The Blunt umbrella is specifically designed to withstand strong winds of up to 117km/h. So we tried it out in wet and windy Wellington to see if it was worth its hefty $99 price tag.
Consumer staffers used the Blunt over 6 months. It felt steadier than a standard umbrella when it was windy, but it did blow inside out occasionally. With the Blunt you didn't feel that you were lifting off like Mary Poppins, but it was heavy and more of a hassle to carry around especially if you weren't using it. Blunt does offer a range of sizes (including mini), but we used the standard Blunt.
It is large at 840mm tall, 1200mm wide (when open) and weighs 640g. The 6 ribs are made of plastic material as part of a "radial tensioning system" (RTS) to improve aerodynamics.
We ran into some problems with the RTS system. We never tried it out in gale-force winds, but found the RTS system was only held together by a wire that came undone in moderate winds. This made the umbrella unusable. 2 tips at the external edges of the umbrella also came away from the ribs. The ribs had to be manually joined to the edge attachment – rather like putting the poles together when erecting a tent.
We got in touch with Blunt umbrellas. It’s confident the loose tip and the wire breaking were teething issues that are no longer a problem. Blunt’s policy is to "replace or repair any issue that is (or may be) the result of a manufacturing fault up to 2 years following purchase". So if you have any problems with your Blunt umbrella contact them via their website.
We tried out some other umbrellas in gusty 60 km/h winds to see if there was much difference. The Fulton London Scene Kensington-2 was lighter than the Blunt, but the fibreglass ribs remained unharmed. This umbrella blew inside out just as much as the Blunt. It costs about $70 and is a more practical weight for carrying.
We also looked at a cheaper $27 umbrella, which folds up into a smaller size than the other two. It also blew inside out and the ribs separated from the canopy of the umbrella too easily. On the plus side it was light and compact – making it handy for basic shelter when there isn't much wind.
For its $99 the Blunt offers an impressive looking umbrella, but we had problems with components coming apart. The company can fix them but that’s not much consolation if you get caught outdoors with a broken umbrella on a stormy day.
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