance to people passing by, and you can always lift your parasol up higher to avoid hitting anyone. Jul 31, 2018 at 14:40
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    I don't understand the downvotes here, can someone explain? Aug 1, 2018 at 17:52

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