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10 Best Travel Umbrellas Review for Jan. 2020 to Keep You Covered – with Buying Guide
Freedom. You first feel it when you’re a teenager.
It’s that feeling you have when you don’t have to go to bed before the game ends or your favorite show is over. The feeling when you’re finally old to stay out after the sun goes down. When you’re old enough to go outside without someone telling you to zip up your coat. When no one yells at you to put on your hat. Your boots. Your scarf.
And it’s the feeling you have, when no one tells you to be sure to take your umbrella.
Time passes, of course. Eventually, you’re old enough to want to carry an umbrella, whether it’s to protect your nice suit or dress, to keep your hair dry, or to go sightseeing without the rain ruining your vacation.
At that point, no one (except perhaps your spouse) tells you to be sure to take your umbrella. You make sure – all on your own – that you take your umbrella.
An umbrella that’s big enough for a family to picnic under can certainly do the job. But if you have to travel regularly around town for work, are constantly on the go while running errands, or are touring one of the world’s great cities, you want something more compact.
You need the best travel umbrella you can find.
Classic foldable umbrellas (think Mary Poppins, the Penguin, or your grandmother) and stylish bubble umbrellas still have their place; a good one will protect you quite well when you’re simply traveling from point A to point B and can leave your collapsed umbrella in a closet or umbrella stand.
Travel umbrellas, however, have become the go-to choice in today’s mobile, fast-paced society. As we’ve all painfully discovered, many are so poorly-made that after a minute or two in a bad storm, you’re left holding a tangled mass of aluminum and sheer cloth – or left holding nothing at all after your travel umbrella has blown away.
A great travel umbrella, though? It’s worth every penny you have to pay for its durability, reliability and effectiveness.
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The Groom+Style review team has made it our mission to find the best travel umbrellas on the market. And just like Mary Poppins (or your grandmother), we accomplish what we set out to achieve.
Here are the ten best travel umbrellas we’ve discovered.
Best Travel Umbrellas
1. Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella
You can spend a fortune on a travel umbrella – but why would you, when the reasonably-priced Repel Windproof provides just about everything you could want for day-to-day rain and wind protection?
What first attracted the Groom+Style review team to this beauty is the Teflon coating on the canopy, which makes the Repel completely waterproof and lets it dry almost instantly.
Then we saw that the umbrella has nine fiberglass ribs, reinforced with a resin substance, which prevents the canopy from flipping inside-out and keeps the ribs from snapping in extremely heavy wind. A chrome-plated metal shaft adds to the strength and durability of the Repel Windproof as well; the company wouldn’t be able to offer a lifetime warranty if this baby wasn’t going to last.
There are other features to like, too. There’s automatic open/close with the push of a button, a rubberized slip-proof handle, a wrist strap and a carrying sleeve that you can actually use (because the umbrella dries so quickly). The Repel hits our targets for size and weight as well, with a 42” canopy, folding to less than a foot in length and weighing less than a pound.
You can find travel umbrellas that are a bit lighter, have a slightly larger canopy, or look snazzier. You won’t find a better choice at a better price than the Repel, though.
Facts and figures for the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella:
2. Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella
This is also a terrific choice, and it’s actually priced a couple of bucks lower than the Repel. It also has nine reinforced fiberglass ribs, a 42” canopy, and a one-touch auto open/close feature. It folds down to almost the same size (12 inches instead of 11.5 inches) and weighs almost the same (14 ounces instead of 12), and the review team wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference in size and weight without looking at the specifications.
What knocked the Rain-Mate down to #2 in our rankings is the fact that it doesn’t have Teflon-coating on the canopy, which means it may not protect quite as well or dry as quickly after the rain has stopped. We did give extra credit to this model, because it has fiberglass hinges which prevent the ribs from bending or breaking, even if a strong gust turns the canopy inside-out.
That wasn’t enough to let the Rain-Mate beat out the Repel, but it makes this travel umbrella an absolutely terrific second choice.
The Rain-Mate has just about everything we’d want in a travel umbrella except Teflon-coating on the canopy. It performs almost as well, though, and we’d be comfortable using it regularly.
More detail on the Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella:
3. EEZ-Y Compact Travel Umbrella
Once again, we deducted a few points from the EEZ-Y Compact because it didn’t have the Teflon canopy coating that the team fell in love with (although the canopy is made from 210t waterproof polyester, which isn’t bad at all). We also weren’t thrilled that the canopy is only 38” in diameter, rather small in the view of G+S reviewers.
