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Reviews > Rain Gear > Umbrellas > Six Moon Designs SilverShadow > Test Report by joe schaffer

     Six Moon Designs - Silver Shadow Umbrella

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - April 10, 2019
LONG TERM REPORT - July 20, 2017
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 71
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: openSilver Shadow Umbrella

Manufacturer:  Six Moon Designs
        Features: (from manufacturer website)
Weight: 6.8 oz - 193 g
Length: 25" - 63.5 cm
Diameter Open: 37" - 94 cm
Coverage: 7.5 ft 2 or .7 m 2
Shaft Length: 23.5" - 60cm
Carbon Fiber Frame
EVA foam handle
UPF 50+ Rating
            • silver top surface
black underside


MSRP: $45 US

Received: April, 2019

closedMy Specs: 
        Weight: 6 3/4 oz (190 g)
        Wrapped: 25 x about 1 1/2 in  (64 x 4 cm)
        Open: 37 in (0.94 m)
        Depth open: 10 1/4 in (26 cm)
        Handle: 2 7/8 in long; about 1 1/8 in diam top to 1 1/2 bottom (7.3 x 2.9-3.8 cm)
        Shaft diameter: about 3/8 in (1 cm)

My Description:
The Silver Shadow is not surprisingly silver on top and black underneath. Its carbon fiber shaft is black. The foam handle is black with nine ridges; smaller in diameter in the top half than the bottom half. The handle bottom has a hole for a lanyard, which is black cord in roughly a six inch (15 cm) loop of one-eighth inch (3 mm) cord, with a cord lock for adjustment. Eight spines provide structure to the umbrella shade, supported by eight spokes attached to a sliding collar on the shaft. Tension holds the shade in the deployed position; and neither is there a mechanical lock to hold it closed. A choker with hook and loop holds the shade wrapped in the closed position. One of the eight triangular panels of the shade sports a 4 1/2 inch (12 cm) logo. The spine tips extend from the shade about 1/2 inch (13 mm) with a smooth, rounded finish. The umbrella's peak is black, ridged foam about 15/16 inch long x 15/16 inch diameter (25 x 25 mm).
     It's light! And yet for the gossamer weight of the umbrella it nevertheless has a solid feel. The shade barely wriggles when in the deployed position. The collar slides very smoothly on the shaft. The umbrella is not hard to deploy. Tension increases to a maximum, and then the collar seems to 'slip' into a locked position. Simply pulling (firmly) down on the collar collapses the shade.

    It's not small. The amount of coverage provided by the shade seems generous.

    I don't have large hands, and the handle seems a little short. It feels good in the fist, but the length of the shaft has opportunity to apply quite a lot of leverage. The lanyard will be useful if wind gets spirited.

    A chemical smell not necessarily objectionable initially emanated from the umbrella. After a couple of days being left open, there is no odor.

    When I hold the shade up to my desk lamp, I cannot see light through the material.

Field Conditions:
1. April 17-20, 2019: Tahoe National Forest, three nights backpacking 1 1/2 mi (2.5 km) on snow. 55 lb (25 kg) lv weight. 6,400 ft (1,950 m); 32-65 F (0-18 C); mostly clear and warm.
. May 1-4, 2019: Catfish Lake, Stanislaus National Forest, three nights backpacking 8 mi (13 km). Leave weight 45 lb (20 kg). 5,600-6,100 ft (1,700-1,900 m); 35-75 F (2-24 C). 1 mi (1.6 km) XC day hike. Clear and sunny
3. May 10-14, 2019: Kibbie Creek, Stanislaus National Forest, California. 4 nights backpacking, 15 mi (24 km); leave weight 45 lb (20 kg); 3 camps; 40-70 F (4-21 C), sunny, no wind; 5,100-6,400 ft (1,550-1,950 m).
4. May 29-Jun 2, 2019: Kibbie Ridge, Stanislaus National Forest, California. 4 nights, 2 mi (3 km) hiking and 11 mi (18 km) backpacking; leave weight 40 lb (18 kg); 3 camps; 45-75 F (7-24 C), half sunny, half cloudy with a few spits of rain and two heavy showers; 5,100-6,700 ft (1,550-2,000 m)
5. Jun 11-14, 2019: Chilnualna Falls, Yosemite National Park, California: 3 nights, 9 mi (14 km) backpacking; leave weight 35 lb (16 kg); 2 camps; 50-90 F (10-32 C), sunny; 4,200-6,500 ft (1,300-2,000 m).
6. Jun 18-21, 2019. Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California, USA. 3 nights backpacking, 35 lb (15 kg) leave weight, 3 1/2 mi (6 km), 2 camps, 85-38 F (29-3 C), sunny, 5,400-5,900 ft (1600-1800 m).
    7. Jun 30-Jul 5: Emigrant-Yosemite Wilderness, California. 5 nights backpacking, 41 lb (19 kg) leave weight, 12 mi (19 km) trail + 3 mi (5 k) cross-country = 15 mi (24 k), 4 camps, 80-38 F (27-3 C), sunny, 7,200-8,400 ft (2,200-2,600 m).
    8. Jul 10-19: Yosemite Wilderness, California. 9 nights backpacking, 41 lb (19 kg) leave weight, 17 mi (27 km) trail + 13 mi (21 km) cross-country = 30 mi (48 k), 8 camps, 85-40 F (29-4 C), sunny, 4,900-8,100 ft (1,500-2,500 m).

