You plan your holiday carefully, book accommodations for their walkability, figure out the excursions you plan to squeeze into your free time, and then it rains! We’ve all been there. In the middle of a full day you’ve planned to hit the highlights – downpour! Now there are two choices – ditch your plans and stay inside, or hop those puddles with a smile and get your travel on. Here’s where that trusty travel umbrella comes in handy!
Why Bring a Travel Umbrella?
Ever experience winding your way from the Met to the Natural History Museum, right through Central Park, on an August day in NYC and the skies open up? Instantly $3 pop-up umbrella salesmen gather on every sidewalk to save the day and keep the water from soaking through every layer and soaking your important tech gear. As every traveler knows, those cheaply made umbrellas will keep you dry for the next few blocks, but they’ll never make it past the few days of your journey and they’re certainly not travel sized. Rather than adding to the huge pile of disposables that are piling up in landfills, why not invest in a quality travel umbrella that goes the distance?
What to Look for in a Travel Umbrella
A companion for any adventure, business trip, or city expedition, a travel umbrella fits in that handbag or daypack pocket, doesn’t take up much space when you don’t need it, and is always there for you when you do. Rain is always a possibility. Be prepared.
The best travel umbrellas are durable, compact, lightweight and dependable. These little guys may be tiny, but they pack quite a punch. Here’s what to consider when choosing one:
- Size/Weight: 10-11 inches long (collapsed) is the sweet spot for both coverage and portability.
- Material/Water Repellency: The difference between plastic, satin and polyester will be preference and price; look for Teflon coating, double-layer fabric and level of water repellency.
- Durability/Grip: Those with a vented canopy or double-layer are less likely to pop backwards on windy and rainy days; look for a handle that works with both hands, provides maximum comfort and is non slip.
Travel Umbrella Bells and Whistles
Obviously, an umbrella should keep the rain off. You’ve got yourself covered in the material, size, and weight categories; now it’s time for the extras. You might also want to consider:
- Deployment: Automatic pop-up features are common
- Venting: For added windproof durability
- Handle: Curved, straight, with grip texture, wood, plastic, you decide
- Size: there are some really tiny travel umbrellas out there
Choosing the Best Travel Umbrella
There’s a time and a place for those impulse buys, online or in store, but the best travel umbrella isn’t one of them. If you want a cheap umbrella that you’ll throw away the next day, buy one on the street. If you’re ready to invest in a durable option, something that will serve you well over the long haul.Pick your price point, choose your color and size preferences, and travel on.
These are the ones I recommend:
This powerful umbrella hits all of the targets for travel umbrella and includes extra goodies in a tiny package. With reinforced fiberglass ribs, the frame and shaft are all metal, making it hard to beat this choice. Fiberglass hinges make it durable enough that even Mary Poppins might chose this to ride in on the next gust.
Bells and whistles: Lifetime guarantee, automatic open/close, and included umbrella travel sleeve.
Collapsed length: 12”
This windproof umbrella can hold its own against the strongest gusts and can manage everything from a slight trickle to the most extreme rain and hail.
Ribs reinforced with fiberglass make it both flexible and strong and the metal frame and shaft only provide extra protection for those crazy rainstorm days. The Teflon coating helps to keep your umbrella from staying wet for hours and allows more moisture to be repelled off of the fabric rather than dripping through the material.
Bells and whistles: Automatic open/close mechanism, slip-proof rubber handle and a wrist strap to keep it attached to you at all times.
Weight: Less than one pound
Repel Easy Touch – $24
A fan fave of our marketing guru, Taylor, and top rated on Wirecutter, the Repel goes the distance. Repel’s signature reinforced fiberglass ribs and ‘chrome plated metal shaft’, provide powerful protection for rainy, windy days. With superior quality Teflon, its waterproof canopy is, well, waterproof.
Taylor points out that, “This one isn’t exclusive to travel… it’s compact enough to fit in a water bottle pocket on a daypack. I really like it. The grip feels nice, it flips inside out without breaking in the wind, and the opening / closing is very smooth.”
Bells and whistles: Lifetime guarantee, ergonomically friendly and non-slip handle, fabulous travel sleeve and quality wrist strap.
Weight: less than 1 pound
Collapsed length: 11.5”
Other Great Travel Umbrellas
Of course there are other options, depending on your budget and travel needs. Among the top pics on on blogs, magazine lists, Amazon and Wirecutter reviews, these travel umbrellas stand out from the crowd. Whatever budget-friendly, wind-resistant, aerodynamic, water repellent, or packable features you’re looking for – these travel umbrellas have you covered.
- 9-rib fiberglass, stainless-steel frame, metal shaft
- Water-repellent canopy
- Rubber, slip-resistant handle
- Double canopy – vented
- Bells and whistles: Automatic open and close, lifetime guarantee
- Collapsed length: 11”
- Weight: Under 1 lb.
Crown Coast 60 Mph Windproof Compact Travel Umbrella $24-40 on site, $16 on Amazon
- Flexible frame for wind resistant and protection
- 60mph storm rated
- Polyester canopy (non-absorbent, mildew resistant)
- Bells and whistles: Lifetime guarantee, automatic open and close, comfortable rubber handle, travel storage sleeve and attached wrist strap
- Collapsed length: 11”
- Canopy: 39”
- Weight: Under 15 ounces
- Metal shaft and 8 -rib (fiberglass enforced)
- Teflon fabric – shake off that rain in one single flick
- Waterproof full case
- Multiple colors
- Bells and whistles: Water-repellent canopy, automatic open and close button, lifetime guarantee
- Collapsed length: 8”
- Canopy: 42”
- Weight: Less than 10 ounces,
Bodyguard Travel Umbrella – $20 (windproof)
- Teflon coated for intense water repellent properties
- 10 – rib fiberglass and stainless steel frame
- Incredibly strong wind resistance
- Bells and whistles: Automatic open/close, comfort handle, leather cover, attached wrist strap
- Collapsed length: 12.6”
- Canopy: 46.5”
- Weight: 1.1 lbs.
- 10 – rib reinforced fiberglass, metal frame
- Water resistant canopy
- Mildew resistant canopy
- Bells and whistles: Automatic open and close, easy grip handle, lifetime guarantee
- Collapsed length: 12”
- Canopy: 45”
- Weight: 15.2 ounces
The Alternative to the Best Travel Umbrella
Ditch it altogether and deal with the deluge! There’s something to be said about hands-free travel. Pop on a hat or the, crazy, one-size fits all, $3 plastic poncho and you’re good to go get your adventure. If you’ve “been there, done that” on the trash-bag ponchos, then up your game with a decent packable rain jacket.
Make sure your electronics stay dry and safe by choosing a travel backpack made of waterproof sailcloth. Or choose a backpack with a raincover to keep your belongings, photography tech, and electronic gear safe and sound.
When asked if she had a favorite travel umbrella, Bowie Miller, a digital nomad who runs VA Without Borders told me, “Nope. Raincoat all the way. Umbrella isn’t something I ever thought of traveling with.” And Angela, a member of our Tortuga team told me she’s, “All about hands-free travel so use a packable rain jacket and either a backpack made of sailcloth or a backpack with a rain cover.’
Travel umbrellas are sometimes worth the effort and packing space. Most of the time we don’t realize we need one until we’re in the midst of a cross-city journey and are in the process of getting soaked or forced to change our plans to detour from the downpour.
- Decide if the additional weight of carrying one is right for you
- Check for size, weight, and material
- Figure out where your price bracket lies
- Or ditch it all and enjoy nature’s gift of rain
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