While we love getting out in the sunshine, we also have to protect ourselves from getting too much of it. It’s a great irony but nonetheless true. It was also the motivation behind the world’s first umbrellas. Dating back to four thousand years ago, various forms of the concept were used to shade very important persons from extensive periods in the sun.
The first umbrellas were made of palm leaves, papyrus, and peacock feathers and were reserved for upper-class ranks of the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians. Records of parasols have also been found in ancient China. Those were made from bamboo and covered with leaves and feathers.
Thankfully along the way, someone figured out the umbrella could also work well for keeping us dry. Hence, the concept for our modern-day use of the umbrella was born. It is believed the Chinese were the first to cover paper parasols with a layer of wax and lacquer to repel the water. Paper and wax have been replaced by nylon nowadays, but the concept of the umbrella still works today.
Portable, compact, and ultra-convenient, our selection of travel umbrellas will keep your vacation dryer or shadier, whichever way the weather goes. Don’t forget to put this essential on your next packing list.
Sturdy fiberglass structure
How many umbrellas have you gone through because the spokes broke or turned inside out? Come what may, you’ll be protected under this titan of the umbrellas that tackles the tough weather without breaking. Made from flexible reinforced fiberglass, this durable instrument will bend with the elements but won’t break. The double vented canopy resists strong winds and a rubber grip handle keeps it in your hands where it should be. Features a waterproof Teflon coating and a one-handed push-button opener. All this comes at a size less than 12 inches long in your purse or beach bag. We think it’s a great model, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to invent new versions of the umbrella. The U.S. Patent Office has seen at least 3,000 proposals to build a better umbrella, including such variations as a pet leash umbrella, a flying umbrella, an automated sun tracking umbrella, an umbrella for dogs, a mister-equipped umbrella, and many more.
Inverted folding design
The Lanbrella travel umbrella offers the interesting twist of inverting when you close it, so the wet material is sealed off inside. Put it in your bag or set it in your car and the upholstery will stay dry. The inverted design also keeps floors from getting wet and slippery when you set it down in the entryway. Eight fiberglass ribs can bend to 180 degrees and stay intact. Open it with the push of a button, and simply push it again to fold in the canopy. Do you need to squeeze someone else in under your shelter with you? This one offers a 46-inch arc to give you wide coverage. The word “umbrella” comes from the Latin word “umbra,” which means shade or shadow. In Britain, it’s commonly called a “brolly” as well as in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. In 1800’s America, a fancy term for umbrella was a “bumbershoot.”
The umbrella has seen some odd uses and unusual versions throughout its history. Umbrellas of the 1800s were quite upscale and very pricey, so owners devised various ways to keep them from being taken by thieves, including integrating the umbrellas with padlocks, sirens, alarms, and even hidden weapons. The umbrella became equipped for multipurpose tasks during this era, too, incorporating lights, watches, perfume storage, and even smoking accessories into its functions. The SY Compact travel umbrella is a straightforward device. Lightweight at 15 ounces, it folds down to just 11 inches, making both carrying it along and stashing it away a cinch. The canopy is coated with waterproof DuPont Teflon technology and soft but durable polyester fabric, which offers excellent repellent from the rain and heat insulation from the sun.
With the PFFY travel umbrella 2-pack, you can have his and hers, mom’s and dad’s, keep one in each car, or have one for the home and one for the office. Whatever you decide to do with both tools at your disposal, you’ll have a sturdy metal frame and 10 resin-reinforced fiberglass ribs (most have eight or nine) under the canopy to keep you covered. These fold down to a 12-inch size for easy storage. With windproof and waterproof features, plus a push-button close, you’ll have everything you’re looking for times two. While we do use umbrellas as a head covering, as early as 1880 and as recently as 1987, umbrellas were actually fashioned into hats. Of course, one of the most famous hats to serve the purpose of a large parasol is the Mexican sombrero, which can be translated as “shade maker.”
Weighs less than a pound
You get a lot for a little with the EEZ-Y travel umbrella that folds down to 11 inches to pack around handily on your travels. Its large coverage area (42 inches) shields two people even in heavy rains. A double canopy cleverly lets air pass through but keeps the water out. It weighs less than a pound, comes in a choice of 15 colors, and includes a carrying case made of waterproof fabric when you need to stash away your wet umbrella. An essential tool whether traveling or just navigating the daily weather variations, over 33 million umbrellas are sold in the US every year. As for the future of this tool that’s become indispensable to us, materials continue to evolve to offer greater resistance and comfort, continuously leading to new and improved models. Japanese researchers have invented a high tech umbrella “to make rainy days fun.” It projects images on the inside, and users can scroll through the images by twisting the handle.
Kelli Brandenberger is a contributing writer to Islands, an award-winning brand founded in 1980 that speaks to international travelers who have an affinity for the Caribbean and beyond. The website showcases destinations, resorts, cruises, and recommendations by the Islands’ staff. elli is a writer and editor who spends as much time as possible near the water. Her favorite Caribbean destinations are found in Roatan, the US and British Virgin Islands, and secluded mountain resorts of the Pitons in St. Lucia.