There are no two ways around it: Quality outdoor gear can be pretty pricey, and it really adds up when you’re just getting started with a new activity. There are many ways to save money by purchasing discounted camping gear, but one of our tried and true methods is simply being REI Co-op Members.
Sponsored by REI
Becoming an REI Member can save you a ton of money on outdoor gear (one of the main reasons we both decided to join!) They have an extensive used gear section, offer an annual dividend, and our favorite: their annual Anniversary Sale. Seriously, this sale is like Christmas morning for campers.
To start, members get a 20% coupon for one full-priced item and another 20% off coupon for one item in the REI Outlet section (yep, that’s 20% off the already discounted price!) just by using code ANNIV21 from 5/21-5/31. But on top of that, REI has additionally marked down many of their most popular products – both in-store and online. So if ever there was the time to make a gear purchase, this is it!
If you’re not yet a member, head over to REI and join—it’s only $20 for a lifetime membership (and it will probably pay for itself within the first year!).
There are a lot of items on sale and we know it can be a bit overwhelming sorting through everything, so we put together what we think is the best of the best! These are all products we either own and love or are on our personal gear wishlists.
The Best of This Year’s REI Anniversary Sale
30% off REI Flexlite Chairs
Everyone needs a comfy camp chair to relax in after a day of adventure. The Flexlite chairs from REI are our new favorites. Their setup is straightforward, they pack down for easy storage, and they are super comfortable. The high-back version is nice for those who want a little more back support (something we’ve found to be missing in many other camp chairs).
25% off all Hydro Flask bottles and drinkware
Hydro Flask is ubiquitous on the water bottle scene, and while we’re all for picking up one of their reusable and insulated water bottles if you haven’t already, the product line we REALLY love while out camping is their insulated drinkware.
Insulated Coffee Mug
These are our go-to coffee mugs for camping. Once you go insulated, you can never go back!
30% off REI Grand Hut Tents
Featuring near-vertical sidewalls and an over 6-foot tall ceiling, REI’s Grand Hut tent has tons of space. It’s basically like setting up a mini-cabin. Not only does this “bigger is better” design makes it easier to get up, move around, and change clothing, but if poor weather happens to roll in, it can be really nice to have an enclosed space to hang out in.
25% off ExPed Mega Mat sleeping pads
We don’t personally own this air mattress, but I never miss an opportunity to lay on it when we go to an REI store. It’s literally more comfortable than the mattress we have at home! If you are looking to seriously upgrade your camp sleeping situation, the Exped Mega Mat is 5-star luxury.
25% off NEMO Tensor Sleeping Mats
We like this backpacking sleeping mat so much, we each own one! The Nemo Tensor Insulated pad blows up quickly, offers a great 3-season R-value, and doesn’t make that god-awful crinkling sound when you lay on it. We are both side & stomach sleepers, and this offers plenty of cushion to support our hips. Plus it rolls up to the size of a Nalgene bottle!
30% off REI Magma 15 Sleeping Bags
Quality sleeping bags are EXPENSIVE! There is just no way around that. And, if you’re both a car camper and a backpacker, it can be tough to find one sleeping bag that checks the right boxes for both activities, but we think the REI Magma 15 sleeping bag does just that. They are lightweight enough for backpacking (only 28.2 oz for men and 36 oz for women) but it’s made of more durable fabric than many ultralight sleeping bags, so it’s well suited for more frequent car camping use.
25% off Osprey Aura + Atmos Packs
Osprey’s Aura and Atmos packs are great for multi-day backpacking trips. These packs are sturdy and have a robust suspension, so they are perfect for most backpackers who don’t have an ultralight setup. We each wore an Osprey pack on our JMT honeymoon hike and found that they carried the weight well during our three-week trek.
30% off REI Trail 25 Packs
This 25L day pack features a large, easy access zippered pouch, padded shoulder straps and back panel, lots of side pockets–oh, and it’s made from recycled materials, too!
25% off all Altra Lone Peak footwear
Altra’s Lone Peak hiking and trail-running footwear has made quite a name for itself in the last few years. Their shoes are most well known for having a super roomy toe box and having a zero-drop sole. These would be a great choice if you’ve ever felt like hiking shoes are just a bit too narrow, or if you get blisters on your toes. We personally wear the Lone Peak Hiker (Megan) and the Lone Peak 5 trail runners (Michael) and love how light, nimble, and grippy these shoes are on the trail.
30% off REI Co-Op Brand Clothing & Outerwear
REI’s Co-op brand has grown a ton in the past few years, and we really appreciate that their line is full of options that include recycled materials, bluesign® approved fabrics, and are often offered at a lower price than similar products from other brands (a product of keeping all their design, marketing, and distribution in-house). You can find the full line of REI Co-op clothes & outerwear here, but these are a few pieces that stand out:
REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0
Good, responsibly sourced down insulated jackets can be very pricey, but we think that REI’s 650 Down Jacket is the best bang for your buck (even when it’s not on sale!). It’s lightweight enough to be carried on backpacking trips, and we love that the shell fabric is made from recycled materials. I personally owned the earlier model of this jacket and it held up to many years of outdoor adventures.
REI Rainier Rain Jacket
The Rainier Rain Jacket is made with DWR to shed water and also offers wind protection (up to 60mph!) making it perfect for throwing in your day hiking pack in case the weather turns. Again, rain jackets can start to get expensive, and this one comes at a great price.
25% off Biolite Gear
25% off Platypus GravityWorks Filter
The Platypus GravityWorks is an excellent backpacking water filter that makes quick work of filtering a lot of water, without a ton of effort. We carried this system on the JMT and while it’s a touch on the heavy side we really appreciated that its large capacity meant we only had to walk to our water source once to get enough water for dinner and the next day’s breakfast and first water bottle fill.
$25 off Grayl Geopress Water Purifiers
The Grayl Geopress is a water bottle-style purifier that removes waterborne pathogens (including bacteria and viruses), chemicals, heavy metals, and microplastics from any drinking source. We recently named this our favorite water purifier for international travel and hiking in areas where water sources are questionable. While the bottle is indefinitely reusable, the filter cartridge will need to be changed out from time to time–and Grayl is committed to recycling all cartridges that are sent back to them.
$50 off Garmin inReach mini
This is the GPS tracker and satellite text messenger we took on the JMT. It allowed us to track and share our location, send text messages to any phone number or email address via satellite, and offered us the security of an SOS emergency beacon to alert search and rescue if anything were to go wrong. We take it with us on every trip we take into the backcountry.