But this travel umbrella has a great feature that you won’t find on either the Repel or Rain-Mate: a vented double canopy.
This construction prevents the canopy from flipping inside out because wind gusts can pass through the vents. That’s the absolute best defense against the heaviest of winds you should be facing (the company rates it to 55 mph, and with stronger winds you really shouldn’t be leaving the house).
There are nine fiberglass ribs, as you’ll find with all of our top choices, and the frame is constructed from a combination of fiberglass and stainless steel.
The EEZ-Y may be a tad more likely to eventually rust than our top two ranked competitors, but not by much, and it’s also protected by a lifetime warranty. The EEZ-Y Compact comes with a one-touch open/close button, a rubberized handle, and is available in eight colors.
If you live in a climate where extremely heavy winds are common, this could be your best choice for a travel umbrella which won’t flip inside-out or break apart. It’s a very good umbrella but has a small canopy.
Specs for the EEZ-Y Compact Travel Umbrella:
4. Vumos Small and Compact Mini Travel Umbrella
If you hadn’t guessed from the name of this product, it’s small. Very small.
Good things can come in small packages, however, and the Vumos is a great choice for kids, or adults who want to carry their travel umbrella in a small purse or even a very large coat pocket.
This “Mini Umbrella” is only seven inches in length when folded and weighs just a bit over seven ounces. It’s the smallest and lightest model we’ve checked out, and it really is perfect in terms of size. There’s a price to pay though (not the retail price, which is quite reasonable) – the canopy on this umbrella is only 35 inches in diameter. That’s fine for showers, or if rain is coming straight down, but it probably isn’t going to adequately protect you in a downpour. On the bright side, the Pongee canopy is durable and treated to be water-resistant, so it dries quickly.
The Vumos wouldn’t be our first choice in a rainy climate, but it’s great for places that regularly get light afternoon showers, or for your kids (if you can convince them to carry it with them). And it’s very, very light.
Specs for the Vumos Small and Compact Mini Travel Umbrella:
5. Bodyguard Travel Umbrella
Hang on – we’re jumping from the smallest travel umbrella in our rankings, to the largest. Well, at least the one with the largest canopy, which can really be important if you’re on the larger side or want to be able to walk close to your loved one in the rain.
The Bodyguard has a canopy that’s 46 inches in diameter, and ten reinforced fiberglass ribs to support it. Ten ribs also provide a stronger defense against wind that can turn your umbrella inside-out.
The Groom+Style team found this umbrella a bit too large for our personal tastes, but we did love the fact that it has a Teflon coating on the canopy. That makes the Bodyguard waterproof and lets it dry almost immediately.
There’s one-button auto open/close and an ergonomic rubberized grip, but only a six-month warranty which is far less than standard in the industry. We think this umbrella will last a lot longer than six months, but we have to admit, that short warranty did give us pause.
Some people really want a large canopy on their umbrella, and the Bodyguard is the best choice in a travel umbrella for that group. The Teflon coating is a real plus, too.
More info on the Bodyguard Travel Umbrella:
6. GustBuster Metro Automatic Umbrella
The GustBuster has a lot going for it. At approximately double the price of the travel umbrellas we’ve reviewed so far, though, we dropped it down to #6 because we’re not sure the features are totally worth the extra cost.
The key component of this umbrella is a large, 43-inch nylon double canopy, which as you learned in our review of the EEZ-Y is the best way to prevent winds from folding the canopy inside-out. The manufacturer had the GustBuster Metro tested by an independent lab which certified it as windproof at 55 miles per hour.
What gave the team pause, other than the price, was the size and weight of this umbrella. It only folds down to 16 inches and weighs a little over a pound, less than optimal for tucking into a purse or backpack. The extra size and weight is because the GustBuster has hardened steel ribs and joint connectors and long reinforced shaft. That adds to the umbrella’s durability, but also its weight. The company deals with that by including a long carrying case which can be worn as a sling or backpack. Is that enough to compensate for the length? That’s your call, not ours.
The GustBuster will definitely stand up against heavy winds, as long you don’t mind its extra length, weight and price.
More info on the GustBuster Metro Automatic Umbrella:
7. Blunt Metro Travel Umbrella
There’s more than one way to make a travel umbrella virtually windproof, at least according to this manufacturer. The Blunt Metro has also been tested to withstand gale force winds (55 mph) but doesn’t use a double canopy or venting to accomplish the task. Instead, this umbrella relies on a “full-tensioned” canopy to do the trick. To be quite honest, the Groom+Style team was a little skeptical about the technology, since there are only six ribs and the frame is built primarily from aluminum. We do have to say, though, that the Blunt will stand up to heavy winds quite well.
