Where can I get a strong, durable, compact, light umbrella?

Unbelievable. After less than a year, and less than a-dozen uses, the Shelta umbrella I bought last May has already broken.

It’s not totally unusable, but structural integrity has been severely compromised.

Broken umbrella

I’ll certainly be chasing up the 12 months warranty as soon as I can find the receipt, but in the mean time, what are some more robust alternatives?

All I really want is something strong, durable, compact enough to fit into my bag, and light. Is that too much to ask? I don’t mind spending a bit of cash, because I’m pretty good at not losing them.

Comments last time suggested Blunt Umbrellas, or Senz, both of which appear to now have local stockists (last year Blunt did, but Senz didn’t).

Any other candidates?

And by the way, where does one get a pair of tough, okay-looking black work shoes?!

PS. Regular commenter Flerdle gave me a demo of her Senz umbrella (the standard size); it’s a slightly out-there shape, but looks really good. Thanks Flerdle.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

25 replies on “Where can I get a strong, durable, compact, light umbrella?”

I have a large sized Shelta umbrella and it has proven very sturdy and reliable. This umbrella was marketed as being tougher, so perhaps the one you bought was just a cheaper model?

But is it possible to get a stronger umbrella in a compact form? I’d be interested to find out as well.

I don’t think there’s any such thing. The compact ones are always going to be too flimsy to last very long.

I bought a cheap and nasty compact umbrella from the $2 Shop about 10 years ago and it still works OK. It has survived 50 knot south westerlies while walking along South Road Brighton to the station.
So I think it’s just the luck of the draw

I got sick of cheap compact umbrellas lasting too little time, so about 14 years ago I bought a decent large one. It has two layers so the wind can pass through, rather than turning it inside out. Cost me something like $95 but it’s still going strong.

I have a light Sea To Summit hiking umbrella which has lost one of the extension pieces but otherwise is fine – had that around 10 years now I think

As a friend’s umbrella turned inside out on Tuesday night, I suggested he needed to pay a decent amount for a decent umbrella. You did and it still it failed.

My Shelta umbrella is a bit bigger than that and had a two year frame warranty. It’s lasted longer than that and feels quite sturdy. But those Senz things do look good. I’d probably get one of those if I used it a lot.

I have one that I bought in Gowings in Sydney many years ago (I think 1999!). It is still going strong.
Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the once great Sydney institution of Gowings.

I think my last pair of tough work shoes were just from Clarks and they lasted me all of year 12 and then three years of part time work afterward. Otherwise, isn’t the Bata brand supposed to be decent?

My umbrella is a fold down one and I realised the other day I’ve had it through at least 3 Melbourne winters and it’s still working great. The name on it is Enson, I believe it is this:


I bought a Frank Lloyd Wright patterned umbrella there two and half years ago. It is still perfect.

Well, it is the windy city. THey need strong umbrellas.


I have in recent years bought shoes from

They are NOT cheap shoes (last pair $300+) but stylish and comfortable once walked in (takes a day to a month depending on the stye and leather ) and I have yet to throw any away. I just get the heels or soles replaced every few years.

The secret I am told is to invest in more than one pair so you do not wear them every day. Over time I have increased my collection to over 5 so more than one for each work day. The first 2 pairs are on their second pair of soles and heels.

The first pair are over 8 years old now and so far that works out at about $35 a year and getting cheaper with each year.

Glad you liked it, Daniel. Yeah, it is out there (the first reaction is sometimes “who’s that with the broken umbrella?”)

I’ve ordered another mini from ende peedia (see the senz link), they have some in stock but not purple. I gave the first one to my Mum and she loves it, but I really need one to fit in the bag.

Can’t recommend an umbrella, but for shoes, Doc Martens back *shoes* worked tricks for me. Excellent and durable.

What I want to know about are durable and quality-sound producing earbud ‘head’phones – I have gone through some many pairs since my Walkman days…

I think I have the record as I have a YSL umbrella I bought somewhere between 1991 -1994 in Lygon St. It’s still going, although a little wonky and the Velcro strap has given up. I don’t use it very much now. I once left it on a tram, but happily, found it in the tramways lost property..

The two best folding umbrellas i’ve ever had – a five dollar one from thailand that i got sold in a downpour that was sadly lost about three years later & Clifton brand, which I still have! I got mine from the shop at melbourne museum. I was pleasantly surprised I must say. Of course in a sideways melbourne rain … not much good but it keeps my hair dry!

After much um-ing and ah-ing, I have finally done it. Today I went out and bought a Senz umbrella. I’m almost looking forward to a day with squally rain so that I can try it out.

The challenge now will be not to lose the thing, which is the fate of most of my umbrellas. So if you’re travelling on public transport and you happen to notice a Senz mini umbrella with the “Blessing of Rain” pattern (white with pink and grey print) lying on the seat, IT’S MINE!

well you have done it. You have got rid of the lana del rey invisible soundtrack and now it is back to Rihanna.

Shoes: Doc Martens. Not cheap as initial outlay ($200). But indestructible, and thus good value over the long term, and VERY comfortable.

Agree 100% with Steve – Doc Martens are the way to go. Ridiculously comfortable (after the first week), some real classic style, and will last you years.

In my case though, I wear black “commuter shoes” (aka black Fila runners) and then slip into real ones when at work. My Docs are more my weekenders :-)

If you get an umbrella that has pressed hinges (like compacts do) it’s just a matter of time before a gust of wind eviscerates them. Get a small full size one, or several, and leave them at work, home, car, etc.

@Steve, @Matticus, I actually asked the question because a pair of Docs I bought about a year ago appears to be already having problems, with a small split in the sole.

Just thought I would put in my two cents worth on the shoes, I have had a pair of RM Williams Craftsmans boots, cost me around $350 around 8 years ago, but with 2 resoles and rubber toe caps have lasted the eight years (work every day) and still fit like a glove (can get them down to 1/4 sizes and 3 different widths when bought in the city store). Make sure you get them fitted properly!
Might not be everyone’s cup of tee, but look like a nice pair of shoes when worn with long pants, definitely not to be worn with shorts unless you don’t mind looking like Chris and Craig……

Unfortunately experience has convinced me that the only umbrellas that last are, as you put it, those stupidly large golf umbrellas. So I just don’t spend too much on umbrellas and buy a new one when it flips inside out and breaks. Compact ones really are too flimsy to last long.

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