Amazon Test is a monthly packing column where Oyster.com Senior Editor Megan Wood road tests one of Amazon’s best-selling travel products. After multiple trial runs, she reports the good, the bad, and the ugly—saving you the time and stress of figuring out what to buy on Amazon. It all comes down to one all-important question: Is this product worth my money and suitcase space?
It’s raining, it’s pouring, and I didn’t pack a travel umbrella. I’ll admit, when packing for a trip, I usually leave my umbrella in the front closet. After all, no one wants to think about gray skies putting a damper on beach days or having to trudge through city streets in a downpour. Packing an umbrella also takes up serious space in a carry-on suitcase, and I like to pack as light as possible. But more than once, I’ve ended up regretting my laissez-faire umbrella choice when the forecast flipped from sunny skies to rainy days.
If you find yourself away from home without an umbrella, you have two choices. Check the hotel closet for a cumbersome golf-size umbrella you can borrow and try not to lose (some hotels charge your credit card for missing umbrellas), or hope there’s a nearby pharmacy where you can impulse purchase a cheaply-made umbrella. These generally last approximately one wind gust before flipping inside out and breaking, leaving you soaked and $15 poorer.
After one too many unexpected rain storms on the road, I decided to make better packing choices. I turned to Amazon to check out my travel umbrella options, and immediately noticed the best-selling Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella with Teflon Coating. It has over 6,000 Amazon ratings and an overall rating of 4.5 stars. And users love it:
“This umbrella is advertised as being almost instantly dry due to its Teflon coating. It is also advertised as being more rugged than its budget counterparts. The advertising is correct.”
“This is a fantastic umbrella. It is sturdy and well-built and I just know it will last me forever. Additionally, the look of it is awesome. I researched for a while before I bought a new umbrella, I wanted one that was an auto open/ auto close, wouldn’t turn inside out on me and was light enough to carry to and from work and night classes (oh and would keep me dry!). I have to say I found the perfect product.”
I decided to take the plunge, and got my hands on a black Repel umbrella. Shipping was fast, and the umbrella arrived in brand new condition, ready for me to test on the mean streets of New York and Miami. In the last three months, I’ve taken the Repel umbrella out for mile-long walks in some seriously heavy Manhattan downpours, occasional snow, and blustering winds that easily took out lesser umbrellas. To see how it traveled, I packed it in my carry-on suitcase for a week-long trip to Miami. Here’s how the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella performed:
- At under $25 and with free Prime shipping, the Repel umbrella is a steal of a deal. Sure, it costs about $10 to $15 more than a generic umbrella, but the Repel should last you for years, even with regular use.
- Um, it works. Nine reinforced fiberglass ribs and a double-vented canopy mean this umbrella is truly wind-resistant. I watched as New Yorkers struggled with turned-out umbrellas in majorly windy conditions, while my Repel didn’t even budge.
- The canopy is coated with a layer of Teflon, making it waterproof. It kept me dry, and when I was safely out of the rain, the canopy dried quickly. I could tuck it in my purse within three minutes. Drippy umbrella messes, begone!
- The Repel umbrella seamlessly opens with the touch of a button. When you’re out of the rain, the umbrella closes with the same automatic button.
- Slip-proof handle is easy to hold and comfortable to carry, even with miles of walking.
- It’s actually travel-sized. When the Repel is closed, it’s about 11 inches long, or a bit bigger than an insulated water bottle.
- Despite the small size when folded down, the canopy opens to a substantial 37 inches. It’s almost big enough to keep two adults dry, but not obnoxiously big and cumbersome.
- It comes in a range of 11 colors like sophisticated black, cheery yellow, and a fun rainbow print.
- I have to press hard with both hands to get the umbrella to close up and fold completely. Not a deal-breaker, but worth noting if you have weaker hand strength.
- Since it’s more expensive than most umbrellas, I’m going to kick myself pretty hard if I accidentally leave the Repel umbrella behind at a restaurant or in the back of an Uber. The Repel is definitely worth a visit to the lost and found desk.
Is the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella worth my money and suitcase space?
Reader, yes! An enthusiastic yes. This is my go-to umbrella for my daily commute and on domestic and international trips. It checks all the boxes for a dependable travel umbrella: it’s affordable, sturdy, easy to open, perfectly sized, and stylish. If you’re on my holiday gift list, spoiler alert: You’re getting a Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella from me. Let me know if you prefer the blue-sky pattern or hot pink.