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Polar power: special edition fleece that gives back

December 7, 2021

Found in Activities, Community news, Gear

Happy birthday, fleece! That’s right, technical fleece is celebrating a milestone birthday this year.

Forty years ago, fleece first hit the outdoor scene; it was developed by a textile company in Massachusetts called Malden Mills, now known as Polartec. Today, it’s hard to imagine a camping weekend or ski trip without fleece along for the journey.

To celebrate the big fuzzy 4-0, MEC and Polartec teamed up to create the special edition ’82 Polar Fleece Pullover. Inspired from an original design in the 1982 MEC catalogue, this updated version has the same great features but more efficient Polartec fleece.

And because we like to think big when it comes to milestones, we’re combining two of our favourite things into one celebration: fleece and mountains.

International Mountain Day icon

This fleece gives back for International Mountain Day

International Mountain Day is a United Nations initiative to highlight the importance of mountains as biodiversity hotspots, freshwater sources and natural treasures. To help look after the mountains we love, MEC will donate $10 to Leave No Trace Canada from every ’82 Polar Fleece Pullover purchase (until December 13).

Why we love this fleece

The ’82 Pullover is made with plush Polartec® Thermal Pro fleece, which is warm yet lightweight with a classic wool shearling look. For a nod to fleece history, we’ve added a retro Polartec flag label next to the new MEC mountain patch. We love the relaxed fit for layering, the high collar to keep out drafts, and the bluesign-approved fabric for reduced environmental impact.

Collage of old and new photos of the MEC '82 Polar Fleece Pullover

Why we love Leave No Trace Canada

This year’s International Mountain Day on December 11 is all about sustainable mountain tourism, so Leave No Trace Canada seemed like the perfect match for this initiative. Leave No Trace Canada educates and promotes ways to enjoy the outdoor responsibly, which is especially important these days as more people discover the power of nature, mountains and wild spaces.

Need a refresher on the 7 principles of Leave No Trace? Here are the basics:

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1. Plan ahead and prepare

Research before you hit the trail. Check the weather, conditions and regulations and bring the essentials. Poor planning can mean putting yourself at risk or damaging nature through things like poor campsite selection or not knowing a fire ban is on.

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2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Fragile ecosystems can take years to recover, especially in places like alpine meadows. Stick to the trail when you’re hiking (no cutting switchbacks) and when you pitch your tent, look for gravel, dry grass, snow or bare dirt.

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3. Dispose of waste properly

Always pack out what you pack in, even for biodegradable stuff like apple cores. When nature calls, get at least 70 paces away from trails, campsites and water sources. Dig a small hole about 15cm (6in.) to do your business, and bury your toilet paper if you can’t pack it out.

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4. Leave what you find

Take photos as your way to remember time on the trail. Leave neat rocks and wildflowers in nature so other hikers and campers can discover them too.

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5. Minimize campfire impacts

Stoves can be an excellent fire alternative to traditional campfires, especially in fragile environments (and always check fire ban rules). Since fire bans are becoming more common, make sure to have a campfire-free back up plan.

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6. Respect wildlife

Give wildlife lots of space; watch them through binoculars instead of moving closer. It may be tempting to feed cute chipmunks or whiskeyjacks, but resist the temptation so they don’t become dependent on human junk food.

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7. Be considerate of other visitors

Have fun and help others have fun in nature too. Keep the noise down, wear headphones and respect the guidelines around pets for where you’re visiting.

MEC was a founding member of the non-profit organization Leave No Trace Canada in 2006, and we’re proud to keep supporting their mission through our Outdoor Impact program. Read more about the 7 Leave No Trace principles.

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