Upgrading your backpack? Choose between two great options from MEC’s new collection
Your backpack is a vital piece of gear. Whether you’re going backcountry camping, day trekking or just heading to the beach for a picnic, how you carry your essential items can make or break your trip. Comfort, fit, durability and sustainability are paramount when it comes to choosing a new backpack.
The new lineup of MEC packs offers backpacks for day hikes, side trips, ultralights, overnights and months-long excursions. There’s a pack for every peak.
“The main focus was to revamp comfort across the entire range while sticking to MEC ethos of unparalleled value for our members,” says Joel Forsyth, MEC label equipment designer.
Here are two of the new packs, who would benefit from each and why you might end up wanting both:
ZEPHYR 45 L / 65 L
Max comfort for multi-days
If you’re a backpacker or hiker who tends to put comfort first, you’ll be happy to know that Zephyr means “a soft, gentle breeze.” Doesn’t that sound refreshing—especially on a sweaty, tough hike? That’s what this backpack was made for.
The design team at MEC is stoked about this new pack for plenty of reasons, including the breathable yet sturdy back panel for ultimate ventilation and stability. Trampoline suspension keeps the pack off your back by about five centimetres to increase airflow, keeping you cool and comfortable on scorching summer hikes and steep scrambles.
That’s not all. Dual foam padding on the shoulders and waist reduces friction-rubbing hotspots. The pack is made with recycled ripstop nylon and Bluesign®-approved materials and is enabled with a RECCO® reflector. Full-length vertical side zippers and a bottom-access compartment allow easy access to all your gear. The removable floating lid means you can store food in the top compartment, unbuckle it from the pack and add it to your bear hang at night.
The two sizes—45 L and 65 L—are ideal for an overnight adventure or weekend trip. Men’s and women’s-specific packs are available in both long and regular options with fully adjustable shoulder straps for optimal comfort and fit. The pre-curved hip belts, made with multiple layers of foam, keep a stiffer construction to transfer the load to your hips better.
For fully loaded adventures, you can go farther while feeling safe and comfortable with the Zephyr.
SERRATUS® Pace UL Unisex Pack 25 L / 40 L
Ultralight for speedy ascents
If you’re all about getting there fast and travelling light, the high-performance Serratus was made for you. UL stands for ultralight, and you’ll be impressed with this 479-gram backpack (the 40 L weighs 930 grams) made of 70 D nylon and 50 D ripstop Spectra®. Efficiently tick off kilometres with the comfort and convenience of a running vest paired with the storage and simplicity of a rolltop backpack. This innovative solution is slick and comfortable, so you can go on minimalist multi-day treks without slowing down.
Features include abrasion-resistant fabric, a comfortable harness and a lightweight back panel to air out on sweaty ascents. There are many slots to stash gear, from chest pockets to a large front stuff pocket for easy access. Laced bungee cords on either side store additional items. Gels, bars, flat water flasks and bear spray are never far from reach.
You didn’t think MEC was going to leave you without safety features, did you? A RECCO® reflector makes your backpack visible to ski patrol and search and rescue teams.
The 40 L comes in two back lengths for optimum fit and carry. The frame sheet, made of aluminum and PE, can be molded to fit the curve of your spine and is completely removeable for ultra-ultralight hikers. This pack features load lifter straps, two sternum straps and a waist belt with pockets. In comparison, the 25 L does not have a removeable frame, hip belt pockets or a waist strap. Think of it as a “run vest plus.”
The Serratus is a part of the foundational history of MEC. Back in ’79, a factory in Canada made backpacks under the name Serratus Mountain Products, operating as the MEC in-house brand for 25 years. Also designed in-house, but in 2023, this new pack honours the long history of MEC backpacks, and the name is a nod to the original house brand known and loved by many.
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