Mountain Equipment Company

Meet the MEC Classics Collection

August 12, 2022

Found in Gear

Reimagined, reissued, ready to go. The MEC Classics Collection is a limited drop of iconic gear from the MEC archives.

Images from MEC catalogues of the 1970s to 1990s

Above: We scoured the archives and old MEC catalogues to see what designs, fabrics and colours inspired us.

Hello, old friends

So, why MEC Classics? It’s about celebrating the gear that’s been with us for decades. The trusted companions that seem to soak up memories from the places you’ve been (and the people you’ve been with). The pieces we’ve patched, sewn and duct taped to keep in action, and the ones that never needed duct tape in the first place.

It’s our way of recognizing where we’ve been, while still trekking ahead.

Line up of people wearing brightly coloured Rad Pants and Rad Shorts

Above: Rad Pants are back – and this time, they’ve got company.

This collection is our most anticipated and direct homage to over 50 years of adventures. Some familiar friends are back in the mix: Rad Pants and the Hip Pack, to name a couple. But for the first time ever, some other long-loved legends are spruced up for another run (spoiler alert: Rad Shorts are back after massive demand by staffers and members).

Creating the collection

It’s easy to make a throwback collection that, well, throws back. But a collection that also holds up? That’s a different challenge. For the MEC Classics Collection, we wanted to honour our favourite designs by identifying details that made them classics, while also looking for ways to improve sustainability.

With hundreds of designs in MEC Label's history, we had a lot of options. A few we knew we wanted to revive right away. For others, we asked staffers and members what pieces were most classic to them. We thought hard about how we could improve on them – if at all. It’s a testament to how smart the designs were in the first place, and why they reached “legendary” status.

On the left is a person sitting in a camping chair, wearing bright red Rad Pants and a fleece. On the right is a person wearing a mountain print shirt and a red hat.

Above: Pimento is the latest hue in the Rad Pants palette, which has featured 30+ colours over the years.

One thing that was a must? Upgraded materials. When it comes to fabric, a lot has changed since the 1980s – including options with a much lower environmental footprint. You’ll see bluesign®-approved fabric in many of the pieces, along with recycled content, organically grown cotton and Fair Trade Certified products too .

As always, these pieces are durable, built to last, and game for tons of activities. Hiking, camping, paddle trips, being jammed full of gear and shoved into a van heading for a crag weekend – you name it.

A closeup shot of a blue, fuzzy fleece with the MEC logo on the label in green. The person wearing the fleece is belaying.

Above: The green twin peaks are officially back on our label for the first time in ages.

Sneak peek of the highlights

Everything here is just the beginning. Sign up for updates above and be the first in line to find out about the full collection (including when and where to get yours). A few we're especially excited for:

Berber Fleece

Ask any MEC staffer or member, and they’ve probably got a fleece they remember. Warm, fuzzy, durable as heck. This year, we riffed on our ultra-classic Cornice Jacket – our warmest fleece of the 1990s – and gave it an upgrade with fuzzy Polartec® Thermal Pro® shearling fleece made from recycled content. Classic pit zips and elbow patches are alive and well in the Berber Fleece.

A smiling person wearing a fuzzy cream coloured and red fleece, sitting next to a river and forest

“We travelled the world when I was growing up. A blue half-zip fleece came with me on every single trip. It was always a piece of home – even when we were far from it.” – Meghan R., MEC staffer and fleece historian

Rad Pants

“The ultimate movement pant” is what we called Rad Pants when they launched in 1989. And that holds up. With over 30 years of legit outdoor cred, Rad Pants still have it all: cuffs, integrated belt, that pocket. For 2022, bluesign®-approved fabrics mean the tear-resistant material is made in the safest possible way for the planet, workers and you.

A person wearing curry coloured Rad Pants rock climbing

“I planted trees for nine years. When I think of Rad Pants, I think of dirty, durable pants. The cuffs kept the bugs out. The big side pocket could hold a Walkman and a beer. People would put them on and leave them on for three months.” – Brock, MEC staffer and Rad Pant purist

Rad Shorts

In our 1996 catalogue, we said these were “built for radical action.” And after testing out some prototypes, we can confirm that remains 100% true. Out of circulation since the late 1990s, Rad Shorts have been in big demand from MEC staffers and members since Rad Pants made a comeback a few years ago. Imagine everything that rules about Rad Pants, just shorter.

Two people wearing Rad Shorts, one pair is black, the other is yellow

“This year’s collection draws inspiration from the bright colours and monogram prints of the 1970s.” – Sophie Laliberte, MEC Label Product Creation

Hip Pack

The little pack that went from cool, to uncool, back to cool again. First hitting MEC catalogues as the Travel Pocket over thirty years ago, we’ve spruced up this travel staple a bit (and given it a fresh name too). But just a bit. Chunky zippers, multiple pockets, throwback colours – all still there. But these days the Hip Pack is made with lower-impact bluesign®-approved materials.

A person wearing a brightly coloured Hip Pack wading in a river

“I own four MEC fanny packs, from a 1990s Rad Fan III to the 1995 Offroad Convertible Pack. But the Hip Pack is my go-to. The zippers are satisfyingly gigantic and it fits way more than you’d expect.” – KB, MEC staffer and fanny pack aficionado

Klettersack

The earliest mention we can find of the Klettersack is in our 1979 catalogue. By 1989, we were already calling it “a tradition for rock climbing.” And with good cause. Simple, versatile, so tough – there are vintage Klettersacks still hauling ropes and racks to this day. For 2022, we’ve introduced 600-denier recycled polyester (for context, the 40th anniversary edition Klettersack was 510-denier). Now it’s also bluesign®-approved.

A person smiling and wrapping their arms around a yellow and blue backpack, next to a close up of the MEC logo label on the backpack

Here’s to old friends. We’re looking forward to seeing these classics still in action way, way down the line.

A top down shot of people at a climbing crag

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