Improving on a device as simple as an umbrella is no easy task, but Coghlan’s Trekking Umbrella proves it can be done. Along with some nice design touches, they added a small but fairly bright LED light to the handle. Is it a game-changer? No. But once you’ve used an umbrella with a built in light, you’ll wonder how you managed without one.
To keep weight down, they started with a fiberglass frame and shaft. We like the fact that it has a nice carbon fiber look to it. A thick, but not too thick EVA foam grip houses the LED light. The grip size is important to us, as it needs to fit small and large hands equally well, which it does. Take a close look, and you’ll see that the bottom inch or so of the grip is actually the switch for the light. Twist on, and twist in the reverse direction to turn off. Pretty simple. At the opposite end, the Trekking Umbrella sports a vented canopy that’s 42 inches across. While it’s a bit small for two people, the vents really do help in higher winds.
Living in the state with “The Greatest Snow on Earth”, it was a while before we had some rain to test it out. In all fairness, we knew the umbrella would do its part, but no one wants to walk down the street on a clear night with an umbrella, even one with an LED light in the handle. So we waited for a bit of rain. Yes, the Trekking Umbrella worked as expected. And that little LED bulb throws out enough light to see where you’re walking.
We liked the release button, as it was easy to use without getting pinched. Dual velcro closures plus a mesh case make storage tidy too. And the light was just the right output for avoiding small obstacles and debris in our path. The only issue we encountered was some trouble replacing the batteries (they were fine, we just wanted to see how much work it was to get them out). Would I take this on a long outdoor trek? Probably not. Rainwear and a headlamp would be the order of the day for that. Would I take it with me camping, if there was a chance of rain? Yes. Would I use it to walk the dogs in the rain, or keep in my car during the rainy season, just in case? Certainly. It’s light, affordable (most retailers offer it for under $20) and lets you keep one hand free, for those times when holding a flashlight separately just won’t do. coghlans.com
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the Trekking Umbrella for free from Coghlan’s, in consideration for review publication.