Thanks to Francis Tapon for writing this thorough blog on the backpacking umbrella. I’ve had a Golite umbrella (now collectors item) for the last 6 years but haven’t really gone down the path of considering it an essential piece of my gear setup. My main thought for bringing it on this trip was the rain factor and perhaps some sun protection. You’ve heard me whine about my Washington hypothermia trials from which I now vow to carry an umbrella in the rain. But what about the rest of the time? Am I just going to carry these 8 ounces or am I actually going to benefit from them? Tapon’s blog provides lots of good ideas and has broadened my perspective of the little old umbrella’s benefits. Next step? Rig it up for hands free use because let’s face it, I love me trekking poles. So get ready New Mexico desert, because I’m going to be sportin’ a bad ass umbrella.