Ever wondered who helps decide what gear shows up on MEC store shelves? Meet Cheena, part of the team who does just that. “I get to preview a ton of new exciting products a season ahead, which is awesome. But I also get to work with amazing people who love the outdoors – it’s not every job where you can shred some pow, mountain bike and hike with your colleagues.”
When Cheena’s not looking through catalogues or spreadsheets, she’s making plans to get out. “I’m looking forward to ski touring season. It always amazes me to think of all the places you can go with your legs and the right gear.”
Check out Cheena’s list of top gift picks for winter and beyond:
Therm-a-rest Honcho Poncho
“An awesome gift to give or to receive,” says Cheena. “I take my Honcho Poncho camping or even to hang out at a cabin. It’s like a blanket that you get to wear.” It tucks into its own storage pocket for maximum portability.
MEC Boundary Light Down Vest
“Perfect for ski touring!” says Cheena. “The MEC Boundary Light Down Vest keeps you warm, but not too hot when you’re climbing a big mountain to push for the peak on a cold day.” Expert tip: it makes a sweet mid-layer piece to complement the other parts of an outdoor layering system.
An insulated water bottle
Give the gift of never drinking lukewarm beverages. Cheena’s pick? The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle. “It’s the best! I put in ice cubes and it keeps my water cold for hours.” It also keeps drinks hot for up to 12 hours and is dishwasher safe.
Feeling generous? Get your favourite skier set up with some backcountry ski gear. “The G3 Ion 10 bindings are my first tech bindings and they’ve been super awesome,” says Cheena. “It’s easy to transition from walk to ski mode, and they’re very light which makes the trek up so much more enjoyable.” Of course, avalanche training courses are a must for backcountry adventures too.
Portable caffeine creators
Fact: coffee lovers can never have too many ways to create coffee. An Aeropress Go fits nicely in a stocking now, and in a backpack later. “I take it everywhere – camping, travelling, you name it. Everything fits compactly in the cup, and it comes with a filter case. Plus it makes great coffee.”
“The MSR PocketRocket 2 is a super light, trail ready, easy-to-use stove that I take on almost every adventure that I go on,” says Cheena. “It can cook one heck of a meal.” Pair it with a few camping meals to get hikers dreaming of their next night out.
A cozy toque
Stuff their stocking with the magic of soft, moisture-wicking merino wool. “Smartwool socks snug onto your feet nicely, to keep them warm for cold winter months,” Cheena says. Find tons of patterns, colours and heights to match up with everyone on your gift list.
Garmin Fenix 6S Pro
Have someone with goals on your gift list? The Garmin Fenix 6S Pro is an excellent watch for skiers, runners, cyclists, swimmers and more. “It’s nice to keep track of how far you’ve gone,” Cheena says, “and since I’ve hooked it up to my phone, I never miss out on my messages and notifications.”
Stasher reusable bags
“I absolutely love my Stasher bag!” shares Cheena. “It’s made from durable food grade silicone, which I know won’t rip and keeps food safe in my pack.” This eco-friendly gift idea could even double as a way to wrap a gift for your sustainably minded friends or family members.
Huge thanks to Cheena for sharing her top gift ideas, and for giving a small window into her working-from-home world as she plans what products show up in stores and on mec.ca.