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  1. #1

    Default Thoughts on umbrella?

    Iím 3 days out from starting my northbound hike from Springer and am having second thoughts on brining my zpacks umbrella. Sure itís light and would help against the sun and rain but is it worth the cost of carrying? I guess I could take it and if I donít think itís worth it then just toss it in a hiker box. Appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default

    I think it comes down to how you feel about the weight when you aren't using it and how much use you think you'll get from it. Sort of like everything else

    Personally I really like the sun shade on road walks and hiking in light rain with my hood down and rain jacket open. It also makes a decent wind break when cooking and a darn good rain catcher when turned upside down. I'm willing to put up with it riding on my pack on long distance trips, but tend not to bring it for shorter ones.
    ďThe man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...Ē~Henry David Thoreau

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  3. #3

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    I would would start with it, if you havent used it within a week or two then you probably wont. Just send it home

    IMO walking with any kind of rainjacket on above 60 degrees kinda sucks. Throw in the humidity on the AT after spring/summer storms and it really sucks

    I bet you will use it more than you think

  4. #4
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Default

    I don't leave home without it. It doesn't work perfectly in all conditions, but neither does anything else. When I'm using it on the trail, I invariably get envious comments.

  5. #5

    Default

    I am starting my hike in almost 2 weeks. My thoughts are I would rather have raingear until more up the trail because around now it could be cold rain and then hypothermia is my main concern. 35-40F sideways rain during transition season isn't my idea of a good time for an umbrella although in combination with a rainsuit and if the wind isn't too high, I found it helpful but just not worth the additional weight. It is in the pile of stuff on the basement rug that did not make the cut. Getting into the dogdays of summer? I think so...

    Once temperatures are up there, I think a 4-5 oz UV umbrella makes great sense. Out west, it would be super in the sun to not only block UV rays but also keep you cooler and thus, less water consumption making it worth its weight.

  6. #6

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    We carry a brolly that's 5.5 ounces (Raines skinny mini) and stowes easily. So many advantages of keeping rain off you versus having it drip all over you. Plus often you don't need to wear rain gear under a brolly, so you don't get drenched in sweat. You pass people who look like drenched rats in their cagoules and they say they look at you sadly. Also, it extends back far enough to keep some rain off your pack. Of course you need raingear too, if you run into a worst-case storm. But we've found those to be uncommon (and you know they're coming if you follow forecasts), most rain is fairly light.

  7. #7

    Default

    Sometimes circumstances become the decision point where the question can be asked "what would I pay to have an umbrella right now". Or conversely when using an umbrella, "I wonder what I would do if I didn't have this umbrella today".

    FWIW - I have asked both of the above questions and found my answers, I tend to carry a light umbrella that I have modified a holder for on my pack to keep hands free. I like it a lot, especially when doing long stretches in the sun. I agree with Deadeye that no gear is perfect for all conditions, but the bumbershoot works fairly well for me in most conditions I want to use it. My advice would be to bring it until you have had a chance to use it a few times in various conditions. If you don't like it, you will probably find someone to trade something for it, or worse case, hiker boxes are at most shelters.

    Good luck!

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    I am starting my hike in almost 2 weeks. My thoughts are I would rather have raingear until more up the trail because around now it could be cold rain and then hypothermia is my main concern. 35-40F sideways rain during transition season isn't my idea of a good time for an umbrella although in combination with a rainsuit and if the wind isn't too high, I found it helpful but just not worth the additional weight. It is in the pile of stuff on the basement rug that did not make the cut. Getting into the dogdays of summer? I think so...

    Once temperatures are up there, I think a 4-5 oz UV umbrella makes great sense. Out west, it would be super in the sun to not only block UV rays but also keep you cooler and thus, less water consumption making it worth its weight.
    Horizontal rain is not umbrella weather at any temp. You still want to have rain gear that is appropriate for that stuff even when carrying the umbrella. I don't use mine when it is windy because hands free mounts don't hold it still and I'm not putting down my poles.
    ďThe man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...Ē~Henry David Thoreau

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  9. #9
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LoneStranger View Post
    ...I'm not putting down my poles.
    That might be the #1 issue some have with the umbrella. I'm a one-stick or no-stick person.

