Whether you’re commuting to work, walking to the shops, or traveling to far of places, one thing you can be sure of is that, at some point, you will encounter a bit of rain. Without any waterproof gear at hand you’re faced with two options, dash to the closest convenient shelter and stubbornly wait out the bad weather, or soldier on through the downpour till you’re soaked to the bone but at your destination. You might agree that neither options are ideal which is why lightweight travel umbrella should be very high on your kit list.
A compact travel umbrella is far more practical than lugging full waterproofs around on a backpacking trip and certainly score better than plastic rain ponchos on the style side of things. Umbrellas are practical for both hot and cold climates and pack up so small you won’t need to think twice about slipping into your handbag or carry-on.
8 Best Travel Umbrellas to keep you dry in 2018
There are plenty of excellent travel sized umbrellas on the market which are strong, durable, quick-drying, and some even have a subtle and stylish design. Our list tries to cover them all.
- Shaft handle can be slightly tedious to use
With a solid frame made from nine reinforced fiberglass ribs, the Rain Mate Compact Travel Umbrella is certainly one of the most windproof travel umbrellas on the market.
- Canopy Size: 42 Inches
- Folded Size:6 x 2.7 x 2.4 Inches
- Weight:5 Ounces
On gusty days the fail-safe technology should resist the onslaught of mother nature an prevent the canopy from flipping inside out. We’ve found that the 42-inch canopy is able to hold its shape without bucking or bending even when opened in strong winds.
Although it is not the lightest product on our list, the Rain Mate Compact Travel Umbrella matched its competitors in terms of size. The 3-piece telescopic shaft will collapse to just 12 inches in length and fits inside a lightweight sleeve so you shouldn’t have any trouble putting it inside your bag. Another feature that we like, and busy travelers will love, is the automatic open and close mechanism, which operates by pressing a button on the handle so there’ll be no more blocking doorways while you struggle to click your brolly into place.
The mid-range price of Rain Mate’s travel umbrella is also worth mentioning because, in this case, the lower price tag, doesn’t equal a lower quality product. In fact, the Rain Mate Compact Travel Umbrella is our favorite.
- Slightly pricier than competitors
- A tendency for the hinges to rust over time.
The Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella another top contender. It features a resin-reinforced fiberglass frame which allows just enough flex to prevent the ribs from snapping in strong winds but is strong enough to stay the right way around even on blustery days in the Scottish Highlands.
- Folded Size: 5 x 2 x 2 Inches
- Weight: 12 Ounces
Meanwhile, the chrome plated shaft provides a sturdy base for the canopy and a rubberized grip handle with wrist strap will prevent it from slipping out of your hand in the wind
The key difference between Repel’s Windproof Travel Umbrella and cheaper umbrellas on our list is the Teflon coating. As well as providing a high water resistance, the modern technology allows the fabric to dry quickly so that you can fold and store it soon after use without causing any unpleasant odors. What travelers really like is that this umbrella folds down to a very compact size at the touch of a button and weighs less than 1 lb.
- Small handle
- Not 100% windproof
The EEZ-Y Compact Travel Umbrella takes its windproof design one step further by adding a vented double canopy which allows wind to pass through without adding unnecessary pressure to the shaft or flipping the umbrella.
- Canopy Size: 42 Inches
- Packed Size:2 x 2.2 x 2.4 Inches
- Weight: 14.1 Ounces
While this lightweight product may not be strong enough to take on a tornado, with 9 premium fiberglass ribs and a stainless-steel shaft, it should certainly get you through city winds without getting your hair wet. Many users report that the EEZ-Y Compact Travel Umbrella’s sturdy frame shows no signs of rust or damage even after long-term usage.
Another reason we like this travel umbrella is that it can collapse to just 11 inches which makes it the most compact umbrella on out list without compromising on rain protection. The EEZ-Y Compact Travel Umbrella still has a wide 42-inch canopy which gives the user good rain protection. It is one of the heavier items on our list, however, considering the level of wind and rain protection it provides, we think it might be worth the extra ounces.
- Smaller canopy size
- 55 mph wind claims are not very accurate
The Kulumbo Unbreakable Travel Umbrella’s simple design which is available in a range of understated colors making it perfect for business travel as well as leisure.
- Canopy Size: 38 Inches
- Weight:6 Ounces
Don’t be fooled by this umbrella elegant design though because the Kulumbo’s Unbreakable Travel Umbrella is, as the name suggests, incredibly strong. Made from a combination of premium fiberglass and stainless steel, the company even claim that this compact umbrella can withstand winds of up to 55 MPH (this is something we & many users do disagree with). Although you’re unlikely to have the opportunity to test this out, many users confirm that the umbrella does not flip even on very blustery days. Not bad for an umbrella which weighs only 13 ounces and packs down to a length of approximately 12 inches. The 38-inch canopy is made from pongee fabric which will repel rather than absorb moisture which prevents the fabric from becoming heavy and allows it to dry quickly.
