I want the absolute best, most bombproof compact umbrella available
March 26, 2013 7:03 AM   Subscribe

What is the best compact umbrella I can buy?

It should be compact enough to fit into a backpack, around a foot long or smaller. It doesn't need to be pocket sized. It should open and close easily, preferably with one hand. It should not turn inside out in anything less than a hurricane. It should shed water. It should have a nice handle. It should be large enough when open to keep me dry but not so large as to annoy everyone around me. I'm not going to go golfing with the thing.

Basic black is fine.

Cost isn't an issue as long as I'm paying for quality and not a name or a gimmick. This is an investment in my sanity.

It should be available on Amazon or a decent on-line store. I don't want to have to go to some secret umbrella shop in an alley somewhere.

The most recent AskMe thread looking for an umbrella is over five years old. Surely umbrella technology has improved since then, what with the space station and nanotechnology and Moore's Law and all.

Seriously, you guys, I want the All Clad of compact Umbrellas. The Roles Royce of Bumbershoots. The Stradivarius of... fold up... rain shield thingies. I want an amazing fucking umbrella.
posted by bondcliff to Shopping (20 answers total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Knirps Topmatic should be pretty good. The Best Foldings on that page are also top quality and you can choose whangee, malacca, hazel or leather.

By way of full disclosure, I myself buy my umbrellas second hand - railway lost property or charity shop. They're excellent value, and I lose them too often to buy a good new one any more.
posted by Segundus at 7:21 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My husband buys ShedRains. Nordstrom has said they will replace them if anything goes wrong, and nothing has yet for about the eight years we've been had them.
posted by hmo at 7:21 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: ShedRain is the best; I enjoy mine.

Here is an article reviewing a handful:
posted by 0110 at 7:29 AM on March 26, 2013

Best answer: Shedrain is completely the best. Highly recommend.

It should not turn inside out in anything less than a hurricane.

They handle wind like nothing else.
posted by sweetkid at 7:31 AM on March 26, 2013

I have this umbrella from Hammacher Schlemmer. It has stood up to all the nastiness NYC weather can deliver for the past 6 years.
posted by Pineapplicious at 7:49 AM on March 26, 2013

The REI Travel Umbrella has been very durable for me during gusty NYC storms.
posted by mkultra at 7:54 AM on March 26, 2013

Best answer: I had a T3 Knirps until i lost it, and it was awesome.
posted by modernnomad at 8:01 AM on March 26, 2013

I've been happy with my Tumi compact umbrella. It's certainly lasted me a lot longer than all of my previous ones.

Though that ShedRain looks really nice.
posted by deanc at 8:17 AM on March 26, 2013

Look at Fulton brand - the Queen uses them, so I figured they were good enough for me! I bought mine off a UK website (don't remember which one) and it has been a solid operator for years.
posted by AnnaRat at 8:43 AM on March 26, 2013

Best answer: I see Knirps themselves suggest the T3 Duomatic is their most robust and technologically advanced.
posted by Segundus at 9:17 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Knirps. Just bought a new one, the previous one lasted around 7 years before finally giving up the ghost.
posted by daveje at 10:16 AM on March 26, 2013

Best answer: I bought a ShedRain on the strength of fervent recommendations like those above; it disintegrated after less than two months' normal use. Multiple ribs have separated at the hub or the hinge, or come unsewn from the cloth. I may try the Knirps next...
posted by nicwolff at 11:45 AM on March 26, 2013

I have a compact SENZ storm umbrella which has lasted for several years, while most of the compact umbrellas that I've owned were irrepairably wrecked within a week of autumn storms.
posted by rjs at 12:49 PM on March 26, 2013

I carried the Davek Traveler in last year's derecho, and it didn't fail even in gale-force winds.
posted by evoque at 3:08 PM on March 26, 2013

The best umbrella I ever owned was a Wilson golf umbrella. Yes it's huge when closed, yes it's huge when opened. But the nylon/plastic/whatever tines meant it didn't bend & come apart. The venting meant it didn't collapse in the wind. Metal tines will ALWAYS bend in time, especially if you keep it in your backpack.

BTW one tip with all umbrellas - hold them up close to the top, not down where the handle is. They'll naturally lean into the wind if you hold them up near the top. All I have to do when I hold it that way is get out of the way of the handle & it automatically keeps me dry as it turns to face the wind.

Thanks for the tips. I've been on the lookout for a non-gigantic decent umbrella that wasn't a huge/heavy Gust Buster.
posted by MesoFilter at 8:16 PM on March 26, 2013

Response by poster: It was a tough choice between the Knirps and the Shedrain but I think either of them would be a good choice. I'm going to make somebody very happy when they find the umbrella I've left on the train.

Thanks, everyone! Stay dry.
posted by bondcliff at 6:01 AM on March 27, 2013

Seconding the Davek Traveler. Davek makes the best umbrellas I've ever experienced (coming from someone who lives in Typhoon country, Manila, Philippines). Expensive, but worth it.
posted by ferdinandcc at 10:30 AM on March 27, 2013

Response by poster: I bought a Knirps. I've only used it twice but so far so good. It's heavy, but I guess that's why it's so bomb proof. It did turn inside out in a strong wind but I was able to pop it right back into place.

It feels like it's well-made. Like the way I'm sure a BMW feels to the guy who just paid a lot of money for it and wants to believe it was worth it.
posted by bondcliff at 12:22 PM on April 25, 2013

Response by poster: Update: Today the Knirps broke. I've probably used this thing about six times. Probably carried it closed maybe 12 times. I don't think I've ever dropped it but it's possible I have. I was on the train, it was closed, and I was holding it right where the hanging cord meets the handle. It's like a little plastic cap at the end of the handle. Really just holding it when that thing just snapped right off. So now I have a little plastic thing with a cord on it and an umbrella with a missing cap on the end of the handle.

I can still use the umbrella, and I can probably glue this piece back on and it'll be as good as new, but WTF? That's some shoddy QC right there, I'll tell ya wut. Maybe they put so much effort into making the umbrella part strong they neglected this part, I dunno.

I'm sure it's under warranty so maybe I'll pursue that avenue.

Maybe I should have gone with the Shedrain.
posted by bondcliff at 1:19 PM on June 18, 2013

Response by poster: Follow up: I was able to Superglue the part back on and the umbrella has been working beautifully ever since.
posted by bondcliff at 8:37 AM on February 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

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