It’s been a rainy spring in New York this year, and I already have two umbrella skeletons to show for it. The combo of sideways rain and the fact that I live in an incredibly windy part of town means that by the end of the season I usually have enough broken drugstore umbrellas that I could make an entire graveyard (or, perhaps, a conceptual art project?) out of them. After I wrote a post about how to recycle broken umbrellas, I received a challenge from high-end umbrella maker Davek: try out one of their umbrellas for a week, and see if it could withstand the Brooklyn above-ground-train-wind. I love a good challenge, and I also love not having my umbrella do that inside out flip thing, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
The first thing I noticed about the black Davek umbrella is that it is heavy. I get it, because the thing has to be well-constructed in order not to fall apart, but the heft really is noticeable. I mean, I’m fairly certain that in some states I could legally classify the thing as a weapon. As for the weight factor, it was noticeable when I was carrying it around, but not when I was actually using it to shield myself from the rain. Part of why I end up with lots of cheap disposable umbrellas is because, as a New Yorker, I have to shlep my entire life around with me. Although I don’t really miss driving, I do miss the ability to stash stuff in my car while only keeping essentials in a small purse.
However, the real test of the umbrella wasn’t about how much it made my bag weigh – it was about how well it protected me from the rain. On that front, it gets an A. The big button at the bottom is easy to find, and once you give it a little tap the umbrella pops open quickly. Despite plenty of wind, the Davek never once flipped into that sad reverse-mushroom shape. It barely even wobbled, which was impressive. The one downside was that me having a kickass umbrella made it more difficult for other people with umbrellas to pass me on narrow streets – when I tried to bend the Davek a little bit so somebody could get past me, it stubbornly but elegantly refused to give.
Overall, my week trying out the umbrella was a successful one. I was willing to deal with the heaviness of it in exchange for how well it worked. This is starting to make me think that my Londoner friends have the right idea – invest in one really good, solid umbrella for a long period of time, rather than deal with a long parade of cheap but flimsy ones. I was constantly paranoid about losing the umbrella, but the fact that it was so nice made me extra careful about taking care of it. All that and it got me through a Brooklyn downpour? Not bad at all. I do sort of wish it was purple, though.