Umbrellas on Backpacks
- Toby Kraft's review of the Birdiepal bumbershoot was right on. I've
rigged umbrellas onto a variety of packs for years. Bottom line - it
won't work well on shoulder straps irregardless of manufacturer.
THERE IS A WAY TO DO IT AND MAKE IT WORK WELL. If I had a Birdiepal,
I'd load it into my system for a trial.
I just got back from the Mojave desert section of the PCT north of
Mojave CA. Believe me, you NEED sun protection in such places. My
wife had stitched a large velcro patch BETWEEN the shoulder straps on
my Mountainsmith Auspex pack running down the pack itself. This pack
has a recessed channel for ventilation running vertically between the
shoulder straps. She also created a removeable velcroed handle holder
that attaches to that velcro strip so I can adjust the height of the
umbrella that now sticks straight up behind my head, centered and
anchored over my head. This is a totally hands-free mounting. I can
use both of my treking poles, dial my cell phone, do my nails, etc as
I walk. There are three velcroed support straps involved as well; one
is an integral part of the handle holder unit, one is directly
attached to the top of the packbag itself and the 3rd to the floating
top pocket of the pack. That's 4 points of attachment, but the system
will work with as few as 2 (the further apart the better).
It takes some adjusting of shoulder straps to keep the handle from
digging into my spine while walking, but since I can move the
mounting up or down over an 8 inch range, this is not difficult.
I've used a commercial umbrella with steel frame (14 oz) as well as
the GoLite umbrella with its plastic frame (9 oz). Both mount and
carry well, but the GoLite cover was stripped off my pack twice by
desert winds and the plastic frame broke with the first gust. I'm
going back to steel.
Caveat - a long thin handle is FAR superior to a fat one. I've never
seen the Birdiepal in real life, but the reviews all tend to be
negative regarding the short, fat handle. Short will work OK in this
mounting system, but I suspect that fat will be painful against your
back. Better to graind or cut it down first.
I've also had a similar rig on my REI internal frame pack that DOES
NOT have the ventilation channel and it works just as well without
digging into my spine. I just can't pull my shoulder straps so tight
that the packbag lies against my back. The pack's a little less stable
this way, but the air circulation provided needed cooling during my
thru-hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail last summer. Made a HUGE difference
in my body temperature climbing those hills, and cut my water
comsumption by at least 40%. My partners laughed at first, but by the
time we topped dicks Peak, they were making me offers (Hahahahaha)
Wandering Bob Bankhead
- Hi Bob
Thanks for sharing this. I notice that your setup appears to only allow for
the umbrella to stick straight up. My experience is that rain only
occasionally comes down straight and more likely it is coming it at an
angle. The umbrella straight up more often ineffective than effective. I
would think the same applies as sun protection.
Therefore does you setup allow you to angle (tilt) the umbrella to suit
varying weather conditions?
At 04:27 AM 29/06/2002, you wrote:
> She also created a removeable velcroed handle holder--
>that attaches to that velcro strip so I can adjust the height of the
>umbrella that now sticks straight up behind my head, centered and
>anchored over my head.
Aushiker - Hiking in Western Australia - http://aushiker.cjb.net
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Therefore does you setup allow you to angle (tilt) the umbrella to
suit varying weather conditions?
Yes it does. While deliberately designed for fully vertical
orientation (primary function = sun shield), it can be tilted front
or back by loosening or tightening the shoulder straps on my pack.
Side to side is trickier; you could sew three separate velcro loops
horizontally onto the highest point on the pack to accomplish this.
I've just never had any need to do so since even this won't keep me
dry during a strong rain, and I've found that the greater the angle,
the greater the danger that a sudden wind gust will damage or detroy
the canopy. That's what peeled my GoLite umbrella like a grape last
week and broke the plastic spokes where they attach to the shaft.
The primary function of the set-up is protection from direct sun and
rain with added cooling coming from my bare head which now no longer
needs my hat or hood (sun or rain). I still get sun and rain from the
sides and front, just a lot less than I did without it.
In the case of strong, wind-blown rain, I dismount the umbrella, hold
it in front of my chest so I can just see over the top, and walk into
the teeth of the storm with my body core shielded. For newbies, this
method is used ONLY to get you to the first half-way decent site
where you can erect your shelter and get inside. Don't play games
with Mother Nature - she has a nasty habit of winning (often
painfully for you).