Lightweight Hikers Guide | 2021 REI Gear Up Get Out Sale

Here’s how to get the best deals at the BIG REI Fall Sale and get the most use for those precious 20% coupons! I’ve been an REI member for over 40 years and I still get excited about a REI Sale. To prep for this sale, in addition to our knowledge of the REI’s lightweight and ultralight gear inventory, we did a bunch research online to find even more hiking and backpacking gear on sale. The result is our Lightweight Hiker’s Guide to the REI Sale:

  • EVENT 2021 REI Gear Up Get Out Sale: Dates 11/12-11/23
  • Save up to 50% off on select items
  • PLUS Members Get *20% off one full price item and 20% off one REI OUTLET Item Use CODE: GEARUP2021
  • PLUS get free shipping on on orders over $50

*Note: that this is the first time in a while that REI has offered their *20% off one full price item. Now would be a great time to capitalize on this generous offer. Go ahead and checkout all our 35 Picks for your 20% off one Full Price Item Coupon…

35 Quick Picks for your 20% off one Full Price Item Coupon

Short on time? Here are some great gear picks to use your precious 20% Off One Full Price Item Coupon:

  • In Stock at REI! Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents | While you can’t get a Big Agnes Tent for love or money almost anywhere on the planet, you can get one at REI and 20% off with your coupon. Buy them while they are available!
  • As a top pick in our Sleeping Bag Guide, we feel that the new REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag M’s & W’s is great value in an all-around, three season choice for most campers.
  • NEW JetBoil STASH Stove | A game-changer. At half the weight of previous JetBoil stoves, the STASH still retains the performance, fuel efficiency, and creature comforts that everybody loves about JetBoil stoves.
  • REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent | Affordable Ultralight, 2-Person Tent, Under 2 Pounds! And a Top 4 Pick in our Tent Guide.
  • Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket | The Outdoor Research Helium is a great value, costing less than other jackets in the rarefied 6 ounce range! And the new 2020 version is way more durable at the same weight!
  • Patagonia R1 Pullover & Hoodies | Think of it as “fur for humans.” The Patagonia R1 Hoodie the warmest, comfiest baselayer (or light mid-layer) and it works in an amazing range of conditions.

Go ahead and checkout all our 35 Picks for your 20% off one Full Price Item Coupon…

12 Quick Pics for the Best Discounted Gear at the Sale

Short on time? Here are some key picks for great gear deals that should appeal to most lightweight hikers and backpackers. Best, they are already on sale so you can save your 20% Off One Regular Price Item for something else that meets your fancy. The best items on sale will go quickly. So if you wait too long, you may not get your choice of size, model or color, or it might just sell out. And we’ll be adding more items to this guide during the sale, so be sure to check back from time to time for new deals as we add them.

Top Sale Pick | REI Co-op Magma 850 Hoodie Down Jacket – Men’s & Women’s

40% Off

At a whopping 40% off this is hands down our top pick for the Sale. And make sure you get one now as this  top-tier down jacket is seasonal and only available for a limited time! On sale the REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0 is is likely the very best value in an ultralight jacket. This jacket is a favorite of ours and a great deal at $219.  When it’s on sale, it’s a steal especially compared to competitors’ jackets that can run $300 or higher. It offers easy movement and just-right warmth for backpacking, hiking, and travel. The Magma 850 Hoodie has all the features you want in a down jacket — the lightest high fill water-resistant goose down, a hood critical to increasing warmth, a durable Pertex® ripstop shell, well-articulated shoulders for free range of motion, and variable baffles that provide warmth where it’s needed and reduced bulk where it’s not. Finally, it has pockets that aren’t blocked by a pack hipbelt – a gripe we have with a lot of jackets.

Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator

save $50 $299.99 $350

A rare opportunity as it’s almost never on sale (and you can’t use your 20% coupon on GPS devices | Still not cheap, but the Garmin inReach Mini is what we take on every trip. Staying safe in the backcountry has never been so easy or so small and light! The Garmin inReach Mini allows text-messaging-like simplicity of communication even when far from cell service. This differentiates it from the more limited check-in or alert abilities of the SPOT devices. It also adds a layer of safety and connectivity that used to cost much more! New Mini is really small and light, 3.5 oz, versus 6.9 oz of the older inReach units. It’s so small it can easily fit in a pocket. In summary, the inReach is an indispensable backcountry safety and emergency communication tool for keeping loved ones updated and for receiving weather and other important updates from the front country.

All Benchmade Products (nice knives!)
Benchmade Bugout Knife

Members spend $100 on Benchmade and get a $20 REI Bonus Card

In a word:  Superb. The Benchmade Bugout Knife and highly functional knife with a large 3.25″ blade up to any backcountry use. It’s also great for everyday carry. At 1.8 ounces, it is far lighter than most folding knives. Its CPM-S30V premium stainless-steel blade (58-60HRC) will hold an edge far longer than run-of-the-mill knives (some of which cost nearly as much). Yeah, we’re big fans of CPM-S30V and CPM-S35V steels. The handle color is super bright making the knife hard to lose and has a pleasingly ergonomic grip.

