Buying Boots and a parka in Northern Alberta (Canada.) Where to look?
November 16, 2010 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Buying Boots and a parka in Northern Alberta (Canada.) Where to look? The post title says it all. I'm buying boots and a parka in Northern Alberta (Canada.) I'm only a couple hours north of Edmonton and can go there if necessary, but ordering online is also something I'd consider. I plan to be spending a decent amount of time outside and want to get gear that will keep me warm, and last for years to come. What are the quality names? Where is a good place to look?
posted by Stagger Lee to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total)
I live in Maine, and highly recommend LLBean. They really stand behind their products. I have a parka that I got at the outlet store that is warm, has lots of pockets, and still looks great after 5+ years. They rate all outdoor wear by temperature range, which I find quite helpful.
posted by theora55 at 9:18 AM on November 16, 2010

I buy most of my winter gear at Mountain Equipment Co-op, and they ship for free is you order more than $75 worth.
posted by pluma moos at 9:20 AM on November 16, 2010

There's a MEC in Edmonton, and they make reliable winter gear and bags, and have a selection of boots. Kanuk in Quebec makes coats that are expensive, that they'll ship to you, and yeah, they're not cheap, but they have that cardinal virtue of good equipment in that you only pay for them once.

If you're planning on spending a lot of time outdoors in northern Alberta winter, get winter pants and wool socks, too. And whatever else you decide, buy the best footwear you can afford.
posted by mhoye at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

MEC seems like an obvious place to start.

"Boots" covers a wide range of things, though: are you looking for ones suited to the work environment in northern Alberta (i.e. oil sands) or ones for general outdoor stuff? If the former, then you might be better off with Red Wings than MEC's selection.
posted by holgate at 9:23 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: General outdoor stuff!
I work indoors, thank god, and not in the oil-industry, thank-god-again.
But I've got dogs to walk and like to spend as much time outside as I can. Volunteering with sled-dog races and all kinds of other fun.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:26 AM on November 16, 2010

Is there a Marks Work werehouse near you? That's where we get most of our high-durability fieldgear.

MEC (and other outdoor outfitters) stuff is great for hiking, but it's optimized for low weight, not durability. Treated well, their gear will last for several years, but isn't suitable for heavy outdoor work. They do have a fair range of styles and colours to choose from. Their house-brand stuff (MEC or Sierra Designs) is generally functional, but not flashy. Their high-end is Patagonia, which are generally amazing garments that wear well. MEC isn't a good choice for boots. They're expensive and very specialized for just town or car boots.

Marks clothing (owned by Canadian Tire) is meant to last for rough use. Marks does make great boots and they sell Carhart, which is great outdoor workwear, though as stylish as a pair of denim overalls. Their house-brand boots with the "tarantula" soles are the best boots I've ever owned for ice, like wearing crampons almost. Also, quite affordable.

I'd avoid mail-order from US companies. In my experience, shipping and duty can be very significant on large, heavy items like parkas, like 100$+. Shipping from MEC will be more reasonable, but still somewhat pricey.
posted by bonehead at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2010

I live just south of you. Edmonton sucks for shopping for stuff like this. Online is your friend. I have a MEC jacket and several coats from Land's End. I disagree with bonehead. You do need to pay attention to shipping etc. fees, but many companies, including Land's End include duty right at checkout so you can see what you're dealing with, and their shipping rates are really quite cheap. Land's end's measurements in my long experience ordering online are bang on, and their clothes and particularly outerwear have been good quality and warm. Mark's Work warehouse is also good, and pay attention that if you ask, they will bring in other sizes or products to your local store often even if they don't stock it. I agree that they are particularly good for boots, although I really like Sorel boots.
posted by kch at 9:58 AM on November 16, 2010

I just received a 30% discount plus free shipping email coupon for orders over $50 from Lands End (valid until the end of TODAY) for 'family and friends'. So, my Mefi friends: the promotion code is LESHARE30 and the PIN is 7785. Discount is applied at checkout.
posted by kch at 10:10 AM on November 16, 2010

I forgot to add that some Sorel boots can be bought online at Sportek, and you may have a location close to you anyway.
posted by kch at 10:25 AM on November 16, 2010

frak: SportChek
posted by kch at 10:28 AM on November 16, 2010

MEC is a good choice for this sort of stuff. Their guarantee is very good and their stuff lasts for a long time. Don't buy the ultra-expensive, ultra-light stuff, but otherwise, you'll be fine. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to just buy a parka at MEC, but I might shop around for boots a bit.

bonehead: Sierra Designs is not a MEC brand and I don't think they sell much, if any, gear at MEC..
posted by ssg at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2010

Yeah, I was thinking of Serratus, which was bought by MEC a couple of years ago.

It's great that Land's End is finally making shipping to Canada affordable. My experiences with many US retailers (Campmore, Duluth Trading to name two) has been very much the opposite of that. Plus the shippers, UPS in particular, charge very high brokerage fees.
posted by bonehead at 11:01 AM on November 16, 2010

If you're volunteering at outdoor events you'll want a pair of heavy felt lined sorel-type boots. For hiking you'll want winter hikers. Peavy Marts are in small towns and have this sort of stuff, very similar to a Marks work wearhouse in the city.
Note that MEC is great but for jackets a lot of their gear emphasizes waterproofness which we don't really need in the winter here as much as breathability.
posted by canoehead at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2010

Canada Goose has some great parkas. You might want to look around for sales, clearances and second hand sales because they can be pretty pricey.
posted by ODiV at 1:41 PM on November 16, 2010

Also, you can keep an eye on Red Flag Deals and Beyond the Rack for deals on clothing online. Beyond the Rack just had a Canada Goose sale. I don't know how frequent they are.
posted by ODiV at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2010

You can get Canada Goose gear at Henry Singer downtown.
posted by philscience at 1:47 PM on November 16, 2010

MEC is your go-to place. Edmonton on 102ave and 124st.

MWW is your alternate.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:50 PM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: Nthing Canada Goose - coats of choice for working in the North.
posted by defcom1 at 3:25 PM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: I think you might be looking at two pais of boots. For walking the dog and snow shoeing (stuff where I'm moving) I have LLBean snow boots and for the price (around $90 I think) they're fantastic. They're not Pac Boots though so you'd be cold standing around volunteering or ice fishing in -10 degrees. Sorel makes very reasonably priced Pac boots for that kind of thing and so do Baffin. Northern Outfitters makes awesome Pac boots but they're quite expensive.
posted by fshgrl at 6:30 PM on November 16, 2010

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