Sorry for the glare in this picture. The Euroschirm Handsfree Trekking Umbrella measures just under 19 inches when closed, weighs a scant 13 ounces, and comes in a nice hunter friendly green color.
I have written several times here about the benefits of using umbrellas in the field. It is the most breathable waterproof slash windproof shell layer you can use and it makes a great mini shelter for checking the map slash GPS, making a fire, glassing, snoozing, etc., etc. Under normal circumstances a good umbrella works wonders on the trail.
My problem is, I am not satisfied with the size, color, and construction of the ones I have been using so I set out to find something better. What I found, after a great deal of research, was an assortment of very high quality, purpose built umbrellas from a German company called Euroschirm.
Two telescoping lengths tighten and loosen with a twist giving the Hands Free a great deal of adjustability which proves to be very handy for backcountry use. It is plenty long enough to use with a tall pack but compact enough to store in a side pocket.
I am now testing the Handsfree Compact Trekking model that is made specifically for backpackers. It is 19″ long in the stowed position, 38″ fully extended and with a 43″ wide canopy that provides pretty good coverage. It has a fiberglass shaft and comes with two clip brackets that can be attached to your waist belt and shoulder strap for hands free use (hence the name) but I am not sure yet just how practical that will be. We will have to see.
Euroschirm also sent me their latest catalog containing all of their umbrellas where I found another model I might be interested in called the Komperdell Telescope. It is part trekking pole, part umbrella. Always nice to kill two birds with one stone so I will look into that one as well.
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