Weatherman Collapsible Review
Cons: Expensive, bulky, heavy
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|Pros||Ample canopy size, easy to use, relatively stylish||Lightweight, durable, easy to use||Strong, excellent rain coverage, stylish||Classy, durable, versatile||Affordable, stylish, ample rain protection|
|Cons||Expensive, bulky, heavy||Fixed shaft length makes it a bit longer, not as stylish||Large, unwieldy in high winds||On the heavy side, larger for a compact model||Heavy, not as easy to transport|
|Bottom Line||A quality umbrella that is durable and stylish but isn't very compact||A lightweight, quality choice with notable rain protection and ease of use||This is a fun, well-made umbrella that provides classic rain protection and nostalgia||Classy style and reliable rain protection with all the perks of a compact, automatic umbrella||Fun style with a more encompassing bubble canopy for greater rain protection|
|Rating Categories||Weatherman Collapsible||EuroSCHIRM Swing Tr...||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||totes Clear Bubble|
|Rain Protection (30%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Weatherman Collapsible||EuroSCHIRM Swing Tr...||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||totes Clear Bubble|
|Measured Canopy Diameter||40"||37.5"||42"||40"||33.5"|
|Depth of Canopy||11"||9.75"||10.25"||9"||16.75"|
|Sleeve Included?||Yes||Yes, w/ shoulder sling||No||Yes, with zip||No|
|Measured Weight (including sleeve)||23.0 oz||10.0 oz (w/case); 8.0 oz (w/o case)||18.5 oz||15.5 oz||16.0 oz|
|Measured Length (collapsed)||19.5"||25.25"||36.5"||14"||35.75"|
|Measured Length (deployed)||29.5"||25.38"||36.75"||25.5"||35.75"|
|Handle Design||Rubber handle, inset button operation||High-density EVA hardfoam||Wooden crook handle, button operation||Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation||Plastic crook handle|
|Canopy Material||Water-repellant polyester||Teflon-coated polyester, velcro closure||Polyester, velcro closure||300 Thread count water repellent fabric, snap fastener||Thermoplastic polyurethane, snap fastener|
|Support Structure||Fiberglass||High-density fiberglass||Wood and aluminum||Steel and fiberglass||Unknown metal and carbonfiber|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Weatherman Collapsible is made with Teflon-coated polyester, fiberglass, some other unknown metals, a rubber handle, and utilizes two velcro closures when it's time to pack it up. This model features wind vents, a small stash pocket on the underside of the canopy, and reflective fabric at the hem. The handle has a button to deploy the canopy automatically, though manual closure is required.
The Weatherman has a 40-inch diameter and garnered an above-average performance for this metric. We measured the canopy depth to be about 11 inches, and the outer arc length ranged from 47.25 inches to 50 inches. The octagonal shape and relative depth allow for greater rain protection over that of shallower competitors. We really enjoy having a more expansive canopy than what is often typical of the lightweight, compact models. We could hide more of ourselves under the canopy, and if we tilted the canopy back for greater visibility, the depth helped maintain protection. The wind vents also help disperse pressure from the wind, which allowed us to handle the umbrella with greater security and balance.
Ease of Transport
The main drawback of the Weatherman is that it's one of the heaviest we've recently tested. Weighing in around 23 ounces (1.44 pounds), we do not consider this to be notably lightweight. In addition, the packed length is 19.5 inches, which we think most people will find overly long. The model is not a fixed-length umbrella, but it isn't a compact one, either. The relative bulk and weight make it a bit more of a hassle to carry and stow, but at least the handle has a leash, and there is a sleeve to help compress and streamline the canopy.
Online, the manufacturer only lists fiberglass as a material for the frame, but it's obvious that the main shaft system is made from metal, and only the ribs shaping the canopy are made from fiberglass. Typically, fiberglass is stronger than metal, pound for pound, but having a metal shaft doesn't necessarily mean the durability isn't high. Since the canopy collapses, there are more moving parts than a fixed-length model, meaning that the opportunities for breaks and failures are higher. In general, we feel that this product is made fairly well, however. During our wind tests, the canopy inverted around 25 mph, and when pointed directly into the wind, the canopy began to collapse right around 55 mph, which is what the manufacturer states as its max wind speed (a very impressive feat!)
Ease of Use
The auto-open button and mechanism work well enough, though the deploying speed is a little slower than some of the ultralight models. Not enough to cause frustration, just something we noticed. The manual closure is easy to do and pretty self-explanatory. The main drawback is, again, the weight. Wielding the Weatherman over longer periods tired our arms, and we feel that the balance of its weight isn't as easy to handle as some of the other competitors.
We really enjoy the slightly muted color choices of the Weatherman. We think this helps mitigate over-exposure when it's really sunny out (to a certain degree), but it also provides a bright pop on gloomy days. At the time of this review, there were several other solid colors to choose from, from the more unassuming darks to other brights, like the color red. All of them still have silver reflective hems, which offer a nice and all-the-more unique accent. Too, having a small stash pocket is fun, and the logo design isn't overwhelming, either.
Manufactured in China, this product seems to be constructed well, and it does provide ample rain protection, but we wonder why it costs as much as it does. We wouldn't necessarily categorize this as a specialty or luxury item, so, in relation to many of the others we've tested, the cost seems to be a bit on the high end. Nonetheless, if cost and product weight isn't a deterrent for you, then you shouldn't be disappointed with the rain protection you'll get.
Overall, the Weatherman Collapsible occupies the middle ground between the traditional fixed-length designs and the ultralight, compact travel ones. If you're looking for something rather straightforward but stylish, and don't mind the relative bulk, then there's nothing really to complain about here. We appreciate the more versatile look and the sturdiness of the construction.
— Sara Aranda
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