As invaluable as the umbrella can be during a downpour on the city street, it can turn into an absolute burden the instant you step inside. Who really wants to carry a big, dripping accessory through the lobby, onto the elevator and into the office? Or around the mall? The Kjaro umbrella uses a self-draining case to prevent that hassle, giving you a small, neat package that's easy to carry.
The umbrella is a useful accessory, but it clearly has some shortcomings. It's been a very popular target for creative inventors and startups looking to redefine rain protection for the 21st century. Over the past few months alone, we've seen new designs like a wearable umbrella, forced-air umbrella and smart umbrella.
Add the Kjaro to that robust list. The umbrella's Italian designers take a much simpler approach to improving the umbrella than some of those others. Instead of redefining what the umbrella is or how it works, they tackle one very specific problem: how to deal with the wet, dripping umbrella once the storm is over or you have a roof over your head.
In the rain, the Kjaro is your basic, run-of-mill umbrella, putting a wind-resistant waterproof canopy over your head. When you fold it up, the fabric wraps neatly and secures with a magnetic clip, and the umbrella slides into the included waterproof poly-fabric case. Instead of dripping water on you, on the floor or on those around you, the umbrella sheds water into the bottom of the case. You can then quickly empty that collected water with the twistable drain plug.
Obviously, a case is nothing new, as many compact umbrellas already come with one, but the Kjaro case's thick material, full-zipper design and integrated drain look like they'll make the transition from deployed to stored umbrella smoother than ever, preventing any hassle or wet clothes.
The Kjaro package is also quite small and portable, coming in at a foot (31 cm) long and 12.9 oz (366 g) when the umbrella is in the case. The case has a clip for easy attachment to backpacks, handbags, or the available belt and shoulder straps. It stands upright on a level surface, giving you a tad more flexibility when storing it.
Kjaro will wind down a successful Kickstarter campaign within the week. The umbrella is still available at a €65 (US$74) pledge level. The campaign has raised nearly quadruple its goal, and assuming everything else goes as planned, the umbrellas will start shipping in December.
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