When you're with someone outside and it suddenly starts raining and only one of you has an umbrella, you'll most likely squeeze under that umbrella with that person.
In my experience one of the people always get's more dry/wet than the other one.
If you are the one holding it: how to correctly hold an umbrella so that both people be equaly dry?


Generally, you want the umbrella to point in the direction where the rain is coming from, so you make use of most of the surface your umbrella can cover. Then the two people should stick as close together as decently possible.

  1. Without wind it's easy, carry the umbrella between you and the other person, pointing up.
  2. If there is any wind, it will move the rain sideways. It depends on the size of the raindrops and the strength of the wind by how much. The smaller the drops, the closer they will follow the air flow. You will have to pay attention, where the raindrops are actually coming from, as the area protected by the umbrella is not right under it, but is an extension of the direction of the rain. During strong winds, this can be horizontal, so don't worry if you hold the umbrella sideways of where you are. The advantage of transparent umbrellas will become quickly apparent when the wind is coming from the front. Make sure it's protected zone covers the two of you. It is usually a good idea if the person walking on the windward side will hold the umbrella. Also, keep in mind that the wind will cause eddies on the side to carry rain inside the supposedly protected area under the umbrella, so with wind you should hold the umbrella as close to yourselves as possible.
  3. In build up areas on windy days, you will likely notice the wind eddying around structures. This will appear as if the direction of the wind is changing all the time. I think this is where umbrellas quickly become useless anyway. You can try and adjust where you point the umbrella. Usually, the wind will catch sooner or later under it and turn it inside out anyway. This is the time where you should think about finding other kinds of shelter. Having said that, @BenPen comments about a special 'Gust Buster' umbrella that lets the wind escape from the top, so it doesn't turn inside out as easily as others do.
  4. Size matters, especially when sharing an umbrella. If it isn't large enough to cover the two of you, all that water which is kept away from the centre will drip down at the sides. If this drip happens to fall on you, it can be more penetrating than being exposed to the rain directly. You can not make the umbrella larger than it is, but you can spin it, so this drip off will fly away from you, rather than hit you.

So in short, unless there is no wind there is no one correct way to hold the umbrella to cover the two of you. It is rather a matter of paying attention to where the rain is coming from and to adjust the position of the umbrella continuously to provide cover equally. Also, you may want to consider getting yourself one of those extra large umbrellas, when you expect to share one frequently.

  • 1
    I have a "gust buster" umbrella, which lets the wind escape out the top(ish) so it does not turn inside out. I have not been in hugely strong winds with it yet, but it does a great job as far as I've been able to see. It's not super cheap, but if you are in one of those urban areas where the wind swirls, it keeps things manageable, and keeps you drier than with an inside out umbrella.
    – BenPen
    Sep 22 '17 at 17:28
  • @BenPen Thanks for the hint. I included that in my answer, so it doesn't get lost.
    – Flint
    Sep 25 '17 at 21:00

It's a good question. While using an umbrella, the portion that you can save out of the rain is as highlighted below:

enter image description here

In order to get both of them equally dry, you should keep going side to side as shown below:

enter image description here

Or you must have a big umbrella like one of these:
enter image description here

  • img2 is the best way to go and what I always choose. But the boy on the left should hold the umbrella with his lefthand to center it. Or if he is 100% righthanded, he should be on the left side. Sep 21 '17 at 11:10
  • 1
    The umbrella in picture 3 is not big, it is a storm umbrella, where the front and sides are short and only the back is the normal full size umbrella length. There are 2 people umbrellas, but this is not one.
    – Willeke
    Sep 21 '17 at 16:03

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