Water be gone: hands on with the Blunt Lite Plus

Earlier in the week, we caught wind that a new umbrella was landing in Australia, fresh off the shores of an island close to us all. The New Zealand designed Blunt takes the accessory we’ve all used at one point in time and improves it ten fold, re-engineering the skeleton inside and giving it another way to stop the rain from making you a soggy individual.

It seemed like a perfect time to send word about the new umbrella: Sydney, where GadgetGuy’s offices are, has been coping with rain for the better part of a week now. Too many times we’ve gone out with our old and mostly broken umbrellas only to find that the world has no problem showing its superiority, destroying the tools and leaving us wet, drenched, and wishing we didn’t look like a drowned bird.

The moment we heard about this, though, we had to see it in person.

On the left, the construction of the Blunt Lite. On the right, the construction of our generic umbrella.

With a new look at the way the internal cage pushing the umbrella into position works, Blunt’s “radial tensioning system” aims to reduce problems umbrellas have by having separate joins work together to take the brunt of the force applied to them.

Then there’s the added bonus that one specific model has. The Blunt Lite Plus also features the welcome addition of “e-Dry” coating, which is essentially a hydrophobic coating, similar to the applications we’re seeing make their way onto mobile phone boards and smartphones able to be immersed in water.

You might look at the idea of a “waterproof” umbrella with an obvious statement of “surely, that’s what they’re supposed to do,” but the addition of this feature means that water droplets have a harder time adhering to the surface and therefore fall off as you walk, and as you shake the umbrella dry.

Interestingly, the day we received the Blunt umbrella, there was no rain. It was the one day of the week that lacked a forecast of heavy precipitation.

We didn’t have to wait long, though. The next day, it rained, and then it poured. And that’s when we decided to take the Blunt umbrella redesign for a spin.

As you can see in the video above, the umbrella takes a real flogging from an unrelenting sky, and one that has so much water to throw back to us, that while the umbrella did a fantastic job of keeping us dry, our Converse shoes have shown their weakness in letting the outside in and making everything all squishy and damp.

Thanks to the e-Dry coating, the drops of water mimic mercury, and turn into beads that fall off the top of the canopy as if they were being blown off. Under the umbrella, you can hear a massive tap tap tap as if the world is playing drums, though it’s something we probably wouldn’t let get to us, since we’re always wearing headphones.

We pulled on the umbrella to imitate wind, and found there's more flex here thanks to the way it's constructed.

The wind during this torrential downpour wasn’t so strong that we needed to test out the durability of the skeleton, but some of the design inside here does impress us, such as the basic edition of Velcro keeping the umbrella arches in place, rather than being sewed in. This is one area that has a tendency to break in other umbrellas, detaching and causing the canopy to separate, and the metal pieces to poke out.

We can’t say our impressions are all perfect, though.

First, this is a costly umbrella. While most of us are happy spending five or ten bucks on a brolly every few months, this model – the Blunt Lite Plus – carries a $109 price tag. Expensive umbrellas at department stores rarely go beyond the $50 or $60 mark, and they can last a year or two. With the Blunt umbrella, you’re really paying a premium for the redesigned cage inside and the waterproofing up top, which leads us to another flaw.

Our second problem exhibits during heavy downpours, and that’s beads of water still manage to get through the umbrella fabric and hydrophobic coating.

It’s something we saw during the filming of the video, and depending on how strong the rain is, you might too, with tiny drops of water sitting on the inside of the umbrella. Occasionally they drop down and hit you, but generally they just sit up there, showing that no, sadly, the canopy on the Blunt umbrellas can’t stop even the heaviest of hitting rain drops.

Overall, we’re relatively impressed, as this is a very nice umbrella, but it is a tad on the exy side for what it is.

If it can last a year or two, it essentially will pay for itself, but we’ll only be able to judge this after spending more than a few days with it, and manage to not lose it on a bus.

We fear that last one will be the hardest task of all.