MEC Holiday Staffers Picks Gifts

Top picks from MEC staffers

Staff from across the country share their favourite gear for the climbers, riders, hikers and snow lovers in your life. We don’t just sell it, we live it.
Joanna – Snowsports Specialist, North York
Andrew – Visual Merchandiser, Victoria
Mitch – Staffer, Edmonton South
MEC Staffer Picks from Sarah

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.

Joanna – Snowsports Specialist, North York
Serenity. Fresh air. Seeing places in a completely different way, covered in snow, soft, silent. In winter, I love being able to explore backcountry spaces where you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. For XC skiing and snowshoeing, I typically wear merino/synthetic base layers and a windproof layer on top (depending on the weather). I also bring a small pack for essentials – including an insulated water bottle so it won’t freeze.

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.

MEC Glide XC Midweight Gloves Rossignol EVO XT 60 Positrack Skis + Bindings

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.

MEC Tobo Soft Shell Pants Mountainflow Skin Wax - Rub On Black Diamond Trail Trek Poles MEC Aura Hoodie

Andrew’s biking picks

Gift tip for bikers: Bright socks literally make me a better rider… 10 extra watts ;)

Andrew – Visual Merchandiser, Victoria
After years of professional road bike racing, I wanted to explore the west coast’s natural beauty – and with a mountain bike, I was liberated. Hours on the trail pass in a flash, and I build new skills and discover new places on every ride. I make my way up to Cumberland on Vancouver Island as much as I can… five hours on the bike, and you’ve only seen a fraction of what this place has to offer.

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.

Tacx Flux S Smart Bike Trainer EVOC Hip Pouch

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.

Garmin Edge 530 Bundle Pearl Izumi Elite Gel Gloves Elite Training Mat 2020 Sombrio Crank Liner Shorts

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.

Mitch – Staffer, Edmonton South
Learning to roll with things when you’re hiking makes for great life lessons and stories after the fact. There’s also something about doing a hard hike with friends that makes you even better friends – it’s a way to get to know each other under duress! My camera comes on every trip; there’s nothing better to photograph than the mountains and having fun scampering up and down them.

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.

MEC VectAir Insulated Sleeping Pad Smartwool socks

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.

Nemo Stargaze Luxury 2.0 Chair MSR TrailShot Microfilter Tilley Endurables LTM5 Airflo Medium Brim Hat MEC Kokanee Gaiters

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.

MEC Staffer Sarah rock climbing
I got into climbing through a Canada Day promo at a gym, and it was love at first sight. Now, I love the wholesome experience of it all, from the adventure and fun to the diverse, welcoming community. It gives me a special lens to enjoy nature, and it’s great for personal development – physically, mentally and spiritually. My current favourite spot is Squamish, BC – inspiring rock, a lot of disciplines and mountains!

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.

Climb On 1oz bar Friction Labs Gorilla Grip Chalk

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.

Trango Beta Stick EVO Petzl Connect Adjust Lanyard Arc'teryx Arakys Approach Shoes MEC Chalkalot Bouldering Bucket

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 Staffer Picks Montie
It’s crazy how far gear has come from the 70s. Remember external frame packs? Don’t miss bushwhacking in those. Anyhow, your gear closet might be solid as is (Rad Pants never die, they just get more rad and all that). But if you’re looking for upgrades, here’s a few that rise to the top in a classics-meets-this-century kind of way.

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 AMP 2-Person Tent MEC Deluxe Pillow

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.

How To Shit In The Woods 4th Edition book Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction Device Fenix HL60R Headlamp MEC Relaxed Merino Toque

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