Forum Index » GEAR » The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas


Display Avatars Sort By:
Paul Cronshaw
(beemancron) - F

Locale: Southwest US
The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas on 09/29/2007 15:08:05 MDT Print View

I have been tempted to add an umbrella to my collection of LW gear. I would like to know the pros and cons of using an umbrella.

I can think of one probem: trekking poles, but have seen umbrellas attached to packs.

Thanks

Beeman

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas on 09/29/2007 18:08:30 MDT Print View

Pros
1. Not having to wear raingear if mild enough rain
2. Could use it for shelter setup
3. UV protection

Cons
1. Wind
2. Thick brush or narrow trail
3. Not easily trekking pole compatible (if you like two poles)
4. Storage when not in use (maybe)

Edited by jshann on 09/30/2007 04:41:30 MDT.

Matt Brodhead
(mattbrodhead) - F

Locale: Michigan
Re: The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas on 09/30/2007 02:21:13 MDT Print View

I'd be so confused if I saw someone with LW gear carrying an umbrella. You'd look out of place, and I'd probably chuckle to myself. Soooo..

Con:
1. You'd look pretty silly

But like my momma always said, "it's what is on the inside that counts..."

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas on 09/30/2007 07:10:59 MDT Print View

Umbrellas give you great shade from the sun. And adequate rain protection.

Dave Flanagan
(cbtrekker) - F

Locale: Gunnison Valley
Umbrellas on 09/30/2007 07:50:15 MDT Print View

First I would like to say I love my umbrella. Has proven its worth the weight once again last Sunday in the Maroonbells-Snowmass Wilderness. The same storm that brought Skurka his epic. Funny because I was thinkng of how fast my adventure could turn into an epic during Sundays storm. Anyway I managed to stay dry everywhere except my hands and feet (carried my trekking poles instead of tying them to my pack.) My rain gear consists of wind shirt, waterproof pants, emergency pancho, umbrella, and now waterproof gloves

Also would like to add umbrellas protect against from snow and hail as well as rain or sun. Once when there was a little tail wind I used my umbrella to pull me up a pass.

I agree with Matt though people do laugh at me when they see me one the trail. Although more often then not my umbrella will be the center of conversation form other backpackers.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas on 10/01/2007 00:24:22 MDT Print View

I hear you Matt but the chuckles end with this scenario:

When hiking in Olympic NP, it rained constantly for several days (pretty standard here in Washington). With our brollies, my wife and I were able to dress for the temperature instead of the weather, wearing windshirts instead of less breathable clothing. Cruising through the rainforest, people were unhappy, sweating out their rain jackets. but not us- were were smiling, happy, and dry- no sweat and no rain drops.

The umbrellas are great around camp and can be used to protect a Tarptent from wind-blown rain- a trick we've used many times.

We love umbrellas, especially in the Washington lowlands and also in the desert where the rain and sun protection is excellent.

Sure, they aren't the best in high winds and you have to be ready to ditch a trekking pole (I attach my fixed length poles together with Velcro strips and use them as one), but an umbrella can be brilliant in the right situations.

I don't care about giggles- I care about comfort!

Check out my Birdiepal umbrellas spotlite review on this site- those brollies are the BEST!

Umbrella backpackers UNITE!

The picture is me and Marty Coatney (a reviewer on this site) enjoying a downpour in the Enchanted Vally in Olympic NP.
dfsfewe

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
re: umbrellas on 10/01/2007 06:46:16 MDT Print View

another advantage for umbrellas is you can have welcome shelter for things like checking a guidebook or taking a picture. I'd use to almost skip taking pictures in rainy days until I started using the umbrella.

IMO, you still need a rain jacket. Even in moderate rain with no wind, my arms get unconfortably wet (Golite Dome being the biggest umbrella I've taken backpacking) but even with the rain jacket on there's a lot the umbrella can do for you to increase your confort level: you can open the zipper and uncover your head, which is great for regulating your core temperature and avoiding condensation.

Then there's the pshycological relief of being somewhat out of the rain. This is very subjective but it's happened to me that there comes this moment (usually after long hours or days of rain) when you just can't stand it anymore and need to get out of it.

