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For over 40 years, Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) has been creating high-value outdoor gear for beginner-level to expert mountain adventurers. This winter, the brand is looking back to a popular line for backcountry enthusiasts.

The original Couloir Collection, launched in 1993, was created to satisfy seasoned outdoor enthusiasts. Couloir [kool-waar] means, “a steep, narrow gully in mountainous terrain” or “a passage.” The name speaks to where on the mountain it’s intended to be used: the backcountry.

This collection, consisting of a men’s and women’s jacket and bib pant, kept up with the latest technology for the 90s, including the new material GORE-TEX®. It was revolutionary for its time.

The original Coulior Collection from 1993The original Coulior Collection in the 1993 catalogue | MEC

 Now, the improved Couloir Collection is revolutionary for ours.

Rather than start from scratch, MEC evolved. JP Roy, senior director of MEC Label, says, “We’re not just dusting off old icons; we’re elevating them and doing them justice.”

He continues, “we’re honouring [the history], but with everything that comes with it in 2022, from a technology and a sustainability standpoint. We’re trying to honour our past of making advanced outerwear, in a responsible way, while offering the latest technologies for modern skiers, mountaineers and remote adventurers.”

new jacket designMEC

The design and angular cutlines harken back to the original collection. Colour blocking on the shoulders, forearm and elbow are an ode to the 90s, while being functional: those high-wear areas feature more durable GORE-TEX®, while the main body is made of lighter GORE-TEX® for breathability and packability.

Some of the biggest improvements include the weight of the yarn being drastically reduced while maintaining a high level of strength, so the product is much lighter; YKK AquaGuard® zippers, which didn’t exist in 1993; and an evolved fit, with 3D patterning to create volume where needed and reduce it where it’s not.

Roy says what makes it stand out is the simplicity. The jacket and bib pants don’t have built-in insulation, but that means they can also be used in varying conditions.

The improved collection is versatile—though designed for an advanced backcountry user, anyone who doesn’t want to stand in lift lines all day and is looking for more of a serene experience will find quality, functionality and fun in the reinvented Couloir Collection.

kneeling zipMEC

Since 1974, MEC Label has been a trusted, technically designed, durable and high-value brand with products that serve distinct purposes.

Tested in harsh conditions in Canada in the 1970s, where quality and safety were non-negotiable, MEC Label gear distilled their products to fit pure, outdoor needs. While staying rooted in this legacy, MEC is innovating—and having fun with it.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and that’s a very good thing,” says Roy. “There’s the serious part of our gear and equipment, survival and harsh conditions. The flip side is celebrating the mountains and our heritage.”

MEC Label plays in the same categories as other outdoor brands and sells high-performing gear, although it is presented very differently. Roy says, We focus on creating products that are technically designed, long lasting and can rival the best out there, but at an affordable and fair price.”


Key Features of the Modern Couloir Collection:

MEC Couloir GORE-TEX® Jacket

  • Available in women’s XS to XL and men’s S to XXXL for $499.95
  • Harness-compatible zipper access
  • Helmet-compatible hood
  • Bluesign®-approved, waterproof materials
  • Built-in RECCO® Rescue System


MEC Couloir GORE-TEX® Bib Pants

  • Available in women’s XS to XL and men’s S to XXL for $459.95
  • Kick patches protect against damage from boots, crampons and skis
  • Side-entry zipper for easy on and off
  • Bluesign®-approved, waterproof materials
  • Built-in RECCO® Rescue System


Shop Here:

Men’s Jacket | Bib Pants

Women’s Jacket | Bib Pants


This article was sponsored by MEC

Since 1971, MEC has sold exceptional products at fair prices, and people who shop here get one of the best guarantees around. 

We inspire and enable everyone to lead active outdoor lifestyles. We do that by selling outdoor gear, clothing and services. We match our members with gear that suits their needs. But we offer more than products, we offer passion. We love to share our expertise, experience and enthusiasm.