An Umbrella You Can Actually Handle


Seeing this design reminded me just how good I have it living in Los Angeles! It also reminded me of the days when I would trudge through the wind, rain, and snow in New York City, trying to balance the rest of my life in hand while struggling to keep an umbrella from being ripped out of my hands by the wind. Never again. Unless, that is, I score a Cloud Umbrella by Nate McCracken.

The magic is all in the handle. It’s been adapted so that we can carry on everyday life the same as if it weren’t raining. You can hold it in hand as you would a normal umbrella, clench it between the elbow to free up your hands, or loop it around your wrist when you’re not using it. Best of all, it’s specially designed to hang from any table or other surfaces to dry without getting dirty.

Designer: Nate McCracken



Detailed research. Shadowing, observing, taking notes and trying to empathize with the needs of a market. Her hands were always working at the limit. This became the inspiration to design an ergonomic umbrella that wouldn’t occupy either of her hands.



With an adjustable PVC model and several rounds of foam models, Nate began to hone in on the perfect ergonomics.


People use their elbow crook for more than you would think.


Testing across all heights the ideal form was precisely measured that compromises and fits anyone. You can securely hold an umbrella by fitting the two orange curves between ones underarm and elbow crook. Curving the contact points, allows minor adjustments which means anyone can find a comfortable placement.


Closing off the two arms helps it communicate how it is to be held. Plywood for structure and cork to provide a little cushion.


Using a Shopbot, the profiles were cut out of cork and plywood to build 30 units. The parts were assembled cut to create a full round. Everything is sealed with danish oil.


The unique handle design allows the umbrella 4 main functions:

– Hands free getting it from A to B
– Standard umbrella; no harm done
– Hands free in the rain.
– Hangs on any table edge to dry