By: Bailey Bremner
I still remember when I first learned that there was such a thing as a hiking umbrella. My reaction was somewhere along the lines of, “Wait, that’s a thing?” However, over time and many miles, I came to see the practicality of adding it to my pack. Be it extra shade in the desert or an on-trail solution to a wetted out jacket, my Gossamer Gear umbrella has really saved my bacon in a variety of situations. I’ve even used it to keep rain out of my tent when the zipper broke!
While all of these uses are appreciated, the biggest advantages I’ve found to bringing along my umbrella aren’t for myself, but for my furry adventure buddies. My dogs, Prima and Skittles, love to hike. With several thousand miles under their belts, we’ve found that sometimes keeping them comfortable on the trail can be a bit challenging. Fortunately, the Gossamer Gear umbrella has been there to save the day!
If you are also someone who enjoys hiking, backpacking, or even thru-hiking with a dog, below are four ways your pup can use a hiking umbrella.
1. The Cloud: Keep Your Dog Cool
Anyone who has hiked at all in dry, arid climates knows that on the hottest days, shady spots are likely to be the best place to take an afternoon nap. The flipside is that the sun can be quite intense out in the open—something that is all too likely in places such as the Southwest.
Cue the umbrella!
With your magical hiking umbrella, you can create a migrating patch of shade for Rover—a place to cool down and take a pleasant break during those warm afternoons. For best results, plop the umbrella in a convenient tree or large bush to maximize the amount of shade it throws. And, of course, always be mindful of the temperatures where you are hiking and your dog’s heat tolerance to keep them safe.
2. The Poncho: Keep Your Dog Dry
When it comes to backpacking, there are few things worse than cuddling a wet dog. While it isn’t always possible to keep them dry, and sometimes there are better tools for protracted rainstorms, if you are going to be hiking somewhere with short-lived storms, then an umbrella is definitely the way to go!
For example, Colorado typically gets short, but fierce monsoon thunderstorms in the summer. Rather than let your pup get wet or spend ten minutes putting on rain gear, it often makes more sense to wait it out. Pop out the umbrella, hunker down, have a snack, and 20 minutes later, the skies will be a beautiful blue once again!
3. The Shield: Protect Your Dog From Hail
So, maybe you are not concerned about your pup getting wet, but there’s another storm worthy of using the hiking umbrella for that can be appreciated by both man and beast alike: hail. When storms take a turn for the worse, the hiking umbrella will typically hold up to hail, providing a much-needed reprieve for your dog. For best use, consider finding a pine tree to protect your back and use the umbrella to keep hail out from the other side. Sandwich your dog in between the two, and, viola! Hail protection on demand.
4. The Blindfold: Block Your Dog’s View
Hardly any dog is perfect. They aren’t robots, after all, which is why we love them so much. However, sometimes things can pop up on the trail that your dog might not be used to or that you are still training your dog to behave around. Out of all the items you could possibly pack, the umbrella is the most convenient to block their view. This could be the view of another dog, cows, moose, horses, or even cars. On the flipside, you can use it to discourage other dogs from approaching or seeing your dog. It’s a win-win!
Embrace the Multi-Use Hiking Umbrella for You and Your Pooch
Well, they say that you should only pack things that have at least two uses into your pack, and unless I can’t count, that is four solid uses for an umbrella if you have a dog—not to mention all of the other uses, like fighting off Sasquatch.
If you are avid about hiking with your dog and don’t already have one in your kit, then you really should at least consider bringing one along. Your pup will thank you for it!
Bailey Bremner has several thousand miles to her name and more nights spent sleeping outside than in a bed last year, so saying that she loves the outdoors would likely be an understatement. Fortunately, her dogs, Prima and Skittles, appear to love hiking just as much as she does and do their best to keep her out of trouble. They plan to walk an original route across Colorado in 2022. You can follow their adventures on Instagram at @the_most_important_step.