In the late 80’s, tackle designer Kevin Nash was tinkering with his umbrella spokes. He found that if he extended them, added some drop-down fabric sides and supported the whole thing with a couple of front storm poles, his now wider and bigger umbrella would accommodate the length of his bedchair.
Since then, many companies have used that principle to create quick, lightweight and mobile bankside sleeping solutions. Of course materials have evolved and space saver mechanisms have been introduced, but they still all rely on the slightly improvised system of being propped up at the front by banksticks or storm poles.
It was at this stage where ESP’s chief designer, Dave Ellyatt picked it up some two years ago. But he reckoned with a fairly simple redesign, he could dispense the need for storm poles by incorporating a frame which allowed it to be freestanding. Ellyatt’s new design meant six of the eight ribs were in contact with the ground for incredible stability, but the key to the his new Lo Pro was in the simple yet clever extended ribs.
Instead of relying on storm poles to support the front, the Lo Pro’s two front ribs feature an elasticated joint which elongates the front side ribs when assembled, allowing them to be in contract with the ground. By moving these extended ribs in or out, the height of the front of the shelter is adjusted, allowing for different weather conditions, varying terrain and visibility requirements.
On paper, the Lo Pro measures 52” in size, but with the ability to vary the size of its footprint slightly, even longer bedchairs can fit. And when broken down, the ‘Lo’s’ ribs simply detach and fold up, resulting in a nice and thin broken down product which will fit inside even small quivers.
This new design also has weight advantages: not having to carry storm poles saves on poundage, and excluding the eight pegs and lightweight bag which houses the brolly, it balanced the scales at a very modest 3.3kg. Oh, and just because it’s light doesn’t mean it’s not strong or weatherproof. Built around a super strong but light fibreglass frame made up of 8mm diameter ribs, it’s dressed in a 210D PU-backed nylon with a 5,000mm hydrostatic head.
It’s been two years since the seed of a concept idea proved workable, and since then the Lo Pro has been developed and tested through all four seasons, and has performed admirably throughout. It’s a genuine development on the oval umbrella theme and is the perfect shelter for the angler who wishes to travel light and stay mobile yet have plenty of coverage.
ESP, Dave Ellyatt: CARPology salutes you.
“GIMME”: £149.00; heavy-duty groundsheet, £34.95; esp-carpgear.com
Excluding bag and pegs, the Lo Pro weighs just 3.3kgs
It doesn’t require storm poles in most situations
3. Up and down
It’s incredibly quick to set-up and take-down
4. Compact footprint
Whilst its footprint is minor, it’s still really roomy and provides excellent coverage
5. Space saver
The clever frame maximises internal headroom