Dear Natalie: Try the Urban Canairie Hat

Ask Natalie Banner Dear Natalie: Who else does this?

By Natalie McCarthy

Dear Natalie,

What are your thoughts on Urban Canairie’s outdoor hats?

Signed,

You all, because you like covering your head

__________________________________________________________________

 

Dear friends,

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.

 

Dear Natalie: Try the Urban Canairie Hat 1

(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:

  1. “Oh wow, look at the vents on the top of these caps! Bye bye head sweat!”
  2. “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!

Dear Natalie: Try the Urban Canairie Hat 2
Selfie!

 

Drawbacks—all subjective:

  • 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.

 

Benefits—More measurable!:

  • 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.
It might not be obvious, but I was warm here. My face was red and my back may or may not have been sweaty. My head, though, was super comfortable!

 

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,

Natalie

Resident Columnist and Reviewer at | Website

“Ask Natalie” host, Natalie McCarthy was born and raised in the urban American rust belts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cleveland, Ohio, in a not-particularly-outdoorsy family. She discovered the outdoors in her early 30s and now seeks out new ways to adventure.

Natalie earned her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work. She works as a licensed supervisory clinical social worker specializing in the treatment of co-occurring substance use, general mental health, and trauma-related disorders. While her professional practice is where Natalie spends most of her time helping people with their problems, she was an online advice columnist in the past.

In the early 2000s, she was the go-to answer girl on a now-defunct website called New Girl Order. Her column there led her to research a diversity of topics, from May-December romances to why on Earth plucking our eyebrows makes us sneeze.

51 thoughts on “Dear Natalie: Try the Urban Canairie Hat

  • June 16, 2018 at 2:03 pm
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    I like the hat! It looks really comfy and nice, love the color and perfect this summer.

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  • June 14, 2018 at 1:58 am
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    The only time I probably would wear a hat is when I am hiking which I never wear when hiking. I would totally get this though. Just in a different color.

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  • June 12, 2018 at 4:58 am
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    That’s really a good hat. I don’t know much about hats but it seems interesting for the benefits it has in keeping cool.

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  • June 12, 2018 at 4:16 am
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    I would love to wear that hat. Urban canairie hats are kind of cool and unique, and they got a briliant motto :”)

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  • June 12, 2018 at 2:52 am
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    This is interesting. Though it is really not my style, I’d be willing to wear it given the benefits you mentioned. As you what you have said, style is subjective. Perhaps we can start a trend?

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  • June 6, 2018 at 4:23 am
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    I’d give the first reaction – Bye bye head sweat indeed! Every time I remove the cap, my hair would have taken up the shape of the cap, thanks to the sweat! Lolz… This sounds like a good way to keep the head well ventilated.

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    • June 9, 2018 at 10:58 pm
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      It is SUCH a difference from typical sweat-head hats!

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  • June 5, 2018 at 6:44 pm
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    I’m not gonna lie, this hat looks kinda silly. But it also sounds super practical! I have to admit I’m a fan of a big floppy hat, but this makes WAY more sense.

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    • June 9, 2018 at 11:03 pm
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      Girl, same. I’m a ball cap girl through and through, yet I’m glad I had the chance to wander outside my comfort zone for a little while.

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  • June 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm
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    It’s important to have hats that are functional and keep you cool. The shape looks odd but I guess it’s personal choice.

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    • June 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm
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      That’s my outlook too. I’ve had quite a few people tell me they disagree with my style opinion. I think that’s great! Mark and his team are A+ and I am glad folks will find their product useful.

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  • June 5, 2018 at 3:40 pm
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    Who doesn’t love a good gift arriving at their door and snazzy one as these hats are perfect. Great for shielding you from the sun when out hiking.

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    • June 9, 2018 at 11:01 pm
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      Useful gifts? Yes please!

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  • June 5, 2018 at 8:24 am
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    I am not a hat person but I can definitely see the advantages of this. I do think it’s important to keep shaded from the sun. And it seems easy to just stick in a bag and take with you.

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    • June 9, 2018 at 11:00 pm
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      Agreed. I have owned a ton of hats that are permanently traumatized from their experience being shoved in my backpack (or car trunk, or suitcase, or…). Glad this one is so easy to tote!

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  • June 4, 2018 at 3:15 pm
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    I agree that the hat is not in the best fashion statement for any great occasion, but seeing its functionality, it is quite helpful in your outdoor activities. Urban Canairie’s hats are uniquely designed to keep you cool. I would love to use it during my trekking days.

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    • June 9, 2018 at 10:59 pm
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      Super functional for sure!

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  • June 4, 2018 at 2:36 am
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    Going camping is not a fashion show. Hence, if the type of item you are wearing has a purpose then I am all for it. For example, wearing a fanny pack is kind of lame now a days. If you see people with them today then for sure they are not wearing it for fashion. But back in the day it was for looks rather for purpose.

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    • June 4, 2018 at 1:17 pm
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      I think lots of folks agree with you, and they’d probably love these hats for the functional aspect (even if they weren’t sold on the looks).