Garmin Fenix GPS Watches

save $200

A rare event as they are almost never on sale (and you can’t use your 20% coupon on GPS devices | This is your opportunity to get the best at a discount.

Garmin Fenix Watches are the gold standard for wrist mounted training data and GPS navigation. Garmin practically created this market segment, and the Fenix watches have pretty much every feature and refinement. Fenix smart watches offers an altimeter, barometer, compass, GPS, and a slew of health tracking options. All in a lightweight, comfortable, medium-sized silhouette. And they are hugely compatible and easily integrate with almost all tracking and performance measurement platforms.

REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket
(& all REI Co-op Brand Down & Synthetic Insulated Jackets & Vests for Women & Men)

30% Off

For those who want to save a bunch on a down jacket, the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket is a great value. While it weighs a bit more vs. an 850 fill power down jacket, it also half the price. Otherwise it has a same features and functionality of the more expensive down jackets. Altho a bit pricier we prefer the hooded version.

And of course there are a lot of great values in other REI Co-op Brand Down & Synthetic Insulated Jackets & Vests for Women & Men. Take a peek here.

All Smartwool Clothing & Accessories for Women, Men & Kids

25% Off

Many folks like super soft, itch free merino wool for clothing. It feels less clammy than synthetics, still keeps you warm when wet, and it stenches far less than most synthetics — a big plus for long backpacking trips or travel where frequent washing many not be possible. The Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Quarter-Zip is one of our favorite and most versatile wool/poly blend baselayer that combines the best of both fabrics. It has a zip for temperature control and ventilation, thumb loops to keep your hands warm and for sun protection. Its ultra-breathable mesh panels deliver cooling airflow in key areas. Finally, it has just the right amount of warmth for most of the year but we’ve also used it with great success in the deserts of Utah.

Of of our standard pieces of trail clothing is the Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Quarter-Zip Shirt. In chilly weather we use it our “hiking shirt” and baselayer. This saves weight and and the complications taking on and off your baselayer.  The half-zip regulates temperature and the long sleeves and full neck are good for sun protection. Wool is warm when wet, does a good job of wicking moisture away from your skin and is naturally antimicrobial so it dramatically reduces stench. Finally soft merino wool does not itch. And For those who can’t handle wool look at $45 REI 1/2-Zip Active Shirt.

Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket
(& Cotopaxi Fleece and Jackets & Vests)

30% Off

Save a bunch on a down jacket, and get a super fun look. We love all the great colorways Cotopaxi gear comes in. But it’s not just good looks, it’s also good gear. As an example we like the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket with its high quality 800 fill power goose down,  durable 20d shell (refreshing and many jackets dip into the 7d range) and reasonable weight. So you can be warm and stylish at the same time — make people smile when you walk by in camp!

And of course there are a lot of great values in other Cotopaxi Fleece and Jackets & Vests for Women & Men.

REI Co-op Merino Half-Zip Base Layer Shirt
(all REI Co-op Merino Base Layers Tops & Bottoms)

30% Off

Many folks like super soft, itch free merino wool for clothing. It feels less clammy than synthetics, still keeps you warm when wet, and it stenches far less than most synthetics — a big plus for long backpacking trips or travel where frequent washing many not be possible. This is our favorite and most versatile wool/poly blend baselayer that combines the best of both fabrics. It has a zip for temperature control and ventilation, thumb loops to keep your hands warm and for sun protection. Its ultra-breathable mesh panels deliver cooling airflow in key areas. Finally, it has just the right amount of warmth for most of the year but we’ve also used it with great success in the deserts of Utah.

Our favorite shirt is the REI Co-op Merino Half-Zip Shirt. In this chilly weather we use it our “hiking shirt” and baselayer. This saves weight and and the complications taking on and off your baselayer.  The half-zip regulates temperature and the long sleeves and full neck are good for sun protection. Wool is warm when wet, does a good job of wicking moisture away from your skin and is naturally antimicrobial so it dramatically reduces stench. Finally soft merino wool does not itch. We also like the similar Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Quarter-Zip. And For those who can’t handle wool look at $45 REI 1/2-Zip Active Shirt.

All Outdoor Research Hats, Gloves & Gaiters
(and Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap)

25% Off

Outdoor Research’s claim to fame is their hats, gloves and gaiters. They do these better than almost all companies out there. We like their, Sun Runner Cap, Option Balaclava, gloves and gaiters!

A hat that does everything well! The Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap is convertible between a lightweight running hat and a more serious expedition hat by allowing a neck shade to be attached to the hat. The neck shade can block sun and protect from bugs. It comes in light colors to better deal with solar radiation, but other colors are available if you don’t like the bright white. This is one of the most functional hats I’ve ever put on my head. And it works great to control the brim on your rain jacket.