- The wooden handle is a bit flimsy
This may not be the most compact nor the lightest item on our list, however, what the Totes Wooden Stick Umbrella lacks in portability it makes up for in style. This is a classic ‘Mary Poppins’ umbrella which is best for commuting to and from the office on a rainy day.
- Canopy Size: 48 Inches
- Folded Length: 36 Inches
- Weight: 5 Ounces
It’s elegant design and large canopy comes in a range of plain colors and with the crook wooden handle so that you can easily hook it on your arm while traveling on public transport.
The Totes umbrella uses NeverWet Technology and a highly water-repellent coating which prevents the fabric from absorbing moisture, letting you simply shake the water droplets off after use instead of spending the remainder of the day with a soggy brolly. Totes also claim that their invisible coating can block 98% of harmful UV rays so you won’t be getting sunburn when your thunderstorm turns into a lovely summer day.
The Totes Open Wooden Stick Umbrella features an ultra-strong aluminum frame and, while this might not stand up to strong winds as effectively as fiberglass, many users report that can withhold light to moderate winds without flipping or breaking.
6. Pro Travel Gear
- Pretty heavy relative to others on our list
Pro Travel Gear’s compact umbrella is our top pick for a budget travel umbrella. The design is not as elegant as some of the other items on our list with the brand name printed boldly on the canopy, but its certainly on par with its market competitors in terms of rain protection and portability.
- Canopy Size: 42 Inches
- Folded Size: 12 x 3 x 5 Inches
- Weight:8 Ounces
The Pro Travel Gear is Teflon coated making it super water repellent and quick drying, while the fiberglass hinges use anti-break technology which allows the 10 ribs to flex but not break or flip. Many users confirm that the reinforced-fiberglass frame will hold up to high winds and even torrential rain. The umbrella is also designed with a larger rubberized handle than most, we see this as another pro because the larger size makes it more comfortable to grip, particularly with wet hands.
We have also found the three-fold telescopic shaft to be very durable and we like that Pro Travel Gear have included a lobster swivel clasp on the umbrella sleeve so that it can be attached to the outside of a bag. The only downside that we can see is the weight. Although there is not a substantial difference, the Pro Travel Gear Umbrella is a little heavier than its higher-priced competitors.
- Actual color is duller than it appears in photos
The Vumos Umbrella is our favorite for backpackers and travelers who love the outdoors because of its portability. Firstly, at only 12 ounces this is one of the lightest travel umbrellas on the market.
- Canopy Size: 43 Inches
- Packed Size: 5 x 2.6 x 2.6 Inches
- Weight: 12 Ounces
It’s also one of the smallest as the metal shaft collapses using the automatic open/close mechanism to fit in the palm of your hand. Secondly, we like that it is made from rain repellent pongee fabric and that it comes with a waterproof travel case so that it can be shaken off and stored drip-free inside your bag after use. Many users agree that this is very useful when you are taking public transport. No more trying to juggle bus tickets or operate the ticket machine with a soaking wet umbrella in one hand.
The case itself has a semi-hard shell, making it resistant to the typical bumps and bashes sustained while traveling. It is also very compact, about the size of a 500 ml water bottle so it won’t take up much space in your backpack or carry-on.
This lightweight product doesn’t compromise on protection either. The large 43-inch canopy is supported by fiberglass ribs and the rubberized handle can be gripped comfortably. We think this mid-price travel umbrella would defiantly come in handy on your next big adventure.
- Its weight has proven to be an issue for some
Tinams Windproof Umbrella is one of the most durable travel umbrellas on the market. It uses a 3 section enhances fiberglass frame with 10 fortified ribs connected by hard-wearing stainless-steel springs and joints.
- Canopy Size: 41 Inches
- Packed Size:5 x 2.3 x 2.3 Inches
- Weight: 16 Ounces (heaviest on the list)
Hopefully, you’ll never get caught out in such a strong blizzard by its good to know that in heavy winds Tinam’s durable frame will keep you covered, and even if a gust of wind does flip the canopy, the clever fiberglass hinges will flip it back into place.
This travel umbrella is at the higher end of the scale in terms of weight and price, but we think that the 210T Teflon coated pongee fabric and the well-balanced easy-grip handle make up for this. The Taman windproof umbrella is useful when traveling as it can be opened at the touch of a button to shield you from the rain or sun and folded down to a compact 12.6 inches.
