Group of people hiking outside

The best ways to celebrate Pride outside

The outdoors is the best place to be yourself. With Pride season kicking off, MEC would like to acknowledge the importance of celebrating and including LGBQT2S+ communities in the outdoor industry – and we’ve got events coming up across Canada to do just that.

Your Co-op is proud to represent diversity and inclusion in the outdoors. By signing the Outdoor Industry CEO Diversity Pledge, we’re committed to active changes in the way we hire, market and engage with both our members and other brands. We also have diversity and inclusion team made up of #mecstaffers, including a group for LGBQT2S+ inclusion.

Want to join us? See our outdoor Pride events happening across Canada, and check out my list of Pride essentials for summer celebrations outside.

Outdoor Pride events across Canada

Group of people smiling and hiking

Last year’s MEC Pride hike in Rouge National Urban Park, just a short Parkbus ride from Toronto.

MEC is collaborating with LGBQT2S+ groups to host outdoor Pride events across the country. Check out what’s happening near you – there’s everything from Rise and Shine Pride Hikes to a Love Floats Pride Parade on the water.

One example of local groups we’re supporting is Queer Outdoors Vancouver, who aim to connect LGBQT2S+ outdoor adventurers. “The purpose of the group is to build queer outdoors community, plan trips, and share skills and resources,” Mik Turje, the group administrator said, “so that more of us can get outside, learn new skills, and feel safe and comfortable while we do it.”

Hikers looking up into the trees, and one of them is filming with a GoPro

This year’s MEC Pride Hike in Winnipeg headed to Brokenhead Wetlands Interpretive Trail, Treaty 1 Territory, Brokenhead Nation. Photo: Dustin Leader

Pack up your Pride essentials

Make sure you have what you need to get outside and celebrate what it means to be you, your way.

A reusable water bottle

Person holding two water bottles

Photo: Dustin Leader

Hydration is key on hot summer days. Bring your own water bottle when you head out to cut down on single-use plastic bottles, and look for one that’s insulated if you like to keep your water chilly. If you get bored of plain water, add electrolyte tabs or a squeeze of lemon or lime to keep you sipping throughout the day.

Portable flavour

Nuun tabs are electrolyte-replacing drink tablets that are super easy to toss in your bag to jazz up your water throughout the day. They’re great for endurance events (and we all know Pride is just that). Get an extra boost to head from the beach to the parade or march, and then back to the beach.

Topo Designs Pack and MEC Anorak

Topo Designs Pack and MEC Travel Light Anorak

This Topo Designs retro pack is the perfect size to fit your hat, snacks and sunscreen for a day of celebrating. If you plan to be out all day, toss in the MEC Travel Light Anorak too, just in case the weather gets chilly – it folds up small into its own built-in stuff sack. With this combo, you’re ready for anything.

Sunscreen

3 different kinds of sunscreen

Sun safety is the new cool. Buy sunscreen, apply it, bring extra for your friends who inevitably forgot it.

Tasty snacks

Chocolate cherry Kind bar

Kind bars are tasty and this one has a kick of a few vitamins as well. TBH, I’m more about the chocolate, cherry and Kind Foundation: fostering kinder, more empathetic communities.

MEC Cross Wind 45+10L

MEC Cross Wind pack

Planning to leave the bustle of the city on Pride weekend and hit the trails? The MEC Cross Wind Backpack is universal, so it’s designed to fit a wide variety of bodies and it’s unisex. It’s made to be MEC’s most comfortable pack, so you’ll be gayly frolicking in the forest in no time.

Person on a hiking trail wearing the MEC Cross Wind backpack

The MEC Cross Wind Backpack comes in a 45+10L size and a 65+10L size, in case you have a long trip planned.

Have fun out there!

MEC is proud to enable LGBQT2S+ outdoor adventures and connections over the years. A couple of recent faves we’ve supported include Queer Camp in the town of Faro, Yukon, which connects young folks to community and outdoor activity; and Trans Canada, an awesome expedition by James Lovasz that brought trans issues to light as he cycled across the country (@transcanada.bike was supported by an MEC expedition grant).

Pride can be a time of celebration, but it can also be a tough time for some folks. If you’re looking for resources, connect with Pflag Canada.

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Amil Reddy bio pic
Amil Reddy

Heads up the MEC community investment crew, plus the diversity and inclusion team. Lover of Americanos and hiking in the rain because, well, Vancouver.