GoLite Chrome Dome Umbrella

P1010238I have been toying with the notion of picking up an umbrella for quite a while now, and particularly the GoLite Chrome Dome. An umbrella, like any other piece of gear, has a purpose, and in certain situations can shine (not just the Chrome Dome, but any umbrella). As most hikers are likely already aware of, hiking in (more than likely, any) rain/hard shell can be a bit uncomfortable due to the micro climate that is built up inside the rain shell. However, with an umbrella (and the right circumstances) one can lower the hood on the rain shell, and even leave the front zipper only half zipped, which will decrease the micro climate and still stay out of the rain. As well, in warmer weather, if the conditions allowed, one could completely forego the rain shell and only use the umbrella, for full ventilation! Not to mention other uses for an umbrella, such as creating shade, blocking the end of a tarp off from the rain at night, and I have even heard of collecting water inside the dome…

But, as any other piece of gear, an umbrella is not “magic.” If the trail that one happens to be walking down is grown over, then trying to drag an umbrella through all the growth could be considerably more trouble than it is worth! As well, if the wind is really kicking up, and in multiple directions, there is a good chance that the umbrella will end up inside-out, and possibly broken. And if there is lots of wind, it will be likely that there will also be side-driven rain, which means an umbrella may not be the right tool for the job in this situation…

P1010246I have used umbrella’s around town, or when unlucky enough to get a close parking spot at work, however, this is not really “testing” grounds for using one while backpacking, but it is hands on. Then after reading about other’s experiences with umbrella’s, and my limited experiences (as noted above), I decided that I would like to try one out. Now, this has been a while back that I decided on this, but it has taken me a while to actually get one…

The umbrella that I seemed to read about the most was the Chrome Dome umbrella by GoLite. So, I headed over to the GoLite site, and added one to my cart. As most probably know by now, GoLite made the decision a while back to cut out the middle man, and sell direct to the public. According to GoLite, this would allow them to cut out some of the cost and allow them to sell their items for less than they had been. So, I wasn’t surprised when I saw that the price of the Chrome Dome was “marked down” from $40, to $19, but hey, I wasn’t complaining either! But, once I went to complete the check out, I decided against it… the shipping was almost the same amount as the “discounted” umbrella, $14! So, at that time, I emptied my cart with the delete button, and left it at that for a while…

P1010248Over time, I would eventually go back and toy with the idea of just paying the monies for the umbrella and go ahead with the purchase (besides, it wasn’t like I haven’t dropped way more than this on a single piece of gear!) But I never did…

Then, on my last hike I got to actually witness a (well-used) Chrome Dome, in real life… and not just rolled up in the side of someone’s pack, but in actual use! Of course it just so happened that the weather conditions were the perfect conditions for using one too… so that really made the umbrella shine (again, not just because it’s shiny). It was interesting to watch him use it, which he did by simply tucking the shaft of the pole under his sternum strap, and maybe even his shoulder strap a little. Either way, he made it look easy, and effective. As well, I never really saw him fidgeting with it trying to make it work, it just did. I was impressed, and it definitely got my wheels to spinning again about the umbrella…

So, last week, I had a little extra money on me that I could use for gear, so I headed back over to the GoLite site and added the Chrome Dome back into my cart. Of course, I will also admit, I browsed around the rest of the site for a minute, but didn’t really see anything else that I “needed.” However, I was still a bit cautious when I went through the check out process… that $14 shipping fee still seemed a bit over the top. Then, it just so happened that while checking out, one of the live chat boxes appeared on the screen. So, I decided to chat with someone and ask them about a less expensive (and IMO, a more reasonable) shipping rate. In the end, they said they could ship to a PO box via USPS, but didn’t quote a price, although that didn’t matter though since I don’t have a PO box. So, after this, they told me that if I would buy over $100 of merchandise, then I would get free shipping… I didn’t go for that, but a little after ending our conversation, I gave in and hit the “Submit” button…

Then, here on Valentine’s Day, it arrived (for a point of reference, I ordered it this past Sunday afternoon, it shipped Monday via UPS and arrived today, on Thursday). The first thing I noticed was how large, excessive, and wasteful the shipping box was! I certainly think that there could be less wasteful, and less expensive methods of shipping some items… Anyway, I decided that I would go ahead and do an unboxing video of the Chrome Dome, so here it is…

