I’ve never been a man who likes to carry an umbrella — wearing a raincoat always seemed more practical, especially when walking in a crowd of people who are all carrying umbrellas.
So when it came time to select what I was going to carry with me when I hiked the John Muir Trail, an umbrella was the last thing on the list.
But during my ninth day on the trail, I had an encounter that changed my mind.
I’d just spent the night in the Evolution Valley (one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen) and was making my way down from Muir Pass along the shore of Helen Lake. And that’s where I ran into a gent coming up the trail from the other side who was carrying an umbrella. It wasn’t raining, but the sun had been relentlessly beating down on the trail for days. I took one look at this fellow’s lightweight, shiny silver umbrella and thought, “That’s a good idea.”
Liteflex Trek Umbrella from Swing Trek
The Liteflex Trek Umbrella weighs eight ounces (228 grams), has a UPF of 50+, and claims to lower the temperature of the sun up to 15 degrees.
It’s billed as the world’s lightest trekking umbrella, and although it’s an expensive piece of gear — around $45 — it’s a worthwhile addition to any sunny (or rainy) adventure. But you can’t really put a price tag on the relief you get from carrying your own personal patch of shade.