Last Updated on 27/08/2023
Keeping Dry and Lightweight with the Best Hiking Umbrellas
There are lots of different umbrellas available today, with most being on the cheaper side or more focused on fashion than function. So what makes the best umbrellas for hiking, and what should you be looking for?
First of all, you need to decide whether you want a compact hiking umbrella or a more durable umbrella with fewer moving parts. Single pole constructions offer better durability and are generally better in strong wind, which makes them ideal for hiking. That being said, there are significant benefits to both options, but you just really need to think about the places you will be using your umbrella.
If you will be climbing mountains and camping out in the middle of nowhere, then a single rigid-pole trekking umbrella will offer better durability. If you are looking for more of a lightweight hiking umbrella, you can use it for travel/backpacking. Then a telescopic pole design will pack down smaller and often weigh far less.
One of the main benefits of umbrellas over waterproof jackets is the complete breathability as well as the ability to keep the rain out of your eyes. Providing shade on hot days and doubling as a shelter aid for things like bug nets and bivvy bags also comes in handy, but the ventilation alone is enough to want one. There are, of course, many other benefits that we cover at the bottom of the page in our guide to the best hiking umbrellas.
Top 10 Best Umbrellas for Hiking
EuroSCHIRM Swing Liteflex Umbrella
- OPEN WIDTH: 37.5 in / 95.3 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 25 in / 63.5 cm
- WEIGHT: 8.64 oz / 245 g
The EuroSCHIRM Swing Liteflex Umbrella is a super-strong lightweight umbrella for all kinds of outdoor activities and everyday use. Long-distance hikers often choose this umbrella for its reliable durability in strong wind and its lightweight construction.
The coated fiberglass shaft is made from a single piece that is highly flexible and tenaciously strong, measuring 25.2 inches both open and closed. High-density fiberglass ribs also help keep the weight down and are described as nearly unbreakable even if flipped inside out.
VERDICT: Weighing in at just 8.3 ounces and easily attachable to just about any backpack for easy access, it is super lightweight but not so compact. If you are looking for an umbrella you can stash away in a backpack side pocket or even fit in a handbag for everyday use, then this maybe isn’t for you.
But if you want a really sturdy umbrella that is reliable, lightweight, and designed for hikers, then you can’t go wrong with the EuroSCHIRM Swing Liteflex. One of the best hiking umbrellas with a single-pole design and is highly recommended for outdoor people who appreciate quality over cheapness.
EuroSCHIRM Birdiepal Octagon Umbrella
- OPEN WIDTH: 38 in / 96.5 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 25.75 in / 65.4 cm
- WEIGHT: 11.5 oz / 326 g
The EuroSCHIRM Birdiepal Octagon Umbrella is made almost completely of non-metal parts which means it won’t ever rust. This lightweight and robust umbrella gets its name from the newly created octagonal fiberglass shaft, which, although it looks very thin, is incredibly tough and flexible. The other obvious benefit for hikers is that the lack of metal means it isn’t such a lightning rod in storms.
Weighing just 300 grams, it is claimed that it is, at a minimum, just as tough as the birdiepal original and is windproof to a high degree. The sturdy 26-inch shaft means you can easily strap this to the outside of your daypack or tuck it inside your backpack for storage and easy access. The durable polyamide fabric creates a 38-inch canopy when opened, which is more than enough coverage to keep you and your gear dry.
EuroSCHIRM has become a renowned brand for quality hiking umbrellas, and they always pay special attention to the ribs as well as the shaft, handle, and canopy.
VERDICT: If you want something with a little more rigidity than most cheap compact umbrellas, then this is a good example of an innovative design that is both stylish and functional. You will be surprised by how strong and lightweight this is, and the fact that it doesn’t have much metal in it makes it perfect for mountain hiking.
Sea To Summit Siliconized Nylon Trekking Umbrella
- OPEN WIDTH: 38 in / 96 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 9.5 in / 24.1 cm
- WEIGHT: 8.5 oz / 240 g
The Sea To Summit Siliconized Nylon Trekking Umbrella is a super lightweight and compact option for backpackers and hikers alike. It has an aircraft-grade aluminum shaft that measures 23 inches long when extended or 9.5 inches when closed and is highly durable.
