As a seasoned traveler, I can tell you one thing that I absolutely never forget to pack: a travel umbrella. No matter where I’m going, except perhaps the Wadi Rum or the Sahara Desert, there’s bound to be some sort of inclement weather. Rain, sleet, thunderstorms; few destinations are without them. Having an umbrella or two on hand allows me and my travel companions to keep our plans intact (and sometimes even see the sights with fewer crowds on rainy days).
Finding the perfect umbrella can be as daunting as selecting a suitcase, though. With about a million options to choose from and all of them claiming to be the best, it’s no wonder so many travelers default to the cheapest option on Amazon or whatever happens to be at the nearest drugstore when that sudden rainfall begins. However, not all umbrellas are created equal, as anyone who has found themselves with a completely inverted one during a torrential downpour will tell you.
To help you find the best travel umbrella for your needs, we put a dozen or so models to the test (in the windy Midwest, no less), keeping size, durability, and affordability in mind. Below, we've rounded up the options that are worth a spot on your packing list.
Best overall travel umbrella
Weatherman The Travel Umbrella
Why we love it: Sturdy, wind-resistant, lightweight, and compact, the Weatherman travel umbrella is the best on the market. It's surprisingly lightweight, and can easily fit in a carry-on or tote bag; plus, it features an automatic open and close feature, a reinforced fiberglass base, and a water-resistant, Teflon-coated fabric. With the ability to shield winds up to 45 MPH, this travel umbrella is tough enough to withstand even the heaviest of rainfall. It comes with a lifetime warranty, too.
Worth noting: There aren’t many cons to this umbrella—it was my favorite of the bunch.
Most durable umbrella
Blunt Metro umbrella
Why we love it: This heavy-duty umbrella stands up to even the strongest rainstorms, and offers supreme coverage thanks to its patented wind-tip rounded edges. It’s built with a 360-degree spinning canopy which prevents it from breaking when dropped or knocked over. It’s extremely wind-resistant and has been tested by the brand to withstand the winds and rains of a category one hurricane (not that they recommend you put it to use in those conditions). Its rip-resistant pongee fabric is quick to dry, so you can take it into a restaurant or museum without needing a plastic cover. It comes in over 24 colors, and new ones are offered each season.
Worth noting: This umbrella only features six ribs, which means it's smaller than Blunt’s other umbrellas.
Most compact umbrella
Davek The Davek Mini
Why we love it: When they say mini, they mean mini. The Davek Mini is so small and compact that it fits in the palm of your hand. Measuring less than seven inches when closed, you can easily stash this umbrella in your crossbody, backpack, or even pocket. Plus, it weighs less than a pound, making it almost unnoticeable when not in use. It’s made from reinforced fiberglass and comes in 10 bright colors, so you can coordinate your umbrella with the rest of your outfit.
Worth noting: Given its size, the canopy of this umbrella doesn’t provide overwhelming coverage and it’s not built for extreme storms. I found it functions best in light showers.
Best umbrella for windy destinations
Davek The Davek Elite umbrella
Why we love it: There’s a reason this umbrella has a near-perfect rating on Amazon—it actually holds up. It may be a splurge at $149, but it is well worth the price tag when you see how effective it is. Surprisingly compact, the canopy extends 50 inches, giving you broad protection against heavy rains, while still being small enough when closed to fit in a carry-on, backpack, or tote. The 210-thread-count fabric makes it luxurious to touch and invincible against rain. The best feature is the wind-tension frame system, which can withstand heavy winds and prevent inversion. I tested this against a very blustery 55 MPH wind day in Chicago, and there was barely any flapping or movement from the tough canopy.
Worth noting: It comes with a lifetime warranty and replacement guarantee.
Best lightweight umbrella
Business & Pleasure Co. The Rain Umbrella
Why we love it: Despite its stick shape, this umbrella is incredibly lightweight, weighing just under 2.5 pounds. It can fit into most suitcases, is UV protective, and has an impressive 41-inch canopy span. It is also slick to look at and carry, with a wood handle and metal clasp. The umbrella comes in 12 lovely patterns and colors, including the ’70s-inspired aqua and orange Cinque Terre and the sunny yellow interior printed Paisley Bay.
