The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

WindPro Compact Auto Review

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Price:  $41 List | $29.23 at Amazon
Pros:  Compact, vented canopy
Cons:  Flips inside-out, lacks unique style
Manufacturer:   ShedRain
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2015
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69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Rain Protection - 30% 7
  • Ease of Transport - 30% 7
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Style - 5% 5

The Skinny

The WindPro Compact Auto Umbrella has a lightweight and compact design that doesn't compromise its ability to protect you from the rain. Its canopy is large enough that you can stay dry in some heavy rain and an added vent on the canopy helps it withstand sudden gusts of wind that could potentially flip the it inside out. However, this design wasn't always successful - our testers did have the WindPro Compact flip inside-out on us multiple times. If you need a compact model that won't invert on you, check out the GustBuster Metro.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The WindPro Compact Auto is a lightweight model that offers substantial rain protection with its 38 inch canopy span, while still condensing to a small and easy-to-transport size. Although not impervious to strong gusts, the vented canopy did make a bit more capable of handling moderate winds. Its scores landed in the middle of the pack in pretty much every metric, yet with a list price of $41, we expected better performance.

Performance Comparison


Enjoying the fine views of the Red River Gorge despite the rain.
Enjoying the fine views of the Red River Gorge despite the rain.

Rain Protection


While out in the rain, we were happy to have the WindPro's 38-inch polyester canopy above our heads. The canopy is the fifth largest of all the products we tested, and we were satisfied with its coverage area. Additionally, we never had any water leak in through the vent flap.

This product has a good sized canopy that both protects from the rain  and allows you to go on long walks in the woods. The canopy is small enough that you don't have to worry about getting it caught on encroaching vegetation.
This product has a good sized canopy that both protects from the rain, and allows you to go on long walks in the woods. The canopy is small enough that you don't have to worry about getting it caught on encroaching vegetation.

Due to the fact that this umbrella can invert under strong winds, it lost a few points in rain protection. When it was breezy, our testers found that it didn't take much wind-speed to flip the canopy. We were even able to flip it inside-out without any wind, merely by flicking a wrist. However, this product does offer a quick fix; at the press of the button on the handle, the canopy will auto correct itself by snapping into its collapsed form. You'll need to compact the it before you can open it again, but we still found this to be faster than fighting to manually correct the canopy as you get soaked by the rain. Other models with this feature are the Kolumbo Travel Umbrella, LifeTek Traveler Compact, and REI Travel Umbrella.

Whoa! Sometimes the wind is enough to flip it inside out  which can leave you exposed to the rain  leaving you soaked.
Whoa! Sometimes the wind is enough to flip it inside out, which can leave you exposed to the rain, leaving you soaked.

Ease of Transport


This product is easily transportable inside a bag - it's only 11.5 inches when fully collapsed. The sleeve has a stitched loop with a plastic clip, so you could clip it to your backpack or person, while on the move. Unfortunately, unlike the REI model, the WindPro doesn't come with a small and nifty carabiner and the opening on the small plastic clip is a little small, which makes it difficult to clip or unclip from anything.

Here is the WindPro outside of its sleeve.  It's not difficult to get it back in  and a drawstring on the sleeve secures the umbrella.
Here is the WindPro outside of its sleeve. It's not difficult to get it back in, and a drawstring on the sleeve secures the umbrella.

Durability


The WindPro fell in the middle of the pack in durability. The spokes supporting the canopy are constructed of fiberglass and the stem is made of steel; both materials add some rigidness, but we could still feel the stem flex under strain from the wind. Luckily, no pieces or parts failed during testing, despite repeatedly forcing the canopy inside-out, along with continuous use. Our testers did notice, however, that the handle and stem are loose enough to rattle against each other. Although this didn't present a problem during testing, we think it could become an issue after prolonged and repeated use. Somewhat to our surprise, this model performed very well in our extreme wind test. It survived without collapsing, bending, or breaking in wind speed up to 50 mph. Impressive! One of the only other contenders to perform so well was the GustBuster Metro, our Top Pick for Compact Wind Resistance.

Despite having a fairly complex underbelly  this model didn't show any signs of wear and tear throughout our testing period.
Despite having a fairly complex underbelly, this model didn't show any signs of wear and tear throughout our testing period.

Ease of Use


Our testers found this product quite easy to use thanks to its auto open/close feature. One annoying drawback, however, is noticed when opening the umbrella. We frequently needed to manually push the canopy up the final inch to fully extend the canopy. We think that the automatic function should take care of this on its own.

Otherwise, the handle of this product is comfortable to grip - soft foam on the lower half of the knob adds some comfort (especially in extremely windy conditions). However, we wished the entire handle had soft foam wrapped around it, not just the lower half. Lastly, the polyester canopy of this model was the quickest to dry, taking only 15 minutes.

The WindPro opens by simply pressing the button that's clearly labeled "open and close." The handle is partly made of plastic and foam. It's also slightly tapered for an more ergonomic grip.
The WindPro opens by simply pressing the button that's clearly labeled "open and close." The handle is partly made of plastic and foam. It's also slightly tapered for an more ergonomic grip.

Style


The WindPro Compact Auto has a classic and sleek look. The company didn't break the mold with this design, but the added air vent, makes an improvement on a classic style without sacrificing that old-time look. If your aim is to blend in with the crowd and maintain a professional appearance, this model may be for you. But if you don't want to be a sheep in the crowd, check out the Blunt XS Metro and its eye-popping design!

The canopy of the WindPro when it's fully deployed. The dark color and octagonal shape give this model the classic look  which keeps things professional but doesn't inspire much creativity.
The canopy of the WindPro when it's fully deployed. The dark color and octagonal shape give this model the classic look, which keeps things professional but doesn't inspire much creativity.

Best Applications


This product is a great companion to have anytime you may be caught in a storm, as long as high winds aren't expected. It's small and fairly durable. It easily fits in a backpack, a purse, a car, or on a coat rack. You can keep it in your office, or with you at all times. Despite its name, the WindPro can only help you so much in keeping you dry during a gusty downpour. That said, in light windy conditions, this product excels.

The ventilation flaps allow wind to escape from under the canopy. This is a counter measure to stop the umbrella from flipping inside-out on those really windy days.
The ventilation flaps allow wind to escape from under the canopy. This is a counter measure to stop the umbrella from flipping inside-out on those really windy days.

Value


At $41, this piece does not offer the best performance to price ratio. It's a fine umbrella, but we found for the same (or cheaper) price. For a few dollars less, you could purchase the REI Travel and benefit from a slightly larger canopy. Or if you don't need a collapsible model, the totes Blue Line is also a great value.

Jared testing out the WindPro on a rainy hike. Don't let precipitation stop you from enjoying the outdoors.
Jared testing out the WindPro on a rainy hike. Don't let precipitation stop you from enjoying the outdoors.

Conclusion


This product is a great option if you're looking for a small and compact way to stay dry in the rain. The vent flap on the canopy allows this piece to stand up against the wind better than some of the other collapsible models we tested. Though the canopy is smaller than some of its direct competitors (specifically the REI Travel), it is a decent enough size to let you move freely under the canopy, while still keeping you dry.


Ross Robinson