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Reviews > Rain Gear > Umbrellas > Six Moon Designs SilverShadow > Test Report by Coy Ray StarnesSix Moon Designs Silver Shadow Umbrella
Review by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: April 9, 2019
Long Term Report: August 27, 2019
the Silver Shadow casting a shadow
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy backpacking, hunting, fishing and kayaking. I enjoy hiking with family and friends but also hike solo occasionally. Most of my hiking has been in the Southeastern US. I hike throughout the year but actually enjoy late fall or early spring the most with some winter hiking mixed in. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability to a degree. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food and water.
Initial Report: April 9, 2019
The Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow is a lightweight umbrella designed for hiking. As such, it is slightly smaller than the standard umbrellas I own. However, it is still plenty big for providing shade and rain protection. An advantage of the slightly smaller size could also be realized when hiking in dense vegetation. Speaking of shade, the umbrella is rated at UPF 50+ and the silver outer surface is designed to keep the underside cooler. The shaft is non-telescoping and the canopy supports remain full length when the umbrella is folded. While this makes the umbrella longer during transport, it means less to tear up or go wrong, and a slight weight savings. The overall length of the umbrella is approximately 25 in (64 cm). When opened the umbrella is approximately 36 in (91 cm) wide. The frame of the umbrella is made up of eight fiberglass rods approximately 21.5 in (55 cm) each. The eight corresponding support rods that hold the umbrella open are approximately 7 in (18 cm). The EVA foam grip is approximately 3 in (8 cm) long. It has a slight pommel at the bottom to aid in gripping the handle.
Trying it out
There were no instructions on how to use the Silver Shadow, but hey, it’s an umbrella. There are no locks at either end but the umbrella is held open by way of tension on the curved support rods which are bowed upward slightly when the umbrella is fully opened. To open it I simply unstuck the hook and loop fastening strap and pushed the sliding part in the center all the way up until it snapped into the open position. The foam handle is fairly short so only my pinky, ring and middle fingers rested on the grip. The foam grip is just big enough that my ring and middle finger lightly touched the back of my palm. My pointer finger and thumb felt fine resting just above the grip area. I tried moving my grip down to where my pinky finger was below the grip but this didn’t feel as comfortable as the first way I tried. There is a lanyard at the lower end of the grip. It is barely big enough to get my meat hooks through but felt fine once I did. I probably won’t use the lanyard when hiking but it will be a handy way to hang the umbrella if needed.
After becoming familiar with the umbrella, I dug out my vest pack to see how I might attach it to the vest. By pointing it down I was easily able to attach it using the short bungee cords intended for storing trekking poles. I actually cheated a little on how I attached the top (fatter) end but using a chest pocket zipper pull on the left side of the pack and the bungee cord. It held the umbrella firmly on a short 2-mile (3 km) hike and I was able to retrieve the umbrella in seconds. It didn’t rain but I was ready if it did!
the Silver Shadow ready for duty
That’s all for now. Please stay tuned for my Long Term Report
Long Term Report: August 27, 2019
out for a walk in a light rain
Testing Locations and Conditions
I have used the Silver Shadow umbrella on a fairly regular basis since getting it, but honestly, most use was on road walks and a few of my day hikes in the woods. My longest day hike was approximately 5 miles (8 km) on August 21st. It was hot and humid but didn’t rain. I carried it on four overnight backpacking trips but didn’t need to use it since it didn’t rain and I was in the deep woods most of the time. I’ll list those trips just the same. They were all on local trails in woods close to home with lots of elevation gain and loss. All were approximately 4 miles (6 km) total. My May 13th overnight hike saw a high of 81 F (27 C) and a low of 66 F (19 C). My June 3rd overnighter saw a high of 88 F (31 C) and a low of 61 F (16 C). My July 29th overnighter saw a high of 93 F (34 C) and a low of 70 F (21 C). My last trip on August 12th was the hottest with a high of 95 F (35 C) and a low of 72 F (22 C). It didn’t rain on my overnights but with very high humidity and the exertion of hiking with a pack I sweated enough that it felt like it. I had several setbacks that limited my testing opportunities including a pulled hamstring in May, a head cold in July, and most recently a pretty bad case of poison oak. But perhaps the worst (or most embarrassing) of all was a weeklong trip to Arizona when I packed the umbrella, only to discover it was not in my suitcase upon arrival. The wife says she didn’t remove it and I know I didn’t. Guess it will forever remain a mystery. The good news is I was only visiting my daughter and grandchildren so no backpacking involved. I could have used it on a few afternoon walks though for sure.
