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776 GoLite
Chrome Dome Umbrella

GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella

Years ago while on a trip to Colorado, we visited a friend who worked at a local outdoors store. He was a salesman, even to his friends, and soon Amy and I walked out of the store with new umbrellas. We had read a Ray Jardine book and agreed that an umbrella might be a better answer than our sweaty rain gear. So, after buckling to our friend's persuasion, we decided to buy two.

After a couple of years of use (mainly walking the dog) the shaft (or pole) on both umbrellas came unattached to the ferule. We tried gluing the shafts back in place, but if we used the umbrella in strong winds we found ourselves chasing the canopies down the street.

Then last summer, while hiking the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, we saw a young woman carrying a GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella. She worked for the Park Service and was a part of their preventative safety program. Her job seemed to be to walk the trail and talk to the hikers and checking on their well being. We saw the woman at the 1.5 mile Rest Station. At that time, Amy was having an allergic reaction to a sunscreen product and had developed a heat rash. She was miserable. Meanwhile the chatty Park Service employee had an enviable look about her. She stood beneath the shade of the Chrome Dome, looking fresh as daisy - absolutely unbothered by the heat. If she had had a quiver of umbrellas for sale - she would have sold out in a second.

2001 umbrella

Sitting out a shower in RMNP

For Christmas, Santa gave me a Chrome Dome. I knew exactly what the purpose of the gift was - it was to be a portable shade. We laughed and remarked about wanting to be like the Park Service worker on the Bright Angel Trail.

We have not had a chance to use the umbrella in the summer sun, but it works great as an umbrella. It is lightweight and easy to maneuver. The short overall length makes it packable. On a January backpacking trip into the always wet Smokies, the umbrella performed flawlessly. Of course, I fell into a large puddle and got wet anyway!

So for a few Chrome Dome notes ...

The umbrella weighs 8 ozs.

It is 25 inches long.

There are no metal parts to the umbrella, so it should not be a lightning rod. I still wouldn't walk around trying to attract a spark. Stay low.

The reflective material would aid in signaling in an emergency. It definitely does not look natural.

It makes a great shelter to keep your camera lens dry while taking pictures.

If you use trekking poles, it is difficult to carry an umbrella at the same time. A friend carried an umbrella hands free. He strapped the umbrella to his chest compression strap. I opted to just use one pole, leaving my other hand free for the umbrella.

I wore a very lightweight, water resistant, wind jacket while using the umbrella.

Though we were hiking in a low canopy on the Boulevard Trail, the umbrella did not get snagged a single time.

As for dog walking, my neighbors probably don't understand why I am carrying a reflective umbrella, but that's okay.

On the date of this Journal Entry - GoLite was selling the umbrella for just $20. That is quite a bit less expensive than a Goretex jacket.

On the GoLite site, the umbrella received 4.5 stars in 93 reviews. Hmmm, that's not bad.

The problem we had with the shafts on the early model (2001), seems to be resolved. As always, we will update the journals as needed.

So does the umbrella keep you dry? No. When you hike in the rain, you are going to get wet. However, the Chrome Dome does keep most of the rain off (rain can still blow under the canopy) and allows you to hike without a jacket - preventing the dreaded wet by sweat mode.

Happy Chrome Dome trails


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