Sea to Summit Cordura Trekking Review
Cons: Difficult to close and pack, bulky canopy
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Sea to Summit manufactures a number of excellent waterproof items, and this umbrella, while not their best product, is still very well made and a strong performer in this review.
The Sea to Summit has a much flatter canopy shape (shallower canopy depth) than all of our award winners, but with a flatter canopy, it is easier to see out from under the umbrella. This is a major "pro" for anyone looking for an umbrella, or specifically a trekking umbrella, that affords them better visibility. In strict rain protection terms, this one performed surprisingly well for how much shallower the canopy was. With a little wind, the coverage will drop much more sharply than the rounder canopy shapes. In our OGL Rain Test, raindrops struck us mid-thigh and on our lower forearm. Very decent performance.
Ease of Transport
The Sea to Summit Trekking is quite bulky when wrapped up in the Velcro closure strap. This makes it tricky to stow in the storage sleeve because it really maxes out the volume of the sleeve. It proved to be difficult to cram back into the carrying case: like tents, sleeping bags, and (notoriously) the old Therm-a-rest, the tight package looks good on the shelf but ends up being a pain to get back in the itsy-bitsy bag it came in. The slippery fabric helps it slide in, but getting it started takes some effort.
The Sea to Summit also claims to be a trekking umbrella, but it looks much more like a standard compact model. There were no notable features that facilitated its use for trekking, other than the fact that it was manufactured by an outdoor company and is made of siliconized Cordura (which is awesome, but not worth double the price).
The Sea to Summit umbrella is notably very well built. The umbrella has fiberglass tips, like most models today, because those outer segments are most apt to bend and break. And the siliconized nylon Cordura fabric is a great product, light, durable, and waterproof enough to be used in things like emergency bivy sacks.
Ease of Use
The Sea to Summit has a fully manual deploy/retract function, not as slick to use, but it improves long-term durability. The mechanism, however, can be a bit catchy, not very smooth, requiring some effort to deploy and collapse.
In our OGL Wind Test, this product did well up to 40mph. It felt more aerodynamic and easier to hang on to than most at this speed. It inverted easily at 25mph, but it was easy to revert back to normal. As a trekking model, this can certainly be attached to a backpack shoulder strap for hands-free operation. One of the most common annoyances with this umbrella was that it would get stuck in the storage sleeve when we wanted to take it out and use it, extending the first telescope segment on the shaft before we could get it out of the bag. Minor annoyance, but frequent.
The product has a nice round handle that is comfortable in hand. But the runner can be hard to get your fingers on to deploy (and stow) because it is tucked so close to the handle when collapsed
The Cordura fabric is a very durable material that looks good, largely because it resists wear. This umbrella looks extremely well made, assembled of materials many outdoorsy people will recognize. Otherwise, it is a very simple, ordinary design which neither makes a statement nor is an eyesore.
The regular retail price puts it at a surprisingly high price point for relatively ordinary features. It is very well built, but we are not sure that the high-end materials justify paying double the price of the extremely economical and high performing Lewis N Clark.
Overall this was a solid, well-made umbrella that does its job well, but as a trekking umbrella, it seemed a tad bulky.
— Lyra Pierotti