1. Tahoe: The hike wasn't long enough to try to figure out how to attach the opened umbrella to a pack already laden outside with a bunch of other stuff. The trip was meant to be a relaxer, though, and I spent a number of hours reading outside in the sun. The umbrella worked great to keep sun off me, which is doubly important surrounded by snow. At times I got a little chilly sitting in only a single layer and would let the sun on me while using the umbrella as a wind block.

    Certainly I could say a larger handle would be a comfort improvement. Sometimes the breeze would get a little testy. In my near-slumber of enjoying the warm the umbrella would shift sharply in my fist. Most of that issue got resolved by the lanyard. The umbrella adds a delightful comfort element to my camping experience, especially for under seven oz (190 g); and were it dolled up with all the things I could think of to make it even better, it would be heavy enough to leave home.

    2. Catfish: Not being confined to a tree well I had plenty of room to move around wherever I wanted. The weather was so warm and sunny that I couldn't sit in the sun for long, but then in the shade my tee shirt and shorts weren't warm enough. The umbrella proved a perfect solution and let me finish my book sitting in warm sunshine without getting fried. This hike was mostly in forest so I did not use the umbrella out of camp.

    3. Kibbie Creek: The umbrella worked great once again to keep the cancer rays off me while not having to feel chilly in shade. On this hike I decided to branch out and see how well it works while walking. I found that jamming the handle in the crux of the shoulder strap and chest strap kept the umbrella in place well enough to maintain hand-free trekking. The sun was very harsh. Walking in the shade of the umbrella provided immediate and substantial relief. One must remember the umbrella when brush appears, but I am so impressed with how well it works that I think the task will be manageable.
    4. Kibbie Ridge: I used it for about a mile in sunnier stretches of the hike back to the car. No new observations.

    5. Yosemite: This trip featured unrelenting sun and high daytime temps.
Once again I stuffed the handle under the chest strap and then also into a shirt pocket, which provided even more stability. Near disaster struck when I was fishing my camera out of the chest strap-attached pocket and a gust of wind blew the umbrella out. I was at the top of a cliff and had a lucky reflex not snatched the handle, the umbrella would now be stuck somewhere down in Chilnualna Creek. It then occurred to me to run the chest strap through the handle lanyard loop to keep the umbrella from parting company. Without incident I carried the umbrella mostly hands-free all the way back down to the top of the stairs near the trailhead, where there was much shade and in the steepest part of the stairs not enough room to use it anyway.

    6. Shasta-Trinity: This was the hottest trip yet. The sun was relentless and the umbrella's shade felt noticeably cooler. A couple times I brushed up against tree branches, but the umbrella shrugged off the offense with no damage.

    7/8. Yosemite: The umbrella's great for road walking and wide trail. Cross-country and rougher trail require too much attention to balance for me to have a hand on the umbrella, which under these conditions jostles around too much when not steadied with a hand. I want a free hand, and since the other is used up with a hiking pole, I've been keeping the umbrella reserved for shade and breeze blocking in camp.

    The only issue I have with the umbrella--given to firm approval of its ability to provide portable shade--is in encounters with other hikers. I feel obliged to jaw jack as a product ambassador answering questions about a piece of gear not generally seen on the trail. My usual more characteristic demeanor is to grunt a terse 'hello' without breaking stride.
Quick shots:
a) light
    b) good coverage
    c) smooth operation
Thank you Six Moon Designs and for the opportunity to test this product. This report concludes the test.

Read more reviews of Six Moon Designs gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Rain Gear > Umbrellas > Six Moon Designs SilverShadow > Test Report by joe schaffer

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