So, the umbrella does indeed weigh 8 oz, on the money. It does sound a bit heavy to me, but, I am game to see how it does. If I like it, then it is 8 oz… if I don’t then it is 0 oz. As far as my plans to use it, I will still carry, and use, my Luke’s UltraLite silnylon rain shell along with this, especially in the colder months. However, in the warmer months, there is a good possibility that I will leave the rain shell behind and just rely on the umbrella. As well, I can also use my Patagonia Houdini wind jacket along with the umbrella too, of course, that is, given the right circumstances…

I am also curious about using this umbrella when it is just sunny and hot, which is why I choose to go with the UV reflective coated Chrome Dome. Some say that using this in the sun will make it feel a little cooler under it, which is a plus in hot weather. Also, an umbrella does seem to catch a little breeze and seems to amplify it a bit, so that is another plus…

So, I have got to admit, overall, I am pretty excited to get to try out the Chrome Dome umbrella. (Although, I will admit, I am still not happy about paying so dang much for shipping, and more so now that I see the box it was shipped in. IMO, GoLite needs to address this issue, and in more way’s than one.) Anyway, I can definitely see the potential of this umbrella, but I also can’t ignore an(y) umbrella’s limitations. So, again, the same as with any other piece of gear, I have got to see if this is something that will work for me, and this is what I am happily looking forward to!

Thanks for reading!

~Stick~

Disclaimer: I paid for the GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella with my own money. The statements in this post are of my own opinion.

UPDATE:

GoLite has gone under, so these umbrellas are no longer available through GoLite. However, these umbrellas are originally made, and sold by EuroSCHIRM, so they can still be acquired if so desired. As well, the “EuroSCHRIM Swing Liteflex Trekking Umbrella” can also be purchased in silver at either Campmor, or at Amazon (when in stock).

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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33 Responses to GoLite Chrome Dome Umbrella

  1. Pingback: PHGT: October 2016 Mt Roger’s/Grayson Highland Hike | Stick's Blog

  2. After reading this post, and looking to see if there were any GoLites still available, I ran across another blog that showed that the EuroSchirm Swing Liteflex is exactly the same. Confirmed by email from a EuroSchirm rep who said they made them for GoLite. The Chrome Dome apparently lives on!

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    • Stick says:

      That is correct Bill. Euroschirm is the actual maker of the umbrellas, however, they were selling them to GoLite, who had them rebranded. As well, Gossamer Gear is now doing the same thing, same umbrellas, although I am not sure if they are rebranding them. Also, Campmor is selling them, and they can be found on Amazon too, however, they are usually out of stock there. I didn’t find this out till just after I already bought mine, and TBH, had I known then, I would have bought from them rather than GoLite. Ah well… it is good to know that they are still around though. And after a couple of years, mine is still holding up pretty well!

      ~Stick~

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    • Silky says:

      Got the GoLite Chrome Dome back when … I like it when on a good trail, although I’ve boinked an overhead log or two that I didn’t see … when I was out hiking on the PCT I saw a lot of folks with the Chrome Dome type, but using them to reflect that tough western sun up above the tree line. I still haven’t found a fiddle-less strapping system for my pack, though.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Silky,

      I must say, I have hit my head as well… 😉

      As for going hands-free, I agree. I have it down pretty good by running it through different straps on my pack, but it still takes a little finessing on occasion. However, I really do prefer carrying the umbrella in my hand and just putting one of my trekking poles away. I have more control over it and can adapt to the winds, rain, branches more easily…

      ~Stick~

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  3. Pingback: Pack Cover, Pack Liner, Both, Neither, Something Else…? | Stick's Blog

  4. Pingback: Post Hike Gear Talk: March 2015 – Carver’s Gap to Kincora Hostel (Dennis Cove Rd) | Stick's Blog

  5. Harvie says:

    I’ve never been a fan of dome umbrellas, they are usually too big for me and I have no other friends to put under it :(.

    Nice review though, I may give this one a shot next

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Harvie,

      I don’t think that I could fit another person under mine… Anyway, I don’t typically use umbrella’s at home, but the few trips I have carried this one on it has been awesome! Also, it is great for the sun too… taking a break on a nice (open) outlook is really nice when I can prop the umbrella up over me to give me some shade…

      ~Stick~

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  6. I just got one, mainly for urban use, we will see how it works out this winter. Looking at trying it hands free as well. Usually use a poncho in bad weather, but hate putting it on the next morning when the material is soaking wet. Jealous over people that used them in high heat as well, nice to have that shade, call it Umbrella envy. We’ll see….

