Travel

Gear Review: MEC Meadow Mat and Duffle Pack

Canadian Geographic Education's program coordinator Sara Black tests two versatile items on a summer road trip
  • Aug 16, 2016
  • 486 words
  • 2 minutes
Woman resting on Meadow Mat. Expand Image

Going on a road trip is fun, but packing for one has never been one of my strong points. I always end up packing too much, and not using half of what I bring. This summer, during a weeklong road trip from Ottawa to Canada’s East Coast, I decided to try out a few items from Mountain Equipment Co-op that could work double duty.

Alite Designs Meadow Mat

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(Photo: mec.ca)

I found myself using the Alite Designs Meadow Mat all the time. It’s great to use as a picnic blanket, especially when you need to take a break from driving to stretch your legs. Because of its durable poly-fabric construction, which comes in three fun prints, I was able to sit on the damp grass or a rocky beach and not worry about getting wet or ripping the fabric. At 140-cm by 140-cm, it was big enough for two adults and a picnic basket, with room to stretch out our legs. Plus, it comes with loops on each corner to fasten it to the ground on windy days.

But, the Meadow Mat is not just for picnics and beach days. I used it while camping, both under my tent to keep it dry and in my tent to give me a little insulation from the ground as I slept. It also worked great as a tablecloth. And when it was time to pack up and get back on the road, I just shook it off or gave it a quick rinse and rolled it up, using the two buckle-fastened straps and handle (It just 35-cm by 9 -cm by 9-cm when packed). However, despite its versatility, I often found the fabric hot and a little sweaty to sit on during warm summer days.

All in all, I would say that the Alite Design Meadow Mat is a convenient item to add to your summer road trip toolbox.

Get the Meadow Mat here

Agens Sc Duffle/Pack

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(Photo: mec.ca)

Is it a backpack? Is it a duffle bag? It’s both! When I first started packing for my trip, I wasn’t sure this bag would be big enough to even hold my clothes. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I could actually fit in this 40-litre bag. The large zippered compartment made it easy to find items hidden at the bottom and the padded shoulder straps and handles gave me multiple carrying options. Its clean design and canvas-textured polyester fabric was durable enough to stuff into the trunk without worrying about rips.

Though I would not suggest using this bag for long walks or hiking, as it lacks an accessible water bottle pocket as well as shoulder and back support, it’s a great overnight bag.

Get the Agens SC Duffle/Pack here

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