I’ve been an REI member since the mid 70’s. Still, when the REI sale comes around every year, I get overwhelmed trying to find the best lightweight gear among the vast inventory. This year, I decided to prep by going for a 2 hour visit to my local REI Store, and then doing research online selecting more great lightweight hiking and backpacking gear.
Dates for the sale are May 19th thru May 29th, so get there early and look around to get the best selection.
Below, I share with you my strategy to get the best out of the REI sale. This is in the following sequence
- First: hit the REI GARAGE to use your 20% off any one GARAGE item. Stuff goes fast and sizes/colors are limited to begin with. I’ve noted a few items that I found to be good deals, but be flexible since sizes and colors can go quickly. And do some searching. If you’re a small or very large person, you can totally score here. I’ve only put in items that had several good sizes. Keep in mind that something labeled “men” might be good for women, and vice versa.
- Second: Hit the Regular REI Sale Items. The best items on sale will go quickly. There’s a section below that has Regular Sale Items I thought were good.
- Third: shop Full-price Items. This is the last area I would look over. Again in a section below, I have noted some high priced items where 20% off would be welcome, as well as some lower cost options.
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Here are some ideas to use your 20% off one REI GARAGE item
Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket – Men’s – $209 (was $299)
Only $167 with your 20% off one REI GARAGE item. Limited sizes buy soon!
The 9 ounce ultralight jacket that set a trend. Filled with premium 800-fill-power 100% Traceable Down. Equally at home in the backcountry or a biting Chicago wind coming off shores of Lake Michigan. [Alison and I both own and frequently use ours.]
Also – Patagonia Ultralight Down Vest – W’s – $174 ( was $249)
Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover – Men’s – $118 (was $169)
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket – Men’s – $99 (was $199) very limited quantities!
Only $94 with your 20% off one REI GARAGE item. Limited sizes buy soon!
10 oz of water resistant warmth. The most thermally efficient synthetic insulation available, water-repellent PrimaLoft™ Gold Eco maintains 96% of its insulating ability even when wet.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 mtnGLO Tent – $384 (was $480)
Only $307 with your 20% off one REI GARAGE item.
Backpacker magazine’s Editors’ Choice and less than 3 lb for two people. LEDs illuminate the interior of your tent with 90+ hrs. of hands-free light. 2 doors and 2 vestibules. 29 square feet interior area 18 square feet vestibule area.
1 person version – Big Agnes Fly Creek UL mtnGLO Tent $296 (was $370)
Osprey Talon 33 Pack – $97 (was $130.00)
Only $78 with your 20% off one REI GARAGE item.
Osprey says “this is the ideal pack for minimalist backpacking,” and I would agree. A proficient lightweight or UL backpacker could easily do and overnight or 3-day weekend trip in this one.
Also W’s model – Osprey Tempest 30 Backpack – Women’s – $97
Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Jacket – Men’s – $129 (was $199)
When you take the additional 20% off this is a great value in a down Jacket with 650 fill power down. The weight is not bad at around 13 ounces.
Selected Regular Sale Items
Since this gear is already on sale, you can’t use your 20% off any one -full-priced item. But there are some great deals here that can lighten your pack.
REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent – 25% off on Sale on all REI Quarter Dome Tents and Foot Prints
REI’s long-time favorite Quarter Dome Tent is a great option for those looking for a reasonably priced lightweight free-standing backpacking tent. If ultralight tarps seem too daunting, this will still help you cut weight, weighing just over 3 lbs, but the Quarter Dome remains comfortable with ample head room, and plenty of space for two backpackers. The increased room/livability from extremely vertical walls is what sets tent apart from most of its peers. (Now even more room with 2017 update.)
Note: Compare this to the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 Tent now 25% off on Sale
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 Tent – 25% off on Sale on
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite 25% off all Therm-a-Rest matresses
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir line sets the gold standard for backpacking sleeping pads. This is the “Women’s” version of the XLite, but it’s the right size for most backpackers (all the men I know use it). At 12 oz and with an R-value of 3.9, it’s warmer and lighter than the “Men’s” version. This pad will be a go-to piece of any backpacker’s sleeping kit.
REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Jacket Men’s – $94 (was $189)
A sub 11 oz down jacket wth high quality 850 fill power goose down for less than $100 is a killer deal. Shop early to get the color and style you want.
Also available in Women’s.
REI Co-op Down Jacket Men’s Men – $49 (was $100)
Also available in Women’s $70 (was $100)
A great value in a down jacket that weighs a mere 10 oz. 650-fill-power down keeps the price low. A weather-resistant nylon shell fabric improves its wet weather performance.
Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System $99 (was $135)
Winner of Backpacker magazine’s 2015 Editors’ Choice Award. The Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System is an all-in-one stove, heat exchanger, pot combination. It’s a great option if you want hot water quickly in camp – it’ll get your morning coffee boiling in less than 5 minutes. And at 14 oz, it’s not too heavy.
If you have a few extra bucks, you could consider the Jetboil MicroMo [not on sale]. It is 2 oz lighter and boils water in about 1/2 the time. It has slightly less water capacity, 0.8 L vs. 1.0 L for the MiniMo.
Brooks Cascadia 11 Trail-Running Shoes – $84 (were $120)
A darling of the Appalachian Trail — and likely, the most popular Lightweight Backpacking trail shoe for many years running. Far lighter and easier to hike in than boots. But solid enough to prevent foot bruises from rocks. Very durable for a trail running shoe. W’s shoe here.
Salomon XA Pro 3D Trail-Running Shoes – 25% off all Soloman Footwear
I have used this shoe all across the US and even north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. So, another “trail running” shoe that has been popular for lightweight backpackers and adventure racers for years. It slightly more constructed and a bit heavier than the Brooks Cascaida. But its sill far lighter and easier to hike in than boots. . W’s shoe here.
I’ve worn some version of these REI Co-op Classic Sahara Convertible Pants for the last 15 years. They are light and incredibly versatile. With all their pockets they are also a key component of my hiking efficiently on the trail See more here: Efficient Backpacking Tips – Easily Increase Mileage Fun.
Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap – 25% off of all Outdoor Research Hats and Gaiters
Suggestions to get the most from your 20% off any one full-price item
Osprey Exos 48 Pack – $190
A Thru-hiker’s choice and a darling of the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. The Osprey Exos 48 is light but will still hold enough gear and food for 7 days. Best of all, at under $200 it’s a good deal for a pack of this weight and quality.
This 2017 Backpacker Editors’ Choice will keep even cold sleepers warm. This Women’s specific bag is rated to 17 °F and stuffed with 850 fill power water-resistant goose down. The weight is not bad at a little over two pounds.
A value 3 season bag for under 2 pounds. Water-repellent 700-fill-power duck down keeps the price low. Strategic waterproof/breathable fabric panels improve its wet weather performance. This Women’s specific Joule bag is rated to 30 °F and the Men’s Igneo bag is rated to 30 °F.
Marmot Phase 30 Sleeping Bag – $399
This is 1/2 the weight of the bags above it! A very warm one-pound Ultralight bag wth high quality 850 fill power water-resistant goose down. EN rated to 33 °F, and with a full zipper which is a pleasant surprise in a bag this light!
A good pair of hiking shoes, ain’t cheap. So these might be a good choice for the your 20% off any one full price item.
These are Alison’s and my favorite backpacking and hiking shoes. These are the most comfortable shoe after a 30+ mile day on the trail. One key is the massive toe room that is so kind to trail-swollen feet at the end of the day. They are light and have a zero drop heel for a more natural stride. These comes in both Men’s and Women’s models.
We also like the lighter and award winning Altra Superior shoes. We have even taken them technical canyoneering with good success. M’s model and W’s model. One thing that makes the Superiors stand apart is upper fabric is that it stops sand and grit entry while still being breathable!
If the a big toebox isn’t your thing, these are some very light (under 10 oz) shoes that are super comfortable. They’ve got tons of padding to protect your feet, great ventilation and super grip from aggressively lugged soles. Like the Altras above, these have a low heel drop, which we prefer. In Men’s and Women’s models.
REI Co-Op Rain Jacket – $70
This functional rain jacket is under 10 oz. and a great bargain! Most of us end up tearing or wearing out a rain jacket after a few seasons anyway, so why spend the big bucks? This jacket comes in both Men’s and Women’s sizes (9.4 and 8 oz respectively), has zippered pockets and an adjustable hood making this 2.5-layer breathable waterproof jacket a an excellent deal!
REI Flash 18 Pack and Flash 22 Pack – $40 and $50
These little day packs are great. They are light in an era when many “daypacks” approach the heavy weight of long distance backpacks. With the weight savings you can carry a camera, a drawing pad and pencils, or some extra food.
Theses packs hold just the right amount for a day (18 or 22 L), and don’t have too many bells and whistles. Simple, inexpensive, and good. This simple drawstring design has been with us for years, because it has proven itself to be perfect for just about any day-long mission.