    Like

  7. Silky says:

    Stick – I saw on Barefoot Joe’s video of y’all’s Oly hike that several people had umbrellas … but I didn’t see you with yours (although it was sometimes difficult to determine who was who in the video). Did you take yours? If not, do you wish you had? Did the people on the Oly hike who took umbrellas like having them? (I’m assuming that they did, since I saw al lot of the video with umbrellas showing). Last month I saw three people on the PCT hiking with umbrellas, but it wasn’t for the rain. They were staying out of the sun. After your Oly hike, have your thoughts changed on umbrellas?

    David

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    • Stick says:

      Silky,

      I will admit, I kind of wish that I would have carried my umbrella. The only reason I left it was because of weight, not because I doubted it. Of course I was fine without it, but at times it would have been nice to have… Oh well… I still had a great time on the hike! 🙂

      ~Stick~

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  8. jdrower says:

    Oops. Bad proof-reading. The German Birdie has about 50% more coverage, the construction is stronger, the handle longer (I didn’t like the Golite fastening system having the brolly so close to my head as it made it hard to continue communications with the Mother-Ship) and the included velcro-ed rotating fasteners. It offered the option of reflective material that I got. JD

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    • Stick says:

      JD,

      Those looked like nice umbrella’s, however, if I remember, they were a little more expensive too… I was a bit hesitant to spend the $40 on the GoLite (especially since half of it was in shipping!) But for now, I think that the GoLite one will work fine… at least I hope so. If I like the idea of it but not the umbrella, I will definitely give those a harder look!

      ~Stick~

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  9. Rod Braithwaite says:

    Don’t trim the Bungee Loop Thing! (it’s very useful for hands free deployment)

    Pass your sternum strap THROUGH the loop, tighten the strap, then open the umbrella and push the handle down behind the sternum strap until the loop / strap connection stops further motion. You can then adjust the loop cord lock to adjust the height of the umbrella up or down and it also helps to keep the umbrella in position. For us, this approach has been great for rain and even better for intense sunshine.

    Good luck with the brolly and thanks for your blog.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Rod,

      Thanks for the tip. I have still not gotten the umbrella on the trail. The trip I went on I didn’t take it since it called for sunny skies the whole time I was out. (And it was… I got sunburnt, so it would have helped anyway!)

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • jdrower says:

      I bought the Golite brolly and the handle felt short even after the shock-cord and cord-lock fasteners. It also felt flimsy. I then got the German one with the handle that extends out from inside and liked the construction as well as the goodly extra width as well as the construction to nothing of the rotating brackets. I don’t like the extra 5-ounces but am starting the CDT a week from tomorrow and wanted as much sun protection as possible. Will report from Lordsburg, NM if internet available. Cheers, JD

      Like

    • Stick says:

      JD,

      I hope that it works out for you on the trail, and good luck! As far as the GoLite umbrella, I still haven’t gotten to use it, but looking forward to it!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  10. Joslyn says:

    Repeat after me, “My name is Stick and I am a gear addict…” 🙂 I really considered getting one of these when I was still living in the South. It doesn’t really fit the conditions in the area I’m in now, though I know John Abela has and uses one. I personally just can’t justify the weight for how little I think I’d use one. At that price though, it is tempting…

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  11. JERMM says:

    Stick I’ve been using an umbrella since 2010, then in 2011 bought a Chrome Dome, like you said lower the hood and partially unzip the front of your jacket or in warmer months no jacket at all…also great on hot sunny days when there’s no canopy to shade you. I’ve also used my to shield the front or back of the tarp when the wind shifts during the night, amazing how much warmer it is with the dome closing off part of the tarp opening and I’ve used it was a wind screen for my stove…not too close though. Lots of uses for an umbrella on the trail and the Golite CD is a good choice.

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    • Stick says:

      JERMM,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with an umbrella! It does seem like most of what I have read about umbrellas will resemble what you say, so I have high hopes for it! Definitely looking forward to using it and seeing for myself how it does though… I tell ya, after watching my buddy hike with one, I was very impressed.

      Now, if we could just get GoLite to get on the ball with shipping containers, and prices…

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  12. andrew says:

    Ha. Thanks a lot, Stick. I’ll be keeping up with your blog.