Criteria we used to pick
There’s more than just colors and patterns to look at when investing in a good quality travel umbrella. By quality, we don’t just mean buying an umbrella that won’t that won’t flip inside out or break in two after a few gusts of wind, we also mean an umbrella which is lightweight, practical, portable, comfortable to hold, durable, and of course, waterproof. The following are the most important features we look for when choosing a good quality travel umbrella.
Waterproof and Windproof
Of course, even the most basic umbrellas should have a reasonable level of waterproofing, but some fabrics are far more resistant than others and when you get caught out in a heavy shower you’ll really notice the difference. The best umbrellas are generally made from lightweight nylon or polyester which are highly water resistant. Although the highest quality umbrellas make use of pongee fabric which deflects water rather than absorbing it. We also look for umbrellas, like the EEZ-Y Compact Travel Umbrella, which have a quick-drying 210T Teflon coating.
Aside from the waterproofing materials, we look at the canopy size. Most travel umbrellas will feature a canopy between 38 and 42 inches. Those with a larger surface area, like the Totes Open Wooden Stick Umbrella, will provide more protection from the winds and rain, however, if the umbrella doesn’t have a strong frame, it will be more prone to flipping. Conversely, umbrellas with a canopy smaller than 38 inches are less likely to turn inside out but they probably won’t keep your lower body dry, which is why umbrella hats, although fun, have never really taken off.
We expect a good travel umbrella to be usable for a number of years rather than months without showing major signs of wear or damage. Therefore, we look for umbrellas which use hard wearing materials such as stainless steel, and reinforced fiberglass. The cheaper umbrellas that you can find for a few dollars at the supermarket tend to use a 6 to 8 aluminum rib frame which is prone to rust and unlikely to withstand strong winds or the rigors of travel.
Q: What Does the Lifetime Guarantee Include?
A: The lifetime guarantee for the items on our list can vary slightly as they are all from different manufacturers. Generally speaking, however, a lifetime guarantee will cover damages and breakages which are caused by a manufacturing fault. For example, if the automatic open/close system becomes jammed or if the umbrella does not live up to its windproof claims. In these cases, you will probably be provided with a replacement (rather than a repaired) product. The specifics of this, however, is always up to the manufacturer.
The majority of items on our list are manufactured with 9 to 10 ribs which are reinforced with fail-safe fiberglass struts and hinges which means that the frame will hold its shape and snap back into place without breaking if caught in a heavy gust. Most of the items in our top 8 also feature stainless steel shafts and, while this can make the umbrellas a little heavier, it also makes them less prone to rust or breakage.
Q: What are the advantages of Pongee Fabric?
A: Due to its very fine thread and overall density Pongee is highly resistant to breaks and abrasions, it is also highly water-resistant and generally more durable than polyester or nylon. It also holds its color far better than polyester or nylon and doesn’t fade in in sunlight. The biggest advantage of an umbrella made from pongee fabric is that it dries very quickly and is resistant to mold and mildew so you’ll be able to put it away soon after use without worrying about damage or bad odors.
Size, Weight, and Portability
Any Londoner will tell you that its worth having an umbrella handy in all four season, so to avoid weighing yourself down, it’s important that your new travel umbrella is portable. We like travel umbrellas which fold up small enough that you can slip them into your bag and forget that they’re there. Similarly, we look for umbrellas which are lightweight so that you don’t have to pump weights in order to hold them up.
Q: Is it large enough to keep to two people dry?
A: The items on our list are for single use however those with a larger canopy, such as the Totes Wooden Stick Umbrella which is 48-inches wide, can comfortably cover two people.
We’ve found that most good travel umbrellas weigh between 1 pound and half a pound and will easily fit inside a handbag or car door. Ideally, the umbrella can also be attached to the outside of your backpack for quick access when the rain starts or for letting it air dry.
The items on our list all weigh below 1 pound and collapse to around 12 inches in length making them very convenient to carry around. We’ve also picked out a couple, like the Vumos and Tinams travel umbrellas, which come with waterproof cases for drip-free storage.
All of the travel umbrellas on our list have automatic open/close mechanisms. This feature allows you to open and close the umbrella at the touch of a button so you’ll always have one hand free to hold your coffee. It may seem like scary new technology to some and unnecessary to others, but we’ve found it to be very beneficial, particularly when you’re heading to the office with an arm full of papers or approaching the airport with luggage in hand.
We all know that you can pick up a budget umbrella at the local supermarket for a few dollars and while you might be smiling when you save a few bucks, you probably won’t be so pleased when your new umbrella turns itself inside out in a gentle breeze. The bottom line is that it’s worth paying a bit more for a higher quality product. These umbrella tent to cost between $10 and $25 and products at the upper end of the price scale generally come from well-established companies which carry out rigorous testing on their products.