A trekking umbrella is a useful piece of backpacking gear for rain and sun protection. But an umbrella can be a real pain in the butt if you have to hold it up for hours at a time using one arm, especially if you use trekking poles to hike.
Here’s a simple technique to attach a trekking umbrella to your backpack so you can use it in “hands-free” mode. This really works and it’s simple to do. If you have to hike in rain for a few days, you’ll find that the extra 8 ounces of a trekking umbrella are well worth the added weight. The same holds for protection from the desert sun.
You’ll need two pieces of cord for this trick and two cord locks. I find that stretchy cord works best, but your mileage may vary. It really helps if you have a backpack that has daisy chains sewn to the front of your shoulder straps because they’ll hold the cords at the spot where you attach them and won’t slide down the strap.
I also prefer using the classic Chrome Trekking Umbrella (currently sold by Gossamer Gear) because it has a ridged handle that holds the cord in place better than a smooth handle. While you can buy trekking umbrellas made by the same manufacturer (euroSCHIRM) elsewhere, check the handle. The ridges make a huge difference in keeping the umbrella from slipping down your shoulder strap.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.