The fabric is made of super lightweight and waterproof 30D Siliconized Cordura to save weight but also provide superb protection from sun, wind, and rain. At just 8.2 ounces or 230 grams, this would be considered very lightweight when compared with most other hiking umbrellas.
VERDICT: Like all Sea to Summit gear, this umbrella is designed to be packable and lightweight, which lends itself to things like hiking and backpacking. That being said, it does make an excellent day-to-day umbrella for commuters and dog walks for the same reasons that make it the best for hiking. If you are of the mindset that weight and packability are more important than overall durability, then this is the pocket umbrella I would get for hiking and traveling.VIEW ON SEA TO SUMMIT
Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella
- PACKED LENGTH: 11.5 in / 28 cm
- WEIGHT: 15 oz / 425 g
The Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella is quite possibly the best value for money but a high-quality umbrella that is suitable for hiking. With a double-vented canopy that unfolds to a massive 42-inch diameter, for a compact travel umbrella that is impressive. It has a 9-rib design using resin-reinforced fiberglass to make it stronger than your average umbrella and more resistant to strong gusts of wind.
VERDICT: Aside from the considerable windproofing to the frame, the Teflon coating on the fabric adds a premium level of waterproofing and quality that other cheap umbrellas don’t have. Measuring just 11.5 inches long and weighing 14.5 ounces when stored, it is easily packable and reasonable to take with you on a hike. Although it is designed for the masses and not hikers specifically, it is well-made and does the job better than most.
EuroSCHIRM Light Trek Automatic Umbrella
- OPEN WIDTH: 40 in / 101 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 11.5 in / 29.2 cm
- WEIGHT: 11.2 oz / 317 g
The EuroSCHIRM Light Trek Automatic Umbrella is one of the strongest foldable umbrellas for hiking in strong wind. Weighing 295 grams / 10.4 oz and measuring 11.4 inches closed, the Light Trek automatic is easily packable and lightweight for traveling with. When opened, the length doubles to 22.8 inches with a canopy diameter of 38.6″ inches to give you excellent rain coverage for the size.
The aluminum shaft and fiberglass frame parts give this umbrella lots of strength as well as flexibility and also resist corrosion over time. A smooth open and close function gives the automatic button a quality feel and makes it super easy to get out and put away.
The only reason this scored lower than the Sea to Summit and Repel compact umbrellas is because of the fairly garish and limited color options. A bonus to this model is that it has a floating compass in the soft EVA foam handle and comes complete with a carrying case and carabiner to fasten to the outside of your bag or on your belt.
VERDICT: This hiking umbrella is a great all-rounder to keep in your car, backpack, or work satchel and performs in all kinds of hiking weather.
Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow Hiking Umbrella
- OPEN WIDTH: 37 in / 94 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 25 in / 63.5 cm
- WEIGHT: 6.8 oz / 192 g
The Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow Hiking Umbrella is designed to reflect sunlight (UPF 50+) as well as deflect water. This allows you to walk in hot and humid conditions and stay both cool and dry without having to wear waterproofs or constantly cover your face in sun cream. Hiking with an umbrella in the sun is becoming more popular because it works to make you more comfortable, which is something not many people say no to.
Now available in both a mini collapsable and carbon lightweight model as well as the standard and hands-free versions, the SMD umbrella is a favorite for rock climbers and hikers because it is so easy to pack and carry. Weighing an incredibly light 6.8 oz or 192 g and measuring 25 ” long, you can easily pack this away and a backpack and forget about it when not in use. The opened diameter is 96.5 cm which is surprising to say it is one of the most lightweight umbrellas for hiking.
VERDICT: If you are planning on hiking through hot or humid climates, then this would be an excellent addition to your kit for sure.
totes Auto Open Wooden Stick Umbrella
- OPEN DIAMETER: 48 in / 122 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 36 in / 91 cm
- WEIGHT: 20.8 oz / 590 g
The totes Auto Open Wooden Stick Umbrella has a much more classical style than the other umbrellas on this list and is not necessarily designed for hikers. The reason we included it on this list, though, is that it is quality-made and excellent value, which is all some people want. Because it is so stylish, it can also be used for business, date nights, and on the high street without looking out of place.
It is available in an automatic compact model too, but we really do like the way this umbrella feels and looks. You might be surprised by the price tag and figure that actually, you could use this umbrella anywhere and treat yourself to one.
