by River Sombrero
Safety First

First things first, here are some common sense safety precautions for using River Sombreros:

DO NOT leave your River Sombrero up in rapids!
Before entering rapids, always un-clip the top, fold it back, and strap it down, just like you would any loose object in the raft. You do not want the top flapping up and down through rapids or when flipped!

Fold the Sombrero down and secure it during squalls, T-storms, heavy rains, and hail.
River Sombreros are sturdy and hold up fine in typical river breezes, but they are not designed for extreme weather. If the weather has you headed for shore, then you should stow your Sombrero until it clears.

Do you offer discounts?

Discounts are available for orders of 3 or more Sombreros. We also extend discounts to outfitters. Contact us at  info@riverboatworks.com  to set up an account.

Should I get an Original, Deluxe, or Expedition River Sombrero?

Original Sombreros offer affordable shade with 7/8" aluminum frames, tough nylon hardware, and your choice of fabrics, perfect for shorter trips and family use. Deluxe Sombreros upgrade the nylon hardware to stainless steel for added durability and come with premium Sunbrella fabric. Expedition Sombreros include full stainless steel frames, stainless steel fittings, and premium Sunbrella fabric for multi-week trips and commercial use.

What size and fabric should I get for my raft?

See Choosing a Sombrero for help with selecting a size and fabric. All Sombreros are 54" high for good clearance and visibility.

How do I stow a Sombrero?

Stowing your River Sombrero is quick and easy. Un-clip the front clips, and the Sombrero folds back neatly like an accordion. One person can do this in less than 30 seconds (it’s even faster with 2 people!). A zippered boot is included to protect the Sombrero from dirt and to keep things neat and tidy when not in use. We recommend keeping a strap ready at the rear of your raft to strap the River Sombrero down for rapids.

How do I assemble a Sombrero?

Follow the included 6' instructions and 8' instructions to assemble your top. Ignore the sections dealing with powerboats. Take extra care in orienting the poles correctly before sliding on the canvas - you'll save a bunch of time not having to re-do it!

Can I mount a Sombrero to my frame?

Yes, you’ll need one of our frame mount kits. The 1 5/8" size fits all NRS frames. The 2" size fits RBW, DRE and other commercial-style frames. Choose a mounting location that allows good shade coverage and oar clearance. Be sure you can move the oars comfortably throughout their range. Attach the frame mounts to your frame using the included u-bolts. Your River Sombrero screws to the frame mounts with the included screws. Here’s an example using our frame mounting kit:


Can I mount a Sombrero in reverse so it shades passengers more in the front?

Yes, many customers choose to mount their Sombreros forward of the oar towers. This will give you more shade available for front passengers. Depending on the size of the raft, it should still fold down nicely in the back. If you chose to mount it in front of your oar towers, than you will have to mount your Bimini in reverse, so the oars don't get interfered with the angle of the Bimini frame.  An option would be to fold it down toward the front. If this is what you chose, than keep in mind who will be sitting up front, you don't want the folded down Bimini to cause an entrapment issue for passengers up front and people are more likely to use it as a handle, which could damage the frame. Just make sure you have good oar clearance and that the Sombrero can fold down fully and be strapped down for rapids. Here's an example of a Bimini mounted backward:

Can I mount a Sombrero to decking?

Yes, River Sombreros come with universal mounts and strap eyes that are designed to screw directly into wood decking. Choose a mounting location that allows good shade coverage and oar clearance. Be sure you can move the oars comfortably throughout their range. For diamond plate, you can substitute nuts and bolts for the included wood screws and drill through the diamond plate to to attach to universal mounts. Here’s an example of deck mounting:

How do I attach the straps?

Once you’ve mounted your River Sombrero, hold out the front and rear straps until you find a convenient location to attach the straps. If your raft has decking, screw the strap eyes directly to the decking, attach the straps, and tighten. If your raft has d-rings or similar attachment points, connect the straps directly to these and tighten. If your raft doesn’t have decking or d-rings, you’ll need 4 d-rings for the straps to clip to. Two should be mounted toward the front of the raft and two toward the rear. You can find them here NRS d-rings.