Umbrellas are a much-overlooked component to outdoor equipment. Indeed, I've known only one guy who carried an umbrella on a hike or climbthis was on mountain-rescue operations, no lessand while everybody laughed at him, I always thought it was very clever. After all, you put on a rainjacket, and you're almost instantly too warm unless the temperature is in the 40s. With an umbrella you stay dry while avoiding having to wear an unwanted extra layer.
Komperdell Umbrella Staff
One problem is that most umbrellas are crap, including many of the $25 "compact" umbrellas you'll find out there. So what to do? Check out a company called Birdiepal (www.birdiepal.com), which makes a line of German-engineered umbrellas that are a big cut above what you usually can buy. Most of their models are golf-oriented, meaning they're probably too big. But the 47-inch Junior model ($49) should be about right, giving you plenty of coverage without adding too much weight or bulk to your pack.
Another interesting choice is the Komperdell Umbrella Staff ($85; www.komperdell.com). It cleverly combines a walking stick with an umbrella, so you still have a useful tool even when the weather is dry.
Check out the 2005 Gear of the Year winners in Outside's
2005 Buyer's Guide
, then get yourself a copy of the issue, on newsstands now!
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside →