Top picks from MEC staffers
Joanna’s snowsports picks
Gift tips for snow lovers: Multi-use items are practical – poles for snowshoeing can also be used for hiking in spring, summer and fall.
MEC Glide XC Midweight Gloves
I like that they’re insulated and windproof – wind can be the coldest part! The warmth and minimal bulk makes them good for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, cold weather running and even biking. Plus they have terry-towel nose wipes on the thumbs.
Rossignol EVO XT 60 Positrack Skis + Bindings
These skis are happy in groomed tracks, as well as off-track in a park or golf course. They’re a little shorter (more maneuverable) but wider (stable). The waxless bases are good to grip and glide in most snow conditions. Great value too, as they include bindings.
Andrew’s biking picks
Gift tip for bikers: Bright socks literally make me a better rider… 10 extra watts ;)
Tacx Flux S Smart Bike Trainer
I used to describe trainer rides as “training in a cave.” Now with this smart trainer, I can ride virtually through the Swiss Alps on a rainy Tuesday night – tomorrow night, I’ll ride the Champs-Élysées.
EVOC Hip Pouch
Fanny packs are in! My EVOC Hip Pouch holds everything I need out on the trails and I hardly notice it’s there. In the hip pouch, I never ride without my Crankbrothers handpump, Genuine Innovations Tubeless Tackle Tire Plug and my favourite: Salted Watermelon Clif Shot Bloks.
Mitch’s hiking and camping picks
Gift tip for hikers: Everyone appreciates a nice pair of socks, but no one goes out of their way to buy them for themselves.
MEC VectAir Insulated Sleeping Pad
I grew up sleeping on blue foamies, but always found them uncomfortable. Enter the VectAir. The generous 8cm height means I can sleep on my side and not bottom out, so I actually sleep well on trips. Plus, the insulation makes cold nights much more comfortable to endure. It’s been a game-changer for me.
Smartwool Hiking Socks
Merino socks are a staple for me for hiking and everyday use. They’re soft, they don’t stink, and they wick – what’s not to love? Also, they’re socks, so people on your list wouldn’t likely treat themselves to quality socks anyways.
Sarah’s climbing picks
Gift tip for climbers: Think of items they’d hold back on splurging for themselves, or choose things they’ll always want to have in supply.
Climb On 1.0oz Bar
The climber’s equivalent to hot sauce… you put this *bleep* on everything! Dry hands? Climb On. Rope burn or flapper? Climb On. Thinned out glassy skin you need to repair and regrow stat? Slap on Climb On. I don’t understand how, but it’s tried and tested to regrow skin fast. Plus it’s made with natural ingredients.
Friction Labs Gorilla Grip Chalk
Most climbers opt for the “house wine” of chalk, but Friction Labs knows their stuff – once you’ve dipped your hands on these, you know you’ve got the good stuff.
Montie’s peak picks
Gift tip for outsiders: Tenacious tape. Moleskin. A long-handled spork. Simple ways to say, “Hey – I get what you’re into.”
MEC AMP 2-Person Tent
I’ve squished my way into tons of cramped backcountry tents – not easy with massive twin peaks. Then I found the AMP. It’s lightweight enough to haul into the backcountry, and roomy enough to wait out rough weather.
MEC Deluxe Pillow
After years of shut-eye with a wadded up fleece jacket as a pillow, I finally caved and tried an actual camping pillow. Mountain-mind blown. Inflate it as much as you like – I prefer rock-hard – then dream about all the summits you’re going to crush in the morning.