A made-in-Vancouver umbrella that doesn’t flip inside out

Wind: an umbrella's worst enemy, especially in Vancouver. Is the Cypress Umbrella the answer?

October 30, 2015

By Trevor Melanson / Photo: Hedgehog Products

It’s November and raining. Your umbrella is thumped by a strong gust of wind like an ill-prepared parachute, flipping inside out. You swear. It’s broken. You swear again and shove the damn thing into the next trash can, a bouquet of similarly broken umbrellas. Sound familiar? If you live in Vancouver, of course it does.

Enter the Cypress Umbrella, a made-in-Vancouver option that aims to conquer umbrella enemy No. 1: wind. It’s already raised $40,000 of its $50,000 Kickstarter goal as of Thursday, with 20 days to go. How does it work, what does it cost, and when can you buy one? We reached out to Hedgehog Products (maker of the Cypress Umbrella) co-founder Kevin Truong to find out.

So, just how does the Cypress Umbrella work?

We designed an automotive-inspired suspension system to fend off chaotic winds. Similar to how shocks on your car work to provide a smoother ride, each rib within the Cypress Umbrella’s architecture is designed to pivot and adjust independently, allowing the Cypress Umbrella to handle sudden shifts in airflow about the canvas, making it more aerodynamically stable. For an umbrella that is designed to last, we implemented interchangeable canvas capabilities such that one frame can support a limitless selection of colours and patterns.

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What motivated you to create the Cypress Umbrella?

Cahay [Ho, the other co-founder,] and I are both not originally from Vancouver. Cahay moved here back in September 2011 and I in October 2012. We moved here from Edmonton and Toronto respectively, areas that see more snow than rain. Having an umbrella became the norm for nine months of the year in Vancouver. During our initial years living here, we both have broken our fair share of umbrellas, whether it was a $7 umbrella or a $30 one. Each broke in a different way: the rivets broke at various connections, the ribs bent upon wind impact, or even just the canopy having a tear. These incidents influenced the main features we have incorporated into the Cypress Umbrella.

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Given we live in Rain City, this seems like a uniquely Vancouver invention. 

This umbrella has been designed and developed entirely in Vancouver. What started out in one of our apartments ventured into the confines of Vancouver Hack Space, where it has been designed, prototyped, tested, and iterated to the point you see now.

Okay, let’s say you’ve sold me. What will it cost, and when can I buy one?

Our Kickstarter promotional price offers the collapsible version at $89, and it comes with two different canopies. The full-length version, also with two different canopies, is priced at $64. Additional canvases are $9 to $11. Production is scheduled to commence early 2016 with delivery starting in June.

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