MEC’s top recommendations for outdoor winter gear
With more than 50 years of experience helping people gear up for the outdoors, MEC is the go-to for adventure-loving Canadians. Whether you’re looking to splurge on fresh cross-country ski set-ups and the latest heated mitts, or are in search of gifts for the loved ones on your gift-giving list MEC has recommendations for all. Below are some select top-recommended staff selections to help get you sorted for your upcoming winter pursuits. Available online or in-store.
For the environmentally conscious friend that appreciates a sustainably sourced gift:
● Xtratuf 6″ Ankle Rain Eco Boots ($129.95): Thunderstorms and rogue waves are no match for these rain boots. Born on the wet and wild margins of the North Pacific and made from plant based Yulex rubber, Xtratuf’s rugged boots have long been favourites of commercial fishers, kayakers and other people who spend a lot of time in and on the water.
● UCO Eco Mess Kit 5-Piece ($39.99): This compact camping kit has everything you need to eat your meal on the trail. The bowl and plate press together to become a leak-proof container, so you can be sure your entire dinner will be there when you make it to camp. The bowl, lid and spork are made of post-consumer plastic waste.
● Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket ($189.00): This warm, 100% recycled polyester full-zip jacket combines a sweater-knit aesthetic with the easy care of Better Sweater fleece. It’s dyed with a low-impact process that significantly reduces the use of dyestuffs, energy and water compared to conventional dyeing methods. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.
Let the kids play outside all season long while staying warm and cozy:
● MEC Toaster Suit ($159.95): This classic one-piece suit offers warmth and weather protection when there’s fun to be had in fall and winter.
● Komperdell Ski Set ($79.95): Ideal for young children taking their first strides on skis. The wide platform aids balance and stability. Package includes universal bindings, skis, and poles.
● MEC Toaster Earflap Hat ($29.95): When it gets cold, wet and windy, keep small noggins cozy. With a waterproof-breathable shell and soft fleece-lined earflaps, this cap will keep your bundle-of-joy toasty and happy as a clam.
Keep the outdoor chef busy with these portable cooking gifts:
● Ooni Fyra Portable Wood-fired Outdoor Pizza Oven ($449.95): Take your outdoor kitchen next level with a wood-fired pizza oven. The Fyra oven reaches 500°C in just 15 minutes, and can cook a pizza and crisp the crust in about 60 seconds.
● Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press ($49.95): For picnics in the park, traveling overseas, or when the espresso machine at work is down for maintenance. The AeroPress Go brews delicious American-style coffee.
● GSI Pinnacle Pro 2 Burner Stove ($239.95): A car-camper’s dream. This ultra-compact stove, is just 3.5cm thick when folded. It opens up to a full-size camp stove for convenient cooking.
Enjoy the great outdoors regardless of the weather with these camping gifts:
● MEC Double Hammock with Tree Strap ($119.95): Relax as you take care of the environment you’re lounging in. This double hammock is made using a nearly zero waste production pattern, sized to reduce fabric waste while still allowing room for two people.
● Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho ($159.95): One part fireside layer, one part blanket. Insulated, breathable and water-resistant, the Honcho Poncho is filled with synthetic insulation to manage humidity fluctuations and help it dry quickly if it gets damp.
● Yeti Rambler 20 Vacuum Mag Slider Tumbler ($45.00): Pairing the over-engineered Rambler tumbler with the coolness of the MagSlider lid, you get minimal sloshiness, maximum frostiness plus piping hotiness.
Gifts for the gear-obsessed:
● BioLite Charge 40 PD Power Bank ($59.95): In a front-country campground or way out in the wild, life takes power. Now equipped with USB-C PD ports, BioLite’s Charge line can top up your compatible devices faster than ever.
● NRS Thrive 10.8 Inflatable SUP Board ($1,674.95): From rivers to open waters, one board does it all. The Thrive series is based on the idea that one shape can do it all for paddlers who tour, paddle for fitness, and rip down the occasional section of river waves. Plus, since it’s inflatable, you can roll it up, toss it in your adventure wagon and take off to your next paddle spot.
● Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar ($1,299.99): The latest Garmin fēnix makes it easier to stay in touch with how you train. The touchscreen on the fēnix 7 lets you choose between tapping, swiping or tried-and-true buttons. An efficient solar panel could make charging a thing of the past. Regional TopoActive maps help you find your way or plan your route home or abroad.