  10. #10
    Registered User gbolt's Avatar
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    Like all gear, it’s a personal choice. I would not use it on the AT. However, if I ever did the PCT I would definitely take it for Sun as much as Rain. I am planning on taking it on my Buckeye Trail Thru Hike for the Road walk and rail to trail bike paths. If I am not using it enough, I will send home. It is expensive enough to ship and not put into a Hiker Box. Good Luck figuring out your decision.
    "gbolt" on the Trail

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  11. #11
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    I concur with gbolt. That said, when I bought my umbrella ( Go Lite) a few years back, I had to jerryrig the thing onto my shoulder strap to make it hands free, which I did. I know that you can now buy some version(s) of the umbrella holder which may or may not work better than what I have. I’ve always found it hard to get full coverage ( both arms), and when it’s a bit windy, not so good. As for sun protection on the AT, IMO it’s just not necessary, as they’re are not enough road miles to justify.

    in the end, like all my gear, I want it to work when I need it, and I’ll never say an Umbrella is a bad thing, just another of our many gear choice trade offs.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GolfHiker View Post
    As for sun protection on the AT, IMO it’s just not necessary, as they’re are not enough road miles to justify.
    For we the ultra sun-sensitive, it's not so much the road walks as the balds that present a problem. I'm hiking Max Patch and some others this years, so yes, I bought an umbrella. Unfortunately my extra-short torso makes the current hands-free set-up completely unworkable. Zpacks is trying to help out and I'm sure with the right combination of straps, clips, velcro and stubbornness we will work something out.

    It's a pain in the tukus, but I hope worth it in the end...the other end .
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  13. #13
    Registered User hobbs's Avatar
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    Default

    Its been building and Building using them on the AT. TRy one see if you use it often or not then you can hold on to it or make a donation. I am use to rain I can be half wet and it doesnt bother me...
    My love for life is quit simple .i get uo in the moring and then i go to bed at night. What I do inbween is to occupy my time. Cary Grant

  14. #14

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    Thank you for all the thoughtful replies! I think I’m going to leave it home. If I find I really need it I can always politely ask the wife to ship it along with all the other crap she will be handling on my behalf. Cheers!

  15. #15
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Good choice to leave it at home. I brought one on a section hike once and didn't realize how thick the AT growth can be and it took extra effort to keep from constantly snagging it. There is also very little prolonged sun exposure on the AT, not like the PCT anyway - a place where your umbrella would shine. Also, an umbrella will do jack squat when you cross the Roan Highlands and have wind blowing sideways at you at 50mph.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  16. #16
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Not sure what I would do for a long thru hike...
    But when I go camping in GSMNP, if there's a likelyhood of rain, I carry a small umbrella.
    If I try to hike in a rain coat, I'm just going to get soaked from the inside from sweat. But with an umbrella, I get the most ventilation possible and (if it's not a driving rain or strong winds) keeps my upper torso and backpack reasonably dry (but hiking for hours under an umbrella will find the small leaks they all seem to have, so you won't stay 100% dry). The only down side is to keep weight down, I carry a very small umbrella, so to stay at all dry, you have to hold it in just the right position, which means you have to put away at least one hiking pole.

  17. #17
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Default

    Just yet another data point: I've carried one (the light Go-lite silver one) on many hikes and have appreciated having it, but mostly for sun protection (PCT, CDT, CT), but it sure is nice as well in heavy rains as that first layer of protection. Out here in CO, for example, in the summer we have a brief but sometimes heavy rain on many afternoons, and it's really handy then.

    On the AT however, I just don't think it's worth it, for reasons already stated, though it really is close to a 50/50 thing.

  18. #18
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    After several sections of the Mid Atlantic AT I absolutely would not leave home without my Golite style silver carbonfiber umbrella. Besides rain and sun protection I find its great when you need to shelter from a rain storm beyond just waiting it out.

    Since I use a Big Agnes tent its only a couple minutes to throw up the Fast fly to have some real shelter. Of course pitching any tent is difficult with one hand so I rely on a FrogTogs set to stay dry and the umbrella then is used to shield the backside of my backpack while the rain cover handles the outside.

    It also gets used as rain and wind shelter for cooking. While camping I always pick places with "furniture" and the umbrella gets used to keep at least one piece dry so I dont have to sit on a sodden log. I've also used it to keep a vestibule area dry while keeping the fly open for ventilation. How about those 4am potty runs when its raining? Easy with an umbrella and no wet sleeping bag from your wet clothes.
    All these uses require a little ingenuity to keep the umbrella in place but those are part of any hiking/camping experience. For sun/rain use I have 2 small velcro straps I use to hold the umbrella to my backpack shoulder straps in the front. The butt end goes into a pocket on my EXOS which has wide straps and on my Levity it just getting wrapped tightly with the velcro. So I have both hands free for hiking poles.

    Like most hiking gear its value is directly related to how much thought you put into making it useful. Or put another way the umbrella solves problems with sun, rain and wind and you have to solve the problems of deploying it to that end.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LoneStranger View Post
    Horizontal rain is not umbrella weather at any temp. You still want to have rain gear that is appropriate for that stuff even when carrying the umbrella. I don't use mine when it is windy because hands free mounts don't hold it still and I'm not putting down my poles.
    Yes, I think that is called transitional weather aka early Spring

  20. #20
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    Default

    One of my favorite pieces of gear.

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