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Umbrella & towel

Does anyone actually pack an umbrella and towel? Have you found you use both/either?

Posted by
350 posts

I pack a Turkish cotton towel. It dries overnight. It is one of the items that live in my travel bag. It is better than many hotel towels if I sink wash clothing. I use it to wrap around my bathing suit when I am heading to the beach or pool.

It does not take up a lot of space as does not weigh very much.

I don't take an umbrella. But did purchase one my last trip at Flying Tiger for a few euros. Most likely will not take one on my next trip either.

Wendy

Posted by
8525 posts

Towel, no. I've never stayed in a hotel that didn't have towels.
umbrella, no- but I wished I had last September when I was caught in a downpour. Usually my waterproof jacket with hood is enough, but it wasn't in this case. I was soaked through, my backpack was soaked through, and even my passport which was inside a case, inside my purse, and inside the backpack got wet. I was able to dry it out but learned that I am putting it in a ziplock bag in the future, just in case. I think an umbrella might have made the difference that day.

Posted by
2858 posts

I pack a very small Totes umbrella. It takes almost no room and has come in handy several times.
If I need an extra towel, I just ask the hotel for it.

Posted by
11391 posts

The towel we pack is this-- https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/travel-towel-king-size -- primarily to use as a picnic blanket to keep clean when sitting on the ground or a bench that is scuzzy. Can also be used as a blanket on an airplane.
The umbrella is a collapsible type that when folded is the size of the core of a roll of paper towels. Bought the umbrella in Rome when we got caught in a rain storm and wife used it in Greece as a sun shield.

Posted by
4858 posts

I pack a small hair towel, which I've used in hotels that have only given me 1 towel as a single or 2 with a roommate.

Posted by
579 posts

I always take a small Totes umbrella and have used it in France, Ireland, England, Czech Republic. Also take a small microfiber towel which I have used to wipe off wet benches, as a picnic table topper, to kneel on while changing a tire, etc. It weighs nothing and takes up very little space.

Posted by
27352 posts

I manage without a towel, though I have a microfiber one in my box of travel gear. My trips are long enough, and cover enough different areas, that I know I'll encounter rain at some point, so I wouldn't dream of heading to Europe without an umbrella.

I heartily disagree with Rick's suggestion not to take an umbrella because vendors will appear like magic if it starts to rain. What if you're not in the touristy part of town and the rain starts during the siesta period when most shops are closed? And those umbrellas sold by street vendors for 1 or 2 euros may not last through the first rain storm. I had to make an emergency umbrella purchase after leaving my umbrella in a restaurant during a day trip. The handle broke off within 15 minutes; the umbrella totally failed within an hour.

I travel with a Sea to Summit folding umbrella that's a good combination of sturdiness and relatively light weight. REI carries some Sea to Summit products; I don't know about the umbrella. It's a Spanish company, I think.

Posted by
5042 posts

I always have my telescoping umbrella, to use either for rain or as a parasol to block the sun. It doesn't take up much room at all on my day bag.

I don't bring a towel, but I do bring a face cloth or 2, since they often aren't supplied in many parts of the world. On occasions when its very hot, and we are out and about and away from anything air conditioned, I'll throw a damp face cloth in a zip lock bag, along with a few ice cubes and tuck it in my bag.. When I start to feel desperately hot, that cold cloth is heaven.

Posted by
4432 posts

I pack a small hair turban towel and a very small microfiber towel for removing water from clothes I sink wash.

Posted by
15559 posts

Umbrella yes. Towel no. If I need another towel, I just ask for one. I've never been denied.

I don't understand why some people just don't ask for an additional one.

Posted by
11354 posts

We have always taken small travel umbrellas and needed to use them. No towels.

Posted by
2532 posts

If you use the search box you'll find more positive discussions regarding towels in your kit.

I'm commenting just to say that when I saw the topic title "Umbrella & Towel"
I was more than half hoping that it was going to be a glowing review of a new gastropub in some high-precipitation neighborhood in the UK.

Now I guess I'll have to make up a story about the place myself.