Worth noting: The design is long and narrow, making it only packable in a checked bag or stowed in the trunk of your car for a weekend trip. Because of the lightweight build, the umbrella itself is quite fragile.
Best affordable umbrella
Repel windproof travel umbrella
Why we love it: You can’t go wrong with this durable, lightweight, and compact travel umbrella from Repel. With over 36,000 4.5-star reviews, this is a crowd favorite among travelers, worker bees, families, and everyone in between. We tested the durability during a heavy summer rainstorm in Chicago, and it stood up surprisingly well thanks to its nine rib canopy, heavy-duty Teflon-coated fabric, and non-slip rubber grip. Plus, the automatic open and close feature makes it super easy to slip in and out of storefronts and restaurants without getting soaked or stuck. While testing, it stood up to Chicago’s infamous winds, with no bending, flipping, or flapping during big gusts. Bonus: It comes in 10 colors, so everyone in the family can choose their own unique hue.
Worth noting: I didn’t find any problems with the umbrella, though some reviewers have noted that it becomes harder to re-open after longer use and is heavier than comparable brands (it clocks in at 12 ounces).
Most stylish umbrella
Rifle Paper Co. umbrella
Why we love it: If you’re someone who buys a bottle of wine based on the label, these umbrellas are for you. Known for bold, whimsical, delicate patterns and floral designs, Rifle Paper Company’s umbrellas are their own cheery works of art. The umbrellas come in six beautiful patterns, including the colorful Camont, inspired by an 18th-century farmhouse in France, and city-printed Bon Voyage umbrella pictured above. Each one features a sleek wooden handle and an automatic open/close feature.
Worth noting: While this basic umbrella provides decent coverage in light rain, it is not the one to buy if you're planning to be walking through downpours or heavy winds.
Best sustainable umbrella
Totes Recycled PET Umbrella
Why we love it: Shopping sustainably is top of mind, and that extends to travel umbrellas. Tote’s umbrella is made from 100 percent recycled PET plastics, with roughly 7.5 recycled water bottles used per umbrella. The handle and strap are also made from renewable resources like bamboo and hemp, and the production process has been adjusted to use less water. The umbrella features Tote’s patented NeverWet invisible coating, too, allowing rain to drip off the umbrella quickly, leaving you with a drier umbrella once indoors.
Worth noting: Its compact design makes it easy to travel with, however, it doesn’t provide much coverage beyond your person.
Best for city trips
Amy's Umbrellas automatic umbrella
Why we love it: With a sleek and stylish small wooden or plastic handle, this lightweight umbrella features a wind-defying eight rib canopy that’s UPF 50+ certified. Small enough to walk down the busy streets of Chicago during a shower without the awkward “bump and sideswipe,” it fits easily into smaller bags. It features an automatic open and close button and comes in more than a dozen bright, bold patterns and colors, so that you’ll stand out in a sea of black parasols. It also comes with a five year warranty.
Worth noting: It’s small enough to fit in your hand, which means the canopy doesn’t offer ideal protection in heavy rainstorms.
Best splurge umbrella
Sarah Flint x Pasotti umbrella
Why we love it: If you’re looking for an umbrella that will stop people in their tracks, this is it. The exterior features a luxurious Italian leather handle, gold-tone button clasp, and sleek navy canopy. However, the real surprise is when you open it to find a beautiful hand-painted blue and white floral pattern on the interior. I brought this umbrella on a recent trip to Charleston and a handful of people stopped me on a rainy street to ask where I got it. Not only is it gorgeous, but it is also functional. The double-lined canopy protects against moderate rain storms, and it’s sturdy enough to withstand relatively high tropical winds.
Worth noting: This umbrella is not the most durable or compact on the list—you'll want to bring it on road trips rather than short flights—but it is a terrific showpiece.