The Rainshader Umbrella (£24.99) caught my eye at The Gadget Show Live Professional 2014 where we met with the creators because at the time, I had no umbrella. The reason for this is that every umbrella I buy seems to last a few weeks at most. Perhaps I have just been unlucky, but I think that the vast majority of umbrellas available (on the high street at least) are of extremely poor quality. I find that the hinged arms of umbrellas are often weak, and in anything more than a strong breeze, they snap or allow the umbrella to be turned inside out. I also find that the flimsy fabric is more water-resistant than waterproof and allows moisture to seep through in heavy rain. Therefore, when I found out that Rainshader umbrellas were tested in a 50 mph wind tunnel during development, I was eager to try one out. I chose the Rainshader ICE Umbrella, which is completely transparent. A benefit of this is that you can always see where you’re walking even if you pull the umbrella right down.
The Physical Build Quality
The Rainshader measures 90cm high and 5cm wide when closed. The canopy width is 65 cm when open. The Rainshader weighs 0.50kg; the same as the average golf umbrella. The shaft is made from aluminium and the frame is fibreglass rather than steel; serving the purpose of reducing the risk of being struck by lightning during a storm. The ergonomic motorcycle-style grip handle is made of rubber, and proudly displays the Rainshader logo on it. It is very comfortable to hold and is easy to grip onto. The Rainshader comes in a convenient carry case, which you sling over your shoulder. The shoulder strap is adjustable and even with the umbrella in, wearing the case is hardly noticeable because it is so light. This carry case is necessary because, as the umbrella is not a collapsible one, it is awkward to carry without the umbrella scraping along the ground.
The Rainshader ICE Umbrella is both very comfortable to use and carry in the supplied bag, and it can be rested upon your shoulders so that both hands are free. The completely transparent canopy of the umbrella is made of polyester, which appears very ‘crinkled’ when first opened. However, these ‘crinkles’ disappear completely after several minutes of having the umbrella open. The Rainshader certainly attracted attention when I was walking through the streets of Sheffield, perhaps because of its unconventional appearance. Rainshader do offer the option to order a bespoke, customised canopy on the sports umbrellas for Moto GP, Speedway, Formula 1 Motor Racing, Tennis, Soccer, Football, Golf, Biker and other sports and events according to taste if you wanted to attract even more attention!
The Rainshader ICE Umbrella is very effective at keeping you sheltered from the rain; even when the wind blows the rain sideways. Due to the domed shape, you are completely protected. The only caveat with the design is that the domed shape doesn’t direct water away from your feet. However, it is unlikely that you’d be wearing open-toed shoes in rainy weather. Furthermore, even traditional umbrellas tend not to be able to be able to protect your feet. The canopy is completely impenetrable by rain, and doesn’t allow any moisture to seep through. As a result, it takes very little time for the Rainshader to dry. Perhaps one of my favourite aspects of the Rainshader is that the domed shape means that you can walk past people people without poking them in they eye, and past cars without worry of scratching them. As the Rainshader was developed with sporting events in mind, it is clear that this would be a major benefit. However, it isn’t possible for more than one person to fit under the umbrella, so no sharing!
The Rainshader ICE was one of the real highlights of The Gadget Show Live Professional 2014, this is a perfect example of British ingenuity solving a problem most people have; we would like to wish a hearty congratulations to our friends over at Rainshader for their recent BMPA Newcomer Award, evidently others find the Rainshader as impressive as we do! The Rainshader ICE Umbrella can be bought in a variety of colors over at www.rainshader.com for £24.99. In conclusion I think the Rainshader ICE Umbrella is very good value for money because it is very sturdy, will protect you from wind chill as well as rain and would work fantastically at sporting events. As far as I am concerned, the price is very fair. I have bought several much cheaper umbrellas in the past and I am willing to bet that it works out cheaper long-term to buy a Rainshader that you know won’t break. I would definitely recommend the Rainshader Umbrella to anybody wanting a well-made, sturdy umbrella.