The Umbrella & Towel is a welcome respite - a godsend - during the frequent early season shower storms that blow through the lakes and can easily catch you mid-day-hike. A fire is always snapping and crackling and popping in the hearth and a field dog or two is always snoozing by the woodpile as you settle in and decide on which long-pull draught matches your mood. But it's not all old timey - they have decent appetizers and even some fresh fruit to appeal to contemporary preferences. Multi-generational locals make it their living room and will be pleased to include you in their board games and discussions of how the nation is being ruined by foreigners from the east. Say what you will, though, at least they can put in a new kitchen garden irrigation line for cheap, and with no licensing and inspection nonsense needed. Try the cider, too.

Posted by
848 posts

Towel, no, the hotels have always supplied them. Umbrella, no, I invested in a good waterproof raincoat and rain pants that keep me dry. (And I don’t like to be around people with open umbrellas, they’re dangerous!) The less “stuff” I need to pack around, the better.

Posted by
648 posts

No, to towel.
Yes, to a very small, lightweight umbrella, which we usually need to use at least once on every trip. We also take raincoats. That way, even if it rains, we can still be out and about.
If we are traveling when the air temperature is warm and it is raining, wearing a raincoat will feel like you are in a sauna. So…an umbrella is a necessity, in my opinion.

Posted by
7397 posts

We bought one of the RIck Steves quick-drying towels for our first RS tour in 2003. We never used it, I’m coming up on trips to Europe #14-15 this year, and I’ve never needed an extra towel. I wash my clothes in the sink, roll them up in the towel(s) provided, step on them on top of the bath mat towel or hand towel to keep my bath towel clean. Sometimes my bath towel isn’t 100% dry by morning, but really it’s not a big deal to still use it. I did buy a very nice beach towel when we were at the end of our Spain trip, and I wanted a towel for the sand. Since I was at the end of the trip, it wasn’t a big deal to have it in my suitcase for the last days.

I bring a Columbia raincoat for each trip that has a decent hood - just in case, also to wear on the plane or if cold in the evening. I will say that last year in Stresa, Italy, I had the same situation as Carol mentioned above - everything wet! But, I still won’t bring an umbrella this year. I will tuck in a kitchen garbage bag to drape over my suitcase if I need one in a downpour. Maybe part of the reason is that we lived in the Seattle area for 30 years, and I rarely carried an umbrella.

Posted by
1523 posts

Avi, we were there recently and you might be pleased to learn they have added a cappuccino machine in the off chance an experienced world traveler might stop and find the fare not to their liking.

Posted by
979 posts

very small microfiber towel for removing water from clothes I sink wash.

Yes, used ours last night in Barcelona for this very reason. We travel with wool tops which don't go in the dryer.

I also take and use an umbrella on rainy days when we are in cities and just getting from public transport to museums etc but don't want to end up with a wet raincoat to carry around. The wet umbrella just goes in the mesh drink bottle pocket on my day pack.

Posted by
6999 posts

I don't pack traditional towels, but I often pack a "fouta", a lightweight cotton towel/spread, which makes for a great picnic blanket AND beach towel at the same time while taking little space. They're sold at markets all over Provence.

I sometimes pack a folding umbrella, especially on work trips where I might be wearing suits (you don't want to get a suit wet...), but often rely on a rain jacket instead.

Posted by
97 posts

I always pack a microfiber camping towel which is almost the size of a beach towel. I do laundry in a hotel and I use it to wring out the extra water from the clothes. It always dries by morning and doesn't take much room in a suitcase. It can also be used as a blanket, etc. I've never brought an umbrella because if it rained really hard, a small umbrella most likely wouldn't be helpful.

Posted by
2267 posts

I’m another one who packs a Turkish towel/fouta.

Packing an umbrella is forecast/climate dependent. (And I’ve certainly mis-estimated more than once, and bought cheapos while on the road.)

Posted by
6829 posts

I have a very small Totes umbrella I carry each day, since I don't always want to bring a poncho or raincoat. It has saved me more than once on days that start off sunny and end up rainy.

I occasionally bring a medium size microfiber towel but use it mainly for drying my clothes after I wash them. It wicks the water away better than hotel towels usually do. A bit more bulk but handy - and I never bring face cloths, so I figure it evens it out.

Posted by
4858 posts

Oh, Avi, the last time I visited the Umbrella and Towel, it was a field dog .... or 8 ... by the woodpile. Puppies!

Rather than an umbrella, and only for the worst rain forecasts, I've packed my Ultra-lite Frogg Toggs rain suit, which saved me from a drenching at Buchenwald.