VERDICT: Ideal for shorter hikes or days out in the countryside, the totes wooden stick umbrella feels nice to hold when open and is a pleasure to walk with when closed. For long-distance hikers, this is probably not worth considering as the weight is not low at 20.8 ounces and would have to be attached to the outside of your bag.
GustBuster Metro 43-Inch Automatic Umbrella
- OPEN DIAMETER: 43 in / 109 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 16 in / 40.6 cm
- WEIGHT: 17.6 oz / 499 g
The GustBuster Metro 43-Inch Automatic Umbrella has a double canopy design with a 43-inch diameter for total rain protection. Wind tested up to 55+ mph; the double canopy allows updrafts of strong wind to pass through the layers of fabric instead of turning it inside out.
The GustBuster Metro is approximately 22 inches long when open, 16 inches folded, and weighs 17.5 ounces which makes it portable and hiker friendly. Available in larger sizes, we found the smaller and more lightweight 43-inch version better for hiking with.
Gustbuster makes mid-price range umbrellas that are built to last and have a quality feel to them. They service a lot of golf clubs and corporate events with their single pole umbrellas, but this compact version is a decent option for weekend hikers who will most likely use this day-to-day as well.
VERDICT: Solid construction with an effective design is what these umbrellas are known for, and they can handle wind/rain better than your average brolly. The 8-rib design, along with the vents, gives it its wind resistance, and the quality handle and shaft make it feel sturdy in your hand.
Helinox Umbrella One
- OPEN WIDTH: 38 in / 97 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 25 in / 64 cm
- WEIGHT: 7 oz / 210 g
The Helinox Umbrella One has a 63.5 cm fixed-length alloy shaft which is super flexible and strong for total support in high winds. Weighing a mere 220 grams, it is ideal for hikers who can strap it to the outside of their pack when not in use. The canopy spreads to a comfortable 97 cm diameter which is more than enough to cover you and your backpack.
The Helinox umbrella also comes in a larger size which weighs 326 grams, measures 75 cm long, and opens to 114 cm in diameter if you need something more substantial. Both options are available in a red or black material which provides UPF 25 sun protection (blocks 96% of UV radiation) and features comfortable grips and a shoulder carry strap.
Since first writing this post in 2017, Hellinox has updated the old model with a new advanced DAC alloy shaft as well as the new names One and Two.
VERDICT: You really do get the impression that this umbrella is built to last, and while it still has some flex in the shaft, it is incredibly rigid, and you wouldn’t feel concerned strapping it to the outside of your backpack. I would describe the overall look and feel of this hiking umbrella as lightweight and high quality. This umbrella is designed for rugged outdoor use and is a great addition to your hiking kit.
Senz Umbrellas Original
- OPEN DIAMETER: 34 in / 87 cm
- PACKED LENGTH: 31 in / 79 cm
- WEIGHT: 15.5 oz / 440 g
The Senz Umbrellas Original Storm Proof Umbrella is unique in its design but also in that it claims to withstand the most wind out of any umbrella on this top 10 list. The aerodynamic shape adapts to the ever-changing wind direction and can withstand sustained gusts up to and above 80 kph. We have not tested this, but some other customers found that it did not perform as well as advertised and did, in fact, turn inside out in strong winds.
I have a feeling that if you hold it close to your body, it can withstand strong winds, with the elongated section pointing in the direction of the wind. By holding the front close to the top of your head when it isn’t too windy, the tail end of it actually covers your backpack very well to keep both you and your gear dry.
VERDICT: While it isn’t the lightest or most compact umbrella, it is definitely one of the cooler designs, and we also like that it is designed to be not just wind and rainproof but stormproof. Time will tell how well it holds up, and I will update this as and when.
Hiking Umbrella Guide
Having hiked in the rain way more than I would have liked to, but with no regrets, over the years, I have learned a lot about staying dry. Waterproof gear is essential for hiking in countries where rain is common, but an umbrella for hiking isn’t as daft as it sounds. Umbrellas can do things that jackets can’t, which is why people are waking up to the idea of having something they can take hiking.
The biggest difference between your average umbrella and one of the best hiking umbrellas on this list is the wind resistance strength. The second biggest difference is that trekking umbrellas are designed to be ultra-portable by being more lightweight and compact than regular umbrellas. The things to take away from this are that you should look for a strong windproof umbrella that is lightweight and suitably storable for your needs.
