|Okay so here I am in Alaska with an umbrella. We were stranded for days in a remote bay, fifty miles from town. The floatplane couldn't get us. Some fun had to be had. Cue the pink umbrella!|
I'm not a fan of umbrellas. What's wrong with getting wet? But in the land of long distance hikes, I've learned, there are people who swear by their trekking umbrellas. They love them with a passion. Not only can umbrellas allow you to hike in the desert without roasting to a crisp, they can provide some shelter from day after day of rain slogging. It's a whole different experience, Scout said, to hike with an umbrella keeping you mostly dry rather than rain pelting your head, running down the space between your pack and your back, soaking the pack contents despite your best efforts, resulting in a soggy pile of drippy rain gear to deal with at camp.
Scout gifted me with a GoLite umbrella and I am eyeing it with curiosity. You can attach it to your pack and hike on. I have to say, I'm intrigued. This past summer we were drenched over and over by relentless rain in the Cascades. We still would have gotten wet with umbrellas, but not as wet. It might have helped in the baseball sized hail where we just huddled and screamed in pain. And what about that lovely misty rain where you stall in putting on your rain jacket, because well, you're going to sweat in it, and get just as wet? So you wait, and get wet. Surely an umbrella might be a useful tool. You might be able to avoid rain gear altogether, or at least avoid the dance of rain jacket on, rain jacket off.
Other hikers have suggested uses for umbrellas that range beyond the mundane. Shielding you while taking a bio break when trees are not nearby, for example. A makeshift siesta face-cover. Emergency tent prop-up or in place of trekking poles for tents that use them. Portable shade. A plate?
I'm still not sold, but I think I'll tote one on some short hikes and see what I think.
Umbrella..yes or no?