The canopy is 38 inches in diameter and water-resistant instead of waterproof, and there’s no one-button open/close system. On the positive side, though, there’s very good UV protection on the canopy, there are blunt tips (hence the name of the company) on the ribs so you won’t accidentally poke anyone, and the umbrella itself is quite stylish and very lightweight (because of the aluminum) although rather long. The biggest negative of all? This is the most expensive travel umbrella we’ve reviewed.
You’ll pay a lot for the Blunt Metro, and in return you’ll get a travel umbrella that’s strong against heavy winds. You can find better alternatives, but not more stylish ones.
Looking deeper at the Blunt Metro Travel Umbrella:
8. Lewis N. Clark Travel Umbrella
Don’t be put off by the fact that the company was trying a bit too hard when choosing its name; the Lewis N. Clark is a very solid choice for an everyday travel umbrella. Because of its low price, G+S considers it the best value on our list. The Lewis N. Clark (may we call you “Lewis” for short?) umbrella has a 38 inch polyester canopy which has a “Teflon-like” coating; we can’t find anything that tells us what the material actually is, but it does come close to being waterproof and quick-drying.
For the low price you can’t expect much more than the basics everywhere else: six metal ribs and chrome-plated steel shaft, mold-resistant storage sleeve, one-year warranty. But there is a one-touch open/close feature, and it comes in under 12 inches and well under a pound which is always a plus in our book. The “Lewis” is available in five colors.
The Lewis N. Clark travel umbrella is a very good value at one of the lowest prices we’ve found, close to the price you’d pay for a drugstore umbrella.
Looking deeper at the Lewis N. Clark Travel Umbrella:
9. AmazonBasics Automatic Travel Umbrella
Here’s our budget choice, and as the name suggests, it features just the basics for the lowest price of any travel umbrella in our rankings. This Amazon model is made from polyester and steel, it’s only available in “basic black,” and it has a 38-inch canopy supported by six ribs. There’s a one-touch open/close button, a soft grip handle and a wrist strap; nothing special, but nothing objectionable, either.
Those details tell you that it’s fine in normal, rainy conditions, but won’t be the best alternative in heavy downpours or heavy winds. Needless to say, that’s what many people are looking for in a travel umbrella, and the AmazonBasics model is just fine for those folks.
“Basics” is the perfect label for this product, and thankfully the price tag matches the umbrella. That makes this the best travel umbrella for those on a budget.
Facts and figures for the AmazonBasics Automatic Travel Umbrella:
10. Samsonite Windguard Auto-Open Umbrella
Every time we found something we liked about this Samsonite travel umbrella, we found something else we weren’t as thrilled with. The canopy is Teflon-coated, but the canopy itself is made from polyester. It has auto-open, but not auto-close. It has a large 43-inch canopy, but it only folds down to 17 inches and weights a little over a pound. The price is attractive, but it’s not the lowest we’ve found.
In summary, the Samsonite will protect you well against the rain and dry quickly, but it’s awfully large to carry around, rather heavy and doesn’t close automatically. The best description we can come up with “it’s fine” – a good travel umbrella, for sure, but not good enough to move it above #10 on our Groom+Style rankings.
The Samsonite Windguard is a pretty good buy for the money and has a large canopy, but the team thinks you can do better for the same price.
More info on the Samsonite Windguard Auto-Open Umbrella:
Best Travel Umbrella Buying Guide
It’s not always necessary to understand how the products you purchase are constructed. You don’t need to know the various parts of a microwave, for example, to know how well it’s going to warm up your dinner.
But when you’re choosing a travel umbrella you need to know whether it will withstand strong wind and heavy rain, open and close easily, and hold up over the long term. All of those qualities of a great travel umbrella depend primarily on its components, so the review team believes that a brief lesson on the parts of a travel umbrella is the best way to start this buying guide.
Key Parts of an Umbrella
If we wanted to go into an umbrella’s construction in greater specifics, we could discuss the springs, gores, notches and other technical details – but they’re not that important when choosing the right travel umbrella. These are the three components that you should look at when shopping and buying.
Travel Umbrellas and Protection
You run into a Catch-22 when looking at travel umbrellas. You obviously want a lightweight, portable umbrella when you’re on the go. But the smaller and lighter they are, the less protection they’ll usually provide.
