MEC staffer standing next to two sleeping pads

Gear vs. gear: camping edition

Forest or lakeview site? Sunrise or sunset watching? S’mores or banana boats? Camping and backpacking are full of decisions to make. So when it comes to camping gear, we want to make sure you know what exactly choice is right for you.

Check out our gear vs. gear video series below – we compared some of our favourite picks for pillows, tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and camp chairs side-by-side to help you make your decision.

Camping chairs

Nemo Stargaze Luxury Chair vs. MEC Park Chair

If want to kick back for front row seats during the meteor shower, the Nemo is a prime option. And if you’re looking for a solid seat with 3 different reclining positions, the MEC Park Chair is ready to hit the beach, park or campsite.

Lightweight tents

MEC Spark 2 vs. MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Counting grams for your 3-season gear? The Spark 2 is lightweight for long-haul adventures, and the Hubba Hubba is a well-loved classic for a reason (plus you can set it up as a fly/footprint combo).

Camping tents

MEC Camper 3 vs. MSR Elixir 3

Excellent roomy options for backpacking trips with quite a few similarities. The MSR Elixir 3 comes with a footprint included, and the MEC Camper 3 has a higher waterproofness level in the floor.

Sleeping pads

Car camping: MEC Reactor 6.5 vs MEC Reactor 10

With 10cm of pure cushy comfort, the Reactor 10 is your ticket to peak camp dreams… but the Reactor 6.5 isn’t far behind and has the member reviews to back up its legacy. Both are available in double sleeping pad sizes too.

Backpacking: MEC VectAir vs Therm-a-rest NeoAir Trekker

Dreaming of backpacking trips? These 2 sleeping pad options are both insulated air pads, but with slightly different R-values and packed sizes. If you want a bit more sleeping surface, they also come in longer and wider options.

Camping pillows

MEC Air Pillow vs. MEC Deluxe Pillow

Bottom line: both camping pillows are way comfier than sleeping on a balled-up fleece jacket, and neither one takes up a ton of space.

Sleeping bags

Backpacking: MEC Cassiopeia -9 vs. MEC Delphinus -9

Two of our best-selling sleeping bags – is down or synthetic the right option for you?

Car camping: MEC Creekside vs MEC Fireside

Both of these bags are made to keep you comfy on car camping trips. The Creekside sleeping bag is an easy to care for rectangular bag (at a solid price), and comes in a few temperature ranges and sizes. The Fireside is all about maximum sleeping comfort – and it has a zip-off quilt, too.

Karen Benson

Editor, trail runner, nature nerd. Lauded for leading cheer squads everywhere, she’s also an outspoken advocate for eating burritos daily.