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[pct-l] Umbrella Problem Solved? Plus water carry idea.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.  I have come up with a solution for 
using two hiking poles and an umbrella.  

In a nut shell it simple involves using extremely light weight/cheap foam 
pipe installation as an umbrella shaft holder (cut to length so the umbrella 
comes to my forehead level - I still wear a hat and drape).  Then I attach the 
umbrella underside framing to the foam tube (Velcro strap around tube as 
attaching point (excellent in not raising up the foam tube when pulled hard as when a 
gust of wind would hit you) with a mini bungie cord (.25 oz.).  

The foam tube is attached to my Zrest back pad inside the pack using a couple 
of Velcro straps around the foam tube (slits cut in pad for Velcro straps).  
The tent stuffed in the bottom of my pack, then food, then sleeping bag on top 
keeps the back pad/foam tube tightly in place.  Plus the pack top is tight 
around the foam tube sticking up.  Well, don't laugh.  It works great in the 
living room.  

No system is perfect and this one has some minor drawbacks; foam tube takes 
up some room in pack and the umbrella is away from your head a little, so the 
front face coverage is okay, but not excellent.  The real and side coverage is 

2nd Subject -- For When You Need To Carry More Water: Check out the Cascade 
Designs Platypus 1 liter tote (www.platypushydration.com) -- 5.5 ounces each.  
I carry 2 liters of bottled water on my belly pack (one is actually a filter 
bottle), but anymore makes it too heavy around the waist.  Also, I try to keep 
heavy water off my back, so I am always looking for other alternatives.  

I bought 2 totes (REI) and carry them opposite cross my chest so they hang on 
my sides.  Very comfortable and efficient. They have net pockets that I carry 
small Platypus containers for Gatorade drinks -- a quick electrolyte shot.  
There are other carrying options on the site, but I like these best for 
durability and comfort.  Some people may not like this idea, because of the extra 
straps across your shoulders along with your normal backpack shoulder straps and 
the extra weight of the tote.  Again, nothing is perfect.  By the way you 
might want to consider wide-mouth containers for easier filling with the totes, 
instead of the containers that come with it.

Again, too much verbiage.  Thanks, Switchback