Repel Windproof Travel Review
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Repel Windproof Travel
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|Pros||Sturdy, automatic open/close, easy to transport||Strong, excellent rain coverage, stylish||Classy, durable, versatile||Affordable, stylish, ample rain protection||Lightweight, compact, automatic|
|Cons||Heavy, takes some muscle to fully close up||Large, unwieldy in high winds||On the heavy side, larger for a compact model||Heavy, not as easy to transport||Many metal joints, less durable|
|Bottom Line||A durable and compact umbrella that's sturdy for everyday use yet still small enough to keep with you||This is a fun, well-made umbrella that provides classic rain protection and nostalgia||Classy style and reliable rain protection with all the perks of a compact, automatic umbrella||Fun style with a more encompassing bubble canopy for greater rain protection||Simple and ultralight with all the basics you need for rain protection|
|Rating Categories||Repel Windproof Travel||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||totes Clear Bubble||Lewis N. Clark Umbr...|
|Rain Protection (30%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Repel Windproof Travel||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||totes Clear Bubble||Lewis N. Clark Umbr...|
|Measured Canopy Diameter||36.5"||42"||40"||33.5"||39.25"|
|Depth of Canopy||7.5"||10.25"||9"||16.75"||6.5"|
|Sleeve Included?||Yes||No||Yes, with zip||No||Yes|
|Measured Weight (including sleeve)||16.0 oz||18.5 oz||15.5 oz||16.0 oz||10.0 oz|
|Measured Length (collapsed)||11.75"||36.5"||14"||35.75"||11"|
|Measured Length (deployed)||22.25"||36.75"||25.5"||35.75"||21.25"|
|Handle Design||Ergonomic rubberized grip, inset button operation||Wooden crook handle, button operation||Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation||Plastic crook handle||Short, rubberized, non-slip 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||Resin reinforced fiberglass||Wood and aluminum||Steel and fiberglass||Unknown metal and carbonfiber||Zinc alloy and steel|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Repel Windproof Travel, a well-made umbrella, is somewhat easy to operate and offers average rain protection for its dimensions. Of the compact class, packing and carrying it around is one of its more notable advantages.
Translating advertised canopy sizes into actual rain protection can be difficult. For this metric, we measured each umbrella in the same way (because not all manufacturers report the same type of measurement). Case in point, Repel claims a 42-inch canopy for this model, but what they mean is the arc length, which we confirmed with our own measurement of the arc. The diameter, however, is 36.5 inches — not quite as expansive as the former measurement would have you believe. The depth of the canopy measured to be 7.5 inches, which is quite average among the compact models we tested.
Overall, the Windproof Travel provides fairly average rain coverage without compromising visibility, which can happen with deeper canopies. The depth, we found, is a delicate balance between better rain protection and excellent visibility when walking through a downpour.
Ease of Transport
This model isn't the smallest or lightest in our review, but it is still considered a compact umbrella due to its telescoping design. It is 11.75 inches long when packed and weighs 16 ounces. This is a little bulky but still easy to carry or stash in a backpack. Besides durability, ease of transport is this product's best attribute.
The Windproof Travel initially failed our high 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 a more standard 8) are great for increasing wind resistance. In our second successful test, the canopy 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. It also inverted at 15 mph when positioned to catch the wind, which is a fair marker. It flipped back to normal easily, and the auto open and close feature still worked.
Overall, this umbrella has a sturdy feel, with smooth and tight open/close action and fiberglass stretcher segments to improve durability. It 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.
Ease of Use
The auto open and close 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. Because of this feature, however, the mechanics involved require a lot of tension to reset the springs. Closing up this umbrella is one of the more difficult tasks. We had to use a lot of muscle to push everything back together, which can become frustrating.
The ergonomic, comfortable handle fits securely in the hands, with a big button that is easy to hit (but not so easy that it could misfire). We like the size of this handle over the more lightweight/compact models because it is much easier to maintain control when the winds pick up.
The Windproof Travel is a simple, discrete umbrella. It is well made, with a tight canopy and sturdy feel, which helps it look more "dressed up." However, being a compact, telescoping model, it isn't as elegant as more traditional models. This is not an umbrella that will necessarily make a fashion statement, but we do appreciate the fun under-canopy pattern.
A bit more expensive than similar compact umbrellas, but still far from designer umbrella prices, the Windproof Travel is somewhat middle of the road. We think the durability, quality manufacturing, and tidy look give it decent value over that of bargain store umbrellas.
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 or make a big statement. This is a great product for the casual user, small enough to keep with you on your daily commute or your next urban travel adventure.
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