The Sea to Summit Trekking umbrella sets itself apart with its excellent visibility. The canopy design provides very good coverage for one of the shallower canopies in this review, and the benefit is noticeable in how easy it is to see out from under it. This is a great feature of a trekking model. It did not score among our award winners, but there are a number of features, such as the svelte and compact transport size and the light weight, in addition to the coverage and visibility advantage, which might draw you to this product.
Sea to Summit Cordura Trekking Review
Cons: Difficult to close and pack, bulky canopy
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
Compare to Similar Products
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 the Swing Trek LiteFlex or totes Auto Open Wooden. 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.
Otherwise, this is a relatively light and compact umbrella. It is marketed and priced like a trekking specific umbrella, however, we saw so few differences between this one and the Lewis N Clark Umbrella, an award winner, that we're not sure it justifies the price. The Lewis N Clark was the same weight, equally compact, it is hard to justify buying a product more than double the price.
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 siliconizied Cordura (which is awesome, but not worth double the price).
The Sea to Summit umbrella is notably very well built. It might gain a leg up on the Lewis N Clark with a slightly better rib design and the lack of an automatic deploy/retract button (which is just one more thing to break). 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; however, it was not as intuitive or easy as with our award winners, the Swing Trek LiteFlex Hiking and Helinox Trekking. 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 eye sore. Similar outdoorsy products are the Swing Trek LiteFlex and the Helinox Trekking umbrellas - the latter being a more flashy take on the trekking umbrella.
This trekking umbrella, ironically, is not what we would label as our top pick for trekking. It is a great compact travel model with several features that indicate it will remain strong and functional for much longer than you bargain drug store model. It is best for users conscious of weight, but not obsessive, as it does not shave the ounces like some of the more competitive trekking products on the market.
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 and heavy.
— Lyra Pierotti