While Toronto isn’t the city with the most rain in Canada, we do get our fair share of rainy days. The rain can be both a nice and bothersome thing though, I like the atmosphere that rain gives to the city. But I also hate how the umbrellas I’ve had thus far are so annoying to use. So here’s how you should upgrade your lifestyle, by upgrading your rain gear.
Rain gear is something that I find notoriously hard to shop for, there are so many different types available and each has its own good (or bad) attributes that may not be clear when you first buy it. Personal preference will also come into play too, so not everyone will agree on the same thing being the “best” of the bunch.
With that in mind, however, I think it’s safe to say everyone agrees that cheap umbrellas suck. They’re flimsy, cheap and will more often than not, break when you need them most. I’ve had a fair share of umbrellas break on me, whether it be one of those arm pieces or the entire thing just eventually snapping.
Then there’s the same problem for longer umbrellas too, especially their straps! Maybe I have bad luck, but the straps always seem to snap for me. Rendering them a pain to use. On the other end, did you know that some of those branded/slightly pricier umbrellas are great?
My mom had an umbrella from (at least we think it’s from) the brand Rainbow, my parents got it at one of the gift shops at Niagara Falls when they were dating. They lost it sometime between moves but it had lasted close to 20 years. I heard that story a lot growing up, every time we complained about bad umbrellas actually. So it’s been a bit of a driving force behind trying to find good umbrellas.
Now onto why we’re here. The umbrella I was using suddenly broke (again) and I decided it would be a great time to buy a better umbrella. Now, every year there’s a vendor at the CNE that sells all sorts of umbrellas. Their store is called Umbrella Shop (the umbrella shop) and shares the same name as a former rainwear brand in Vancouver. They aren’t the same though.
This store/brand is from Quebec, and their umbrellas will reverse-close. Meaning that instead of closing inward, it does the opposite. This makes it so that you can stand the umbrella to let the water drip out, or open the umbrella upwards without worrying about clipping something or someone (much).
I fell in love with this concept when I discovered their brand, but we were busy saving for my future college/university and didn’t get them until now. They aren’t cheap though, and the price will depend on what you get; compact, standard, deluxe and artist.
Artist umbrellas are the most expensive since the designs are from artists (which you can guess from the name). I opted for deluxe ones since I thought those were the reversed ones, but I guess the standard ones are reversed too? Not sure and I ended up buying them before reaching out to ask.
I got the Koi Pond style for my mom (she likes something light and noticeable for the nighttime) and I got myself the Burberry style, there was just something about it that looked so nice and classic. The order was placed during the weekend (total was nearly $100) and it arrived that Tuesday. I’m impressed by their speed and the shipping speed honestly!
After they arrived, I kept wishing for rain so I could try it out too!
The sleeves that come with the umbrellas have a long strap that you can use to carry them around (they’re long umbrellas), I wouldn’t recommend trying it backpack-style though. You’re likely to knock yourself on the head with the handle. The material between my umbrella and my moms is also different too, so I suspect different umbrellas have different materials, or at least some do.
The fabric on the Burberry style is thicker, kind of like those for water-resistant jackets. Whereas the fabric on the Koi Pond style is like a traditional umbrella but a little more lightweight. There are some main differences between these umbrellas vs. the cheap ones though:
- Double Layered (cannot see rods and etc)
- Fibreglass rods (less likely to break and wind resistant)
I’ve used mine during a bad thunderstorm before and it held up nicely to the wind, still gave me a bit of anxiety though. But overall, I’m pleased with the umbrella purchase.
The price is a little more pricey than what I’m used to, but I honestly would buy it again if I need another.