Shopping for Hiking Gear in Canada: 2019
Here’s the problem: Canada is not the USA.
Hear me out. That’s important when it comes to hiking gear, especially in this brave new world of lightweight and ultralight backpacking and hiking.
Like overseas hikers, the selection of gear available locally is not that light. It might be tough, it might be useful, but it is not light.
I have pored over Atmosphere, I have visited multiple Valhalla Pures, I have scanned Canadian Tire and Camper’s Village, I have scrolled through Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop, and I have dug through the REI of Canada, MEC‘s catalog. The selection just isn’t there compared to the USA.
And ordering online from American outfitters, while technically possible, is expensive especially with the Canadian Dollar in the toilet.
I was in one shop, a specialty outdoors store, where I had previously had very good conversations with the owner about gear. But this time, looking to specifically cut my base weight, he had nothing to offer me except to point me towards insanely expensive gear that wasn’t even what I was looking for.
In general, all of the above stores, if they carry quality hiking gear at all, only carry the big names: Osprey, Deuter, Gregory if you’re lucky. The odd Kelty, Mountain Hardware, or North Face sprinkled here and there, occasionally MSR makes an appearance. Basically, if it’s made in a factory somewhere in the 3rd world, you can buy it in Canada.
But compared to what I already own, next to nothing would make serious cuts to my base weight.
However, I have good news: there is some reasonable gear available for sale in Canada for a decent price. I’ll tell you what I found.