umbrellas

7:43 a.m. on July 9, 2010 (EDT)
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After the volatile topics of color pollution and sasquatch that I started I thought I`d try to smooth things over a bit with this benign one. Who likes hiking with umbrellas and why and which umbrella is your choice?

9:28 a.m. on July 9, 2010 (EDT)
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While living in Nepal we always hiked with umbrellas in the monsoons. There is no other way to stay more or less dry. You immediately learn goretex lined boots don't keep your feet dry for the rain runs down your legs. Umbrellas are the only way to go.

11:05 a.m. on July 9, 2010 (EDT)
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I haven't seen anyone on the trail with a conventional umbrella since I can remember but I have seen people waring those hat umbrellas. Me personally I don't use a umbrella at all. I use rain coat/jacket and a ball cap and in extreme ceases I have my old issued poncho that I where. I figure if its a short rain ill dry quickly if its one of thous times in heaver longer rain your going to be wet anyways but thats me.

Note: Regarding my military issue Poncho i'm not a big fan of military gear or the "macho look" of camo clothing or gear (no offense to anyone) but a old school military poncho is th bomb it is very versatile and can be used for many things and is large enough to do a good job long term.

Gor-Tex boots works grate if the water is going from the bottom up but not so good when the water is going from the top down. To me the biggest drawback it Gor-Tex is not the fact that water in a heavy rain will run down your leg into your boots its the amount of time it takes to dry them. So IMO in a rainy or very wet environment Gor-Tex is a poor choice for footwear.

10:46 a.m. on July 14, 2010 (EDT)
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I`m surprised this didn`t get a better response. I personally love using an umbrella in any kind of rain short of windblown and sideways rain. Someone said that it is the most waterproof/breathable thing on the market and to a large degree thats true. And with the weight and compactness of them now, 8oz. for a go-lite and 5oz. for a snow peak and the snow peak folds up to 9in. even I can afford the extra weight. I`ve used one for one of those 3 day blows where it just rained steady and steadily harder each day. The only aspect I don`t like is having to use only one trekking pole in combo with umbrella. Mine used to be a regular cane type or British walking style until I switched over to trekking poles, then I went with a lighter one. I still carried a rain/wind jacket but only used that in chill conditions. Now I have a Packa, combination rain/wind/cold/packcover type of thingy that still probably will only be worn in chilly/cold conditions. Also with a umbrella in anything but open trails and straight down rain you still need something to cover lower extremeties unless its too warm. The carwash effect will soak your legs and feet. It also has other uses. I`ve used it as rain block at my tent door and several times in leaky A.T. shelters it kept strategic areas of me and others dry, its great for a quick jaunt to the privy or spring and very nice when helping little old hiker ladies across the road crossings.

12:33 p.m. on July 14, 2010 (EDT)
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I don't find umbrellas to be very practical. Most of the trails I hike spend a significant time under trees and enough branches hang low over the trail as to make an umbrella a bit of a liability. Then there's the wind factor, and the fact that I've never owned an umbrella that withstood an entire Spring without damage in even an urban setting.

I carry a pull-over rain jacket with a hood that zips into the collar along with a pack cover. My typical hiking pants are sil-poly convertible pants that repel light rain well enough. Anything heavier and I'm finding shelter anyhow. Storms around here have a way of kicking up in a hurry and dropping plenty of water and tree branches on and around you.

I do wear gore-tex lined boots and I prefer a pretty heavy sock even in summer. My favorite socks are Smartwool's Trekking crew socks. Thicker than their standard hiking socks they have worked well as a last line of defense against a little moisture sneaking by my boot collars.

10:01 p.m. on July 14, 2010 (EDT)
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I find a standard umbrella too small, and golf umbrellas too ungainly. Both are hard to use on the rugged mountainous trail typical of the western US. The umbrella hat won’t work for me since it gets bumped off by my pack. I once clamped one of those lawn chair umbrellas to my pack on a trip down the Grand Canyon; it was a good sun shade, but if there were to be a wind it would probably knock me off balance. I have tried several times to fabricate a back pack awning that would provide shade cover, but it was more effective at eliciting smirks than screening me from the elements.
Ed

7:40 p.m. on July 15, 2010 (EDT)
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I have been using an umbrella while backpacking and winter camping for years. First time I saw the suggestion in print was in Ray Jardine's first book (well before his ultralight bible), though I had been using one for several years, as had many others. The umbrella works well when cooking in a snow or rain shower, as well as hiking through a rain forest (like parts of the Pacific NW or in Africa). The one I currently use is one of the collapsible ones that folds to about a foot long and expands to 2-1/2 feet in diameter. It takes a bit of a learning curve to use one effectively, and it helps a lot to watch someone who has used them for a while.

8:11 a.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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I have been using an umbrella while backpacking and winter camping for years. First time I saw the suggestion in print was in Ray Jardine's first book (well before his ultralight bible), though I had been using one for several years, as had many others. The umbrella works well when cooking in a snow or rain shower, as well as hiking through a rain forest (like parts of the Pacific NW or in Africa). The one I currently use is one of the collapsible ones that folds to about a foot long and expands to 2-1/2 feet in diameter. It takes a bit of a learning curve to use one effectively, and it helps a lot to watch someone who has used them for a while.

Please elaborate! When used while hiking, are you also using rain gear, if so what design. I found the umbrella alone exposed me to horizontal rain. Also when used in snow, I assume you mean as a wind break; or what other use in the snow?
Ed

July 22, 2014
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