What We Like
Auto-open and auto-close button
Multiple color options
What We Don't Like
Flips in the wind
Lacks UV protection
The Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella comes in a tiny size that makes it highly appealing for travelers. You can stick this umbrella in your suitcase or purse and virtually forget about it, given it weighs just one pound and packs up to just 12 inches in length.
As a traveler, I was particularly intrigued by the performance promises. This tiny umbrella was designed to outlast wind and storms despite its compact size. To find out if this was one of the year’s best travel umbrellas, I took the Rain-Mate out on a test-run during a rainstorm in New York City. Read on to find out whether or not it lived up to my expectations.
Performance: Struggles with the wind
Based on its 42-inch canopy, I had a feeling this umbrella would keep me dry—and it did. It’s a spacious umbrella with more than enough room for one. Then the wind hit. The NYC waterfront has some mighty gusts of wind, and the Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella simply couldn’t withstand them. After the third gust, the umbrella flipped, leaving me scrambling to flip it back as I dodged puddles and sought shelter.
Unlike many cheap umbrellas that flip once and go kaput, this umbrella has fiberglass ribs that make it easy to flip back.
To test it out in milder weather, I took the umbrella to Central Park on a breezy, sunny day. I used the umbrella to stay cool while reading on the lawn. Yet again, one gust too many sent this umbrella flipping.
Here’s the good news, though: Unlike many cheap umbrellas that flip once and go kaput, this umbrella has fiberglass ribs that make it easy to flip back. Would I prefer it not to flip at all? Of course. But at least you won’t need an entirely new umbrella whenever a little wind hits.
Design: A large canopy that opens quickly
When I first used the Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella’s auto-open button, I was blown away by two things. First, I loved how quickly it opened. When I’m traveling, I’m often running in and out of stores, public transit, or restaurants, so the quick auto-open, auto-shut feature controlled by a button on the rubberized handle makes the umbrella highly functional when I need it most.
Another impressive feature? Despite its tiny size, this umbrella’s canopy reaches 42 inches. While I could have fit someone else under the umbrella with me, I enjoyed keeping it all to myself—because I stayed pretty dry! (That is, until the wind hit.)
The quick auto-open, auto-shut feature controlled by a button on the rubberized handle makes the umbrella highly functional when I need it most.
While the manufacturer site doesn’t specify what material was used for the canopy, it feels like nylon to me. Unfortunately, it does not have UV protection features. While it kept me cool (when it wasn’t flipped out) during my sunny day at Central Park, I would’ve been better off with an umbrella built with UV protection.
Portability: A compact, easily packable size
This umbrella weighs about one pound and packs down to 12 inches via a three-fold telescopic shaft, making it easy to stash in a travel purse or my go-to travel backpack. Given the umbrella’s size, it’s easy to throw it in a carry-on suitcase and forget about it—until you’re on a trip and need it!
Despite its tiny size, this umbrella’s canopy reaches 42 inches.
Price: On par with competitors
At around $20, the Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella is priced fairly and is comparable to its closest competitors. It costs more than the cheapest umbrellas, but it works slightly better. Plus, it’s guaranteed for life; no matter what happens, the company will replace it free of charge.
Competition: Can’t beat the competition
Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella: When comparing the Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella with the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella, both of which I tested, you’d expect the Rain-Mate to be much cheaper. It’s not nearly as durable, it flips out in the wind (when the Repel umbrella doesn’t), and it lacks Teflon waterproof material. Yes, it has a lifetime guarantee, but so does Repel. And yet, the Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella is around $20, while the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella—the better option, in our opinion—is only about $5 more. Both come in virtually identical sizes with similar colors, so the obvious choice—the one that withstands wind!—is the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella.
Bodyguard Travel Umbrella: I also reviewed the Bodyguard Travel Umbrella, which packs down to about the same size as the Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella (the Bodyguard closes to 11.5 inches long, while the Rain-Mate is 12 inches). When expanded, though, the Bodyguard is far and away the winner. It reaches 46 inches, 4 inches wider than the Rain-Mate umbrella. That means multiple people can fit under the Bodyguard umbrella. And while the Bodyguard umbrella is not as durable as the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella, it’s much more durable than the Rain-Mate umbrella, which feels flimsy when compared to its two main competitors. When it comes to the Rain-Mate versus the Bodyguard, the Bodyguard is the better choice. When it comes to all three umbrellas, the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella takes the cake.
- Product Name Compact Travel Umbrella
- Product Brand Rain-Mate
- Price $20.95
- Weight 1 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 12 x 2.5 x 2.5 in.
- Color Black, blue sky, navy blue, pink, rainbow, red, yellow
- Warranty Lifetime guarantee