Rainshader: Umbrellas, The Next Generation
We've had a love-hate relationship with umbrellas for a long time. The contraptions have been around in one form or another in different parts of the world for thousands of years. They have long kept us protected from rain and sun. Other than making them collapsible and retractable, the basic design has changed little. That is changing as the Rainshader comes on the market.
Whether you call it an umbrella, parasol, brolly, parapluie, rainshade, sunshade, gamp, bumbershoot, or umbrolly the basic idea is all the same -- protection. The standard version does keep away rain and sun, but if it is raining really hard you can still end up pretty wet from rain slanting in or running off the edges. If the wind gusts you can suddenly find yourself with an unwieldy inverted canopy that does you no good whatsoever.
Not surprisingly, the Rainshader comes from England, where dealing with rain is something of an art form. The new helmet shape has numerous advantages. Bringing the edges down to the sides adds to protection against rain and removes the danger of poking others in the eyes with the extended spokes. The cut-out area allows for plenty of visibility. The Rainshader does not blow inside-out easily as shown in wind tunnel tests. It will even reduce wind chill for the user, making cold days just a little more comfortable.
One of the greatest and coolest things about the Rainshade is that if you order it in black you can walk around on rainy days pretending to be Lord Dark Helmet from the Mel Brooks' movie Spaceballs.
It is kind of like having a weird little tent that you can carry around with you in case the weather goes belly-up. It folds into an easy shoulder carrier.
The Rainshader comes in a variety of colors and you can also order them in bulk with your logo imprinted on the canopy as a promotional item. For now you need to order directly from the company.
While the concept seems to be solid, it may take a little time for the appearance to catch on. Hopefully the functionality will outweigh any reluctance to look different from the rest of the herd.
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Laurie Kay Olson
Clever Problem Solvers