No matter the season, weather Down Under can be unpredictable. And the last thing you want is to be caught short in the middle of a heavy downpour. So unless you conform to a great Australian stereotype and wear a Driza-Bone 24/7, you're likely going to need a sturdy umbrella to see you through the showers.
Not only are they practical in keeping you dry and creating romantic opportunities if you’re single and chivalrous, umbrellas can make for a great accessory.
So whether you need a practical, compact umbrella, or a large one to protect the entire family, we've got you covered.
We’ve pulled together a roundup of the very best umbrellas to keep that head dry next time the heavens open.
Things to consider when buying an umbrella
When it comes to buying an umbrella, you will quickly learn there's a huge amount of choice out there. So, instead of dashing into the first shop you see in a downpour, then parting with a fortune for something overpriced and undersized, you'll want to be prepared with the vital knowledge we're about to impart.
Size matters. If you love a long walk or play golf, a giant golfing umbrella is a must, and some have some great windproof technology built-in. But if you work in the city and carry a heavy bag around, you’ll want to plump for something compact and lightweight.
Colour is another big consideration, with a black brolly the most ‘sensible’ choice, but some of the most fashionable options come in bright colours and patterns, sometimes with elaborate handles. Umbrellas can be a great talking point and it’s easy to have a bit of fun.
Then there’s budget to think about. While you don't want to spend a small fortune on an umbrella, generally speaking, if you're not willing to pay more that about AU$25, chances are you may end up on somebody's Instagram story battling an inside-out brolly as you walk down the street - unless it's in a sale, of course.
The best umbrellas you can buy today
Fulton hold a Royal Warrant due to the Queen and others using the company’s Birdcage brolly. This option, the wonderfully-named Stormshield, is a large vented golf umbrella, which should hold up to the strongest gales without letting you down. The umbrella has a ‘easy guide’ manually opening and closing system (so no button-deployment here, which is probably wise given how large it is).
The shaft is made from non-conductive fibreglass, so you needn’t sorry about being struck by lightning while in exposed areas during a storm, or on the golf course when the weather turns grim. At 104 cm wide, the canopy strikes a good balance between a full-size golf umbrella and one which can still be used in a crowd without getting in everyone’s way.
The funky styling of the Blunt XS Metro is mainly down to the rounded safely tips, so we didn’t feel like an accident waiting to happen using it on a busy commute We used it on windy days and it didn’t even wobble – it’s aerodynamic handling is to be commended and it feels reassuringly well-made in the hand too.
The high tension canopy is perhaps the perfect size – keeps you completely dry but isn’t cumbersome. Opens and closes instantly by pressing a single button. Better still…Blunt has teamed up with Tile, so that you can track your umbrella when lost via the Tile app (there’s a tile embedded in a specially designed pocket) – nifty.
If strong winds are your nemesis on a rainy day, this could be the umbrella for you. The Samsonite Windguard is built with extra steel ribs to withstand heavy wind resistance meaning you won't have to battle an inside-out umbrella in the next storm.
With a simple push-button automatic release, the sturdy Samsonite has a double canopy with just enough space to shelter two people. It's slightly larger than others on the market, but is still compact enough to fit in a handbag or backpack when travelling.
If you're not fussed over a brolly folding up to stash in your bag, the Shelta Metropolitan is a great option. It has a huge surface area, making it perfect for long country walks or a round of golf. And the curved wooden handle gives it a comfortable, vintage feel.
It should hold up well in most conditions and is built to last you a long time. The stick umbrella opens and closes with a simple manual mechanism. And with a neat black canopy, it boasts a classic design which makes it a great fashion accessory.
Golf umbrellas are brilliant for keeping you dry in a heavy downpour and holding chivalrously over a friend, but you can’t carry them around just-in-case. The Fulton tiny 1 may not be the most macho, but as it’s light and compact, making it a great option to keep stashed in a bag in case of a shower.
Sure, it won’t keep you dry in a heavy downpour as the canopy is only 87cm in diameter, but it’s better than nothing! It's perfect for keeping in case of an emergency and comes in black as well as a number of patterns, if you’re feeling more adventurous.
Once you’re in the umbrella – thanks to the funky full coverage dome design you feel like you’re in a bubble - you aren’t getting wet. The transparent cover means that despite this being the brolly offering the most coverage visibility is great. The build quality is impressive with fiberglass ribs for flexibility and strength in high winds.
The Queen uses one of these (Fulton are a Royal Warrant holder) and we can see why! Our only issue - it’s big at 94cm long when closed, 84cm when open which is great when it’s raining but it’s too cumbersome to carry everyday.
One of Amazon's bestseller travel umbrellas, the Newdora Windproof Travel Folding Umbrella has a number of attractive features. It comes with a storage case that contains an absorbent lining to quickly dry the canopy, so you can stick it straight in your bag and not worry about everything getting wet. And despite its compact size, it still has a canopy big enough to shelter two people.
The automatic open and close button means it's quick and easy to use, and the range of colours lets you pick one to match your style. It'll also give you decent UV protection on sunny days.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive take-everywhere-just-in-case type of umbrella this is the one for you – it even comes with a nice neat carry case. It’s much better made than those you can pick up anywhere for a couple of quid (or a few dollars) but it doesn’t have button opening or other fancy features. It doesn’t look cheap at all but it’s design is nothing special either. A good no-frills choice.
This Victorinox umbrella opens with the push of a button but you close it manually (unlike the Davek and Blunt models). Build quality is great – the strong frame held up very well in the wind despite being lightweight at just 0.4kg – a real plus if it’s going to live in your bag. We liked the look of the double canopy design which features the Victorinox logo and it’s very nice to hold with the moulded finger grips and rubberised feel of the handle. Said handle did show light general usage marks quite quickly though.
If you're looking for something extra compact you can carry with you anywhere, the Nooformer Mini Travel Umbrella fits the bill. At around six inches when folded, it can fit in the palm of your hand and is light enough to carry in your pocket. It might not be the most sturdy when it comes to heavy wind, but it does offer 95% UV protection against the sun.
With a range of colours available, it's a solid choice for an affordable, emergency option. And Nooformer also offers a full lifetime refund or replacement warranty to put your mind at ease.