    Like

  13. andrew says:

    Hi, Stick. Your blog is one of my favorites. I’m a SoCal desert guy and have considered the 8 oz chrome dome for a good six months now, but it always loses out in my mind to the convenience of a simple 2.5 oz wide-brimmed sunhat. As for rain protection, the chrome dome looks like it would better augment rather than replace other rain gear, such as a jacket. That may be because most of the rain I’ve experienced has been carried by pretty strong crosswinds. I’m far from being some master ultralighter, and I know that Jardin was an early umbrella advocate, but umbrella weight continues to remain in the luxury category for me. It seems more trouble that it’s worth. Will be interested to see if your experience with it changes my mind.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Andrew,

      Hi, thanks for stopping by and for the kind words! I am glad that you enjoy my blog, and appreciate your support!

      As far as the umbrella, you make some very valid points, and I can see how it could be a luxury piece of gear. As well… that 8 oz is a huge consideration for sure! I will admit though, I do hope, and want it to work out for me, but at the moment, I am up in the air about it. Around here we do get a fair amount of rain, but I will also admit, I find that I am not in it too much. So, what I am getting at, is that probably at least 80% of the time, my rain gear is carried weight, however, to be fair, that other 20% of the time can be bad…

      Anyway, I am sure that I will talk about the umbrella over the rest of the year, likely on trip reports, or post hike gear reviews. So, I guess we will see…

      Thanks again for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Oh yeah, just wanted to let you know that I checked out your blog too… pretty cool. I have been reading about the PCT more lately, and it is intriguing… anyway, just wanted to say thanks for listing my blog on your site, and I have added your site to my blog roll as well!

      Like

  14. John D says:

    Stick,
    Great minds think alike. I just got my chrome dome umbrella 15 minutes ago. I too, have been thinking about it for awhile. Waterproof breathable shells always wet out in heavy or sustained rain. I live in western WA where it sometimes seems like building an ark would make good sense. Some folks are using umbrellas with success although wind can be a problem. Also, in summer you can get baked above tree line on the ridges. An umbrella that reflects sun could be awesome.
    Of course my 11 year all daughter is currently performing Singing In The Rain with her sister. They say the umbrella is now there’s. they think the color is cool.
    John D

    Like

    • Stick says:

      John,

      Wow, great timing huh?! 🙂

      Anyway, my thoughts reflect yours pretty much the same… so it will be fun for me to see how it does. I am wanting it too work, but that will just have to be seen…

      And that is too cute about your daughter… my daughter will be back with me next week, and I figure she will like the shiny umbrella too! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to come back and share any new found info with you and your umbrella!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. jdrower says:

    Stick
    Hope you do a video of how you attach the brolly and still hike with a pole in each hand. I imagine you’d want something not only adjustable for height (some of us are taller than others that get to duck under logs with relative ease) but also for angling to adjust for direct of the sun and where the sun is in the sky.
    Best
    JD

    Like

    • Stick says:

      JD,

      I will likely do some video while on the trail that includes this (as long as I don’t do like last time and soak my camera…) I think that I will be able to hold it in place with some little cords and cord locks on my packs shoulder strap, however, having the ability to adjust it up or down may be another issue, at least to a certain degree. As well, I am not sure if I will be able to angle it, unless I can wedge something between the shaft and the shoulder strap to push the top out a little…

      Anyway, I am definitely looking forward to using this!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • jdrower says:

      While not reflective nor necessarily light, the shape of these can under certain circumstances make . . . senz
      http://www.senzumbrellas.com/collection/collection.php?sl=en

      Like

    • Stick says:

      JD,

      I actually came across those in some reading, however, I never checked them out… they are definitely different! But, I agree, the designs could be beneficial…. It would definitely be a conversation piece! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  16. SandyofPA says:

    Hi Stick, I have been using a Montbell Trekking umbrella for 2 years now. I attach it to my right shoulder strap with 2 pieces of round elastic with toggles for hands free use. I just tilt to duck around trees, very rarely do I have to close it due to brush. For summer with a cuben rainskirt it beats a jacket hands down. Sandy

    Like

    • Stick says:

      SandyofPA,

      Thanks for the tip. I actually came across an older blog post in the last few days that also show connecting the umbrella in the same manner. I will definitely give it a try and see how that works for me. And I agree with you, I think that this umbrella with the CloudKilt will be a nice pair, granted minimal…

      ~Stick~

      Like

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