Spend too much time in extreme summer heat and you’ll find yourself doing strange things. A week ago the idea of a gigantic umbrella for my car would have seemed laughable, but after a weekend of climbing in and out of unbearably hot vehicles, the Lanmodo seems like it should be a standard feature on every car.
Before you get the wrong idea, the Lanmodo umbrella isn’t going to shield your vehicle from the sun’s blasting rays while you’re cruising down Route 66, letting you keep the air conditioning on low. When suction-cupped to the roof of your car, the device’s automatic mechanism takes about eight seconds to deploy the over-sized canopy that deflects sunlight and helps keep the inside of your vehicle bearable while it sits unprotected in a parking lot or driveway. On a single charge, the Lanmodo’s creators promise it can open or close up to 500 times before its battery dies.
It’s a bare-minimum alternative to a garage, but the Lanmodo also appears to be a vastly superior solution to those fold-up cardboard sun-blockers you’re supposed to cram in your windshield when parked. However, depending on the size of your car, the Lanmodo will set you back $300 to $370 for the base unit, and another $100 for a stand allowing it to be used as a patio or beach umbrella as well.
While sitting in my air-conditioned office, that seems pricey for an umbrella, but I know the second I step outside into the unbearable heat here I’ll be reaching for a cold drink, and then—just maybe—my wallet.