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  • June 4, 2018 at 1:46 am
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    I love how this looks like the hats they would wear in the movies. Such a great find!

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    • June 4, 2018 at 1:34 pm
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      I was so pleased to receive these hats! ?

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  • June 4, 2018 at 12:35 am
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    Yeah, I think in terms of most things about the function of it rather than whether the fashion is good. Although I get the whole strangeness and the old time french military. Would be weird, but if it worked, that’s great.

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    • June 4, 2018 at 1:35 pm
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      I think plenty of people would be delighted with the military vibe and the great function of the hat. Strange for me, delightful for others. Diversity is the spice of life! ?

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  • June 3, 2018 at 6:05 pm
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    I’d never been told that fashion rule about white before but it totally makes sense! I’m going to stick by it now! That hat looks incredibly practical! But I know what you mean about the style, I’m not sure it’s the first thing I’d go for. If I was doing a lot of hiking in the sun though maybe I would consider it.

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    • June 3, 2018 at 11:46 pm
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      I agree. When you’re hoping to avoid a gross, overheated head, your personal fashion sense can become less a priority!

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  • June 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm
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    What a clever design! I can see how it is useful for people constantly exploring outdoors. I agreed with you on the style not quite fashionable. I think it suits men better than women.

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    • June 3, 2018 at 11:47 pm
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      Yes, that’s how it seems to me, too. I think the military influence lends it a more masculine look.

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  • June 3, 2018 at 9:50 am
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    I’ve never seen a hat like that! I hope they are available here in Philippines. That will be very useful in my adventures!

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    • June 3, 2018 at 11:47 pm
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      Karla, I believe you can order online! ???

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  • June 3, 2018 at 5:41 am
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    Coooool hat! I like how it cover ears too. It reminds me of “The catcher in the rye”

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    • June 3, 2018 at 11:48 pm
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      Avoiding sunburn is important!

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    • June 3, 2018 at 11:48 pm
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      Stella, maybe your son would like one of these. Very useful for hot weather!

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  • June 2, 2018 at 2:11 pm
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    Receiving gifts is indeed exciting and you absolutely got one to appreciate all time long since it will be very useful during your hiking times. The urban canairie hat is worth having also since it;’s tough…I hate ones that can’t even be folded inside a bag since they’ll come out too creased.

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    • June 3, 2018 at 11:49 pm
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      Dalene, me too! My gear, including hats, needs to withstand being shoved into a backpack!

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  • June 2, 2018 at 9:17 am
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    This looks like the old hats the explorationists used to wear long ago! And they are so modern and stylish indeed

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    • June 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm
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      I thought it looked vintage too!

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  • June 2, 2018 at 7:27 am
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    These Urban Canairie hats look really very elegant and also comfortable. During trekking in the sun, the heat beats upon you and the head bears the brunt. This hat would come in as a boon to protect the head from the sun. What I also like is the compactness of this hat, convenient to carry along.

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    • June 2, 2018 at 2:31 pm
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      It does roll up into a pack very conveniently.

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  • June 2, 2018 at 4:10 am
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    I must admit, it’s really functional and could be the perfect gift for someone who loves the outdoors! But, to be honest, I’m more of a fashion over comfort kind of person. My dad would love this though!

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    • June 2, 2018 at 2:31 pm
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      Me too, Jen! I think there are a few folks in my life who would be 100% happy with it. As for me, not quite my style.

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  • June 1, 2018 at 8:33 pm
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    Urmm I think I would be with you with the hats not being my style which would probably put me off getting one in all honesty. It is however good to see that do keep your head cool so in the right conditions I might be tempted…possibly.

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    • June 2, 2018 at 2:32 pm
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      You and I are on the exact same page, Laura!

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  • June 1, 2018 at 3:37 pm
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    You look super cute in the hat! I agree it wouldn’t be my style either, but I like how it keeps your head cool!

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    • June 2, 2018 at 2:33 pm
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      Thanks Rachael! It really was nice to not have a gross, sweaty head.

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  • June 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm
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    I like how honest you were in the review, they are probably not my style either but they look really handy for hiking and more of a must-have to stay cool and protected.

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    • June 2, 2018 at 2:33 pm
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      Thanks Elizabeth. You’re right – far as function goes, I did really love it.

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  • June 1, 2018 at 10:36 am
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    Alright, I agree, they are not the best fashion statement that you can make but well, the eco-friendly part does make it most useful. Also, what I liked was the fact that while remaining cool, it prevents the sun getting onto the neck and face. I guess, maybe you can jazz it up with a few embellishments 😉

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    • June 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm
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      Hahaha Ami, yes! My cousin saw one of the photos and mistook the mesh vents for tiny rhinestones. That made me start wondering how one might add some “oomph” to these hats! ?

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  • June 1, 2018 at 10:12 am
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    Although I am not a regular camper, I do love the look of these Urban Canairie hats. I always find that regular sunhats are too wide or fussy and these look like they will cover the back of the neck as well.

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    • June 2, 2018 at 2:36 pm
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      Razena, I do think these would be up your alley if you find standard hats too cumbersome. These do have a very streamlined profile and are super easy to tote with you.

      Reply

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