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[pct-l] Re: umbrellas

I've posted this at least twice (once about a year
ago), but I don't think my latest made it to the list
due to the recent technical difficulties with our list
manager was having (BTW, thanks for fixing it for

I hiked with an umbrella on a large portion of the
southern California PCT, as did four other thru-hikers
I was hiking around then.  We all drove to a Walmart
from Donna's in Agua Dulce and bought a long,
stiff-handled umbrella.  Each of us made our own
choices as to materials and design, and each of us
chose that same umbrella, because we reasoned that it
could be easily attached to a pack for hands-free

These umbrellas are the full-sized ones that don't
fold up to be stored in a breif case, so they were
heavier than most.  Ours weighed in at 1 lb.

Each hiker devised a duct tape and mylar covering to
cover the umbrella top, and it seemed that there was
little difference in the performance, although the
more duct tape you used to attach the mylar, the less
that wind and chapparral branches affected it.  

I was able to slip the long handle of the umbrella
down behind my shoulder strap between the back of the
pack and my back.  It was comfortable and stable, and
I hiked like this with both of my poles.  However, I
was the only one who opted to do this - I don't
remember whether it didn't work for others or they
just didn't want it that way.

In some areas where the wind picked up or there was
heavy brush to pass through, I would would reach up
and close the umbrella.  There were large sections
where this was necessary, but there was an equal
number of days where I had it open all through the
worst heat.  I learned that with it I could keep
walking without a siesta, and my radiation-induced
desert headaches were a thing of the past, and I could
make great mileage and get more sleep.  I really liked

But I sent it home as soon as we started climbing into
the Sierra, around Walker Pass/Lone Pine.  I plan to
the same next year and carry it from Campo to Walker
Pass.  I may mail it from Anza to Pink Motel.  It's
only drawback for me was the weight.  But that's
worthwhile if you use it - because it allows you to
keep walking all day.

(Another strange benefit is that it kept those "eye
gnats," the ones that always fly into your eyeballs
because they are thirsty, from bothering you.  The
gnats thought the mylar was more attractive than the

I still have my that same umbrella, and it needs no
repair or modification for next year.  If anyone has
further questions about this method, feel free to
email me.


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