It's raining and you don't have an umbrella? What do you do? Grab the nearest items, fashion something out of them, and you have yourself an improvised umbrella.
Occasionally, a big leaf or a newspaper will be used for this purpose, and don't be surprised to see someone use a (empty) garbage bag as a raincoat, as all three are Truth in Television
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Anime and Manga
- The rain spirit from Urusei Yatsura uses an oversized leaf, and so do the traditional spirits on which it's based.
- In My Neighbor Totoro, Totoro uses a big leaf at one point.
- In Change 123, during the Okinawa school trip, Kosukegawa and Motoko get lost in the forest, and so Hino and Tsukishima go out to search for them. As it's raining, they put on themselves improvised raincoats made from transparent garbage bags, which even have the word "garbage" written on them in huge katakana characters.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: a Flash Back revealing May Chang meeting Xiao Mei for the first time had the former holding a large leaf as an umbrella in the rain.
- Brock's infamous "Drying Pan" from Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns.
- In an advert for Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, a guy walking into the rain with a laptop and a box of cornflakes put the cornflakes into his laptop case to keep them dry, and then used the laptop as an Improvised Umbrella.
- Circle of Magic: Tris has been known to use her weather magic to create an area around the group where rain won't penetrate. Of course, she loves the rain; she makes the barrier only because her friends don't want to get wet.
- In 1635: The Eastern Front, Jeff Higgins resorts to using a wooden plank.
- An (appropriately) nasty version appears in the Inferno sequel novel Escape From Hell. Some of the damned souls in the desert of raining fire have figured out the trick of teaming up, grabbing somebody else, and holding him overhead as a shield.
Live Action TV
- In and episode of Friends, Chandler was out on Monica's balcony smoking when it began to rain. When everyone refused to allow him back inside with his cigarette, he picked up the lid of her charcoal grill for an umbrella.
- Dilbert manages to make an improvised raincoat by making holes in a garbage bag. In the anniversary book Seven Years of Highly Defective People, Scott Adams says they call this an Engineer's Raincoat in the Seattle area.
- In one Sunday strip of For Better or for Worse, Elly finds herself stranded at a department store in a rain shower with no jacket. Thinking quickly, she fashions a rain jacket and hat out of garbage bags - only to find that by the time she finishes her project the rain has already stopped.
- Metroid Prime 3: The Space Pirate Homeworld has acidic rain, so Samus has to spend a good amount of time finding a special device that protects her (which is not this trope). However, after she does all that, she is called outside to meet with her superior, Admiral Dane, a normal human with no protection. Players may be annoyed at the Gameplay and Story Segregation, until they notice that it is not raining around Dane. Many players were annoyed that the acidic rain conveniently stopped for this guy, until they looked around and realize that it is only not raining around Dane. Then they look up and see his Improvised Umbrella: His personal flagship, hanging in geosynchronous orbit above his head. There's a reason the man is a Memetic Badass in a universe that contains Samus Aran.
- In PS238, Guardian Angel's power of 'protection from basically anything and everything' also protects her from rain, whether she wants such protection or not. It appears as if the rain is hitting a spherical energy shield... and for that reason, she always has to bring an umbrella when she goes out in the rain, to avoid revealing her secret identity.
- Common in Real Life, too, though not to the degree it's shown in fiction.