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EuroSCHIRM Swing Trek Liteflex Review

A lightweight, quality choice with notable rain protection and ease of use
EuroSCHIRM Swing Trek Liteflex
Photo: Swing Trek
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $48 List | $50.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, durable, easy to use
Cons:  Fixed shaft length makes it a bit longer, not as stylish
Manufacturer:   EuroSCHIRM
By Sara Aranda & Lyra Pierotti  ⋅  Apr 29, 2021
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Rain Protection - 30% 7
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 6
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9
  • Style - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The EuroSCHIRM Swing Trek Liteflex hiking umbrella is a stunning product. It performed well in all of our tests and across all metrics but stood out especially for its durability. When we pushed it to the max in the wind or strapped it to a backpack, it bounced back from every bump, unscathed. Designed with a keen sense of geometry, it maximizes rain protection while remaining a surprisingly minimal product. It has a fixed-length shaft which inevitably makes it larger, but this one is on the smaller side of fixed umbrellas, and it is so incredibly lightweight. It is optimally suited to day hikes and backpacking trips but also very capable in the city.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $50.00 at Amazon$20 List$22.99 at Amazon$19.50 at Amazon$14.99 at Amazon
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Pros Lightweight, durable, easy to useStrong, excellent rain coverage, stylishClassy, durable, versatileAffordable, stylish, ample rain protectionCompact, wind vent, adequate rain protection
Cons Fixed shaft length makes it a bit longer, not as stylishLarge, unwieldy in high windsOn the heavy side, larger for a compact modelHeavy, not as easy to transportA touch heavier than other compact models, plain style
Bottom Line A lightweight, quality choice with notable rain protection and ease of useThis is a fun, well-made umbrella that provides classic rain protection and nostalgiaClassy style and reliable rain protection with all the perks of a compact, automatic umbrellaFun style with a more encompassing bubble canopy for greater rain protectionCompact, easy to use, and affordable, this umbrella gets the job done without costing more than it should
Rating Categories Swing Trek Liteflex totes Auto Open Wooden Balios Double Canopy totes Clear Bubble AmazonBasics Automa...
Rain Protection (30%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
Ease Of Transport (25%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
Durability (20%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Style (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Swing Trek Liteflex totes Auto Open Wooden Balios Double Canopy totes Clear Bubble AmazonBasics Automa...
Measured Canopy Diameter 37.5 in 42 in 40 in 33.5 in 38 in
Depth of Canopy 9.75 in 10.25 in 9 in 16.75 in 8 in
Sleeve Included? Yes, w/ shoulder sling No Yes, with zip No Yes
Measured Weight, Including Sleeve 10.0 oz (w/case); 8.0 oz (w/o case) 18.5 oz 15.5 oz 16.0 oz 14.0 oz
Measured Length (collapsed) 25.25 in 36.5 in 14 in 35.75 in 11.5 in
Measured Length (deployed) 25.38 in 36.75 in 25.5 in 35.75 in 21.5 in
Handle Design High-density EVA hardfoam Wooden crook handle, button operation Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation Plastic crook handle Short, Comfort-Grip handle, inset button operation
Canopy Material Teflon-coated polyester, velcro closure Polyester, velcro closure 300 Thread count water repellent fabric, snap fastener Thermoplastic polyurethane, snap fastener Polyester, velcro closure
Support Structure High-density fiberglass Wood and aluminum Steel and fiberglass Unknown metal and carbonfiber Steel

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Swing Trek Liteflex is an excellent product to take on your next adventure, for both the pouring rain and the blistering sun. Easy to maneuver, operate, and stash, the design is both innovative and simple.

Performance Comparison


Minimalism that doesn't sacrifice quality or strength, this is quite...
Minimalism that doesn't sacrifice quality or strength, this is quite the top performer.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Rain Protection


The canopy on the Swing Trek is the ideal size and shape to maximize coverage from the rain (and sun!) while remaining light and compact enough for easy transport — a high demand for a product geared toward ultralight trekkers and backpackers. The diameter measures 37.5 inches and has a depth of 9.75 inches. This combination is what helps maximize protection for its relatively smaller size. We measured the arc length range from 41 to 44 inches due to the slightly scalloped edge of each panel. In addition, the circumference is approximately 116 inches, and the design is comprised of an octagonal shape.


During testing, rain would sprinkle us from about the waist down, particularly if there was any wind involved. In our wind test, the Swing Trek maintained its relative shape without breaking or exposing us to the elements. And while the bold color might not be the most ideal in the sun, we still could find comfort in the shade created. For achievements above and beyond the scope of most of its competitors, we certainly appreciate the thoughtfulness of design.

The canopy is big and broad enough to instill confidence against the...
The canopy is big and broad enough to instill confidence against the rain.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Ease of Transport


What sets this model apart in this review is its hands-free potential. This product is easy to lash to a backpack (best if that backpack has a Velcro loop normally used for the hose of a hydration bladder), providing truly hands-free operation. We tested this in rain and snowstorms, as well as sunny hikes. Note this means you must have a backpack that it can attach to, though we found many ways to get creative in our lashing methods.


