MEC Pride Logo
People skiing on a mountain at sunset

Gear of the Year: Tour 32 Backpack

January 9, 2023

Found in Gear

On the hunt for a new backcountry touring pack? We’ve got just the one – and it’s officially an award winner. Backcountry Skiing Canada just named the MEC Tour 32 Backpack as Gear of the Year and we couldn’t be more stoked.

Designed for in and out adventures, the Tour 32 Pack is lightweight, durable and water-resistant with all the features you need for skiing, boarding or snowshoeing. It’s also a homegrown design, created by MEC Label equipment designer Joel Forsyth. Our in-house design team is small but mighty, so it’s awesome to be recognized for the outdoor gear they’re creating.

"The Tour 32 is my favourite ski touring bag to date." – Backcountry Skiing Canada team

When he’s not designing packs (or tents or sleeping bags or panniers), MEC Label designer Joel is out in the mountains testing them. And it’s during development and testing that the Tour 32’s features came to life. “When we first started this pack project,” Joel told us, “we had briefs for a 32L and a 45L pack. Through the development, it soon evolved into one pack that could expand to suit both volumes – so you only need one pack in your gear closet.”

Person sitting in the snow wearing a red winter snowsuit

Above: Joel field testing a prototype of the MEC Tour 32 Pack on a BC backcountry trip.

What makes this pack great

It’s got all the usable features you need without weighing you down. Some of the top reasons why it’s been a hit so far:

The expanding storage. This 32L pack has a zippered top lid, plus the option of another 10L of storage with an expandable roll-top closure.

Six people with camping backpacks snowshoeing in the forest

“I was skeptical of the unorthodox top access but after a few days in the field I am totally impressed by the design… the ability to quickly stash snowy crampons and skins separately in between the top lid and the roll top is a neat feature.” – Backcountry Skiing Canada team

The versatility: It can carry skis (A-frame), snowshoes or a snowboard, ice axe and trekking poles. There’s a stowable helmet carrier too. Straps stash away when you’re not using them to give it a nice clean look.

Person with a blue backcountry backpack and rope on a snowy mountain

The roomy safety gear pocket: It’s quick and easy to get to your avalanche safety gear – just zip open the front pocket. There’s plenty of space; the Backcountry Skiing Canada crew noted that “snow saws, skins and even a small ice axe can fit as well without having to cram them in.”

MEC Tour 32 backpack with backcountry avalanche safety gear inside

The comfort. Main access to the pack is through a rear-entry molded back panel. Since it doesn’t have stiffeners, field testers mentioned how comfortable they found this pack to carry. “We chose a rear-entry design to make transitions from hike to ski easy and efficient,” Joel said. “Plus, you don’t have to constantly put your back panel and shoulder straps in the snow where they’d ice up.” It’s also cinchable, so you can tighten it up for comfortable turns on the descent.

Person with a blue MEC Tour 32 backpack backcountry skiing on a mountain

The value. One of the goals of MEC Label is to make high-quality backcountry gear at prices that don’t break the bank. The Tour 32 pack is quite possibly one of the best feature sets for price out there. It’s also made from bluesign® materials for reduced environmental impact.

Huge congrats to our design team! Find out more about why it made Gear of the Year from Backcountry Skiing Canada.

Recent articles