The lovely Steph—she of contest fame—mailed me a stumper of a question:
since it’s POURING and FREEZING here today and I am once again stuck without a decent umbrella, I was wondering if you could recommend a decent umbrella, at an affordable price that will last more than a few weeks?
This has me thinking about some sort of umbrella and electric blanket combo as a possible hit invention, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Steph’s point, here. So: Is there such a thing as an umbrella that lasts?
Um. Not really.
Well; let me amend that. Generally speaking, compact umbrellas aren’t going to last. The same construction that allows them to fold up to the size of a postage stamp is the reason that the first strong gust tends to bend the spokes and rip the nylon from the frame.
If you want an umbrella that will outlive a compact, get a full-size one that doesn’t fold. Of course, then you’re stuck toting around something the length of your average golf club. It doesn’t fit in your briefcase or backpack, it doesn’t even sit properly on the floor of your car. The end result is that you never have it with you when you need it because who wants to tote that gigantic thing around?
I was astounded to discover that you can spend real money on umbrellas. (Want a giggle? Check out this review. I’m sure it will send you right out to buy that $475 Louis Vuitton model.) I just had no idea.
My current philosophy is simple: First and foremost, what I want in an umbrella is that it be there when I need it. I purchase umbrellas at the dollar store and leave them everywhere. I have one in the car, one in my briefcase, a couple in the house, etc. Not terribly frugal, I suppose, but at a buck a pop, I can be lavish that way. When they break, I don’t care, because they were only a dollar.
Dear readers, do you know the secrets of umbrella-purchasing? Is there a penultimate brand known to withstand hurricane-force winds and tidal waves with the bearer’s hairdo still intact? Please, do tell.
[Edited to add: Now my Amazon ad is directing me to the GustBuster! You have to read the description on that thing, at least; they take their umbrellas very seriously.]