View Full Version : umbrella on the AT

08-10-2018, 10:13
In general what is everones thoughts on using an umbrella on the AT like you see people on the PCT using.

08-10-2018, 10:28
From what I've heard, people who use an umbrella on the PCT is for the desert section to create some shade.
The AT is more of a "green tunnel" and therefore an umbrella isn't needed to create shade.

On the flip side, when I go on weekend camping trips in the GSMNP and the weather forecast includes a good chance of rain, I take along an 8oz purse umbrella I picked up at Walmart for $3 (but I have not been able to locate any replacements lately). At least in GSMNP, when I encounter rain, it's usually not associated with strong winds (because if harsh storms are in the forecast, I simply don't go). So when it starts to rain at a rate where I'm getting wetter from rain faster than I get wet from sweet from hiking, I'll pull out the umbrella. If I limit myself to one hiking pole, I can use the other hand to hold the umbrella just right that it keeps my head, torso, and most of my pack dry.

08-10-2018, 10:54
What he said ^^

We took umbrellas to the White Mountains because it was July and we would be above treeline. As it turned out there was only one day when they were actually helpful. Either it was too windy to use them, or it was overcast and didn't need them, or the trail wasn't cleared wide enough to use them. But they were very helpful on the long climb SOBO up Lafayette. Hot sun, light breeze, no shade. Several people commented that they wished they had umbrellas.

I'm very fair-skinned and prone to sunburn. I should be using some sort of sun protection regularly. I dislike sunscreen lotions mixing with my sweat and hate wearing long sleeves if it's not cold. An umbrella is a relatively cool way to protect from sun. And rain.

Gambit McCrae
08-10-2018, 10:59
I used my umbrella for the first time in Grayson last weekend...,.mixed emotions. The rain came pouring down and I pulled out the umbrella. My shirt and face 100% dry after walking for 2 hours in a downpour. My shorts were about 80% dry. the umbrella did not cover my whole pack, and I had to carry it. The trail in some areas was too small to use it, and passing people was at times an issue.

On Sunday I pulled it out at rodo gap for some sun shade it was quite pleasant, could def feel a reduced temp under the chrome shade.

08-10-2018, 10:59
I've gotten pretty used to carrying and often using my umbrella on long distance hikes at least out west, heading out for a big section of the CO trail tomorrow, will be carrying ours then. On the AT though, it's still a maybe.... probably though. It really is kinda nice to keep that deluge off your head at the cost of a measly 8 ounces. I know, I know, in the heavy trees, it's a pain, or in a stout winds, basically unusable right then, but overall, it's really nice to have. Kinda repeating what Hookoo said.

Yeah, I'm carrying only one hiking pole, at least when the umbrella is out.

08-10-2018, 11:39
Depends on your hiking style, location and needs. I sweat a lot, I have glasses. Ventilation is thus more important to me, than it may be for someone else. The umbrella was perfect for me in the vast majority of situations on the southern AT. One day with sideways rain on a ridgeline it wasn't great, otherwise wonderful.

For my dayhikes in NH, with rain forecast. Mostly great below ridgelines, mostly too windy above. There are more stupid narrow trails, in some places, where I have to pay a lot more attention to who else is around me, so I'm not that jerk blocking the trail.

08-10-2018, 12:09
There is a guy on the AT currently who is vlogging and has carried an umbrella the entire trip. He seems to really like it and he uses it in conjunction with his tarp for additional setup options.

Evan's Backpacking Videos if you are interested.

08-10-2018, 13:36
Mixed reviews. I would need a way to attach it to the pack. No way could I hike for hours holding an umbrella in my hand. I need both free for poles.

Maui Rhino
08-10-2018, 13:45
I use Nite-Ize Gear Ties to attach my umbrella to my pack strap for hands free carrying. They're like a breadbag twist-tie on steroids.

08-10-2018, 13:50
Mixed reviews. I would need a way to attach it to the pack. No way could I hike for hours holding an umbrella in my hand. I need both free for poles.

