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The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas
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Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
I talked about this in another thread... on 06/29/2009 15:41:58 MDT Print View

But using your umbrella to clear spider webs is far superior to using a trekking pole.

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: I talked about this in another thread... on 06/29/2009 16:01:35 MDT Print View

Under my umbrella ella, ella, ella hey hey hey.
went umbrella for the first time in the smokies last week. I used the mont bell, and an xl driducks jacket that covered my pack. The umbrella was handy quite a few times like in heavy rain, sun, while cooking, etc. Jury's still out but I'm leaning towards mary poppins.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Just a spoonful of sugar... on 06/29/2009 16:31:05 MDT Print View

Helps your manhood go down...
I say pack it...

the umbrella...

that is.

Dawn Hamilton
(dawnlh) - F - MLife
hands free options on 09/30/2009 09:28:20 MDT Print View

Has anyone had much luck with any of the "hands free" methods of attaching an umbrella? I am so used to using 2 poles when I hike that I can't imagine having to hold the umbrella instead. The picture where it fits on your head...are there lightweight varieties and could you put a strap under your chin to hold it on in wind?


te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Compact umbrellas on 09/30/2009 10:48:00 MDT Print View

montbell UL trekking umbrella, $24 shipped
comes in dark green only

i used my brolly this past weekend at Aravaipa Canyon in temps pushing 95°, not a cloud in the sky. Highly satisfied with using it.
i did have an extra camelback clip so used it for holding the brolly hands-free, but this method surely requires 2 clips. here's a photo of the other brolly user, hands free by using the sternum strap and shirt pocket to hold it. it held very well for many hours. little wind, slight breeze if any.


Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Umbrellas on 09/30/2009 11:10:39 MDT Print View

I use the Golite version, but only for hikes of a few days. In light rain, I stick it right down between my pack and my back. In heavier rain, I duct tape my trekking poles together and use them as one pole so that I can hold the umbrella. In heavy winds, I switch to my $1.99 Walmart poncho or DriDucks. (The DD's I take only on longer hikes and leave the Golite behind. The DD pants are great to wear when you're washing your other pants.)

Main disadvantage: Umbrellas are more trouble than they're worth in high winds. You really need some sort of backup, and the UL philosophy implies that you should just carry the backup, especially on longer walks where every oz counts.

On the embarrassment issue: My old man used to say to me, "If I ever see you carrying an umbrella, you'd better be holding it over a woman's head."

I think it's about time we got over such sentiments. They reflect more on the giver than they do on the recipient. No hiking tool is silly if it serves the greater purpose of helping you enjoy the hike.


te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: hands free options on 10/02/2009 12:38:17 MDT Print View

"Has anyone had much luck with any of the "hands free" methods of attaching an umbrella? I am so used to using 2 poles when I hike that I can't imagine having to hold the umbrella instead. The picture where it fits on your head...are there lightweight varieties and could you put a strap under your chin to hold it on in wind? "
dawn, did you see this post:

Emmet shows us how to use clips to hold his brolly hands-free. it works!

i got my montbell ul umbrella a couple days ago, and the quality is good. very taught, and packs small. 5.6oz total
only drawback: you have to snap all the ribs into place before opened (this takes bout 20 seconds)

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: hands free options on 10/02/2009 13:49:06 MDT Print View

Mike, don't you have to break it down the same way, first buckling all ribs before completing closure?

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Re: hands free options on 10/02/2009 14:05:09 MDT Print View

yes, its true. but i was mostly concerned that id be saying "oh great, its started to rain and now i have to fumble with these ribs.."

fwiw the SnowPeak has the same construction style. My Birdiepal is nice in that it's easy to "pitch" but one look and you'll see the construction is nowhere near the quality of Montbell's.

Hoot Filsinger
(filsinger) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Backpack attatchment on 05/08/2010 20:34:26 MDT Print View

This blog site has an example.


Praveen M
(prav66) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Hands free umbrella on 01/01/2011 15:53:18 MST Print View

Looks like the hands free model of the silver umbrella with longer shaft is finally out.

