Davek Traveler Umbrella

Davek Traveler Umbrella
$79, 13 oz.
davekny.com

When the skies opened up at Mt. Rainier National Park and we faced two hours of slogging through steady rain before reaching our next campsite, I was very glad to have Davek’s Traveler umbrella—not for me, actually, but for my nine-year-old son. It made a big difference in his outlook toward hiking in the cool rain. In fact, he thought it was pretty cool just to have the umbrella, and I think he was secretly hoping for rain and a reason to open it. If he wasn’t with me, I’d have happily used it in that rainstorm, too.

An umbrella is one of those “luxury” backcountry items you often won’t bother bringing along—most are too long when collapsed, too heavy, or too fragile to survive mountain winds. The Traveler, though, cast a ray of sunlight on my previously skeptical attitude toward a backpacking umbrella. Its sturdy design is readily apparent when pushing the handle button to open or close it. The umbrella snaps open and was unfazed by light winds; with a steel shaft and reinforced seven-rib frame, looks like it could withstand a pretty good blow without bending. The 40-inch diameter provides great coverage. Measuring just 9x2x2 inches when closed up and weighing south of a pound, it easily disappears unnoticed into a backpack pocket. Plus, it comes with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. It’ll be in my pack for all potentially rainy trips.

—Michael Lanza