For over two decades, I lived in a quaint little town on the West Coast of Canada called Vancouver. Ok, Vancouver is no small town, and if you know anything about that city is that it’s both beautiful, and it rains a lot. A lot, a lot. It’s like the Seattle of Canada. Sure, the weather is mild, but it can feel like the rain simply doesn’t stop for about half the year.
As you can imagine, spending over twenty years in a place known as much for its rain as for its beauty has taught me a thing or two about umbrellas. And while I don’t live in that city anymore, I now live in a place where a combination of wind and rain is a larger issue than it was in Vancouver. Yes, it doesn’t rain as much in my current city, but it sometimes gets very windy, rainy, and stormy. After all, we had two tornadoes visit us in the not-so-recent past. Enter the line of Weatherman umbrellas.
Designed to deal with severe weather events such as unusually windy and rainy storms, the product line was conceived by a nationally recognized meteorologist. After being in the field covering many a storm that would become newsworthy, the aforementioned meteorologist, Rick Reichmuth, got fed up with not being able to find an umbrella that met his standards. He simply wanted to stay dry and not have his umbrella break at the first sign of high-wind conditions. Thus the Weatherman Umbrella was born.
In this review, I’ll be covering the company’s full-size umbrella known as “The Stick Umbrella,” but the company also sells a variety of travel, collapsible and golf umbrellas on their website.
Available in eight colours: black, red, burgundy, light gray, navy, orange, purple, cobalt, the Weatherman “The Stick” Umbrella is a handsome 8-panel product ready to tackle the nastiest weather events you may encounter.
Featuring silver reflective accents throughout, including the entire bottom rim of the canopy, the Stick Umbrella has a uniquely deep, almost old-school lamp-shade quality. If that’s the sort of aesthetic you want in an umbrella, you’ll like the look of this one.
When folded, the umbrella is neatly and tightly wound together by two velcro-enabled straps that keep the umbrella’s canopy packed together. At the same time, the included colour-matched cover creates an even tidier package while not in use.
Suppose you’re particularly worried about night-time visibility. In that case, The Stick Umbrella also features a mid-sized Weatherman reflective logo on one of its eight panels. The button for opening the umbrella, situated just above the main handle, is also covered in reflective material.
Of course, suppose you’re particularly picky about the looks of your accessories. In that case, you’ll also notice that The Stick’s handle features an engraved “WEATHERMAN” logo mark on one side and a smaller logo on the bottom of the handle. I’m not entirely sure I agree with this particular design choice as I tend to hew to having a minimalist design aesthetic. Splashing your logo in too many places on your product runs counter to that ideal.
Materials & Durability
Made of a water-repellant and fast-drying material, The Stick Umbrella from Weatherman features a vented-canopy design, meaning that the main panels are divided into an upper and lower stage with the upper portion overlapping the lower one. This design is what gives this umbrella its primary feature of durability. Allowing the wind to flow through the umbrella exacts far less stress on every component, allowing the umbrella to maintain its shape in high-wind conditions. We’ll talk about this feature a bit more below.
The core of the umbrella’s components is made from a combination of industrial-strength fibreglass and other plastics and metal. The main stem of the umbrella, at first blush, feels metal, but the black coating may be disguising its fibreglass structure. The primary spring coil mechanism also appears to be metal and is thick enough, befitting an umbrella this size.
In any case, based on the multiple points of anchoring around the top of the canopy, its eight-panel vented canopy design and smart use of materials, I do not doubt that this umbrella is designed like a tank i.e. it’s built to last. In my four months of occasional use, I haven’t experienced any points of failure, fraying or other unusual wear and tear.
In Practical Use
So how does this Brooklyn-born umbrella perform in real-world conditions? Unfortunately, in the time that I’ve had it, I haven’t experienced any gale-force winds in my neck of the woods. That said, a few storms did blow my way featuring the following characteristics:
- Wind gusts of up to 30 mph
- 20 mm of rain
- Wind gusts of up to 35 mph
- 12 mm of rain
Putting on my best rain gear, I tested the Weatherman The Stick Umbrella in both these storms and here are the results:
Operating and Handling the Umbrella
There’s no question that this is not a small umbrella, but as a primary source of protecting you from the wind and rain for extended periods, the size feels just right to me—the open canopy measures 44″ in diameter with a 55″ arc. Unfortunately, the size, durability, and perhaps slightly overbuilt construction come at a price, and that price is maybe a bit too much weight. The Weatherman, The Stick Umbrella, is by no means a lightweight umbrella. Look, I’m no weakling, but there’s no question that this is the sort of umbrella you will definitely tire of holding for more than 30-60 minutes at a time. There’s most certainly some heft to it.
The rubberized handle feels comfortable, is just the right thickness, and feels like it’s probably durable enough never to show any visible signs of wear. One pretty awesome feature of the umbrella is that it includes a small zippered pouch integrated into the bottom side of the canopy that I suspect was initially built to house the Weatherman Droplet Bluetooth Tracker. Unfortunately, that product appears to have been discontinued for unknown reasons. No matter, now you can easily drop in one of Apple’s AirTags into the same pouch to gain the same functionality of tracking your relatively pricey umbrella.
The pouch is probably large enough to fit about three fingers’ worth of stuff if you don’t happen to have a handy place to keep something, like a pocket.
Opening the umbrella is as simple as pressing the silver button on the handle while closing it requires manually pulling down the skeletal structure along the stem.
Because of its deep canopy, the Weatherman umbrella performed exceptionally well in both storms I managed to experience. I’ve also taken it out in a few other heavy downpours and even heavy snowfall. If the primary function of an umbrella is to keep you as dry as possible, “The Stick” did its job very well. Most umbrellas I’ve used in the past have left at least some portion of my lower body wet in especially harsh weather conditions, but the opposite was true of my experience with the Weatherman.
According to Weatherman, this umbrella has been tested and designed for up to 55 mph winds. I buy that claim, not the least of which is because they posted a video of themselves handling one of their umbrellas in a wind tunnel test.
While I didn’t have a wind tunnel handy, nor did I have access to a 55 mph wind storm in my area, I did manage to experience some pretty heavy wind gusts of up to 35 mph if my local weather reports are to be believed. In both storms I tested this umbrella in, it did remarkably well at keeping its structure, not getting blown inside out, and not making me feel like I was wrestling some giant invisible man trying to rip the umbrella out of my hands. The engineering behind the gaps in the canopy did their job marvellously, and my fears of being manhandled by the heavy wind and rain were put to rest almost immediately.
How the Weatherman Umbrella Compares Against its Main Competitor, the Blunt Umbrella
While many umbrellas compete in the “weatherproof” and “wind-proof” categories, the Weatherman umbrellas are most often compared to the Blunt Umbrella lineup of products.
In particular, the closest match in terms of size to compare the Weatherman “The Stick” Umbrella is the “Coupe” model from Blunt Umbrella. Let’s look at how they compare:
|Weatherman The Stick Umbrella||Blunt Coupe Umbrella|
|Carrying Sleeve / Cover||Yes||No|
|Frame Construction||Industrial Strength Fibreglass||Polycarbonate Fibreglass|
|Weight||More than 2 lbs.||1 lbs.|
|Wind Tested To||55 mph||72 mph|
If you believe that an umbrella shouldn’t be just another hateful piece of urban luggage that you have to carry around and hate while it gets blown inside out, it’s time to invest in something like the Weatherman umbrella. Sure it’s more pricey than the average umbrella, but then again, why settle for average? The Weatherman “The Stick” umbrella can be a terrific, durable and thoughtfully designed part of your EDC gear, especially for those rainy and windy days.