Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Trekking Review
Cons: Average rain protection, average durability
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
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|Pros||Ultralight, easy to use, travel friendly||Lightweight, durable, easy to use||Strong, excellent rain coverage, stylish||Classy, durable, versatile||Affordable, stylish, ample rain protection|
|Cons||Average rain protection, average durability||Fixed shaft length makes it a bit longer, not as stylish||Large, unwieldy in high winds||On the heavy side, larger for a compact model||Heavy, not as easy to transport|
|Bottom Line||A very compact and lightweight design with a more technical, outdoorsy style||A lightweight, quality choice with notable rain protection and ease of use||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|
|Rating Categories||Sea to Summit Ultra...||EuroSCHIRM Swing Tr...||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||totes Clear Bubble|
|Rain Protection (30%)|
|Ease Of Transport (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Sea to Summit Ultra...||EuroSCHIRM Swing Tr...||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||totes Clear Bubble|
|Measured Canopy Diameter||39"||37.5"||42"||40"||33.5"|
|Depth of Canopy||7.5"||9.75"||10.25"||9"||16.75"|
|Sleeve Included?||Yes||Yes, w/ shoulder sling||No||Yes, with zip||No|
|Measured Weight (including sleeve)||9.5 oz||10.0 oz (w/case); 8.0 oz (w/o case)||18.5 oz||15.5 oz||16.0 oz|
|Measured Length (collapsed)||10.25"||25.25"||36.5"||14"||35.75"|
|Measured Length (deployed)||23.9"||25.38"||36.75"||25.5"||35.75"|
|Handle Design||Short plastic handle||High-density EVA hardfoam||Wooden crook handle, button operation||Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation||Plastic crook handle|
|Canopy Material||30D siliconized CORDURA nylon, velcro closure||Teflon-coated polyester, velcro closure||Polyester, velcro closure||300 Thread count water repellent fabric, snap fastener||Thermoplastic polyurethane, snap fastener|
|Support Structure||Aircraft grade aluminum and brass rivets||High-density fiberglass||Wood and aluminum||Steel and fiberglass||Unknown metal and carbonfiber|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ultra-Sil Trekking is made with a very technical canopy material, 30D siliconized Cordura nylon, according to Sea to Summit. This type of nylon is reminiscent of technical apparel, tents, and sleeping bags. The skeletal structure is made with "aircraft grade" aluminum and brass rivets, aiding in its durability against the wind. Overall, this model only received average scores for rain protection and style, with its ease of use and transport being its strongest attributes.
We measured the canopy diameter at 39 inches, which isn't the most expansive but not the least either. The depth of the canopy was also average for a compact model. The combination of diameter and depth provided adequate rain protection for our casual needs but is not as encompassing as many of the more traditional models. During our high wind test, the canopy performed better than expected for how delicate it feels overall.
Ease of Transport
This metric is where this product truly shines. We measured the packed length to be 10.25 inches, which is quite a feat for how relatively large the canopy is. We also measured the weight to be 9.5 ounces, which is definitely in the ultralight category for umbrellas. The sleeve it comes with helps slim its width down for even greater packing ability.
Being so lightweight, we were initially afraid that the Ultra-Sil would break easily. The canopy isn't particularly taut when deployed, and we often had to help it along to snap it into its final position. During our high wind test, the canopy inverted easily at only 12 mph, and when directed head-on into the wind, things started to collapse at around 40 mph — standard for most compact models. We were overall impressed with its performance and are glad to find that it's not as delicate as first perceived. One note to make, however, is that the sleeve began to come apart at a seam from simply pulling it on. The sleeve is quite tight, and therefore we couldn't really pull gently, so this was a bit of a disappointment to see. Over the long haul, we hope that this doesn't extend to the sewing credibility of the canopy itself.
Ease of Use
Another metric where the Ultra-Sil shines. The manual operation is intuitive and doesn't require a ton of muscle like the automatic models often do. Our gripes mostly have to do with the handle itself, which is quite short and therefore not the easiest to grip. It's also made of plastic, which becomes slippery when wearing gloves. Maintaining control of the canopy is only decent because of how lightweight everything is; otherwise, the handle wouldn't be of much help. As a trekking model, this can certainly be attached to a backpack shoulder strap for hands-free operation. It does tend to get stuck in the storage sleeve, however. When wanting to take it out and use it, we often accidentally extended the first telescope segment on the shaft before we were able to get it out of the bag. A minor annoyance, but frequent.
If you're really into the more technical trekking style, then this is for you. If you're not, then we think style points are rather low. This model does come in black as well, which is more traditional-looking.
As the trend goes, the more technical the product, the more expensive it tends to be. Utilizing such lightweight materials does come at a cost, but if you want a lightweight and still highly functional umbrella for camping and hiking, then we think this is well worth the investment.
An innovative achievement, the Ultra-Sil Trekking is a great companion for those seeking a lightweight and easy-to-pack option. Durable and protective enough for the average rain scenario, there are, nonetheless, better-performing models out there — they just aren't as light or compact.
— Sara Aranda
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