We measured the weight to be only 8 ounces, which is an incredible feat. This umbrella is so light that even though it does not retract like the telescoping options in this review, it doesn't lose points for being longer. Too, with a packed length of 25.25 inches, it isn't as long as other traditional fixed-shaft models we tested. We were able to tuck it into most of our duffels or shoulder bags with no problem. It is also well balanced — enough so that it didn't tip out of our reusable grocery bags when our hands were too full to carry it.

The grip handle is soft and easy to wield in addition to the...
The grip handle is soft and easy to wield in addition to the ultralight weight of the entire umbrella.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Designed with a fixed-length shaft instead of a telescoping shaft, the Swing Trek doesn't shrink down: the length is nearly the same whether stowed or deployed, with only a slight increase when fully open (25.375 inches). Additionally, the model comes with an adjustable shoulder sling storage bag, which adds another carrying option for trekkers and general users, with or without a backpack to strap it to. The total weight with this bag comes to 10 ounces — still very lightweight. The sleeve the umbrella slides into has mesh to allow a wet canopy to air out a little when stowed quickly after a downpour.

Showcasing the Swing Trek stashed into its over-the-shoulder...
Showcasing the Swing Trek stashed into its over-the-shoulder carrying case.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Durability


We thought we pushed this product so far that we broke it during our high wind test. It made audible snap noises, and the canopy folded sideways, but as we slowed down the vehicle, it popped right back into place with no perceptible damage done. We were floored.


The only catch is that the canopy flexed sideways at a relatively low speed of 20mph, and it even bucked around significantly at 15mph, inverting easily at only 10mph. This meant it might not function in severe winds, but if a gust catches you off guard as you crest that mountain pass on the Pacific Crest Trail, know that the stays will bounce back unscathed. The fiberglass frame of this umbrella proved to be indestructible in our testing. For those with a distinct preference for reducing metal, this is a great choice.

The Swing Trek Liteflex is easy to collapse after it inverts, even when under tension from a headwind. Unlike umbrellas with metal stays and multiple joints in the spokes, there is little to break or bend. Additionally, there is no button on this model, which means one less mechanical feature to potentially break.

We love how simple yet effective the skeletal construction is.
We love how simple yet effective the skeletal construction is.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Ease of Use


In the most practical sense, opening and closing an umbrella is often a gamechanger when it comes to comfort or how willing someone is to use it. While the popular trend is for automatic, spring-loaded mechanisms, we appreciate the tried-and-true stability of the Swing Trek Liteflex. The operation is entirely manual, with a slide that is fluid and easy to grip. Without much effort at all, the canopy deploys and collapses — no extra buttons or tricks. The deployment action of this model feels like unsticking a magnet: it is smooth yet securely closed when collapsed. The handle itself is also easy to hold and doesn't slip around when wearing gloves.


Additionally, it's possible to lash this product to things like trekking poles, which will allow you to take breaks with the umbrella propped overhead. The handle has a lower profile, and the shaft is a bit thicker than most telescoping models, which means that you can wrap a ski strap (or use any tying mechanism) around a trekking pole, and it'll rest flush and secure with the trekking pole. The soft handle provides enough friction with whatever it is mounted to, helping to keep it securely in place. Also, the drawcord leash at the bottom of the handle gives another adjustable attachment tool, aiding in the much-coveted hands-free experience.

Finally, we like that all of the typical pokey bits on the tips of the canopy are covered with plastic caps and that there is nothing to pinch you accidentally, from handle and shaft to stretchers and tip. We found this to be a great advantage when working outdoor education programs with little kids in the rainy Pacific Northwest spring season, for example.

Deploying and collapsing is easy due to the smooth and fluid shaft...
Deploying and collapsing is easy due to the smooth and fluid shaft design.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Style


This umbrella is certainly more technical and outdoorsy looking than a typical stylish urban model. The foam handle is soft, light, and ergonomic but contributes to the more casual nature of the design. The black and bold color combination also makes it look more standard than pattern-happy models, which can either be a plus or a minus, depending on your personal preferences. Certainly not the most fashionable item, we still enjoy the charming color and simple features. Sometimes less is more, right?


Value


When judged among other technical models, the Swing Trek Liteflex is well worth the cost. However, it is much more expensive than your average drugstore umbrella. Depending on your needs and wants, however, we think this will make for an excellent, reliable option.

A little techy and a little stylish, we think there's a fair balance...
A little techy and a little stylish, we think there's a fair balance between function and flair.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Conclusion


The EuroSCHIRM Swing Trek Liteflex is one of the lightest in this review. It is on the longer side, but this allows a much larger and deeper canopy, giving it excellent weather protection for its incredibly low weight. Trekking umbrella connoisseurs and casual users alike will find true value in such an innovative and durable design.

Shorter than most traditional models and yet longer than most...
Shorter than most traditional models and yet longer than most compact, we very much enjoy the niche this trekking competitor occupies.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Sara Aranda & Lyra Pierotti