For example, consider the canopy. You can find travel umbrellas with canopies ranging from 30 inches to 48 inches in diameter; as you’d expect, the larger canopies create a bigger footprint and better protection against rain and wind. When they fold down, though, they also create a heavier and bulkier package to carry around with you. We’ve found that 40 inches is the minimum size canopy for decent rain protection.
There’s the same dilemma when looking at travel umbrellas that have solid metal frames and heavy canopies. They provide better protection against heavy winds, because they’re less likely to flip inside-out in a gust. But when you collapse the umbrella to tuck it into your purse or briefcase, it’s not going to be the small, convenient model you’d like to carry with you everywhere you go. Some umbrellas are rated for the amount of wind they can withstand, which is always a great specification to consider.
This means that you have to decide how much protection you’re willing to trade for a lightweight, easy-to-carry travel umbrella. In a climate where downpours and heavy winds are common, you may want to sacrifice convenience for better protection. If storms aren’t an everyday concern where you live or will be traveling, a lighter and smaller umbrella could be the right choice to protect you from sun showers or occasional heavy rain.
Materials like fiberglass (less likely to bend) and micro-weave fabric, construction details such as rounded, vented or double canopies, 10 or 12 ribs instead of six, and canopy coatings like Teflon can increase the protection provided by lightweight travel umbrellas (and often will increase their durability, as well). Naturally, though, you’ll pay more for those upgrades. In Midwestern or Northeastern storm belts, the extra cost may be well worth it.
Travel Umbrellas and Convenience
As we’ve discussed, the materials used to construct a travel umbrella will play the major role in how much it weighs. The G+S team has reviewed models which weigh well over a pound, and others which come in as low as eight ounces. We’ve found that the sweet spot for most people will be in the neighborhood of 12 ounces.
Some “travel” umbrellas are so long that you might be better off using a standard model instead. The ones that Groom+Style found to be convenient for regular, daily use will collapse down to 10-12 inches in length. Umbrellas which feature extra-large canopies more than 45 inches in diameter are more likely to fold down to more than a foot or weigh over a pound.
Travel Umbrellas and Durability
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. It’s very unlikely that any travel umbrella will last as long as a larger, standard model.
It’s basically a construction issue. In order to telescope down to a small size, the shaft will be made from overlapping lightweight tubes which by definition are less sturdy than a one-piece, solid wood or metal shaft. Travel umbrella canopies can fold down so tightly because there’s a set of hinges in the stretchers, and those hinges are more likely to fail as they are used over and over again over time. (They’re also one of the main culprits in the “inside-out” problem, because as they weaken they’re more likely to bend backward.)
There’s one more trade-off to consider. There are some travel umbrellas which have steel components, which are going to put up a “stronger fight” in bad weather. The team tends to shy away from those because of their weight and propensity to rust. The more-common aluminum hinges and stretchers are lightweight and won’t rust, but aren’t going to last for the long term. Fiberglass is a good compromise, but it’s usually going to be more expensive.
Other Features to Consider
A very important feature, which thankfully is now standard on most travel umbrellas, is they fully open with the push of a button. Seen less often, but a very nice addition, is a push-button close feature. When you’re dealing with a wet umbrella, it’s great not to have to get yourself even more drenched trying to close it.
It’s tempting to buy a travel umbrella which comes with a sleeve or cover, because it ensures the unit will be closed down as tightly as possible. There’s a downside, though; if your umbrella is made from materials which will rust, you’re tempting fate by smushing it into a sleeve for a prolonged period of time – and who isn’t familiar with that smelly wet umbrella odor.
Finally, the last thing most people think about when buying an umbrella is the grip or handle, but it’s worth at least a minute or two of consideration. Rubberized grips make the umbrella easier to hold onto in rainy, windy conditions; a grooved handle is the second-best choice. Some are even ergonomically designed (or their manufacturers claim that they are), and others have straps that wrap around your wrist to minimize the possibility of your umbrella flying away. The firmest grip comes from the curved wooden handles you’ll find on many standard umbrellas, but that’s simply not feasible for a travel model you’ll be folding down and packing away.
Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Umbrellas
Q: Is buying a travel umbrella really worth the bother, or can I just use my regular, big one?
Q: If travel umbrellas are less reliable and durable than standard ones, doesn’t it make sense to buy the cheapest one you can find – if it’s going to break or flip inside-out anyway?
Q: Are Teflon or Teflon-coated canopies, or double canopies, worth the money?
Q: How much wind can a high-quality travel umbrella survive?