The Hunt: Good to The Last Drop

By Emily A. Brown | Boston Magazine |

With all the snowing finally over (please, Lord!), that other pesky form of precipitation is just getting started putting a damper on things. We took a rain check, so to speak, on the season’s best umbrellas, spending hours in the wind tunnel around the Hancock Tower and enduring strolls in bone-chilling drizzles. In testing more than a dozen models, we graded performance on a scale of 1 (poor) to 4 (excellent), based on how sturdy the umbrella was in the face of strong gusts, and how dry it kept us. And after tallying the results, we found five that performed well enough across the board to earn the Connoisseur seal of approval.

SEE A SLIDE SHOW OF ALL THE UMBRELLAS

MOST FASHIONABLE
Hayden-Harnett for Target (Above)

Wingspan 36 inches
Weight
12.2 ounces
Length closed
31 inches
Length open
Same
Auto open/close?
No/no
Time to open
0.9 seconds
Wind resistance
3 out of 4
Rain resistance 4 out of 4

The Hayden-Harnett is light and sturdy enough, but scores extra points in the style department thanks to its vintage bell shape and upbeat yellow and blue print. It’s also versatile: If a dangerous situation were to arise, that extra-pointy tip could easily double as a weapon. $23, Target, 550 Arsenal St.,
Watertown, 617-924-6574, and other locations, target.com.

 

MOST FAMILY-FRIENDLY
REI

Wingspan 43 inches
Weight
8.2 ounces
Length closed
12 inches
Length open
24 inches
Auto open/close?
Yes/yes
Time to open
0.4 seconds
Wind resistance
3
Rain resistance 2

REI’s travel umbrella is large enough to fit both you and a kid or two underneath, while its affordable price means that it’s not a tragedy if you leave it at the park by mistake. Note: The two-panel flexible canopy that makes this one aces in a stiff breeze also allows some drops through in a deluge. $34.50, REI, 401 Park Dr., Boston, 617-236-0746, and other locations, rei.com.

 

MOST LUXURIOUS
Longchamp

Wingspan 48 inches
Weight
18 ounces
Length closed
35.5 inches
Length open
Same
Auto open/close?
No/no
Time to open
10 seconds
Wind resistance
4
Rain resistance 4

A classically chic umbrella—boasting a leather fastening strap and
a bright spring hue—the Longchamp is easy on the eyes and surpasses sportier-looking models in terms of wind and rain resistance. However, the supertaut canopy and the creaky frame make opening it a bit of a struggle, and since it lacks collapsing capabilities, this 3-foot brolly can be cumbersome to tote around. $228, Longchamp, 139 Newbury St., Boston, 617-425-0740, longchamp.com.

BEST FOR YOUR WALLET

Weather Zone "Tuxedo"

Wingspan 48 inches
Weight
17 ounces
Length closed
35 inches
Length open
Same
Auto open/close?
Yes/no
Time to open
0.6 seconds
Wind resistance
3
Rain resistance 4

This handy-dandy hardware store pickup has an aesthetic that’s similar the Longchamp’s, and almost identical measurements, but offers easier opening and a fractional price tag. $25, Economy Hardware, 219 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-536-4280, citylivingstores.com.

 

 

BEST OVERALL
Davek "Duet"

Wingspan 55 inches
Weight
22 ounces
Length closed
14.75 inches
Length open
29 inches
Auto open/close?
Yes/yes
Time to open
0.8 seconds
Wind resistance
4

Rain resistance 4

Notching a perfect score of 4 in wind resistance, the Davek would probably hold its own in a fast-moving convertible. Plus, it has a wingspan that’s wide enough for two people to share, and briefcase-friendly collapsibility. $149, Neiman Marcus, Copley Place, Boston, 617-536-3660, neimanmarcus.com.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2009/03/the-hunt-good-to-the-last-drop/