Plans to spend winter break traveling? Get them ready for the trip:
● MEC Recycled Duffle Bag ($79.95): This duffle does what duffles do best – packs huge amounts of gear. Bomber construction makes it easy to grab, easy to stuff and easy to haul.
● Osprey Farpoint 55 Pack ($259.95): A lightweight, carry-on-sized travel pack for minimalist globetrotters. Durable fabrics in high-wear areas stand up to being strapped to van-taxi roof racks or tossed into Thai long-tails. Travel-friendly features include lockable zippers, a padded laptop sleeve, and 2 front compression straps that help you slim it down if you’ve managed to pare down your gear on the road.
● MEC Travel Light Packing Cube ($24.95): It’s hip to be square. Keep the contents of your luggage organized and wrinkle-free with lightweight packing cubes. They’re also useful for keeping shoes and dirty laundry separate from the clean stuff, and making it easier to find that one thing you really need from the bottom of your bag.
Winter is snow joke. Keep your loved one ready for a snowy and action-packed winter:
● Smith Proxy Goggles ($179.95): Whether it is a bluebird day, or dumping fresh pow, these goggles will help you keep your line in sight.
● MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes ($189.95): Engineered to provide bite on hard snow and slopes. Traction rails on the decks and crampons underfoot make them stable when you’re moving over rolling terrain and tackling ice or raincrust.
● Salomon Escape 6 Skin Skis + Prolink A ($269.95): For recreational skiers looking for stability and control. Sidecut and wide front platform promote control and stability. Minimal camber from heel to toe means skis respond efficiently to your power, and a new-school skin technology reduces your time spent waxing.
Stay warm and toasty all season long with these wintertime faves:
● MEC Cozy Pom Toque ($29.95): Add texture and a pompom to your look. Neutral colours are easy to match and work well with your winter layers and jackets.
● Polar Feet Fleece Socks ($21.95): Add a bit of zip to your feet. Combining flair and function, these combed fleece socks are warm, wicking, and quick to dry, plus they’re well-fitted for long term comfort.
● MEC Hut Booties ($79.95): For years, MEC Hut Booties have been the secret weapon of savvy skiers and ice climbers. Soft footbeds are a treat for your feet after long days in heavy boots. Textured soles and ankle drawcords let you make quick forays to the woodpile without losing any delicious warmth.
Get excited for your local trails with these biker essentials:
● Polygon Siskiu T8 Bike ($3,449.95): If pumping into berms and hucking off drops brings a smile to your face, this well specced full-suspension bike is worth a look. Designed to meet the needs of the modern trail rider, the Siskiu T8 doesn’t shy away from the gnar.
● Cannondale Trail 8 Bicycle ($864.95): This trail bike’s geometry keeps you balanced and stable, even when the road is looking a little rowdy. Its larger wheel radius makes it easier to bump over roots and rocks.
● Crankbrothers M19 Multi-Tool ($46.95): A fully featured lightweight bike tool with 19 components, so you’re covered for most road-side repairs.
Don’t get left in the cold! Give the gift of warmth this holiday season with MEC’s essential men’s collection:
● MEC Uplink Jacket ($149.95): Our lightest and most mobile mid-layer for high output efforts and stuffed packs. Sandbagged by an abrupt change in the weather? Whip this super-light technical jacket out of your pack or unclip it from your harness and slide it on.
● MEC Hip Pack ($29.95): Simplify your life on the road, trail or sidewalk with this uncomplicated waist pack. A large main compartment and 1 small pocket keep you organized.
● BN3TH Classic Boxer Briefs ($34.95): A boxer brief so comfortable, you won’t want to take it off.
For the special woman in your life who enjoys practical and thoughtful gifts:
● MEC Northern Light Hoodie – Women’s ($199.95) The most versatile lightweight mid-layer for any activity. It’s a function-first design, engineered to last, with a look that’s more timeless than trendy.
● Kari Traa Rose High Waist Pants ($139.95) Maximum warmth for cold days, the Kari Traa Rose Pant helps you build your defense against heat-sneaking winter.
● Kari Traa Rose Long Sleeve Top ($139.95) Maximum warmth for cold days, the Kari Traa Rose Long Sleeve helps you build your defense against heat-sneaking winter. Pair with the Rose High Waist Pants.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.