Travel

An Arctic explorer’s favourite pants

If you’re only going to own one pair of pants, make it these

  • Published Mar 09, 2020
  • Updated Apr 18, 2022
  • 456 words
  • 2 minutes
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Fashion probably isn’t my strongest point. I’m known to wear the same outfit for weeks, even months, at a time. But I’m practical like that. I figure once you find clothing you really like, it makes sense to buy multiple pairs of it. Which brings me to my hands-down, all-time favourite, best of the best, most comfortable, most versatile, pair of pants: MEC’s Mochilero Stretch Pants. If you’re only going to own one pair of pants, make it these. 

I’ve worn these pants pretty much everywhere—rock climbing, playing shinny hockey, on TV, out for dinner, crossing 4,000 kilometres of the Arctic, in swamps, on mountain slopes, canoeing, on dozens of expeditions, on archaeological digs, and right now as I write this. They are just so amazingly comfortable that it’s hard not to want to wear them all the time. They’re also practical. I can slip my wallet in one zipper pocket, and my Swiss army knife in the other. And they’re stylish, at least I think so.

Adam Shoalts
Adam Shoalts wears the MEC Mochilero Stretch Pants on a hiking expedition. (Photo: Aleksia Shoalts) 
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In addition to being super comfortable, the pants are lightweight, stretchy, and according to MEC’s technical description, “a gusseted crotch and knee darts give you room for stepping over logs or sprinting along train station platforms.” Which we can all agree is very important. For instance, if you’re at a party and your host without warning, as is so often the case, breaks out the old Twister board game, you’ll be thankful you chose to wear your MEC Mochilero Stretch Pants and not something like jeans or dress slacks.

They’re made of 96 percent nylon, and 4 percent spandex. They dry fairly quickly if you fall into a river or swamp, but when out hiking in the rain or sleet I recommend wearing rain pants overtop of them. On my expeditions, I generally prefer to wear these comfy pants underneath my outer layer of waterproof rain pants. When it’s cold, I slip on underneath some MEC Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer Bottoms.     

The Mochilero Stretch Pants may seem a little pricey at $79.95 a pair, but when you consider how much use they’ll get, it works out to only about a nickel a wear (and the going rate for good expedition pants is often more than that). I own three pairs in a couple of shades, beige and camel, but they have quite the colour range to choose from if you’re bolder than me.

At night, if it’s not too cold, I tend to roll up these pants and turn them into a makeshift pillow. They work well for that too, and you get to travel even lighter!

All in all, an excellent pair of pants. 5 out of 5 stars!

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