Fishing umbrellas have been around for a long time, from small 45ins ones that were hardly more than a conventional brolly with a spike, to big 50 ins ones that weigh a ton. Over the years we have seen several changes to this basic angling shelter, mainly in the bivvy department. So we ended up with a choice between a basic brolly and a dome tent. What many of us really wanted was some kind of hybrid of the two; something that was relatively light and easy to erect, but offered more protection than a conventional brolly. There have been one or two attempts to meet those requirements in the last few years, but nothing really quite made it. This latest offering from Relum, the Brotel, is the closest yet, in fact, I reckon it is exactly what we have been looking for.
There are three models, the Standard, the Deluxe and the Bedchair Brotel. The design is basically the same, a nylon brolly that opens and closes like a fan. When closed it rolls up like a conventional brolly and when open sits on the ground like a brolly with an overwrap. The difference between the Standard and the Deluxe is the Deluxe has wings that extend to the side and two zipped panels to allow pole anglers a gap through which to slide back the pole. I also find these panels useful for sliding landing net handles through.
The Bedchair Brotel is much bigger and much more durable, being made from uprated PVC coated nylon and big enough to accommodate the biggest bedchair. There are optional extras available, including a groundsheet and overwrap, making it a very versatile product suitable for a short session as a standalone Brotel, with or without a groundsheet, or a full-blown bivvy with the overwrap for those longer sessions.
All models are incredible easy to erect, almost as simple as opening up a brolly. You remove the spike from the Brotel, stick it in the ground in the appropriate position, fan open the Brotel and lock it in position with the clip provided, and then drop it onto the spike. In calm conditions, specially with the Standard and Deluxe, that’s all you need to do. When it’s windy you screw on two storm poles and peg around the bottom.
I’ve used a Deluxe Brotel (pictured) for about two years and I wouldn’t go back to a basic brolly. It is definitely worth paying the extra for the Deluxe over and above the cost of the Standard for the extra cover it offers as well as the convenience of the zipped back panels. I’ve used the Bedchair Brotel for almost a year and use that as a big brolly when there is room in the swim for it. With these two products, plus the optional extras, you have complete protection for short and long stay sessions on both river and stillwater.
I was recently asked by a monthly angling periodical what product I have neen most impressed with in recent years. The Brotel won easily.
The Standard Brotel can be bought for £ 49.99, the Deluxe £ 79.99, and the Bedchair Brotel £ 119.99. But shop around, there are some good offers about. Available from all Relum stockists.