Long Term Test Results
I used the Six Moons Designs Silver Shadow as a rain umbrella several times over the last few months. It came in handy on a couple of my day hikes when an unexpected shower would appear. Since I was in the woods it would often rain several minutes before the rain finally penetrated the overhead canopy; but when it did, I would take the umbrella out of my running vest pack and stay perfectly dry....except for sweat. I also used it a few times walking with my wife in the rain. It worked great as long as there was no lighting. The one time we did get caught in lighting I refused to deploy it. My wife was using a much bigger golf umbrella with a fiberglass handle and we kind of shared it. I also noticed that in windy rain I would get wetter higher up than she did, but to be fair, my umbrella was about half the size and weight of hers. We generally avoided walking in the hottest part of the day but a few afternoon walks were still pretty warm and sunny so I used it several times as a sunshade. Our normal 2 mile (3 km) walk is in the shade much of the time but when it was in the open I would hold it over me several minutes to see if it helped me stay cooler. I do think I felt cooler due to the sun not hitting my head and upper torso directly but as far as changing the temperature under the umbrella, I doubt it. I was often wearing a Helly Hansen sun shirt (a shirt I recently reviewed for this site). However, I appreciated that it was keeping the sun off my face and the hand I would be holding the umbrella in, and both arms when I wore a tee-shirt. To be fair, I swapped umbrellas with my wife and found the much larger umbrella didn’t keep my lower legs shaded either. My wife was jealous of the much lighter Silver Shadow so I kept these trades to a minimum.
As noted in my Test Locations and Conditions sections, I didn’t need the umbrella during my overnight hikes. I was accompanied by a friend from Idaho on the June 29th trip and he tried to talk me into standing under a waterfall but I wasn’t in the mood. I figured I’d get at least one more chance to test it while backpacking, but alas, no rain on my last overnighter either.
the Silver Shadow stayed here on my overnight hikes
I’d like to report on the durability of the umbrella, but honestly, I didn’t use it that often, and when I did, I was either on the road or fairly open trail. It did survive being hauled around in my daypack and backpack for all my trips in the woods. My other excuse for not using the umbrella a lot (besides the ones I listed earlier) was I acquired two bikes over the summer and I spent a lot of time riding, not exactly the ideal place to test an umbrella. I was hoping to do some overnight touring but my work schedule and other obligations prevented that from happening. I did experiment with different ways to possibly carry it on my bikes but it was too long to strap on the top tube and stuck out quite a bit when bungee-corded onto my rear rack. A bike trailer would be the best solution. I seriously doubt it was intended for this kind of use but it would be handy on a long bike tour for off bike activities.
The Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow has been a great addition to my summertime wardrobe. I say wardrobe because I used it in place of rain gear I’d normally be carrying or wearing. The fact that I didn’t need it that often was a little disappointing as far as gathering testimony for my test report, but when I did need it it did a great job. The umbrella was so light that when I didn’t need it I didn’t begrudge carrying it. I’d normally carry a poncho or rain jacket so the weight penalty was about the same. I know firsthand that hiking under an umbrella is a lot cooler than hiking under a poncho or in a rain jacket. I can say this because I’ve used all three in hot weather enough to know the difference. Night and day different would be a fairly good assessment. I’ll end the report by saying, an ultralight umbrella is a great alternative to other rain gear in warmer weather and also adds the benefit of sun protection that I would never consider using other rain gear for.
This concludes my testing of the Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow umbrella. My thanks to Six Moon Designs and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
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Reviews > Rain Gear > Umbrellas > Six Moon Designs SilverShadow > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes