Think about all the terrible umbrellas you’ve owned over the years. Now stop, and with our Davek Umbrella review, gaze upon the last one you’ll ever own.
Most umbrellas are cheap, plastic crap that either ends up broken in the bin or forgotten in some restaurant’s umbrella bucket on a rainy day.
If you took all the money you’d spent on bad umbrellas and bought a Davek SOLO instead, you’d be much, much better off. You might have even saved a few bucks.
The Davek SOLO is the flagship umbrella in the line-up of fancy rain-sheltering gadgets from the New York-based company.
It sits above the diminutive Davek Mini, and beneath the larger canopies of the Duet, Golf, Elite and Savile.
I can already hear you baulking at the $115 price tag of the Davek Solo (“but it’s just an umbrella????” you say), but hear me out. It’s worth every cent and then some.
Davek Solo Umbrella Review: Design
With a fine leather ball grip, zinc handle, rigid build and leather wrist strap, the Davek makes you feel like you’re holiding a quality bit of kit. It’s incredible light in your bag but incredibly sturdy in your hand. It even has a belt clip so you can go hands-free when the drizzle abates above you.
But the sturdy-yet-stylish aesthetic is only part of Davek SOLO’s charm. What’s really unique is how it works.
Press the button once and the SOLO deploys up its solid steel shaft (?) with a smooth and assertive action. Press the button again, however, and you discover its party trick: it automatically retracts itself into the closed position, ready for you to retract the stem. No tricky mechanisms, no awkward pointy bits to push in. Just smooth and convenient actions. The Davek Solo represents the go-go-gadgetification of the umbrella.
Importantly, the button also has a third action when it’s windy. When a cheap umbrella turns inside out, it typically rips its own stitching, detaching an arm or two from the fabric and essentially becomes useless. Should the Davek turn inside out (something which has actually never happened to me in over a year of ownership), the button acts as a way to automatically reinvent the umbrella so it can be stowed safely. The boffins at Davek have thought of it all.
Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s also an object worth having and holding onto. It’s the Rolls Royce of umbrellas, with a fine leather handle, a handsome belt clip for easy, hands-free carry, all backed by the sturdy windproof frame that can deploy and reshape itself at will.
Davek SOLO Umbrella Review: is it worth it?
A mark of growing up is the ability to take care of nice things. When you’re a teen, you’re genuinely an idiot. You have $20 sunglasses that you lose constantly; a bomb of a car that’s held together by cable ties, and a Dora The Explorer slapwatch to teach you that you stepped on your last one.
When you’re older, though, you’re proud for taking care of nice sunglasses; a nicer car, and a better watch. The Davek Solo fits perfectly into the mould of the older, more careful you. It’s more than just a fancy umbrella: it levels you up as a person.
No longer will you sprint through the rain between meetings because you forgot to steal an umbrella from a colleague. You’ll stroll confidently as each droplet makes a happy little noise on the tightly-woven, wind-proof Davek Solo. And when you arrive, your presence will be heralded by the tiny click that signals your umbrella has automatically retracted itself for your grand entrance.
It also becomes an invaluable part of your everyday carry, retracting and fitting seamlessly into a backpack, messenger bag or satchel.
And if you do eventually succumb to type and lose it like an idiot, don’t fret. Each umbrella has a serial number which is recorded when you register the purchase. If you lose your Solo, you get a 50% discount on the replacement from Davek to take the sting out of your loss.
Davek vs Blunt Umbrellas
Prior to owning the Davek, I everyday-carried a Blunt Metro XS umbrella, with its tapered edges and trendy design. I thought it was the bees knees at the time and honestly still do: they’re great umbrellas. Upgrading to the Davek, however, showed me how things can be different.
While the Blunt is a fine umbrella, it still felt lacking compared to the Davek Solo. The weave of the fabric meant it was transparent and often felt flimsy when erecting (don’t laugh) and retracting. Plus, the Davek SOLO has three different party tricks, which for the gadget-obsessed makes it an incredible bit of kit.
The Davek SOLO takes the umbrella from something you forgot to bring with you, to something you’ll carry in your bag every single day.
It’s sleek, stylish and smart, backed by industrial designers who really know their stuff. It’s the last umbrella you’ll ever own, and you won’t regret the adult purchase.
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Luke Hopewell is the editor and co-founder of Redaktör. He's previously been the Editor of Gizmodo, Founding Editor of Business Insider Australia, Editorial Lead for Twitter Australia and more.