Ceph Lotus
(Cephalotus) - MLife

Locale: California
Hands free umbrella on 09/26/2011 22:54:07 MDT Print View

The Antigravity Gear umbrella looks great...but it weighs 13 oz. :(

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Umbrella Stuff on 09/27/2011 06:10:06 MDT Print View

For me if the rain and temp is too hot for a rain jacket and pants what's the point of rain gear at all anyway? It's not like I'm going to melt from rain. A hat with a brim to keep it out of my eyesis all I need. If you go with that idea then, the only time rain gear is even needed is when it's cold and you have to stay dry in which case I personally can't risk even a stray wind soaking me or worse my insulation. Although in really hot and sunny conditions I can totally see myself replacing any rain gear with the weight of an umbrella purely for sun protection.

Emmett Lyman
(ejl10) - F - M

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: hands free options on 09/27/2011 06:23:52 MDT Print View

"Emmet shows us how to use clips to hold his brolly hands-free. it works!"

Thanks Mike - I was trying to find that post to put up here. I've been using this method for 3 seasons now and I've only grown more convinced that it's a winning solution. One note - my father tried this with his GoLite Dome and found that it didn't work as well - the Dome might be just a little heavy to be stable with two clips - maybe better to try it with three.

Edited by ejl10 on 09/27/2011 06:25:08 MDT.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas on 09/27/2011 11:11:03 MDT Print View

I own the sea to summit Umbrella it great if you overheat in rain gear it keeps the rain off of you. Windy Rain that is going diagonally or sideways in to your face or back. You can hold horizontally in front of your face to stop the sting of the rain. A strap is a must on the handle is nice to keep the umbrella from being taken from your hand in windy conditions.
I really don't know any cons to carrying a umbrella.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: The Pros and Cons of Backpacking Umbrellas on 09/27/2011 12:22:21 MDT Print View

this is BPL, right ?

given that, its either rain gear and a sunhat ... or an umbrella.
I'll take the rain gear and sunhat.

all the arguments "pro" aside, it just seems like a step backwards in the area of ease of travel in the backcountry.

now if I was walking down the Promenade in my orange and red Salomon trail shoes ... an umbrella would fit in just fine :-)

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Umbrellas seem better in theory than in reality for most on 09/27/2011 13:04:26 MDT Print View

But let me start by saying that if you are an umbrella user and you like them, you don't need my opinion.

On the PCT many people start out with umbrellas. Many find that when they want them for shade in the hot, open country of the desert, the wind can make them unusable. When they want them in the cold rain of Washington, they need rain gear anyway to keep wet vegetation from soaking them. For me, that makes umbrellas too specialized.

In my experience I tend to see many more umbrellas at the start of long trails than at the end.

My rain gear is multi purpose.

1. Rain
2. Wind block
3. Warmth
4. To wear whilst doing laundry

When I REALLY want and need rain gear is when it's wet, cold and windy. Conventional rain gear is much better under those conditions. Personally, I'm not going to carry both a rain parka and an umbrella, so a rain jacket (plus rain pants depending on where and when) wins easily. I leave unneeded gear at home, and for me that includes an umbrella every time.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Umbrella synergies on 09/27/2011 17:12:46 MDT Print View

Try to see everything as a kit that works together and not just separate pieces. Having an umbrella may condition the rest of your rain gear: for example, a non-breathable (silnylon or cuben) rain jacket may be extremely light but it may also be difficult (or very difficult, depending on conditions) to make it work. An umbrella allows extra ventilation when wearing the jacket so a non-breathable one may make sense. A cuben rain jacket and a lightweight umbrella may be not any heavier than many lightweight breathable rain jackets.

Francis Tapon
(ftapon) - MLife

Locale: Earth
3,834 Words + 31 Photos = One Epic Post about backpacking with an umbrella on 10/31/2013 04:52:50 MDT Print View

Mt Shasta behind me on the PCT

In Feb 2012, I wrote this article about hiking with an umbrella:

It was available only to BPL members.

Now, nearly 2 years later, 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

Edited by ftapon on 10/31/2013 04:55:20 MDT.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
umbrellas, yeah! on 10/31/2013 13:52:09 MDT Print View

Good to see an expansion of the article that I also liked. I have been using an umbrella myself a lot more along with a trash bag rain skirt and some plastic bag foot covers and have found it to be more flexible. hopefully soon some Borah wpb socks for my size 15EEs. I have also done the umbrella and bug netting thing for sleeping and am trying it out with a poncho/tarp in flat areas to give support. Very versatile.