Repel Easy Touch Review
Cons: Heavier than some compact umbrellas
Bottom line: This is an excellent compact umbrella, sturdy for everyday use and small enough to keep with you.
Depth of Canopy (inches): 7 in
Weight, measured, including sleeve (ounces): 14 oz
The Repel Easy Touch umbrella may not have the flashiest name, but it is practical—just like the umbrella. It is, as the name suggests, easy to use. The comfortable handle has a large button which makes it easy to deploy. Then, at the touch of the same button, you can collapse the canopy and dash inside. Some umbrellas we tested featured this auto open/close button, but this one had the smoothest and most reliable operation. The Repel is a bit heavier than some compact models, but it made up for it with excellent durability and felt very sturdy and reliable in windy storms. If we were headed out for a day walking around town and knew it was going to rain, this was one of our go-to choices.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Rain Umbrellas of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Repel Easy Touch is an excellent umbrella, easy to operate and well designed to keep you dry and make it easy to keep with you on your commutes and travels.
Translating advertised canopy sizes into rain protection is difficult.
For this metric, we measure each umbrella in the same way (because not all manufacturers report the same type of measurement), and then we head out in the rain to see where raindrops hit us while walking through the rain.
The Repel Easy Touch claims a 42-inch canopy. We measure the diameter and the depth of the canopy, as this allows us to envision the bubble that each umbrella forms around us better than the arc length of the canopy itself. We measured the canopy to be 37 inches across and 7 inches deep.
During our Rain Test, we walked briskly through a Pacific Northwest winter downpour and noticed that raindrops tended to hit at our elbow and lower thigh levels. This is comparatively good in this review.
The Repel is on par with the other award winner, the Lewis N Clark, and the travel-friendlySea to Summit Cordura Trekking. For genuinely top-notch rain protection, we preferred the fixed shaft length models, such as the Swing Trek and Helinox, our first and second place winners, as well as the much larger totes and Glamore models.
The Repel provided good rain coverage without compromising visibility in front of us, which can happen with deeper canopies. The depth, we found, is a delicate balance between better rain protection and excellent visibility while walking through the downpour: deeper makes a better bubble against the rain but can limit visibility when it bubbles too far into your field of view.
Ease of Transport
The Repel is not the smallest or lightest in this review, but it is still considered a compact umbrella with its telescoping design. It is 11.5 inches long and weighs 15 ounces.
It is slightly bigger and heavier than the Lewis N Clark umbrella but overall had a similar feel and function. It was easy to stash back into the storage sleeve, and we loved how easy it was to deploy and collapse.
The most easily transported umbrella in this review was the Eagle Creek Rain Away Travel umbrella, but this model performed so poorly in the wind (we broke two in moderate winds) that we would only recommend it as that emergency-use umbrella that lives in the bottom of your bag—so long as you don't live in Chicago.
The Repel initially failed our Wind Test, snapping several ribs, which was alarming.
We extended our testing period and warrantied the umbrella, which was an easy and fast process (customer service was very friendly). In our second test, we did not have the same failure and found the umbrella to in fact be quite sturdy after several rounds of testing.
The nine resin-reinforced fiberglass ribs (as opposed to more standard 6 or 8) are great for wind resistance. In our second and successful test, this umbrella started to buckle at 20 mph but bounced right back without any damage. The shaft would compress like a shock absorber, which made the canopy smaller but prevented permanent damage. The Repel inverted at 15 mph, which is a decently strong performance. It then flipped back easily, and the auto open and close feature still worked flawlessly.
Overall, the Repel has a sturdy feel, with smooth and tight open/close action and fiberglass stretcher segments to improve durability. This umbrella is well made with excellent attention to detail. The Teflon coated canopy stretches out nicely when deployed, remains tight during use, and helps the umbrella feel particularly sturdy.
For the most impressive performance in this metric, we appreciated the top two winners, the Swing Trek and the Helinox. These models were made of mostly fiberglass, and in the wind test they would snap and warp—and then pop right back into perfect umbrella form when the wind stopped.
We knocked the Repel's score down a bit in the Durability metric because of the initial failure of the Wind Test. We are confident, however, after extensively re-testing, that this umbrella is a durable and reliable model. And it still emerged an award winner despite a slight penalty for Durability.
Ease of Use
The Repel features an auto open and close button, again similar to the Lewis N Clark model.
This is an impressive feature which makes it even easier to duck into your car in a hurry or slide inside from a crowded sidewalk without poking anyone's eyes out.
The Repel is a little bit larger and heavier than some compact umbrellas in this review, but it is significantly more durable and reliable than most—a worthwhile tradeoff, in our view. The Teflon coating makes it fast to dry—and aptly named. This umbrella was easy to shake dry and toss in our bag in a hurry.
The ergonomic, comfortable handle fit securely in our hands, with a big button that is easy to hit, but not so easy that we would misfire (with the Blunt Metro, the button was so easy to hit that we would sometimes open the umbrella unexpectedly). We liked the size of this handle over the more lightweight/compact models because it was much easier to maintain control of the umbrella when the winds picked up.
This umbrella topped the charts for Ease of Use. The closest competition was the ultra simple, lightweight, fixed shaft models from Swing Trek and Helinox, which have so few moving parts and fixed shaft lengths that keep them simple, but make them bigger and potentially more cumbersome to carry with you.
The Repel is a simple, discrete umbrella. It is well made, with a tight canopy and sturdy feel, which helps it look more "dressed up." It is a compact, telescoping model, so it is easy to stash in a backpack or purse. This is not an umbrella that will make a fashion statement.
If you want your umbrella to add some flair or make a statement, check out the totes Auto Open or even the Helinox umbrella with its fun red canopy and blue shaft.
The Repel Easy Touch umbrella is an excellent, city-savvy umbrella for the business commuter or urban traveler. It's durable, neat, discrete, very easy to use, and compact enough to fit in a backpack, purse, laptop or messenger bag, ensuring you'll keep it with you throughout the rainy months.
The Repel is a bit more expensive than similar compact umbrellas, but far from designer umbrella prices. We think the durability, quality manufacturing, and neat and tidy look make it well worth an extra $10 to $20 over the classic bargain umbrella models. Unless you really want those rubber duckies on your umbrella.
The Repel Easy Touch umbrella is an excellent compact model for business and travel use. It is very easy to operate, reliable, durable, and has a simple, sleek look that won't distract, but also won't make a statement. This is a great umbrella for emergency or frequent use, small enough to keep with you on your daily commute or on your next urban travel adventure.
— Lyra Pierotti
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