It can be done:

08-10-2018, 14:22
I've used a Swing Lite Flex "Chrome-dome" for years. I've found it extremely useful on the AT and prefer it to other rain gear. It fits in the attachment points on the left packstrap of my ULA Circuit to hold on to it when I'm hiking, so I have my hands free for both poles. Never really had any issues with getting wet using it, and I've had it out in an actual hurricane. I do carry an ultralight pack cover as well, both to make sure nothing gets to it around the umbrella and to cover it in camp if needed, but both together weigh in at a bit over 9.5 oz, so it's pretty good functionality for the weight. I particularly like it in camp, where it's a lot easier to get in and out of the hammock with it than if I was having to strip off a poncho or rain jacket every time. It's rarely used as a sun shelter (even though it has the reflective outer coating), but there are times on open ridgelines and other treeless or sparsely covered trail where that's been useful too.

08-10-2018, 15:21
I am currently using an umbrella on my AT flip-flip, great piece of gear. Pouring rain and my upper body is dry and not getting too hot, running shorts are mostly dry. Used it on my PCT and CDT thru hikes.

08-10-2018, 16:51
I always carry one. The trick when in the woods is to hold it loosely so it can rotate around trees rather than snag. There's no perfect piece of rain gear, but an umbrella is a very useful tool.

08-10-2018, 17:25

Makes sense to me!!

08-11-2018, 09:20
thanks everyone for there replies .
some of the answers is exactly what i was expecting.

08-11-2018, 11:18
Only drawback to.an umbrella is the weight

08-11-2018, 17:22
There are a lot of models, do you use the 6 inch one for this?

08-11-2018, 17:23
Sorry, referring to the Nite Ize ties.

Maui Rhino
08-19-2018, 14:51
There are a lot of models, do you use the 6 inch one for this?

I use a pair that are about 3" long.....(sorry, I'm not at home to measure them.).

01-06-2019, 12:24
Ok, I'll jump in, hello folks, My buddy used an umbrella one year, on the AT in NC. Always a lot of rainy days. He liked it. I went and bought a Euroshirm trekking umbrella. Lightwgt, can't remember how much, big and came with a carrier system for your back pack straps, in front. It worked ok. As said before, lots of the AT is tunnels through trees and stuff. It is a very nice umbrella, I keep it in my car now. It is a silver one with UV protection of 50. I am a poncho advocate. Except for that one year, with the umbrella, I used my poncho, from Campmor. I also like to use sticks, hiking poles and you can't have both poles and umbrella. The umbrella requires constant tending. Check out the carrier system on their website, Euroshirm.com. You might like it. But, to each his own, for sure. Kevin

01-06-2019, 13:31
I tried the Euroschirm - attaching the umbrella to your pack or body is a bit too cumbersome for the AT, IMO. I find I want to be able to quickly lower & retract the umbrella to get by snags, people, etc. I don't know if anyone mentioned that an umbrella can also be part of your shelter system, too. If you're a tarp camper, the umbrella can help close off the windward opening.

01-06-2019, 18:22
Most comprehensive piece on this topic I've seen done by one with vast experience using an umbrella, including using an umbrella on AT thru hikes, was Francis "The Onion" Tapon's article. https://francistapon.com/Travels/Advice/10-Reasons-to-Go-Hiking-and-Backpacking-with-an-Umbrella Look at innovative #9. That's getting it done, offering a worthy perspective, knowing how to apply multi-functionality, and greater duration of use. ^^

Check out "Barefoot Jake" Morrison's set up for hiking in rain in the Olympics during the rainy season in rain forests. He uses an umbrella in an optimal functional approach too, meaning not just in the rain.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/E0U-MDCc3fiXi1eFhzB7-dpcrirWimXsOPDomAKRT9ULTxTw1aBeHmrRVqOcpELu2agAA-jrIMPsjYjz_i2PI1FHm4xV4tn5LK_n7mxGn7ok9tc9GRnj844c Py6JRQie31HDPyaR7-hsjy4YtJe2I8Lu9VbmY0MVF9h4PGKcF0Kna28nXKvUa0FZ_X9a rMwlbPxa_c68DHP1w-XcNXj6wclhFNUu_A9w-p9uHI1XGlTacAOShP79cZGSMWNN_7FWgHbR-btYmzRR4ksg2GytlV92jiAZLzMKZ5G27l00r8BT2JhtRRxLDWg B9mbQoRCJ5U94vy6_NqfKfjj36FZ3LsgQe55yauz4cpp6sja1E GUR-yce32l6kB9h-eOGV-d958tMT6xuoANTEXVCxRyenVycQ3tYspKuXrKOONiBvqTanjmD SutE6DS8efQkNknfgT-Tt733xCdorJjyFGah2YpBcLLkoFXdtBbzU5jImu_M9DVyiJLxV XNqYVr1YEh5PSAj-hSdFEaGanXyhKrsSIwwr82xI5n131zks7BIriUgrFc93283PIB S6FEEIjk3evoXgK_hT53pXJsywlm-8OTQQ0Cb3SJJLPf8Q2xxjkq8ihq4efjE=w477-h358-no?pageId=103622214447286582293

