The trusty (and cheap) product that comes in handy on stormy days

By Brandi Broxson
Updated May 18, 2018
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Umbrellas are a fraught necessity. You know the scene after a bad rainstorm: Sidewalks littered and garbage cans filled with abandoned umbrellas that just didn’t make the cut. We’ve all been there, right?

These workhorses are often held up with fragile construction (meaning if one thin piece of metal pops, the whole thing ceases to function.) As Real Simple’s product editor, I’ve tested out dozens of umbrellas (from dollar-store duds to fancy, pricey finds) and like to think I know a thing or two about a quality umbrella thanks to a life of Florida weather.

So a few weeks ago when Editor-in-Chief, Leslie Yazel stopped by my desk for a recommendation I naturally told her about my favorite: the Repel Reverse Folding Umbrella.

What makes it so great? For one, it has an inverted design, which makes it easy to open and close in tight spaces (think cars or front doors) without getting wet. It also has a Teflon-coated top layer that causes rain to bead up quickly and with just a couple shakes the umbrella is nearly bone dry.

But perhaps my favorite feature is the super strong 48” canopy with double-layered fiberglass (bring it on, wind!) ribs. And did I mention it’s under $20?

Leslie’s umbrella arrived during a week of particularly nasty weather in New York City, which presented the perfect opportunity for her to put it to the test.

Here’s what she had to say about it: “I’ve never understood why pretty patterns are always on the outside of umbrella where the owner can’t see them. This one has the print on the inside. Plus, when you stow it to walk inside or into a subway, bus or car, the wet side folds to the INSIDE so you and your car interior stay dry.” I think it’s safe to say she’s agrees that it's the best.

I love this umbrella so much I’ve started gifting it to friends and family who are difficult to shop for (after all, everyone deserves the comfort of a trusty umbrella for when the weather turns ugly).