The rain radar in the weather report does not bode well. Rain, rain, and more rain, plus strong wind and maybe even hail. Who has to go outside needs a weatherproof umbrella. Whether it’s a pocket umbrella, stick umbrella, or child umbrella: We won’t leave you out in the rain.
Umbrellas are degenerating into junk goods in this country. Whether classic stick umbrellas, telescopic pocket umbrellas, or colorful printed children’s umbrellas: More than 25 million umbrellas are sold in the USA every year. According to the Association of Umbrella and Cane Dealers, the average price is under five dollars. How can that be? Very simple: More than 90 percent of the umbrellas sold in the USA come from Asian cheap production – mainly from China.
The best sports umbrella: That’s what counts
The two main glider categories have significant differences in length, weight, range, technique, and materials. The classic stick umbrella is rather heavy and large – and because of its length, it does not fit into a handbag or work bag. That is why you cannot carry it with you all the time, just in case. On the other hand, a small, light pocket umbrella is less robust due to its construction and usually breaks down faster. Apart from the spokes, the extendable telescopic pole is one of the problems.
The easily sports umbrella is intended more for surprising short-term use – for example, for the way between the bus stop and office or through the pedestrian zone. The more stable cane umbrella, on the other hand, is suitable for longer bad-weather stays outdoors, especially when a strong wind is blowing in addition to the rain. And if you are looking for an umbrella for hiking, it is best to take a special trekking umbrella. Special constructions and functional materials characterize these very robust, weatherproof models. So outdoor fans are also well protected.
Risks for the umbrella
What’s the first thing that usually breaks when you take an umbrella? Right, the spokes under the sports umbrella roof! This is, for example, because they are often too few. There should be at least eight spokes, as they stabilize the umbrella and make it less susceptible to wind. The umbrella expert Willy Scheffler, the umbrella maker from Essen, considers ten spokes to be optimal, as the stability is highest here.
Automatic: Of course it is comfortable if the umbrella can be opened at the push of a button. But the spring mechanism, which presses the pole and the poles apart on the pocket umbrella and returns it to its compact form when closed, makes it more susceptible to damage and is detrimental to its durability. A simple manual opening mechanism, on the other hand, rarely causes problems.
Sports Umbrella Material Science
The processed materials are also important. With cheap plastic, it becomes generally critical. But often, aluminum is used for the frame. The metal is very light and is therefore usually found in compact pocket umbrellas. Heavier but also more stable and robust is a steel frame. Elements made of fiberglass or even carbon can provide even more stability.
Provided that the workmanship is clean, an umbrella should actually remain waterproof in the rain, regardless of the roof’s fabric. Even with the frequently used, inexpensive polyamide, i.e., nylon covers, this is ensured by intensive, sometimes certainly questionable impregnation and/or an additional Teflon coating. Polyester covers offer the additional advantage that they are tear-resistant and more resistant to light. And: If you want to afford it, you can rely on a cover material made of high-quality tear-resistant cotton.
It is true that price does not always say anything about the quality of a product. But it goes without saying that you cannot make any great demands on your new umbrella for ten dollars or less. Umbrella maker Willy Schüffler, for example, says: “At around 50 dollars, you get a good umbrella that can be repaired. Of course, there are also good models available for less than 50 dollars. But if you go for the typical cheap umbrella for a few dollars fifty, you may have to buy a new umbrella every few months.