What are your thoughts on Urban Canairie’s outdoor hats?
You all, because you like covering your head
I’m going to be honest with you: Getting gifts in the mail is really, really great. I mean, it exceeds the typical daily level of greatness; it is a special degree of great. And since I’m pretty excitable anyway, you can imagine my joy when a gift box arrived on my doorstep, all the way from the Canadian Frontier, where bear rugs still growl and the winters make girls into women. Inside the box were two caps from Urban Canairie, an outfitter specializing in outdoor headgear. I was looking forward to trying the Urban Canairie Hat and Cap.
Mark Freeman, the company founder, sent me two of his specially vented caps, along with a kind, personalized note. One of the caps was the Arctic Stone color, a nice grey shade; the other, which came with a removable, vented neck-shade, was a creamy Wintery White color.
(Note briefly: As a child, I was taught a serious fashion rule. That rule dictated that beyond her wedding day, a lady must only wear white during the summer season between the end of May and the first week of September. Obviously, I had to take pause and wonder, “Should I wear a white cap when it’s only the first week of May?” Since this cap was a ‘wintery white,’ I figured I could break the rule. Rest assured that no fashion gods smote me.)
I want you to trust my reviews, so let me speak frankly. I had two remarks immediately upon opening this box of hats:
- “Oh wow, look at the vents on the top of these caps! Bye bye head sweat!”
- “Oh gosh, these… are not… my style.”
Now style is subjective, of course, and my opinion is just one in a sea of bajillions. I figured I’d gather others’ opinions, so I put on the Wintery White cap and snapped a selfie. First, I emailed my picture to Nicole. “I don’t know what to think about this, Nicole,” I said. Next, I texted my friend: “Do I look like a dweeb?” (She responded, “Always.” Gee, thanks a lot!) Regardless, style is fleeting; substance is the real deal. I decided that even if I looked like a dweeb, I’d take these caps for a test drive on a couple of hikes, and I’d make a fully informed assessment. Like anything else, the only way to appreciate this Urban Canairie Hat is to try it!
- It really wasn’t my style after all. “I feel like I’m in an old timey Army,” I said to my friend as we set off on our hike. She encouraged me to march stiff-kneed with a long water bottle cradled against my chest. I tried it for a while, and it actually felt appropriate. Turns out my military vibe was spot-on! On the Urban Canairie website, Mark remarks that the hat design was inspired by “the cylindrical shaped, flat topped military ‘kepi’ hats from the French Foreign Legion and U.S. Civil War.” I found this a bit too masculine for my tastes, but my friend – who, like me, dresses femininely – said she thought the hats were neat looking. It really is a “to-may-to, to-mah-to” thing. As the company website mentions, “The hat may be a little ‘different’ looking, however we now live in a world where uniqueness is accepted.”
- I felt the fit was a bit “iffy,” but this was also a benefit (see below). The hat band fell above my ears, so even when I tightened it, it still felt as though it were resting on the top of my head. I was paranoid that it would fall off throughout the day, and I remedied this by putting my ponytail through the hole in the back of the band.
- I found the neck shade awkward to wear. I’m not always the best at applying sunscreen to the back of my neck, so I appreciated how the shade protected that area. However, I’m on the petite side (worded less delicately: I’m really freakin’ short; my backpack frames are either child length or women’s XS). Thus, I found the shade a bit too long for me. I imagine adult-sized adults would be perfectly fine with the neck shade’s length.
- One of Urban Canairie’s mottos is “Our Hats Keep You Cool.” This is a true statement. Despite my feelings that the hat fit precariously, the lack of weight and fabric around my ears really did cool off my head. The vented design at the top of the hat significantly cooled things off, too.
- The bill of the hat is a great size. I’ve found many of the ball caps I wear while hiking have bills made for larger faces; I sometimes feel like I’m hiking beneath an awning. The front of the Urban Canairie hat was large enough to shade my face, but not so big that my line of sight was obscured.
- In his letter, Mark informed me that others—perhaps those with lots of hair, like me!—have remarked on how these hats do not cause “hat head.” I can vouch for this! Although I certainly don’t put a lot of effort into my hairdo while hiking, I was pleased to see that I did not have a weird dent in my hair at the end of the day.
- The hats are manufactured in Canada from 65% recycled plastic and 35% American-supplied, certified organic cotton. This results in an ecologically minded product made in fair work conditions!
- These hats are built tough. I rolled them up, dropped them in dirt, crunched them into my backpack, and accidentally stepped on one, and they came out looking fresh as a daisy. These are meticulously crafted hats.
My final thoughts? Urban Canairie’s hats are worth a look-see. I can see myself wearing them again, without the neck shade, during a hiking or camping trip. You might opt to wear them everywhere! Let’s focus on function: These hats are, literally, cool. If you tend to run warm, like I do, you’ll be pleased with how breezy you feel wearing these caps.
Feel like learning more? Check out the hats and learn more about Urban Canairie.
See you again soon,