In preparation for a canoe trip in a few weeks, I had to pick up a few things at MECca… I mean ‘MEC’. Now, a trip to MEC is less of an errand for me, and more of a feast of the senses and the imagination. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Mountain Equipment Co-op is an outdoor store with camping, cycle, paddling and climbing gear and equipment. It’s a little trendier than most camping stores, but it’s known for high quality and a decent selection.
Anyways, I needed some white gas (aka Coleman fuel) for one of my camping stoves and when I went to mec.ca to price it out, I noticed that my Apogee 3/4 length self-inflatable sleeping pad (thermarest) is being discontinued so it’s no longer $50… but is now $20. They weren’t selling them online, and they had no in-store information on the site. That warranted the trip on it’s own, but I also wanted to get a waterproof map case, some smoked salmon jerky I’d seen before, and a thermos.
When I got there, I was VERY pleased to see that not only was there an Apogee mat left… but there were dozens… so I knew that I could pass this deal onto YOU, my loyal readers and friends… or I could pick up two more for a set of four. Since they’re still there AFTER the long weekend, I’d say you have a bit of time to pick one up, but don’t hold out too long.
I also found my 4L can of fuel, but the map case I wanted was nowhere to be found. Ditto for the salmon jerky. I would have been very disappointed but for a VERY pleasant surprise…
Back in the winter, after reading about it for a long time, I picked up an Orikaso plate. Orikaso is camping dishware that you fold together like Origami, so it folds flat for easy packing. MEC only had the plate at the time, so I figured I’d give it a try and see if I like it. Oh man, it’s cool stuff. I tried it with hot food, cold food, wet food and dry food and it’s awesome. It’s easy to clean and works like a charm. So I asked around at MEC about getting the bowl and cup as well. No dice. They claimed they wouldn’t see any more until fall 2006 or winter 2007. They couldn’t keep it in the store. Well, there I was… standing in the dishes aisle yesterday looking face-to-face at the cup and bowl. Schweet. I bought them both, and although I haven’t actually tried them out yet, they fold together like a charm.
On the way home, I hit up Active Surplus for a funnel (to get my camping fuel into my fuel bottles). There are few things funnier than the looks you get walking down trendy Queen St. West carrying a can of camping fuel and funnel in one hand, and a rolled-up thermarest in the other. I think people were expecting me to roll out my mat, start doing Yoga and then pour fuel on myself and light up in protest of something.
So… long story short, you can get a great sleeping mat for cheap at MEC, flat camping dishes are the bomb, and if there was an arson on Queen West last night, the police are going to want to have words with yours truly.