Posted by
1080 posts

I have a Davek mini umbrella that is only 6" long but is well made and has saved several days of travel due to downpours. I carry a nice rain shell but in in a downpour I find having the umbrella makes a big difference as to how wet I and my gear gets.

Also I take the Rick Steves microfiber towel, we use it to dry our sink wash clothes and and for picnic's, etc,

Posted by
10334 posts

I bought a compact and extremely lightweight umbrella and it fits easily in the pocket of my rain jacket or day bag if I’m using one. It was purchased at an umbrella shop in Paris. I found this website that sells them and they are likely available elsewhere. https://dopplerschirme.com/en/744563-zero-magic.html

Posted by
3961 posts

I do not pack an umbrella. I prefer my lightweight, waterproof Columbia Arcadia ll rain jacket. The hood has great coverage. I have packed a lightweight microfiber towel in the past to help dry sink washed laundry. Helpful but not necessary. We have found that some of our accommodations provide umbrellas if needed. Never had to use them. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwioi_jJ85z9AhUTJn0KHTQOCY8QFnoECBEQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.columbia.com%2Fc%2Frain-jackets%2F&usg=AOvVaw0Axg__InyexMLYQb4ioDTa

Posted by
7397 posts

@Janis, I have that same raincoat and love it! I’ve brought the black one for years when I traveled for work or vacation, and I also bought the cute turquoise color shown in your link on sale in Montana a few years ago for local walks where I want better visibility crossing streets….and because it’s a fun color!

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks all, for the great info and links!
And Avi, you should write books!

Posted by
3961 posts

Jean! Like you, I also bought a bright color (red) for my neighborhood walks. So many beautiful colors and affordable!

Posted by
648 posts

Carrie…I looked up your umbrella. I may have to purchase one like yours before our next trip. So many wonderful colors 😊 ☔️

Posted by
4991 posts

We used to never take an umbrella with us. However, after having returned with at least six travel size ones that are sitting in the closet, at least one will be taken in the future.

Posted by
26 posts

We do not travel with umbrellas nor towels. We always pack good quality, light rain jackets with hoods. For beach and cruise vacations, we just use the towels provided. I do keep a bandana with me for quick clean ups or to sit on if needed.

Posted by
2532 posts

There was a bit of awkwardness at the U&T the other evening when Dani's pugs, Winston and Margaret, got their leads tangled 'round a table leg and a round of Smithwicks went a** over teakettle to the floor, drenching Amy's favorite jumper on their way down.

Now, everyone knows that that jumper was a Fiver Party gift ages ago and how Amy is a bit vain about how it still fits her after all these years. It isn't the first time there's been friction between those two - recall how Dani was little too solicitous of Amy's ex Fintan during the Cup watch party, on the excuse that they shared an interest in Pelé collectibles.

In any case, the dog people now point to this incident as evidence that it is safer to leave the dogs off their leads in the pub.

Posted by
2098 posts

I lose umbrellas so I take a cheap tiny one with me. I don’t lose the cheap ones though, just the nice expensive ones! While cheap, they last longer than the pop up vendors umbrellas. I also take tiny fold up ponchos that fit in my bag, you know, just in case I’ve lost my umbrella.
I also lose reading glasses!
My travel clothes are light and fast drying so no towel needed.

Posted by
3200 posts

Hilarious, Avi!
Sounds like a good pub for a Forum Meet Up!

There may be other establishments too…….
The Moneybelt and Padlock, perhaps.

I don’t bring any towels,but always bring a tiny travel umbrella.
I’ve used it more to keep the sun off than for rain.

Posted by
2212 posts

I think everyone’s covered this, but I would add I now bring some kind of plastic bag to slip the wet umbrella into after the rain stops. I’m still searching for a waterproof raincoat with a hood that doesn’t fall in my eyes. I tried the Joules brand last year and while I loved the longer length, the hood blinded me in a true rain shower. I’ll try some of those suggested here.

Posted by
2774 posts

Carol, so many colors and you know which one I have? Black. 😊

Patty, be sure to get a raincoat with an adjustable hood. I recently found out that the hood on my REI Rainier Rain Jacket can be adjusted. I also have the Pantagonia Torrentshell and I like the hood on that one even better. Also adjustable.