A quarter of the world’s temperate rainforest is found right here in British Columbia. In a city that rains 161 days annually on average, it makes total sense to invest in functional and durable rain gears. The Umbrella Shop used to supply Vancouverites with quality umbrellas, but they retired in 2017. My previous umbrella from them is at the end of its life as the water repellent treatment is peeling off, so I needed to look for an alternative.
Based on my previous experience with umbrellas, I had several requirements and desires for an umbrella that I would carry with me everyday:
- It needs to dry relatively quickly to not drip all over me when I go indoors.
- It auto open and close to make it easy to operate with single hand.
- It is compact enough to fit into my purse (under 38cm).
- It is not excessively heavy to carry around everyday. (under 400g)
- It needs to be relatively strong against wind.
Of all criteria, I think the first one is the most important to me as I really do not like stinky, drippy umbrellas. I am not a germaphobe nor a neatfreak, but that smell of old, wet gym towel sure makes my stomach turn. As such, I was on the lookout for the most water repellent umbrella.
I once wanted to get a furoshiki (square wrapping cloth) that is so water resistant that one can use it to carry water, and then shake it completely dry after. I thought that if I can find an umbrella made with a similar fabric, that would be terrific, so I decide to browse for options on Rakuten. I stumbled upon Unnurella, and decided to give it a try!
Unnurella is a brand within the WORLD PARTY Co. franchise. WORLD PARTY specializes in the production of rain gears. It is the first of their rain gear to be fitted with the fabric technology by Komatsu Seiren – a company that has been developing functional fabric since 1955. The fabric they have developed for the Unnurella has achieved level 5 water repellency through a unique, high density weave. Fun fact, “nure” is the word for wet in Japanese, so Unnurella is a rather fitting name shall the claim hold true. As the original water repellency rating is written in Japanese, I have briefly described each level below:
- Level 1 – The entire surface is visibly soaked.
- Level 2 – Half of the surface is wet with minor area soaked.
- Level 3 – Wetness is visible where the water droplets gather.
- Level 4 – No wetness is visible, with small droplets of water remaining on the surface.
- Level 5 – There is no wetness nor water droplets sticking to the surface.
Water repellency tends to go downhill with use. However, not only does Unnurella claim that their umbrella has a durable waterproof treatment, but this treatment can also be revitalized by regularly rinsing the umbrella under warm water to remove collected dust, debris and oil from our hands, and ironing or blow drying at medium heat. I was sold at this point, but let’s take a look at how the Unnurella hold up.
The Unnurella was tested for 37 days of rain over a period of 51 days. The temperature during the test period ranged between -7°C to 8°C. Most tests were done outside under different rate of precipitation, which includes everything from misty rain to torrential downpour. The Unnurella was also tested on two different occasion using a spritzer bottle and direct wash from a bathtub faucet.
During the test period, the Unnurella was exposed to wind speed up to 45km/h. Generally, there is no structural damage at this wind speed. However, it is strong enough to make even larger trees sway, and therefore, could potentially turn umbrellas inside-out.
The Unnurella was also tested for the water repellency revitalization a month into use, which involves rinsing the umbrella under warm water, and subsequently apply mild heat using a blow dryer.
Observations were made immediately after exposure to water, after one firm shake while the umbrella is open, after rotating the umbrella clockwise and counter-clockwise rapidly while the umbrella is closed, and after leaving the umbrella open for three minutes to air dry.
Misty Rain and Spritzer Bottle
Umbrellas generally do little good in misty rain as they are designed to cover the body in a single directional manner. Regardless, tests were conducted on a day with misty rain outdoors, and mimicked with a spritzer bottle indoors. Immediately after the water exposure, very fine water droplets adhere to the umbrella.
- Immediately after water exposure via spritzer.
Observation 1 – Firm Shake: After one firm shake, only limited amount of the fine droplets slid off the umbrella. A majority of the droplets remained on the umbrella.
Observation 2 – Rotation: After closing and rotating the umbrella, only very very fine water droplets remain on the umbrella. The umbrella is practically dry to the touch with a slight coolness from the moisture.
Observation 3 – Air Dry: After leaving the umbrella to dry for three minutes, none of the water droplets remain.
Immediately after the water exposure, I had a difficult time taking photos of the water that remains as most droplets slid right off of the umbrella leaving none to take photos of.
Observation 1 – Firm Shake: After one firm shake, only limited amount of the fine droplets remain on the umbrella.
Observation 2 – Rotation: After closing and rotating the umbrella, nearly no water droplet remain on the umbrella. It is also dry enough to place on cotton cloth without leaving any trace of wetness.
Observation 3 – Air Dry: After air drying for three minutes, the umbrella is completely dry to the touch.
Warm water (approximately 40℃) was used in this trial. Observations made were identical to that made when the Unnurella was exposed to a torrential downpour.
Immediately after the snow exposure, I had a difficult time taking photos of the water that remains as most droplets slid right off of the umbrella leaving none to take photos of.
Observation 1 – Firm Shake: After one firm shake, no snowflakes remained on the umbrella.
The strongest wind that the Unnurella has been exposed to prior to this review is approximately 45km/h with rain. The umbrella was tried while walking against the rain and then in the direction of the wind. The Unnurella appeared sturdy in both situation. Inversion of the umbrella was not observed in both cases.
Water Repellency Revitalization
After using the Unnurella for two months, I have tried revitalizing the water repellency by rinsing the umbrella, drying it and heating it moderately with a blow dryer. Prior to the revitalization treatment, there were some crease area where water droplets tend to gather. After the treatment, the repellency has been restored.
The Unnurella perform exceptionally well when it rains moderately to heavily. As observed, water droplets need to be over a particular weight and size to effectively slide off its surface. Otherwise, they remain as a micro-haze visible on the umbrella, though this is hardly a point of concern as it is not enough to get my hands or clothes wet. The Unnurella may also be useful in the case of heavy snowfall, as snow tends to slide right off of its surface.
Based on the result from the water repellency revitalization trial, I think the Unnurella is worth the investment as its water repellency should last longer than regular umbrella, which restoration is not possible. Further studies will be required to confirm this.