An umbrella is a very useful thing to have on the road but even the compact folding types can be cumbersome to pack.

This travel umbrella is a smart alternative because it's small and folds up flat rather than round (19cm long, 8cm wide and 2.5cm deep) making it easy to fit into your bag.

It's also simple to use and opens up into a good-sized umbrella which has already proved strong enough to cope with Auckland's early winter winds, spring storms in Cornwall and summer downpours in Athens.

The DesignGo travel umbrella retails for $34.99 and is distributed in New Zealand by Signature Marketing which has product stands at selected Unichem, Amcal and Life pharmacies, Farmers, Briscoes, Pac 'n' Pedal and the Automobile Association (though not all products are available at all outlets).