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My Experience With This Odd-Looking Umbrella Replacement in New York City

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nobody’s really thrilled when it rains -- except maybe Californians -- but I’ve always found dealing with it especially difficult. It’s not just the supreme annoyance of wet socks, either. My options are either to wear a jacket with a hood -- one that’s stuffy, uncomfortable and makes it difficult to see (assuming the hood stays up) -- or an umbrella.

Carly Okyle

I wouldn’t mind the umbrella option, but I worry for the people around me. In a crowded city such as New York, I have a difficult time holding the object in a way that doesn’t hit other people as I walk. Moreover, if I’m holding it in one hand, it’s hard to do other, otherwise simple things, such as hold a railing as I walk down subway stairs or carry groceries.

But the Nubrella may just be the solution to my problem.

Read our story about the Nubrella's creator and the lessons he's learned here.

Nubrella is a covering for the rain that you wear like a backpack. Turning dials on the sides (near your shoulders) unfolds a plastic hood over your head to keep you dry while your hands remain blissfully unencumbered. The railing-using, grocery-carrying, phone-answering multitasker in me was thrilled before I even tried it on. Sure, I’d look weird, but I figured people wouldn’t notice it too much. When you live in a city with a Naked Cowboy and a man who walks through Times Square with a cat on his head -- seriously, I’ve seen that guy -- a backpack umbrella is relatively inconspicuous.

Putting it on was easy and its padding and weight are comfortable. The width of the device takes a little getting used to. I found myself knocking into door frames, turnstile edges and the walls of my apartment’s very narrow hallways. Clearly, wearing it on a subway at rush hour or while in a crowded elevator would prove complicated. Not only that, but getting the plastic hood to retract took some practice. Still, I considered these inconveniences and difficulties to be far more minor than the benefits.

The Nubrella kept me dry from rain and held up in wind, which is more than I can say for any of the $2 traditional umbrellas I’ve picked up from bodegas over the years. There seemed to be little chance of the Nubrella flipping inside out, which was a surprising and big relief.

Related: My Week With the Bracelet That Shocks You Awake

The reaction from passersby was mainly curiosity, with a few shy smiles. When I would see someone looking and explain that I was testing a product for work, they asked what it was and were eager to hear how a hands-free umbrella was handling the weather. One guy in my apartment elevator said he thought it looked cool, while people in my office building said they wanted to buy one for themselves. After only two uses, I strongly encouraged them to look into it.

The forecast calls for more rain this week, and honestly, I can’t wait. Bring it on.

Editor's note: Nubrella provided a review unit for Entrepreneur to try out.

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