The Repel Windproof Travel umbrella may not have the flashiest name, but it is practical—just like the umbrella. It's a cinch 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 touch 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 always a reliable choice.
Repel Windproof Travel Review
Cons: Heavier than some compact umbrellas
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Repel 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.
Repel claims a 42-inch canopy for this model. We measured 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 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 a few other compact umbrellas 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 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.
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 that 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 fits securely in our hands, with a big button that is easy to hit, but not so easy that we would misfire. 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 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.
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 cash over bargain umbrella models.
The Repel Windproof Travel 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