Umbrella Bag

Umbrella Bag

This is one of those things which you never knew you needed but swiftly discover you cannot do without…

I mean, you know how annoying it is when you go into a mall or get on a bus carrying a wet umbrella. It drips everywhere, sticks to your legs, or water gathers dangerously in the bottom of the flimsy plastic bag you find at the entrance of particularly efficient stores.

Even if you have a bag of your own to hand, it usually ends up spilling water all over your shopping when you take it out later.

The Daily Susu is the invention that will transform rainy days – a slim waterproof bag lined with microfiber which soaks up the water. You pop your (foldable) umbrella inside, zip it up, and can get on with your day knowing that the rest of your belongings will stay perfectly safe and dry. Hang it up inside out overnight, and it will be ready to go again next day.

It is made by Japanese firm Yamazaki-Sangyo, and cost a very reasonable S$24 at Tokyu Hands in Singapore. Where, as the rainy season seems to be continuing way beyond its expected limit, I am finding it especially useful.

‘Dry’ Tote Bag


You don’t have to live in the tropics for rain to be a nuisance – it is deeply annoying, wherever you are, to arrive home with bag and purchases dripping wet. But what if your bag was actually a ‘dry’ bag?

These incredibly useful things, most often available in lurid colours and basic shapes as a vital part of hiking kit, do exactly what they say. Even the flimsiest of them keep your valuables, especially electronics, safe from horrible weather, sometimes even from an unscheduled underwater dip.

So it was very exciting when I found a smart tote bag made of this special fabric, in black. It has strong handles, a pocket inside and – most interestingly – a covered zip that closes so securely that you have to squeeze the air out first, to keep the bag flat.

It looks so good that I have been stopped and asked where I got this, which was at the Design Centre shop here in Singapore. Although at the time I was hesitant to pay the (for me, pretty expensive) S$70 price, it has proved to be worth every cent.

It comes from Rains, a Danish firm which makes stylish and fashionable weatherproof goods including coats, trousers and rain boots as well as a full range of bags, and it has worked so well that I am now considering one of their jackets as well.

Rain Shoes

rain shoes 1 rain shoes 2 rain shoes 3

In tropical Asia, when it rains it rarely does so in a half-hearted fashion. You can literally see the water approaching, like the rapid advance of a dirty shower curtain, or – in extreme cases – an actual waterfall. It rains so hard you can barely see across the road, and bounces off the pavement so high you will swiftly be soaked to the knees despite your umbrella. There are days when it all gets too much for the storm drains to handle, and low-lying roads turn into rivers.

You might think I would be used to this by now, but old habits die hard and I am always taken by surprise those days when I set out in bright sunshine yet find myself wading home in ankle deep water. I cannot tell you how many pairs of pretty sandals have died a hideous death in these circumstances…

But I seem to have found an answer. Local ladies, who are usually half my size, get around just fine in Chinese-made plastic shoes designed with a lace-effect pattern of holes that let the water out. I have some, (see the picture on the left), only they are just so tight I don’t wear them for more than 10 minutes except in emergencies. Recently, however, the shoe market in Singapore has expanded to include several new brands selling bright and fashionable waterproof shoes that are nice enough to wear all day.

My favourite is Melissa, a Brazilian brand, which has such an extensive range it even includes high heels. The company, which has been going for more than 35 years now, uses a recyclable PVC which is both tough and flexible, so their shoes are comfortable as well as practical. They don’t always have the larger sizes, but my 2 pairs (above centre and right) cover most eventualities and I am very pleased with them.