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So this is a bit of a shout-out but I am a devoted Mountain Equipment Co-op fan and these guys have really helped us out.  MEC have just about everything the outdoor enthusiast could want – quality products and fair pricing.  They also have the absolute best guarantee … if you aren’t happy you can bring your gear back for repair, refund or exchange.

Our local MEC was kind enough to donate two sweet packs for our trip when we told them what we were up to and that we were having trouble finding decent gear in Central America. The packs got sent down and we were super stoked when we received them.  I carry the Pangea 60 – an awesome travel pack with great security tabs, loads of pockets and a small zip-off daypack, tom got the Gregory Whitney - a serious backpack.

The MEC gear made our sailing trip to Colombia much easier and we are finding the packs to be indispensable, especially when we stop for one or two nights, we can pack  up a few essentials and forgo having to lug our huge duffles around.

We really appreciate the help and owe MEC a real big thank you! 

Tayrona mec trek from Kels M on Vimeo.

We actually have an assortment of other MEC products with us on our travels.  The most important one is our awesome three-season tent. It´s super easy to put together and folds down pretty small which is great for us in our little car. 

Our tent

Our lovely MEC tent

Another amazing MEC item that I adore is this bag:

small-mec-carry-all

I bought this bag over ten years ago, it has been everwhere with me including the UK, Turkey, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico, Central America and it still looks brand new. At $20 Canadian this bag is a steal and the best carry-all around.  Buy one here, you won’t regret it.

One of the reason for Joyful Finds is to try and discover items different from the typical tourist paraphernalia…really one can only buy so many beaded necklaces. While in San Marcos I noticed some scarves made by a company called Lento, I admired them but decided not to buy one. Then, in Antigua, I stumbled across the Lento store so we stopped in to check it out.

Created by a group of Italian women in collaboration with a group of Mayan women, the Lento products are coloured using Mayan dyeing techniques. The 100% natural dyes are sourced from plants found in the Lago Atitlan area.

I decided to make a purchase right around Christmas time and chose this lovely grey bag. It even fits my Digital SLR so I don’t have to carry around my geeky camera bag!