That's Barefoot Jake, I think on the Quinault Tr. That's the trail he's standing on...in. LOL. And he's smiling. For such rainy conditions he says just about the only thing that withstands that much saturation are ponchos and umbrellas. I see he used a rain jacket(Frog Toggs are his normal pick for the Olympic's rainiest times) combined with an umbrella.

Consider not boo hoo using an umbrella on the AT as a potentially useful functional piece unless you have first had personal experience. There are those make it work...and work well.

01-06-2019, 18:26
Oops. I think maybe that was Jake's hiking partner on this trip in the pic.

01-06-2019, 20:12
We've taken the Raines Skinny Mini on long distance hikes for 15 years. Often we don't even need to wear a raincoat, just the brolly. Just covers the pack too. Really folks, letting rain fall all over you is unnecessary and sort of dumb.

01-07-2019, 00:28
I have never seen one, but I have only completed just over 900 miles of the AT. To each his own... I would be worried that the wind would ruin it - like I had happen last week at home - and then, I would have to pack the dang thing out...

01-07-2019, 07:40
I was so glad that I had one in Maine June of 2009 when it rained 26 days. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190107/41e98a797da061102985391137028ab2.jpg

01-07-2019, 12:39
I use my chrome-dome frequently, especailly in the East where there tends to be all-day rain, sometimes several days in a row. In the west, it provided a bit of shade where trails/routes traverse open areas. I use two velcro loops to attach it to my pack strap and run my chest strap thru the cord handle to control how high it sits above the pack. Combined with an ultra-light pack cover, it prevents the rain from running down between my back and the back of the pack. Of course, it can't be used in even higher winds, nor on bushwhacking or overgrown trails. The AT is a highway, so it works fine there. The umbrella keeps my core mostly dry down as far as mid-thigh. It helped keep my sanity during those all-day rains in September on the NCT in PA.

01-07-2019, 13:03
My daughter and I had a borderline episode of hypothermia on the LT this past August. Long, steep climbs resulted in overheating with rain gear on. Then on the descent the rain would pick up and a rain jacket over soaked clothing offers little insulation at 45 degrees and we could feel our core temps drop. My hands got so cold I could not open my pack. Luckily we made it to a shelter, ate about 2000 calories, put on dry clothing and were able to resume hiking. An umbrella would have made a lot of sense in this situation. I appreciate this thread and plan on including an umbrella on our '19 AT thru.

01-08-2019, 00:01
My hands got so cold I could not open my pack. Luckily we made it to a shelter, ate about 2000 calories, put on dry clothing and were able to resume hiking. An umbrella would have made a lot of sense in this situation. I appreciate this thread and plan on including an umbrella on our '19 AT thru. Sounds like rain mitts might have helped. I never hike without my MLD even Rain mitts. If nothing else, they provide a lot of warmth on a cold morning for their 1oz weight, even if it isn't raining.

01-08-2019, 00:57
That's a great pic Southwark of how green things can be.

01-08-2019, 00:58
Good suggestion. I made many mistakes that day, but I learned from them. I had a bad experience with MLD, but I will have rain mitts from another source before I hit the trail this spring.

01-08-2019, 16:27
I've started hiking with one (Gossemer's) and really like it. I even rigged up a rain kilt using a trash bag. This is a surprisingly comfortable rain set up. Still pack a light rain jacket for more severe stuff but for most rain situations, umbrella/kilt does the trick.