The best travel umbrella for you largely depends on where and when you’ll use it most often. But the last thing you want is to have to test your umbrella for the first time while on vacation.
We’ve tossed one too many umbrellas into public trash cans after dramatic technical failures (popped hinges! Ripped fabric! Sound familiar?). So we decided it was high time for a more methodical approach to finding a great travel umbrella. We’ve narrowed down the field to 10 umbrellas, ones that we’re confident packing in our bags when we hit the road.
Best Compact Travel Umbrellas
Traveler type: Carry-on only is your travel mantra, but you want something a little sturdier than traditional budget options.
These compact travel umbrellas are made for the travelers who want something small and light that also delivers a higher quality than budget options, with automatic open-and-close functionality and more durable construction.
EEZ-Y Compact Travel Umbrella
As far as compact umbrellas go, this one delivers solid construction for its price tag. The umbrella folds to 11 inches and weighs just over 14 ounces for easy packing. Its not-your-average-mini-umbrella construction, including a double canopy with nine ribs, give it added durability in wind gusts.
Davek Solo Umbrella
A bit heavier (1 pound 2 ounces) and longer (11.75 inches) than the EEZ-Y model, the Davek Solo makes up for the added weight and space with a wind-resistant frame designed to withstand more than a breeze. It’s a little pricier than your traditional mini umbrella. However, the brand’s Loss Protection Card offers you 50 percent off a new umbrella if you lose yours, and there’s a lifetime guarantee to protect you in case of mechanical problems.
Most Durable Travel Umbrellas
Traveler type: You don’t mind the extra weight if it means your umbrella won’t turn inside out as often.
If you’re the type of traveler who always seems to be wrestling with your umbrella in even the slightest breeze, these umbrellas are for you. Designed with details like venting systems of overlapping fabric layers, additional springs at joints, and stronger materials, these travel umbrellas are made to withstand wind.
Blunt Metro Travel Umbrella
While it’s a little longer than other travel umbrellas (14 inches), this Blunt model is still light at just over 12 ounces. It has been designed to withstand winds up to 55 miles per hour and has blunt edges so it won’t puncture holes in anything when you stash it in your luggage (or hurt passersby in crowded cities). We also found that, despite its manual close, this umbrella had the smoothest opening and closing of any umbrella we’ve ever tried.
Like the Blunt Metro, the GustBuster Metro is designed to withstand 55-mile-per-hour gusts. Its double canopy waterproof construction also makes it one that can protect you from the heavy rains that often accompany the wind. At 16 inches and 1.1 pound, it’s one of the bigger options on this list, but if you’re looking for your sturdiest option, this is it.
Best Cheap Travel Umbrellas
Traveler type: You’re always leaving your umbrella behind at restaurants, on trains, in cabs….
While these umbrellas aren’t the toughest, you also won’t mind losing them. Fortunately, some of the most inexpensive umbrellas are also some of the lightest and most packable, too, meaning you’ll almost always have space for them in your luggage or day bag.
Totes TRX Manual Mini Trekker
Coming in at eight ounces and 6.5 inches when folded, this option from Totes is one of the best mini umbrellas—ideal for throwing in your day bag if there’s a chance of rain. It also doubles as a shade source during warmer days with built-in sun guard UPF 50 protection. With nearly a dozen colors and patterns to choose from, you can find the one that best matches your travel outfits.
Lewis N. Clark Travel Umbrella
This 10-ounce, 10.75-inch-long umbrella will likely turn inside out on you when it gets windy, but the good news is that it’s proven to easily pop back into shape time and time again. It’s also easier to close with an auto open/close button.
Best Travel Umbrellas for Heavy Rain
Traveler type: Even a monsoon won’t stop you from exploring on your trip.
If you know you’re going to a particularly rainy destination or you’ll need to keep your outfit completely dry in a storm, look for an umbrella with a larger canopy. The tradeoff for better coverage is often a longer umbrella and more weight.
Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella
Coated with Teflon, this umbrella dries faster than umbrellas without a Teflon coating, so you can easily stash it in your bag when the rain (hopefully) stops. The double-vented canopy gives this umbrella extra flex that helps it stand up to powerful gusts. Measuring 11.5 inches long and weighing under a pound, this Repel umbrella is still a relatively small, light option.
Bodyguard Windproof Travel Umbrella
Reinforced with 10 flexible ribs for higher winds, this umbrella is another Teflon-coated option, ensuring that water runs off your umbrella and not onto you. The 46.5-inch canopy is slightly larger than the Repel’s, giving you added protection (or allowing you to squeeze in another travel companion, if you feel like sharing). It is, however, an inch longer.
Best Large Umbrellas for Couples
Traveler type: You and your companion don’t mind huddling together to stay out of the rain.
Ultra-packable umbrellas are often designed for one person, meaning if you’re traveling with family, you might want to equip each member with his or her own. However, vacationers traveling in pairs can get around packing multiples with these umbrellas designed to shelter two.
Knirps Xtreme Vented Duomatic Umbrella
With an oversized canopy (48 inches), this umbrella is designed to fit two, but at just 14 inches long and 13 ounces, it doubles as a good solo option, too. You’d expect nothing less from the brand that invented the folding umbrella.
Boy Windproof Travel Umbrella
While the canopy of this umbrella (45 inches) is slightly smaller than the Knirps option and it’s more than an ounce heavier, it’s also about half the cost. It closes to 11 inches, putting it on par with some of the more compact travel umbrellas.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The Best Packable Rain Gear for Travelers
- 18 Quick-Drying Water Shoes for Women, Men, and Kids
- The 11 Best Waterproof Backpacks for Travel
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Christine Sarkis and Kate Sitarz contributed to this story.