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Backpacking and Hiking with an Umbrella
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Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
So, how you.... on 02/11/2012 13:11:44 MST Print View

Attach it to your pack. Got any photos that'd help us see how you do it?

Thanks David.

David Maxwell

Locale: eastern, tn
no photos on 02/11/2012 14:19:21 MST Print View

I can't find any photos right now. I'd I say most of you would say I cheat. ... I use an external frame pack. I have velcro on the frame. But for the fast and easy, all I have to do use slide the handle under my sternum strap. This way is by far the easiest as long as the wind isn't going strong.

Edited by DavidMaxwell on 02/11/2012 14:20:19 MST.

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: no photos on 02/11/2012 15:41:16 MST Print View

I used the same approach when I was hiking in the desert over the summer. It was one of the BirdePedal metalized umbrellas in case it matters, but I pretty much just placed it alongside my torso and connected my sternum strap over the handle. It probably wouldn't have worked so well had it been windy, but for the sun it was great.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Makes sense on 02/11/2012 18:08:54 MST Print View

I'll get an umbrella out and give it a try.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
backpacking and hiking with an umbrella on 02/11/2012 21:31:00 MST Print View

Francis: agreed. If your hands are free (no hiking poles) than an umbrella is versatile in sun/rain conditions. Also, if you use a tarp in blowing conditions. Or while cooking.etc.

With an umbrella attached to my pack, I could reach up and collapse it during windy conditions. Then, when the winds died down, I'd simply raise it again.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Portable Privy on 02/12/2012 01:56:08 MST Print View

Ewww - TMI!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Portable Privy on 02/12/2012 05:05:44 MST Print View


(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: Backpacking and Hiking with an Umbrella on 02/12/2012 11:07:15 MST Print View

Hey Tapon, great article. You are always pushing the envelope. I remember that rock canopy shot from your Yo-yo hike. That's a great example of doing more with less and is where the philosophy of going lighter comes into play.

For myself, and I think for you too, there is a significant added value to being industrious and creative on the trail. Finding ways to use our skills and less gear to solve the challenges of enjoying a long hike with a very light pack. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but from talking to you and reading your articles that's my impression. You can correct me if I'm off base.

As many of the replies to this thread illustrate, there are lots of different types of backpackers. However, when you get down into the super ultralight weights (5lbs for avg male, +1-2 lbs for larger humans), it becomes more about the philosophy, the challenge and the minimalism approach that dictate our decisions. Using skill and ingenuity as opposed to relying more on gear. There is some irony here, funnily enough, because we do obsess about our gear even though there is less of it! Especially because if you are taking less, it better be well selected. Again, that's just my feeling and what makes going outdoors enjoyable for myself.

A backpacker without an sul mindset would find most of the SUL tactics absurd, because the choices and whole approach is so different, and so finding a consensus among that wide swath of a genre is unlikely.

In regards to umbrellas, if you use a poncho tarp, and it is deployed as shelter during rain, the umbrella is a life saver for those midnight bathroom runs; unless you use a pee-bottle while in your sleep system.

Super Ultralight Backpacking Forums

Edited by jhaura on 02/12/2012 12:22:04 MST.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Backpacking and Hiking with an Umbrella on 02/14/2012 12:21:14 MST Print View

I love my umbrella. I love the shade and rain protection.

So I can still use trekking poles, I attach it to my left shoulder strap using shock cord and cord locks. Here's a picture:
umbrella and me

I used my umbrella in high winds in the desert. I simply held the front with my hands. This of course meant I could not use my trekking poles at the same time.

I had my umbrella flip inside out a few times in high winds. It's all plastic and flips right back. If I hold it down, it doesn't flip.

I bring my umbrella on day hikes when it's going to rain. Everybody is so jealous when they see how much fun and practical it is to hike with an umbrella.

I used my umbrella through the state of Washington on the PCT. It was not very good when the brush was dense as I would get slapped in the face by wet plants. I would still get slapped in the face without it, however. There are some situations where I think it's simply not possible to stay dry.

I forgot my umbrella last May on a trip that had a lot of rain. I do not even own a rain jacket. I ended up using my polycro groundsheet as a rain shawl.

Even though an umbrella is relatively heavy, since I have no rain jacket, it is crucial gear for me. I use a garbage bag for a pack cover and rain chaps for my legs. My forearms might get a little wet, but I've found subway sandwich bags attached with hair bands to my arms helps there.

I finally got a new umbrella after my old one had too many holes to work anymore. I found the first one in the trash in Kennedy Meadows. The fools! The amount of solar radiation it kept off my head at altitude was wonderful.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Thanks on 02/14/2012 20:49:58 MST Print View

For the photo. Pretty cool. I gotta give this a shot.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Backpacking and Hiking with an Umbrella on 02/21/2012 05:49:20 MST Print View

So is Golite the only hiking umbrella out there? They have several styles, so not sure what would be best to give a try.

Well, I found this:

Edited by leadfoot on 02/21/2012 05:54:00 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Backpacking and Hiking with an Umbrella on 02/21/2012 06:39:10 MST Print View

The GoLight is strong and simple, but when it is all said and done, it is just an umbrella. The original reportedly follows Ray Jardine's criteria: light simple, with as little hardware as possible. Many people like Birdiepal umbrellas. I found a ShedRain umbrella that is has the same size canopy as the GoLite, but folds to 11 inches and weighs just 6.9oz. It is not as strong as the GoLite and more complex with all the folding joints, but easier to stow.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Try it on 02/22/2012 10:18:03 MST Print View

I am going to give this a try this summer in Colorado. I think I will use an umbrella with a DWR windshirt. Most of the time, the rain will only last 30 minutes or so in the summer. I can see that there will be many benefits such as a nightime nature call, or cooking in the rain. I also like the idea of being able to take pictures in the rain. I have a ULA curcuit, an hopefully I can rig the umbrella up to the water bottle holders on the sholder straps for when it is not windy.
Now I just have to make a pair of Tyvek rainchaps so I can ditch my rainpants.

Gordon Smith
(swearingen) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Another umbrella fan here.. on 08/09/2012 12:19:57 MDT Print View

Great article Francis!
I'm another very happy umbrella user, as you might guess from my avatar. I've been using that Montbell UL Trekking Umbrella for six years now, and it still works perfectly. My typical rain gear consists of the 6 oz. umbrella, a 4 oz. Patagonia Houdini windshirt, and a cheapo 3 oz. emergency poncho. I use the umbrella/windshirt combo while on the move, then have the poncho to use in camp or for rest stops if needed. I too find the umbrella/windshirt combo breathes very well, keeping me much drier and cooler than a proper rain jacket. When using the umbrella, I lash one trekking pole to my pack and just use the remaining pole as more of a hiking staff. This still offers a lot of stability and the extra "leg" to help break a fall. I haven't yet used it as a sun shade, but that's a great idea. I'll have to give that a shot on my next trip.
Thanks again!

Francis Tapon
(ftapon) - MLife

Locale: Earth
Updating my article with new photos and text! on 10/31/2013 05:21:42 MDT Print View

Mt Shasta behind me on the PCT

Thank you for all your comments on this article!

BPL asked me for a 3-month exclusivity on the article and I gave them 20 months.

So today, I've updated the article substantially and made it free and open to the public my website. It has many never-before-seen photos and more explanations. Best of all, you can share it with Facebook and Twitter friends who are not BPL members. Help spread the word! Here's the link:

Happy Trails (with or without an umbrella)!

Hiking with an umbrella in New Mexico