It’s raining but you have it covered. Correct that, you thought you would be able to cover yourself but when you pull out your umbrella, it’s a wreck. Then you remember the last time you used it and put it away in a bent, soggy mess. In fact, it seems like you only get one use out of every umbrella you buy. Stop abusing your umbrella!
You aren’t alone in your struggle with umbrellas and it isn’t something you worry about until you need it the next time. Though you may not always take great care of your umbrella, the real problem isn’t caused by you, it started with the umbrella you purchased at the corner store. You need a better umbrella. Here are a few things you should look for in a good umbrella:
Much to the surprise of many, expensive doesn’t mean better and inexpensive doesn’t mean poorly made. Expensive umbrellas can be made of “cheap” materials, are of poor design or may be simply poorly constructed. The value of the umbrella is in its quality – not the cost.
This seems obvious but many “cheap” umbrellas are constructed of fabric that is merely water-resistant. Thicker fabric doesn’t always mean better but it should easily shed water. This is accomplished through a treatment of the fabric itself, or the use of plastic.
Remember that it will be wet when you use your umbrella. Slick, shiny surfaces will become more slick. You should be able to grip the umbrella, even if your hands get wet. This may mean “grippy” rubber or it may mean an ergonomic design that helps you hang onto it.
Probably the biggest shortfall of many umbrellas is the cheap construction of the frame. Many are made of inferior metal which is thin, easily warped or broken and doesn’t fit together well. Solid construction doesn’t have to be heavy but each part should be sturdy, well-fit and move easily against the next part. Umbrella frames can be constructed of nickel, steel, fiberglass or brass – or even alloys as long as they are sturdy.
Rivets are the pins which hold the moving metal portions of the frame together. A solid rivet is better than one you can see through. Make sure that they are well-seated and secure. If the rivets are “cheap” the umbrella may invert in a windstorm or the joints of the frame may break – either of which leads to disaster.
The canopy slope and design may depend on how you intend to use it. If you plan on shielding a crowd, obviously bigger is better. If it will just be you out in the rain, a smaller model will do and some people prefer a high-domed, see-thru plastic. No matter how big or what shape, it should keep the water off. In some cases, particularly with larger umbrellas, a double canopy will increase the strength.
Umbrellas don’t ever collapse unless it is exactly the wrong time and choosing a good one will help you avoid getting wet. Whether large or small, domed or flat, convertible or shaped like a cane, the cost of the umbrella doesn’t indicate the construction is sound. Good umbrellas aren’t as easy to abuse as poor quality ones.