Some cons: it's obviously not suited to some conditions (wind, thick forest) but I also dislike the added complexity. I like to keep things as simple as possible, somethig that goes together with the lightweight approach. The umbrella is just another tool to deal with. I try to keep its use simple by keeping it accesible without taking the pack out, even without stopping hiking (strapped outside) but I still need to stop to store it again and then I have yet another wet item.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
re: umbrellas on 10/01/2007 06:46:16 MDT Print View

another advantage for umbrellas is you can have welcome shelter for things like checking a guidebook or taking a picture. I'd use to almost skip taking pictures in rainy days until I started using the umbrella.

IMO, you still need a rain jacket. Even in moderate rain with no wind, my arms get unconfortably wet (Golite Dome being the biggest umbrella I've taken backpacking) but even with the rain jacket on there's a lot the umbrella can do for you to increase your confort level: you can open the zipper and uncover your head, which is great for regulating your core temperature and avoiding condensation.

Then there's the pshycological relief of being somewhat out of the rain. This is very subjective but it's happened to me that there comes this moment (usually after long hours or days of rain) when you just can't stand it anymore and need to get out of it.

Some cons: it's obviously not suited to some conditions (wind, thick forest) but I also dislike the added complexity. I like to keep things as simple as possible, somethig that goes together with the lightweight approach. The umbrella is just another tool to deal with. I try to keep its use simple by keeping it accesible without taking the pack out, even without stopping hiking (strapped outside) but I still need to stop to store it again and then I have yet another wet item.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
re: umbrellas on 10/01/2007 06:56:31 MDT Print View

another advantage for umbrellas is you can have welcome shelter for things like checking a guidebook or taking a picture. I'd use to almost skip taking pictures in rainy days until I started using the umbrella.

IMO, you still need a rain jacket. Even in moderate rain with no wind, my arms get unconfortably wet (Golite Dome being the biggest umbrella I've taken backpacking) but even with the rain jacket on there's a lot the umbrella can do for you to increase your confort level: you can open the zipper and uncover your head, which is great for regulating your core temperature and avoiding condensation.

Then there's the pshycological relief of being somewhat out of the rain. This is very subjective but it's happened to me that there comes this moment (usually after long hours or days of rain) when you just can't stand it anymore and need to get out of it.

Some cons: it's obviously not suited to some conditions (wind, thick forest) but I also dislike the added complexity. I like to keep things as simple as possible, somethig that goes together with the lightweight approach. The umbrella is just another tool to deal with. I try to keep its use simple by keeping it accesible without taking the pack out, even without stopping hiking (strapped outside) but I still need to stop to store it again and then I have yet another wet item.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Umbrellas on 10/01/2007 14:18:43 MDT Print View

I agree that umbrellas give the psychological advantage of "being out of the rain". And dressing for the temperature, not the rain, is great.

As for poles, I've had reasonable success resting the umbrella on my head and top of my backpack with the pole stuffed under a harness strap in front of my body, You need a hip belt for this, as you have to unload the shoulder straps and take the load on your hips. It stays in place pretty well, minor adjustments needed periodically, but both hands are free.

On the other hand, people think you look REALLY weird if you do this! But as with others, I don't care (easier when you are over 50).

Edited by ewolin on 10/01/2007 14:19:53 MDT.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Chrome Dome vs. Non-Chrome Dome on 10/01/2007 14:25:18 MDT Print View

Has anyone used the GoLite Chrome Dome and their regular green umbrella? It seems that the only difference is the metallic material - but it weighs 2oz more.

I hike in in climates where intense sun/heat is an issue. Do you think the Chrome Dome's more reflective color would actually create a cooler micro-climate underneath (compared with the green umbrella and also compared with no umbrella).

Thoughts?

Oh yes... could the Chrome Dome serve a multi-purpose... a reflective surface if search and rescue is looking for you? Maybe that's pushing it.

Edited by splproductions on 10/01/2007 14:27:10 MDT.

Matt Brodhead
(mattbrodhead) - F

Locale: Michigan
I'm taking an umbrella next time I go backpacking on 10/01/2007 15:04:39 MDT Print View

Alright guys... You have all sold me on the idea of trying out an umbrella on the trail. I'll bring one next time I roll out, which shouldn't be too far away. Pictures and commentary will follow.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Chrome Dome vs. Non-Chrome Dome on 10/01/2007 16:00:38 MDT Print View

I use the Chrome Dome for desert hiking, but have never used the green. The umbrella catches the faintest breeze and creates cool micro-climate.

