As I write this, eastern North America is bracing for a wallop from yet another hurricane with a girl’s name that is tearing up the coast, having somehow gone rogue and escaped from her natural home in the Caribbean. So rain and lots of it is very much on everyone’s mind.
After (and unfortunately during) a major rainstorm, public trashcans tend to have pitiful, broken umbrellas sticking helplessly out of the top. Presumably, the former owner continues on after the catastrophic umbrella failure and gets very wet without it. You won’t mourn the loss or breakage of a $6 umbrella too much, but you’ll still have to get another one. How about a durable, high-quality umbrella that you like a lot and won’t forget?
Perhaps the first question should be: what would the Queen of England do? After all, it rains there all the time. She has people to carry her umbrellas for her, so she’s not going to lose one, so she buys hers from Swaine Adeney Brigg in London. They are beautiful objects, with wooden shafts, handles in bamboo or the wood of your choice and canopies in either nylon or silk. They are most definitely not affordable to most of us, starting at about £250, or a little over $400 US. So let’s keep looking.
If the Wright Brothers were still around in the 21st century, I could see them coming up with something like the Dutch Senz, an asymmetrical wing-shaped design that is darn near windproof. It turns itself around to head into the wind; you can still see under it and the long trailing edge keeps the rest of you dry. It is a great high tech design, but they do look a little odd.
Davek of NY is an American company that makes a line of strong, well-designed umbrellas. It looks as if the gearshift from an Audi TT was grafted directly onto a round, ultra lightweight version of the convertible top, made to open quickly and easily. If it turns inside out in the wind, you can just press a button and it uninverts itself. Best of all, it has a lifetime warranty and they will pay half the cost even if you screw up and lose it.
I think the Senz is the way to go. Maybe someday all umbrellas will look like that.