The Lewis N Clark is an aptly named, true travelers' umbrella. It runs away with our Best Buy Award for its outstanding value for under $20. It is as light weight as many trekking models, and just as compact and easy to use. It is durable enough to withstand the majority of conditions travelers will encounter, while providing excellent rain protection for its compact size, and withstanding winds enough to be competitive. This contender is an excellent purchase that will last a long time, and still affordable enough you won't be heart broken if you lose it or the dog eats it. (The dog-durability test was not factored into our metrics).
Lewis N. Clark Umbrella Review
Cons: More metal joints make it slightly less durable than more expensive models with fiberglass
Manufacturer: Lewis N. Clark
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Lewis N Clark is an umbrella that you will be stoked to take with you on your myriad travels and adventures, urban, suburban, and even out in the wild.
The Lewis N Clark provided the best rain protection of the compact models in this review. It is pretty hard for a telescoping umbrella to compete with fixed shaft products for depth and diameter, but this one came stunningly close to our three other award winners, the Swing Trek LiteFlex Trekking, Helinox Trekking, and totes Auto Open Wooden. Check out the measurements in our metrics to see just how close this one measures in depth and diameter.
In our OGL Rain Test, a few rain drops hit us above the elbow and at the upper thigh. This is not quite as good as the Swing Trek, Helinox, or totes, but it is among the best of the collapsible models.
The light weight and slightly more open canopy (when compared to the fixed shaft umbrellas) does make this product catch the wind a bit more quickly. However, that is a cost that is balanced out by the compact size and ultralight weight of only 10 ounces.
Ease of Transport
The Lewis N Clark is the top scoring compact umbrella in this review. It is nearly as light weight as the trekking models, which includes the longer fixed shaft Swing Trek LiteFlex Hiking and Helinox Trekking, as well as the compact and collapsible Sea to Summit Cordura Trekking — but at a much more affordable price point.
Impressively, despite the durable structure, the Lewis N Clark weighs just 10 ounces. This makes it small, light, and easy to throw into your bag and, pull out in a sudden downpour.
The Lewis N Clark is impressively durable despite all of its moving parts. It has sturdy metal ribs, a 3-fold chrome-plated steel shaft, and lightweight and flexible fiberglass tips. This was a feature common to the more durable-but-affordable umbrellas in this review: the fiberglass bends back into place much better than metal, so having fiberglass for the whole frame of the umbrella is best, but the tips (the third and outermost leg of the collapsible models) are the most important.
The frame of the Lewis N Clark is rust- and corrosion-resistant, and the sleeve is mold resistant.
In our OGL Wind Test, the Lewis N Clark could handle winds up to 40mph, which was very impressive. It inverted easily around 15mph. Importantly, the umbrella was harder to close after withstanding the 40mph winds, and the joints on the ribs were tweaky. After opening and closing a few times, the hinges sorted themselves out and it performed normally again. If you're looking for the best durability, check out the simpler, straight shaft umbrellas, especially the Swing Trek LiteFlex Hiking and the Helinox Trekking.
The Lewis N Clark has a unique button which opens and closes the canopy. This feature functions well; it is tight and smooth. However, with heavy use, this adds more breaking risk than a simple auto open feature, and certainly much more risk to long term durability than a straight shaft, manual umbrella. Tension on the button for the auto close feature leads us to question whether that can grind down and become unusable--but realistically this seems to be durable enough to otherwise outlast the umbrella.
An interesting and related side note: when closing the button to collapse the canopy, if we then decided to redeploy manually (without collapsing the telescoping shaft and hitting the button again), the canopy would not lock into place. Additionally, if we wanted to deploy the canopy manually, the shaft would not extend and the canopy would, again, not lock into place. This makes the product heavily reliant on that button for use. We were grateful it seemed smooth and durable, but concerned for the longevity of those features.
As with most umbrellas, there are reports of breakages, but mostly, it seems, practically out-of-the-box. This indicates that failures may be due to manufacturing defects and less due to design flaws or wear and tear. Going beyond the excellent performance in our several months of testing, we hear rumors of this product lasting for years compared to a mere handful of months for bargain drug store models. The Lewis N Clark is an otherwise "ordinary" umbrella that outlasts and outperforms drug store cheapos, and threatens to dethrone the much more expensive trekking rain shelters if not for a few simple features like the 2/3 metal canopy frame.
Ease of Use
The Lewis N Clark is an excellent, versatile umbrella. It was easy to deploy and collapse due to that awesome dual-function button (many buttons deploy but do not collapse). You still have to collapse the shaft manually, but we loved that we could "remotely" collapse the canopy, especially in crowds. This allowed us to make a graceful dismount from a busy city street, without having to wrangle the canopy through a busy crowd to grab the runner and collapse the canopy by hand.
The rubberized handle feels nice in hand and provides a solid grip when wet.
We did feel that the canopy is a bit slow to deploy, and hesitates a bit as it clicks into the open position, but it was always smooth and remained unchanged from the beginning to the end of our testing period. The Lewis N Clark was the easiest to use among compact models; however, we really liked the ease of fixed shafts, such as in our other award winners, the Swing Trek LiteFlex and Helinox Trekking umbrellas.
The Lewis N Clark is not a fashionable accessory, but it does come in a variety of colors, and the quality manufacturing is recognizable, especially in the way it holds up and doesn't get bent easily. It is neat, tidy, well-made and durable, which improves style points: no one likes the look of a half broken, lopsided umbrella.
But if that's not stylish enough for you, it is also compact, so you can hide it in your backpack, briefcase, purse, messenger bag, shoulder bag, etc. The Lewis N Clark is a standard compact design that will fly under the radar: it isn't too flashy - unless you buy a bright color. If you want an umbrella that makes more of a statement, check out the very classic totes Auto Open Wooden, and for something more modern and fun, we enjoyed the look of the Blunt XS Metro.
The Lewis N Clark is popular among travelers, as the name might suggest. This product was very competitive with our trekking models. It is light enough that we might take it out hiking in the rainy springtime weather. And if we were Lewis or Clark canoeing through the Pacific Northwest, we would have been psyched to hold this umbrella overhead. Lightweight, durable, reliable: all things we look for in our gear for our various explorations.
The Lewis N Clark claims to be one of the "#1 selling travel umbrellas online." Our research supports this claim as a very popular travel model, and our tests confirm that it is an excellent choice for your various rainy escapades.
The Lewis N Clark is simple, light, and compact. It looks like a fairly standard, store-bought umbrella, but it holds up and performs far better. It is well-made and easy to use, with no-frills, and it that provides some of the best rain protection for its compact size and light weight. And priced under $20, there is no wonder this is exceedingly popular among travelers.
— Lyra Pierotti