Understanding Hiking Umbrellas
The canopy is the material part of the umbrella that is stretched over the ribs, which provides you with rain cover. The ribs are the main canopy framework that creates the shape and tautness of the fabric. The stretchers are the sections that provide support for the ribs sitting around the top when in use and are collapsable when closed. The shaft is what you call the central pole, and it should have a handle at the bottom for grip.
Features of the Best Hiking Umbrellas
After looking through our list of the top 10 best hiking umbrellas, you may have gotten an idea of what you are looking for, but if not, here are some of the features that can make a big difference:
The primary function of most umbrellas is to keep you dry, and so effective rain coverage is a must for any hiking umbrella. A large top surface area provides more coverage but will be more vulnerable to high wing and is less packable. The material is of some importance, but the taut construction of trekking umbrellas means that rain is easily deflected and will never pool on top.
One of the things that make umbrellas the best for hiking is that they are completely breathable. Unlike jackets and even rain ponchos, you don’t get any condensation build-up from your body heat, and your clothes don’t start dripping with sweat underneath. You really can’t beat the 360-degree ventilation of an umbrella when the humidity is high, and it starts raining on a hike.
Weight is of high importance to some people, while others may not give it any consideration at all. If you are planning on using your umbrella for long-distance hiking, then you will want something that is as light as possible as well as packable. Lightweight materials can make all the difference but can be expensive and sometimes mean sacrificing durability, so finding a good balance is advisable.
Making a choice between a compact umbrella vs solid pole construction can be tough if you aren’t sure what you will be using it for. If you want something small to whip out whenever it starts to rain, then a packable umbrella will serve you best. If, however, you plan on using it as part of your tarp shelter or bivi bag sleeping system, then only a rigid pole hiking umbrella will do.
Again, this comes down to the choice between tough and durable in high winds or compact and lightweight but lacking in sturdiness. I personally prefer a lightweight hiking umbrella to be made of a single pole and have some windproofing but I am a little biased as I do often use my umbrellas for shelter building as well as a hiking pole on occasion.
We all know what happens to cheap umbrellas in high winds… They turn inside out! The best hiking umbrellas are designed to withstand strong winds without this happening; however, sometimes, it is just better to seek shelter. That being said, if hiking in windy conditions is a high probability, then getting an umbrella that is windproof is the obvious choice.
For some people, protection from harmful UV rays is a real concern and especially when hiking abroad in hotter than normal conditions. Hiking on hot days means you sweat more and, in turn, means you have to carry more water just to stay hydrated, which increases pack weight. Studies have shown that the shade of a small umbrella can reduce the walking temperature by up to 15 degrees which sounds like bliss in 30 degrees heat.
We all know that a waterproof jacket or even just a hood offers convenient shelter from rain whilst hiking, but what about when you need to take a break or stop for lunch? A hood can’t stop a sandwich from getting wet as you put it to your mouth, but an umbrella will. You can also fit more than one person under an umbrella which makes it an ideal temporary shelter for hikers.
Things to Look for In a Hiking Umbrella
These are the things that can make or break a trekking umbrella on a hike in windy conditions:
The materials are often what makes the difference between a high-quality umbrella and a mediocre one I wouldn’t trust on a hike. The shaft, ribs, and canopy fabric make the biggest difference to durability, but without sound mechanical construction, the whole thing would fall to pieces anyway. When picking the best hiking umbrellas, you have to decide whether you want lightweight materials or a solid build that weighs more.
If you intend to use your umbrella for hiking in both hot sun and rain, then you may want to know the UV rating. This is often available through the links we provide, but if not, then let s know, and we will find out for you. You can expect most hiking umbrella fabrics to be a minimum of UPF 25+ degrees, but it is worth checking if this makes a big difference to you.
Even the best hiking umbrellas don’t come with waterproof ratings because of the way they are designed. The domed shape and taught construction mean water runs straight off and never pools on top. Even non-waterproof materials would likely protect you from the rain, as any absorbed moisture should run down the sides and off the ends. I would be far more concerned with wind-tested ratings than waterproof ratings on any umbrella, let alone one for hiking.
