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 umbrella, telescopic pocket umbrella or colourful printed children’s umbrella: More than 25 million umbrellas are sold in 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 USA come from Asian cheap production – mainly from China.
The best sports umbrella: That’s what counts
There are big differences in length, weight, range, technique and materials for the two main glider categories. 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 stowable umbrella is intended more for surprising short-term use – for example for the way between 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. These very robust, weatherproof models are characterised by special constructions and functional materials. 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 Schüffler, 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 aluminium is used for the frame. The metal is very light and is therefore often found in compact pocket umbrellas. Heavier, but also more stable and robust is a steel frame. Elements made of fibreglass 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 fabric of the roof. 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 for ten dollars or less you cannot make any great demands on your new umbrella. 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.