Umbrella Stand for Campgrounds
August 31, 2021 – Shane
A picnic table can always use a little shade. Our quick and easy DIY umbrella holder keeps you out of the sun and rain.
A little shade on the picnic table can sure be nice. We’ve used pop-up canopies and screen rooms before, but they take forever to set up and take down. We wanted something quick and easy that we didn’t dread dealing with. Something that could be brought down quickly when the weather reared its head. One day we found an end-of-the-season clearance on patio umbrellas and grabbed one.
Normally, we would have bought an umbrella base, but that isn’t a good option when you’re on the road. Not only do the cheap ones start at $30 and top out around $150, but they weigh 25 pounds or more and take up a lot of room. Rv’ers are painfully aware of two things: weight and space. So this was going to take a bit of creativity.
At 8 feet wide, a good gust of wind can turn the umbrella into a missile if it’s not firmly anchored. There is almost always a picnic table at our campsites and their bulk makes them a bit difficult for the umbrella to knock over. Back in our sticks-n-bricks days, our patio table had a hole in the center and a bracket at the bottom for holding the pole, but I doubt campgrounds would be happy with me drilling holes in their tables. So here was my solution.
- 3” c-clamp
- 2 feet of pvc pipe that the pole can slide into. Mine was 1 1/2”
- 2 stainless steel hose clamps
- black spray paint
- Nut driver or socket wrench that fits the hose clamps
- Most hardware stores now sell pre-cut PVC pipe for $2 or $3. Find a piece that your umbrella tube will easily slide through. It will be loose, but that’s just fine. I happened to have a piece from another project that was 1 ½ feet long so I used it. If cutting your own, you probably don’t want it shorter than that.
- Make sure your pipe clamp opens wide enough to fit most of the picnic tables in the places you camp. I made mine at a private park with wood tables and was so proud…until the state park we stayed at next had concrete tables and it wouldn’t fit. I’ve since moved to the bigger 3” clamp I have listed.
- Rough up the surface of the c-clamp and pvc with sandpaper so that the spray paint will stick.
- Lay the clamp down on the table with the handle end on the left. Your handle will be above the table when finished. There tends to be a lot of things in the way if you put the handle below the table.
- Slide your hose clamps onto the c-clamp.
- Lay your piece of pipe on the c-clamp, sliding it through the hose clamps. Position the pipe so that most of it is to the right. You don’t want much pipe in the way of using the handle.
- Tighten the pipe clamps until they are snug but not tight. The pipe should lay against the flat portion of the c-clamp.
- Stand the assembly upright and attach it to the picnic table. The pipe should be fairly straight up and down. You don’t need to use a level, eyeballing it is fine. If the pipe isn’t straight, loosen a pipe clamp and make adjustment.
- When you’re happy with the assembly, tighten those hose clamps pretty hard. If you spend a lot of time in high winds, a third hose clamp might help.
- Spray paint the whole assembly. Be careful to keep the threads of the c-clamp clean.
- Clamp the assembly to the table, slide your umbrella down the pipe, and enjoy the shade!
Be sure to post a link to this tutorial on all your social media! It’s a sure-fire way to impress your friends with how handy you are!
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