Short Vs Long Shaft Umbrellas
If you plan on holding your umbrella by the handle, then you don’t want it to be so short that you have to raise your arm too much. On the other hand, you should be holding it close to your head for the best protection, so a long handle isn’t necessary. Another trick many hikers have adopted is attaching their umbrellas to their hiking backpack straps for hands-free mode. You don’t need a long shaft for this so save the weight and go for a short-shafted hiking umbrella.
Large Vs Small Canopy
You should consider canopy size when buying a walking umbrella because it can massively affect its usability. A large canopy will offer the best rain coverage but will also be heavier and more susceptible to wind. A small canopy will typically be more robust and lightweight while still offering plenty of shelters underneath.
Stick Umbrella Vs Collapsible Umbrella, Which Is Better for Hiking?
Stick umbrellas feature a single pole and are ideal for short walks where there is a good chance of rain or long-distance walks where it may have more than one use. Compact umbrellas are perfect for keeping in your backpack and are lightweight but don’t have the same sturdiness as a stick umbrella. The answer to this question depends on the type of walking you will be doing as well as your personal preference.
Weight Vs Strength
Many hiking umbrella companies have found a good balance between durability and weight, but you will still have to make a decision that is more important to you before you buy one. Stick/single-pole umbrellas are definitely sturdy and not necessarily heavier, but they are not easy to pack and often have to be strapped to the outside of your bag. If sturdiness is an issue, then get something well-made and forget about the weight for the most part.
Retractable umbrellas often have small blocky handles to make them as compact as possible, which doesn’t make for the most comfortable grip. Stick umbrellas either have a straight or hooked handle depending on the style. If it is going to be strapped to the outside of your backpack anyway then a hooked handle makes it easier to secure.
Frequently Asked Questions About Windproof Hiking Umbrellas
Here are some of the most common questions we get asked when we are using a lightweight hiking umbrella:
What Is a Hiking Umbrella?
A hiking umbrella or trekking umbrella can come in very handy when it starts to rain and is easily packable in most daypacks. Hiking umbrellas are lightweight, compact, and tough enough to handle strong winds that you can expect in exposed landscapes. Hiking umbrellas are not designed to be used in strong winds and lightning storms but they are perfect for showers and light rain.
What Is the Best Hiking Umbrella Brand?
This is often a tricky question, but when it comes to the best hiking umbrella brand, there really is only one answer and that is EuroSCHIRM. And while brands like Sea-To-Summit and Helinox make great trekking umbrellas, it is EuroSCHIRM’s only focus, so they do an excellent job. We really like the Totes brand for an everyday umbrella that you could trust to go hiking with. Six Moon Designs trekking umbrella is the best for deflecting sun and creating shade for hiking as well as being very lightweight.
When Not to Use a Trekking Umbrella?
The most obvious time to put your umbrella away and not use it is during a lightning storm, as it could potentially attract a bolt of lightning to strike you. This could be fatal and isn’t worth the risk even if you do get wet, especially on highly exposed ground. Another time not to use a hiking umbrella is during high winds, and although they are tested for durability, they are not designed to be used in strong winds. If carrying an umbrella isn’t your thing, then you should check out Tilley hiking hats which do a very good job of keeping the rain off your face.
What Color Umbrella Is Best for Sun Protection?
The general consensus seems to be that black is the best color for hiking umbrellas to absorb heat and UV rays. I would have thought that silver or a reflective surface would work best, but it does make sense that black absorbs the most light and heat so that it will be nice and cool underneath.
Where to Keep Your Umbrella in Your Pack?
Most compact umbrellas are best kept inside your backpack somewhere near the top for easy access. Single pole umbrellas will fit inside larger backpacks but, for the most part, are best attached to the outside.
Most hiking backpacks now have trekking loopholes and side pockets, which are both great places to keep your umbrella on a hike. I like to keep my umbrella inside my pack when it’s not raining and on the outside of my pack if there is a chance of rain.
How to Make Your Hiking Umbrella Hands-Free?
As mentioned above, some people may wish to go hands-free by attaching their umbrellas to the shoulder strap of their hiking backpack. There are even some umbrellas that are designed for this purpose, and if not, then you can follow this guide about attaching it to your bag. The other hands-free option is the umbrella hat once donned by clowns. These umbrella hats are not as wacky as they used to be and actually look cool and work well.
We hope you enjoyed this list of our Top 10 Best Hiking Umbrellas.