During a Grand Canyon hike I went around Horseshoe Mesa and my buddy went over. I put the chrome dome in a tree so he could find me. From a distance it looked like a TV dish. However, it is NOT reflective enough for SAR.

Your maps stay dry on rainy days. The umbrella is a great windblock for alcohol stoves or for the open end of the tarp.

I drilled a hole in the ferrule so I could clip it to a guyline.

I became a umbrella convert the first time I crawled out in the middle of the night and unhooked the umbrella that was blocking the rain at the open end of the tarp.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Check out Birdiepal umbrellas on 10/01/2007 17:22:44 MDT Print View

Before you buy a Golite Chrome Dome, definitely check out the reflective Birdiepal umbrellas. A reflective Swing Liteflex weighs 2 ounces less and has a larger surface area. I've found them to be just as durable as the newer generation Golite brollies.

Great stuff!
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/2007_birdiepal_umbrellas_spotlite_review.html

Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: Check out Birdiepal umbrellas on 10/01/2007 17:54:09 MDT Print View

Hi everyone,
I purchased an umbrella from my local Office Max for $12.00 (2006 price)that weight's 7.5 oz., on a Pelouze scale, has a 38" diameter, and an 18 3/4" length shaft measured with the canopy open in the locked position.I used this umbrella in the Wind Rivers through light and heavy precip., but very little wind. FWIW, it worked very well, but I'm baffled as to what Company manufactured the umbrella. Like typical UL style, I cut off all the tags!
Oh well it's light and it's cheap.
Paul

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Reflective umbrella on 10/02/2007 11:31:12 MDT Print View

Ray Jardine in Beyond Backpacking had great success simply taping some aluminum covered mylar (i.e. emergency space blanket material) on the top of his umbrella. Costs next to nothing, fairly tough, easy to replace, and light. I suspect this works as good or better than the Chrome Dome, and you can leave the mylar home if heat is not an issue.

Edited by ewolin on 10/02/2007 11:32:26 MDT.

Michael Whiteside
(ruralbackpacker) - F

Locale: Northern California
Chrome Dome on 11/19/2007 17:35:47 MST Print View

I have a Golite Chrome Dome. It is a great piece of equipment. Last December I spent two weeks backpacking on the coast of Costa Rica and I used it constantly. I don't know how I could have handled all of that intense sun without it.

The only real negative that I see is that it doesn't work well in the wind. I walked across England in May and though it rained a lot I wasn't able to use it that much because it was often too windy.

I don't take the umbrella on all of my trips but for rain or intense sun I definitely recommend having one and the Chrome Dome is a good choice. I'll buy another when this one wears out or breaks.

I also got umbrella idea from Jardine--and from Buddhist monks in Thailand who walk around in the hot sun under their umbrellas.

-Michael

Anitra Kass
(Anitraten) - F

Locale: SoCal
Umbrella on 11/19/2007 19:00:25 MST Print View

I took mine on the whole CDT hike and there were quite a few other hikers (at one time there were 4 out of 5 of us) with umbrellas. Shade when it's hot, rain protection when it's yucky. I was caught in Skurka's epic storm as well but luckily I could bail to a Yurt. I was so thankful to have my umbrella so that I could wander outside the Yurt to use the restroom and not get wet.

As a woman who ended up hiking with mostly guys, I found that in the desert when there is no where to hide, using it to create some privacy to pee was maybe my most creative use.

Con: as almost everyone has said, using it with trekking poles. I always end up putting one pole on my pack.

Happy Trails,
NITRO

Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Backpack attatchment on 11/19/2007 19:44:14 MST Print View

Does anybody have a link for directions to attach an umbrella to a backpack, freeing up ones hands for using trekking poles?

I remember someone talking about doing that at the PCT kickoff a couple years ago, but I don't remember the details...

Thanks.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Umbrella on 11/19/2007 22:33:04 MST Print View

Montbell Ultralight Trekking Umbrella


* Diameter when open: 2 ft, 8 in.
* Length when folded: 9 in.
* Weight: 5.8 oz



29$@:

http://www.frontcountry.com/site/montbell_ultralight_umbrella.html

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 11/28/2007 17:26:31 MST.