The Umbrella Messenger Bag is an awesome option if you like keeping your hands free while getting the full benefits of a canopy shielding you from rain or sun. If the bag's a little too homely for your liking, though, you can ditch it by going with the Backpack Umbrella instead.
Rather than a bag with an umbrella holder in the strap, this one is a dedicated hands-free bumbershoot. The included backpack just has a tube-shaped pouch for holding your umbrella when put away -- nothing more.
During use, the Backpack Umbrella affixes to a built-in support rod in the back, holding the entire frame steady while your hands keep busy with other things. The use of a support rod, rather than a simple strap, should help make it a lot more firm, which should be necessary when strong gusts of wind accompany the day's downpour. Shoulder straps and a waist strap ensure the assembly hangs tight onto your body.
Granted, it looks a little odd. Who cares, though? You get to use your hands for carrying stuff, checking your emails and playing Angry Birds, all while staying dry under a 39.25-inch canopy. Flash a big smile and you'll be fine.
Hammacher Schlemmer has the Backpack Umbrella available now, priced at $39.95.