An umbrella is such a small, minor accessory that it’s only that much more frustrating when it lets you down. Go out after a rainstorm in New York City and you’ll see the streets littered with carcasses, the totems that broke down exactly when they were needed. Minimal investment, provided you weren’t price gouged in the crucial moment, lessens the blow of discarding your umbrella. But how often have you done this, and does it really need to be this way?
The aptly named brand Weatherman has come forth with a reliable but not inexpensive umbrella. Rick Reichmuth, Fox News’ chief meteorologist, founded the company after years of being dissatisfied with his options for covering weather out in the field. Weatherman has five models of umbrellas, with diameters ranging between 38 to 55 inches; prices range between $69 to $94; and there’s no shortage of color options.
Input may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. We only include products that have been independently selected by Input’s editorial team.
I had the chance to try out Weatherman’s Travel model, which the brand claims had a waitlist of 15,000 people until it was recently restocked. It's just 11 inches long when closed, has a 38-inch diameter for coverage, and weighs in at less than a pound. These dimensions make it perfect for tossing in your bag without taking up too much space, but it’s no cupcake when it’s time to be put to work.
I couldn’t count how many umbrellas I’ve had invert and break on me during wind gusts, but in two months of having the Travel model as my companion, it hasn’t lost its shape or been otherwise compromised. It’s a mighty little umbrella, bolstered by a reinforced fiberglass cage that can withstand wind up to 55 mph. And without having to worry about it breaking, I’ve had the space to really fall in love with its fabric.
... bolstered by a reinforced fiberglass cage that can withstand wind up to 55 mph
The quick-drying canopy lives up to its name and quickly becomes safe to stash back in your bag without causing any water damage. In the past, I’ve left umbrellas outside my apartment to dry and have come back to see them still holding water hours later. Weatherman’s joint, however, dries so quickly that I allow it inside the confines of my apartment because I know it won’t cause any problems.
Out of the eight color options, I opted for the neon yellow version because why not freak it? Even if someone could somehow miss it, the canopy also comes with reflective detailing — a feature that could be even more important for your safety on the other colors. Opening and closing is also quite smooth and should come as a relief if you’ve ever picked up a janky umbrella from, like, your local bodega.
The Travel umbrella comes in at $69, which is nice for jokes but may seem absurd to some to spend on such an item. There is a lifetime warranty on your side if you ever need to replace it, but of course, there’s also the possibility that you simply lose your umbrella. In the past, Weatherman had Bluetooth-enabled tracking to prevent such a disappearance, but that feature seems to have been phased out. I’d love to see that make a return at some point, and that’s really my only complaint when it comes to the Travel umbrella. (Of course, there is the fact that Reichmuth works for Fox News, but the question of how much to hold that against the weatherman is above my qualifications in ethics.)
As in shoes or clothing, you can buy cheap but will likely end up having to buy again sooner than later. Should Weatherman’s Travel umbrella last you years, which all evidence points toward, you should actually end up saving money in the long run. And in the short term, it’s awfully nice to be confident that it won’t break down on you and quite literally leave you out in the rain.