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The Iconic MEC Rad Pants Return

Few products have been so closely associated with an outdoor brand as MEC’s Rad Pants. Originally introduced in 1989 as a functional and relatively stylish alternative to the Espatwill stretch pants that were popular at the time, the Rad pants became an instant classic. They appealed to paddlers, hikers and climbers as the pants delivered the trifecta of low weight, quick drying, and durability.
  •  MEC Rad Pants

    MEC Rad Pants

Over the years, the Rad Pants’ popularity grew to the point that they became the standard Canadian uniform for anyone recreating in the outdoors. In fact, Canadian climbers travelling abroad would frequently be recognized simply because they were wearing Rad Pants.
  •  MEC Rad Pants 1999

    MEC Rad Pants 1999

Rad pants remained popular until they were discontinued in 2001, only to briefly return a few years later due to MEC customer demand. They were finally decommissioned shortly after that. The Rad Pants remained unobtainable until 2019 when MEC released a limited production run to celebrate the Rad Pants’ 30th anniversary.
Not surprisingly, the new Rad Pants sold out almost immediately.
  •  MEC Rad Pants in action.

    MEC Rad Pants in action.

Now, in 2023, MEC is releasing a new, updated version of this classic product as part of their MEC Classics Collection. The new Rad Pants still have the low weight, quick drying, and durability of their predecessors, but the new nylon fabric now features 20% spandex, which delivers a much-welcome level of built-in stretch. The result is increased mobility when high-stepping at the crag or scrambling over trail debris on the hike. It’s a noticeable improvement over the previous versions that all users will appreciate. The rest of the Rad Pants, thankfully, remain unchanged. The elastic waist with a webbing belt, the reinforced double-layer butt, the knit cuffs and the low-profile cargo packets have all returned.
If you’re looking for a new pair of climbing, hiking or paddling pants, look no further. The new Rad Pants are what you need.
You can find out more about the MEC Rad Pants and other great MEC products at www.mec.ca

Join the discussion of this and other climbing-related stories at www.ontarioclimbing.com/forum/
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 35 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid-80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.