All MPOWERD Products (lighting)

25% Off

Get some great in-tent, in-camp illumination without the blinding, spotlight glare of headlamps and flashlights! We like their broader, kinder more diffuse light. And save some battery juice as they can also recharge using built-in solar panels. Some can even recharge mobile devices — albeit not large drain ones.

All Kahtoola Traction Systems & Gaiters

20% Off

Just in time for winter ice and snow!

Often copied but never equaled, the Kahtoola microspikes are the go-to for walking on snowy, icy terrain offering incredible, long-lasting traction. And of course Kahtoola makes a bunch of great trail-shoe friendly traction devices and accessories.

REI Co-op Trekking Poles

30% OFF

REI makes some of the better deals in trekking poles. But on sale they are even a better deal! Our favorites are the REI Co-op Flash Carbon Trekking Poles. They have easy-to-adjust, secure flip-lock adjustments and an ergonomic foam handle. These REI trekking poles are also one of a few polesthat we feel are up to off-trail use. The foam extends farther over the top of the pole than in other models, which can make it prone to breakage after extended use and pressure from the top down. And there is no extended section below the main grip to quickly shorten up on the poles. This set collapses down to 27” and has a usable range from 35-47”, weighing in around 15 ounces for the pair which is a good weight for a pole this strong. And of course, they are backed by REI. Also heck out the women’s REI Co-op Flash Carbon Trekking Poles.

And of course they are backed by REI

Details: 

Adventure Medical Kits

25% OFF

When was the last time you did a full inventory your first aid kit? We’re guessing that some items are nearly gone and your tape and bandaids are no longer sticky.

While trail injuries are usually blisters and small “boo boos,” it’s still a safety requirement to carry a well-equipped first aid kit even on day hikes. Assembling your own can be confusing and expensive. Adventure Medical Kits makes it simple with well thought out first aid kits for every situation and group size — from kits designed for solo hikers out for a few days to the $200 full-on Mountain Series Mountaineer Medical Kit. Two of our favorites are the more mid-sized Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit, and the very light Ultralight/Watertight .5 Medical Kit.

prAna Halle Pants – Women’s

25% Off

In Prana pants, Alison can go straight from a hike or the climbing gym to dinner. These pants are extremely versatile and excel in so many ways. They’re stretchy enough for climbing, hiking, and scrambling, yet designed like “normal” everyday pants. The DWR treatment repels light rain or snow. Also, the legs roll up to convert the pants into capris, so although they don’t fully zip into shorts they are still versatile for when it’s hotter. These are available in short, tall, regular, and plus sizing. Also, there are straight leg (for a more fitted look) and fully convertible options available too.

Suggestions for your 20% off any one full-price item

ultralight backpacking tent | rei flash air 2

REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent

Affordable Ultralight | 2-Person Tent | Under 2 Pounds!

$299

New for this spring, is the 2-person REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent is a 1.9 lb, full sized, 2-person tent that costs under $300. Right off the bat, those specs set it in a class by itself (tents in this weight range usually cost $600 to even $800). As such, it’s a solid choice for any backpacker looking to save weight and cost, even if you’ve never used a tent like this before. But unlike many tents in this rarified weight range, it’s quite user friendly. The design, ease of setup, space, and moisture-management of the Flash Air 2 all work to create a great user experience, even for non-expert backpackers.

See our full review of this tent: REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent Review

Top Sale Pick | Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents

In Stock at REI! Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents | While you can’t get a Big Agnes Tent for love or money almost anywhere on the planet, you can get one at REI and 20% off with your coupon. Buy them while they are available!

Our go-to traditional tent, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall is the lightest option among framed tents from mainstream brands. The design is semi-freestanding, meaning it can be pitched without stakes, but is more taught and secure with them. For only a modest increase in price and weight, we highly recommend the Tiger Wall 3P, to be used as a more spacious shelter for two campers. Not counted towards 9 lb list.

Magma Sleeping Bag

REI Co-op Magma 15 and 30 Sleeping Bags

$329 – $399

As a top pick in our Sleeping Bag Guide, we feel that the new REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag M’s & W’s is a good all-around three season choice for many campers. But if you go out in warmer weather or are concerned about weight, the REI Co-op Magma 30 just a bit over a pound but filled with 8.5 oz of 850-fill-power goose down! That will keep many sleepers warm but still not weigh a ton! BUT if you do sleep cold: check out the original, award winning REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag. It will either keep colder sleepers happy in peak 3 season camping, or take most folks into colder shoulder (3+ season) camping of early spring or late fall.

Altra Lone Peak

Altra Lone Peak 5 Shoes

Extremely comfortable, versatile, and durable shoe for any user. Altra shoes are specifically designed to mimic our foot’s natural stride. Every pair they make feature a foot-shaped toe box, balanced cushioning with zero heel to toe drop, and female shoes with specific anatomical differences highlighted. If you’ve used Altra shoes before, you know firsthand the all-day comfort benefits of wearing this type of shoe. However, this iteration of the Lone Peak offers all of this previous technology in combination with a fully revamped midsole. The AltraEgo foam midsole is a 2016 technology taken from their popular running shoe (the Escalantes).

REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent

$349

At $100 less than the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Ultralight Tent, REI’s long-time favorite Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent is a legitimately great option for any backpacker seeking a premium, free-standing, lightweight tent that won’t break the bank. Weighing just over 3 lbs, the Quarter Dome remains comfortable with ample headroom and plenty of space for two backpackers. The increased room/livability from extremely vertical walls is what sets this tent apart from most of its peers in this price range. The bottom line is that this tent is an REI best-seller because it meets all the requirements of a lightweight backpacker for a very reasonable price. Bravo REI!

Osprey Exos and Eja Backpacks

$200 – $220

Osprey Exos 48 or 58 Backpack (Unisex/Men’s)

A Thru-hiker’s choice and the most popular pack in the Appalachian Trail. The Osprey Exos 48 is light but will still hold enough gear and food for 7 days (use the larger Exos 58 if you carry more gear). Of course the Exos has the famous Osprey fit and comfort. It’s fairly durable for a lightweight pack but best of all, at $200 it’s a good deal for a pack of this weight and quality. And of course it comes with REI’s return policy.

Osprey Eja 48 and 58 Pack (Women’s version of the Exos)

New for 2018 is a women’s version of the incredibly successful Osprey Exos, the most popular pack in the Appalachian Trail. The Osprey Eja Backpack’s have women’s specific fit, like optimal sternum strap location for women, less bulky shoulder straps and of course an improved hip-belt design. Otherwise all the features that made the Exos packs great are there including the AirSpeed Suspension system that keeps the weight (and sweat) off your back with a tensioned breathable-mesh back panel.

Jetboil Stash Cooking System

$130

The new JetBoil STASH Stove is a game-changer. At half the weight of previous JetBoil stoves, the STASH still retains the performance, fuel efficiency, and creature comforts that everybody loves about JetBoil stoves. A win, win. It competes head to head with the weight of many ultralight alcohol stoves but surpasses them on boil times, fuel efficiency, ease of use, and simmer control. As such we see it enticing many types of backpackers to switch to the STASH — backpackers that don’t carry a stove due to weight, ultralight alcohol stove users, MSR Pocket Rocket owners, and of course current JetBoil owners who want to save nearly half a pound.

Read our full review here

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket

$159 (older models on sale for less)

TECH: Pertex Diamond Fuse 2.5-layer waterproof breathable laminate Ripstop nylon

The Outdoor Research Helium is a great value, costing less than other jackets in the rarefied 6 ounce range!  And for 2020 it’s way more durable at the same weight! The first upgrade to the highly regarded Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket in 8 years! It boasts a new super strong Pertex Diamond Fuse fabric. Outdoor Research say it 5x more tear resistant and 2x more abrasion resistant than the old Helium. That’s a huge deal for a 6 oz Rain Jacket where any increase in durability is most welcome. In addition for 2020 it got a slightly roomier fit. While it weighs far less than most rain jackets, it still has a good feature set — drawcord adjustable hood, elastic adjustable cuffs, and a chest pocket that can stow the entire jacket. While a bit larger for 2020 this jacket this jacket is still trim. It will layer over an 8-12+ oz fleece midlayer, but anyone layering it over something larger (e.g. a down jacket) should likely size up. And like always, the 2020 Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket costs less than competitor’s 6 ounce rain jackets!

The matching Outdoor Research Helium Rain Pants share the same strong Pertex Diamond Fuse material, where its durability maybe even more welcome as pants often take more abuse than jackets. They also have lace loops to attach to your shoes which turn the pants into a semi-gaiter.

BEST FOR: Combination of low weight, durability and value | One of the best all-around rain jackets for serious travelers, hikers and outdoor athletes looking for extremely light rain protection without the high prices of other jackets at this weight and who value high packability.

NOTE: for now, the new 2020 Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket and Pants are exclusive to REI.

REI Co-op Drypoint Gore Tex Jacket

TECH: Highly breathable GORE-TEX Active waterproof breathable laminate (20-denier ripstop nylon)

Our pick for the best all-around performance rain Jacket. Another great REI Rain Jacket. The REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Jacket is a solid three-layer jacket at a great price! It has two well placed mesh backed chest pockets and adjustable hem, cuffs, and hood (3 adjustments). REI made some good design choices with this jacket: the pockets are high enough to use when wearing hip straps and it has mesh pocket linings creating two large and effective chest vents (which we prefer over pit-zips). Additionally, the Drypoint’s seam-free shoulder design is good when wearing a pack and should increase durability in this critical area.

BEST FOR: Hikers and backpackers looking for a great value in rain protection with good breathability and great ventilation that can endure significant wear and tear. And it has the REI warranty!

REI Rain Jacket | REI Co-op Rainier

$45 to $90 for a good quality and light REI rain jacket says it it all! The REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket’s utilitarian design keeps weight and cost low. Styling is a bit bit utilitarian but the jacket has room to layer. The Co-op Jacket has a modestly sized, 3-piece hood with dual hood adjusts (but still best with a ball-cap under it), two zippered hand pockets, a drawcord hem and internal elastic cuffs allow a seal at waist and wrists. And the new model has pit zips and uses Recycled nylon ripstop (bluesign® approved).

BEST FOR: Budget hikers and backpackers looking for good rain and wind protection that will last at an incredibly low price.

Patagonia R1 Pullover & Hoodies

$69 to $180

Think of it as “fur for humans.” The Patagonia R1 Hoodie the warmest, comfiest baselayer (or light mid-layer) and it works in an amazing range of conditions. It breathes well, stretches comfortably, and has a long cut to keep your heat trapped in. The arms are long with thumb holes to keep heat from leaving through the common wrist gap, and the hood fits well, and zips up with a full mouth cover, trapping all your heat inside, and piping warm air from your core to your head. Of course, it comes in Men’s and Women’s versions. While warm enough for winter, it works in one of the broadest ranges of temperatures of any baselayer!

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad “Women’s”

$180

We feel this is by a large margin the best all-around sleeping pad! This is the “Women’s” version of the XLite, but it’s the right size for most backpackers. All the men we know use it — for tall men, as long as the end of the pad hits mid-calf you should be fine (Alan’s 6’5″ hiking partner uses one!). Best of all, at 12 oz and with an R-value of 5.4, it’s warmer and lighter than the “Men’s” version. Super warm and super comfortable we find its closer to a 3+ season pad and have happily used it to well below freezing!  As such, we find that it works well even into the colder shoulder seasons of late fall and early spring, so you can skip the weight and cost of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad

$175

For those the must have a full length pad Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad has been the standard 3-season sleeping pad for ultralight backpackers’ for years. But it rarely goes on sale. Compared to self-inflating, foam core pads it’s lighter and way more comfortable. If you don’t own one of these, you owe it yourself to try one. It will change your backcountry sleep experience for the better while lightening your pack.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Pole

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles

These poles collapse down in a Z formation, and they’re shorter than any telescoping poles. This comes in handy for travel (they can fit in a day pack), or for more hands-on trips where poles are carried in a pack as frequently as they are used. What’s more, they only weigh about 11 ounces for the pair and they’re also available in an adjustable version.

REI Flash 55 Pack

$200

HIGHLIGHTS: Affordable, Comfortable, Ventilated Non-sweaty Back, Customizable Configurations, Nice Pockets, Men’s & Women’s version

SPECS: weight 42 oz | volume 55 L | volume/weight 21 L/lb | Max Carry: 30 lbs
With no Pack Mods: 35 oz | volume/weight 25 L/lb

TECH: Fabric, nylon | Frame, internal | Back Panel, suspended mesh panel for more airflow to help with back sweat | Rain-resistant top pocket & shoulder pocket, Packmod accessories allow you to add or remove pockets & features

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low Hiking Shoes - Men's

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low Hiking Shoes

$100

This one of REI’s most popular hiking shoes with a 4.3 rating for 223 reviews. So if you are leery of trail runners for hiking and want a more supportive and protective shoe with some great traction then the highly popular Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low Hiking Shoes are likely a good choice. The upper is a combination of leather for durability, and mesh for breathability. A slightly higher ankle and bellows tongue help keep debris out. And Vibram TC5+ outsoles with 5mm lug provide good grip in mud and the loose stuff. Oh, and it’s a very comfortable shoe.

Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System

$150

The best Jetboil Stove! The award winning Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System gives you all of Jetboil’s new technologies: A proprietary regulator and enhanced regulator diaphragm for consistent performance down to 20°F. And their redesigned valve gives you better simmer control. Finally, we’re huge fans of the wider pot. It’s easier to eat out of and clean and has a more fuel effect shape to boot. No wonder this is the stove we take guiding. We can make tons of coffee for clients in no time. And a caffeinated client is a happy client.

REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30

$299

REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30. We are super stoked to see REI offer a quilt version of the award-winning Magma series bags! Pair this with the “Women’s” version of the XLite, (yes it fits men fine — all the men we know use it) and you will be toasty warm at night. And no wonder since it’s stuffed with an incredible 11 ounces of Water-resistant 850-fill-power goose down. This quilt is cut a bit wider than most to give you lots of room and a good seal around the edges. What’s not to like!

La Sportiva

La Sportiva Footwear | La Sportiva Bushido

$130 La Sportiva Bushido

All La Sportiva Footwear is on sale. But our favorite La Sportiva hiking shoe is La Sportiva Bushido. It’s got an aggressively grippy sole that get traction in both wet and dry conditions. It’s a light shoe with a more snug/glove-like fit vs. the much wider Altra Lone Peaks and a moderate 6mm heel rise. And they are light at just over 10 oz per shoe but still amazingly durable.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket – M’s & W’s

$99 to $139
For 12 years the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket has been the classic, light do-it-all jacket. Biking, climbing, hiking, backpacking, bikepacking, you name it, this ultralight jacket is a great tool for the job. Synthetic PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco is a very light and warm insulation. It is more water-resistant than down is made from 55% post-consumer recycled fibers. If you add in the wind and water-resistant bluesign® approved fabric shell, the jacket is 75% recycled materials so you can feel good about the environment.

TIP: we prefer the warmer and even more versatile Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie

Passage 2

REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent

$159

Value, value, value: The REI Co-op Passage 2 is the textbook definition of a backpacking tent but at a fraction of the price. Traditionally, tents from a reputable brand that look and perform this well would cost twice as much! While nothing about the Passage 2 is cutting edge, everything about its design is intentionally traditional, reliable and user-friendly, especially the two-door, two vestibule chassis and cross-pole frame. And it comes with a footprint saving you even more bucks.

SIMILAR MODELS: Passage 1p

BEST FOR: Budget or beginning backpacker seeking a classic, inexpensive backpacking tent that gets the job done

Black Diamond Headlamps

$30 to $50

Black Diamond Spot Lite 160 Headlamp  is the perfect blend of ultraight while still providing a ton of light! It’s the ideal light for around camp to cook dinner, or setup in the dark. But if in a pinch, if you need to do some night hiking it puts out 160 lumens for 2 hours, and on medium 80 lumens for 14 hours — enough to hike at night on-trail in an emergency. But it’s mild mannered enough to use in camp at 6 lumens, where it will last for 60 hours. We also like that it only takes two AAA batteries.

Need more power? Use the Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp if you need to seriously night hike — like all night! On high it puts out 325 lumens for 4 hours, and on medium 160 lumens for 8 hours — enough to hike out at night in an emergency on challenging trails, or even off trail. But it’s still mild mannered enough to use in camp at 6 lumens, where it will last for 200 hours.

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

$110

The Jetboil Flash stove 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 just two-and-a-half minutes. That’s 3-4 times faster than an alcohol stove system. At 15.2 oz, it’s not too heavy and it packs to a small size to fit many places in your pack. Best of all after the discount it’s about 1/2 the price of the top of the line JetBoil stoves.

Smartwool Socks

We like all Smartwool Socks. Merino wool is naturally stink reducing which is a favor to both you and your fellow hikers on multi-day trips. These are comfortable and fit well. And they are durable. Our favorites for hiking and backpacking sock are the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Mini Socks.

Ursack Major XL Bear Bag

$99 – $120

The Ursack Major Bear Bag  will keep bears out of your food. It weighs a fraction of a typical bear canister, and costs about the same. This is the largest, 15 L model which can easily fit 6+ days of food! There’s a smaller version too for shorter trips. It holds about 10.7 L, and costs $70. These are easily the best bear protection available, but make sure it’s a sanctioned solution where you go as sadly, not all parks have caught on yet.

REI Co-op Flash 3-Season Sleeping Pad

REI Co-op Flash 3-Season Sleeping Pad

$99 – $120

HIGHLIGHTS:  1/2 cost of similar pads without giving up much

The Value Pad Pick in our Sleeping Pad Guide, and a good all-around pad from a trusted source. Around 1/2 the price of the competition, the Flash 3-Season pad had one of the highest scores for value (R/cost). Updated for 2020 with stronger and more durable construction. And at it’s R 3.2 insulation value is competitive with many thicker (non-XLite/XTherm) pads in this guide.

GREAT FOR: A low cost, light and comfortable, 3 season pad from a trusted source

Flash Packs

REI Flash 18 & Flash 22 Packs

$30 – $40

Staff Pick: The REI Flash 18 & Flash 22 Packs are a Staff Favorites. They are very light, inexpensive & functional ultralight day packs. Blessedly minimal with just the right features, the  Flash 18 is only 9 ounces and the Flash 22 just 13 ounces. As such, they will lighten your load and step.

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Stove

$45

An upgrade to a classic and one of the popular backpacking stoves of all time, this little isobutane stove packs a punch. It can bring 1 L of water to a boil in 3.3 minutes and weighs in at 2.6 oz (75 g). It’s compact and comes with its own little carrying case and a piezo igniter. This would be a great match for TOAKS Titanium 900ml D115mm Pot as a super light (6.6 ounce!) 1 to 2 person cooking system.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad

$160-$230

HIGHLIGHTS:  Lightest full sized pad with 3 season warmth | compact

PERFORMANCE: 2.6 R/weight | 1.2 R/cost (value)

SPECS: R 2.3 | 8.8 oz | Air Pad | Insulation – baffled chambers (no reflective film)

Lightest 2+ Season Pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad | At only 1/2 pound for a size regular (72″ long) the Uberlite is the lightest full sized pad with 2+ season warmth Of course the lighter fabric is a bit more prone to damage and will cost you more than an X-Lite. But we’re stoked there’s a 25″ version of this pad. Some folks find that a 20″ pad is not quite wide enough. That is there’s room for you and one arm but not both. At 12 oz in a 25″ width the Size Large solves that problem without a weight penalty. Second, with an R 2.3 we find this pad warm and comfortable to around freezing.

GREAT FOR: For those seeking the very lightest pad to get the job done for 2+ season (average person will likely find this a summer pad, but hardier folks can get 3 season use out of it)

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Cold sleepers, 3+ season use, those that are hard on gear, hikers on a budget

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad

$220

HIGHLIGHTS:  Incredibly warm & light | Good winter pad, or for cold sleepers

PERFORMANCE: 4.6 R/weight | 3.2 R/cost (value)

SPECS: R 6.9 | 15 oz | Air Pad | Insulation – baffled chambers + reflective film

Best Pad Cold Sleepers: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad is our pick for hikers that sleep cold or for average hikers in very cold conditions. It has the highest R/weight performance of any pad while also being a great value for R/cost. As such, we also see it as a great upgrade from the XLite for cold sleepers — it’s only 3 oz and a few bucks more than the standard XLite but a whopping amount warmer (R6.9 vs R4.2). So it might be one of the lighter ways to increase the warmth of your sleep system.

GREAT FOR: The lightest pad for 4 season use (also great 3 season for cold sleepers)

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Warm sleepers in 3 season conditions (expensive & overkill), hikers on a budget

TOAKS Titanium 900ml D115mm Pot

$45

Our favorite pot is the incredibly light 900 ml TOAKS Titanium pot! And TOAKS pots cost less than the competition.  It’s great that REI is now carrying the TOAKS Titanium 900ml D115mm Pot. This is the perfect size to boil water for 2 cups of coffee in the morning. Titanium is incredibly light and nearly indestructible. Unlike aluminum, it is completely non-reactive.  The pot will fit standard 220-gram fuel canisters. If you need a little more volume, the 1350 ml pot is another good buy, tipping the scales at 5.2 oz and featuring the same lightweight, durable titanium design.

KEEN Targhee II

$130

A supportive and durable true hiking shoe that provides protection in wet conditions. Keen is known for their classically styled, durable footwear. The Targhee II waterproof hiking shoes are comfortable once broken in, extremely stable, and last for years. The waterproof treatment on the shoes provides extra protection in rainy or snowy conditions. However, if the shoes do get fully soaked through, it will take awhile to dry them out. The footbed is engineered to prevent twisting and encourage stability, which makes them great for beginning hikers or backpackers who may be worried about traveling through varied and rocky terrain.

REI Sahara Pants & Shirts

We’ve used some version of REI Co-op Sahara pants for nearly 20 years. They’ve been to Patagonia, Alaska, Asia, the Deserts of Utah, and pretty much every mountain range in the lower 48. They get the job done. We like the thin, light but durable fabric key reinforcements in high wear areas. And that they come in a number of inseams. And of course, all those pockets are essential to keep your gear organized and readily available. Finally, they dry quickly and are great for international travel as well.

REI Sahara Shirts

REI Sahara Shirts are the same quality as the pants.

Salomon XA Pro 3D V8

$130

Stable, comfortable shoes to transition from heavier to lighter footwear. Not quite ready to swap your traditional hiking shoes for their lighter counterparts? The Salomon XA Pro shoes have undergone many different models, and this iteration is designed for stability and all-day comfort. The rubber soles are excellent for off-trail and tricky terrain, while the design of the midsole provides extra stability. This makes the shoe feel stiffer than many similar shoes, but it is to keep your feet securely in place during long days on trail.

Salomon SpeedCross 5

$130

Excellent shoe for athletes looking for a higher drop with plenty of traction
The Salomon SpeedCross 5 trail shoes are designed with excellent traction and stability in mind. Their 10 mm drop is well-suited for hikers and runners that are used to a traditional, higher drop shoe. This is one of the more minimal shoes in the Salomon lineup, so it is excellent for those who are looking to shave a few ounces or transition into lighter trail runners. Despite this, the shoe still features all the durability and traction that Salomon is known for.

Nemo tent

NEMO HORNET 2P

$370

For those seeking one of the lightest traditional tents, Nemo Hornet 2P is a great option. At 1.9 lbs it is our lightest recommended traditional tent. And for $370, it’s the second most affordable. So it’s a great value! And the amazing part is that, despite the weight and cost trimmings, Nemo still managed to deliver what is only a somewhat smaller living space and vestibule setup than its heavier competition. Yes, the slanted sidewalls (tent lacks a spreader crossbar at the peak) make it better suited for sleeping than hanging out in (some even consider this a large person’s solo tent), but if small and light is your style, you were probably going to hike all day anyway. Keep in mind that the Nemo family goes deep and quality options abound. Larger hikers or anyone seeking livability will appreciate the expanded footprint, vertical sidewalls, and bigger vestibules on the Dagger 2P (listed below and also a very nice tent!).

SIMILAR MODELS: Hornet 1p, Dagger 2p,

Best For: Those seeking the lightest traditional tent, even if it means compromising a bit on space and livability. Light fabrics should be treated with care.

BioLite Headlamp

BioLite Gear Headlamps

The BioLite 330 and Biolite 220 Headlamps | $45 – $100

We’re big fans of rechargeable headlamps and Biolite makes some of the best. The BioLite 330 and Biolite 220 are favorites with hikers and backpackers. With them you never worry about how much charge your batteries have and whether you should replace them before a trip. Instead, plug it in before your trip and you know it will be fully charged. Better yet you can always top it off mid-trip from the ubiquitous USB battery you already carry. And of course they put out tons of light, have many disable modes and a bunch other cool features.

REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack

REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack

$80

Clear your mind and refresh your perspective by taking a hike! There’s no better time to enjoy the benefits of solitude and nature. Not surprisingly we’re seeing a huge people out hiking just about everywhere!

The REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack is a full featured day pack that is still lightweight. Unlike the 13 oz minimalist REI Co-op Flash 22 Pack (a favorite of ours), the 2 pound Trail 25 has a bunch well thought out features that many hikers may prefer — a HDPE framesheet adds structure and helps shield your back from protruding gear (and transfers some weight to your hips), a built in rain cover, more padding, more pockets, and easier gear access, etc. And it’s mostly made from recycled materials.

KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants – Men’s

$100

KUHL designs durable and functional clothing for all outdoor activities. The Renegade convertible pants are made with a breathable yet strong softshell fabric. The pants zip into 10” shorts, and the mesh cargo pockets and peached waistband both make the pants more breathable and moisture wicking. These pants have plenty of room and mobility without having too loose of a fit, which can make pants feel sloppy. We love that they have calf zippers to get them over shoes, and wish more pants included in this list had that featured as well. In summary, it’s hard to find any faults with these pants — as such they are clear winners and make our top pick by a large margin.

KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up Pants – Women’s

$90

These are a close competitor with the Prana Halle pants, but with a more durable fabric. And they absolutely come out on top in terms of pockets. They have six deep pockets, four of which have a snap closure to hold the essentials. Furthermore, they roll up and snap closed into capris, which makes them convertible with less work (and more style). We love the fit on these pants, it’s fitted yet roomy enough to accommodate big movements while hiking or backpacking. There is also an internal waistband to adjust the fit, and the UPF protection makes them great for long days in the sun.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket

$299

Get great Arc’teryx functionality, fit and style but without a weight penalty. the Zeta SL Rain Jacket is under 10 ounces using the new lightweight 2-layer GORE-TEX® PACLITE®. It compacts to a very small size for easy storage. The 40d outer fabric is quite durable and the WP/B liner has an improved next to skin feel. In summary, great blend light, functional and durable.

REI Co-op Active Pursuits Half-Zip Shirt

$30 – $50

A great all-weather shirt. And especially for folks that can’t or won’t wear wool. It will keep the sun off of you and add a bit of warmth for a chilly morning run or hike. Nice stretch fit, good arm and neck protection when you need it but you can roll up the sleeves and unzip the neck to dissipate heat. Thumb loops to keep sleeves in place and hands warm. In summary, a great do-it-all shirt at a very reasonable price.

Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask Kit

$17 to $36

Yup folks, masks are still going to be required for a while. So When you are out and about, protect yourself and those around you with the Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask Kit, which includes a durable, washable and fully adjustable mask with 3 filters.

  • Highly efficient disposable filters filter more than 95% of virus, bacteria and particles in accordance with ASTM test standards and reduce contaminant transmission risk
  • Treated with HeiQ NPJ03+ to provide resistance to microbes and germs; can be washed up to 30 times with 100% effectiveness
  • Durable polyester fabric undergoes 10,000+ cycle abrasion test for tough abrasion resistance
  • Moisture-wicking, water- and stain-repellent and microbe-resistant construction

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

25% Off

$70

the Petzl Actik Core puts out a brilliant 450 lumens to light making it easy to navigate even the most difficult terrain at night. So no wonder it is one of the most popular hiking and backpacking headlamps. And it has a ton of lighting and dimming modes including both spot and flood. Again we are big fans of rechargeable headlamps. With them you never worry about how much charge your batteries have and whether you should replace them before a trip. Instead, plug it in before your trip and you know it will be fully charged. Better yet you can always top it off mid-trip from the ubiquitous USB battery you already carry.

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